Sunday, August 26, 2018

Old Man Gloom

It's that time of year when the people of Santa Fe celebrate with an annual fiesta. A spectacular occurrence sets off the festivities with a bang: the burning of Old Man Gloom—otherwise known as Zozobra. "Zozobra is a hideous but harmless fifty-foot bogeyman marionette. He is a toothless, empty-headed facade. He has no guts and doesn't have a leg to stand on. He is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. He never wins. He moans and groans, rolls his eyes and twists his head. His mouth gapes and chomps. His arms flail about in frustration. Every year we do him in. We string him up and burn him down in ablaze of fireworks. At last, he is gone, taking with him all our troubles for another whole year. Santa Fe celebrates another victory. Viva la Fiesta!" - A.W. Denninger

At a Zozobra event and poster signing

My partner, Amy Córdova had two of her artworks selected for posters of the event, which draws tens of thousands of people. The local Kiwanis Club is the sponsor and proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Fe. The theme for this year was the era of the sixties. So Amy made a take-off of the Beatles Abbey Road Cover and also Zozobra wearing bell-bottoms and John Lennon glasses.

Amy, signing her posters
Amy was given four VIP passes to the burning, so we will be close up. Next week I will post a story with photos of the burning of “Old Man Gloom.”

"Light My Fire" by Amy Córdova

"Zozo Does Abbey Road" by Amy Córdova

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Regal Pageantry

At the center of my town is a plaza. It is well-used, especially in summer with frequent festivals and music concerts. Santa Fe, New Mexico is the oldest state capitol in the nation, founded in 1608 by New Mexico's third Spanish governor, Don Pedro de Peralta. It was made the capital of the territory in 1610. At over 7,000 feet above sea level, it is the United State's highest capital city. Santa Fe is the third-largest art market in the United States, after New York and Los Angeles.

Folk festival
I am fortunate that the Boone Gallery is just steps off of the plaza. There is usually music there, tourists from all parts of the globe visit, and I have been surprised by car shows, motorcycle gatherings, avant-garde music raves, Spanish markets, folk festival parades, pet parades, and now the big daddy of them all—Annual Indian Market which commenced this weekend.

Classic car show

Usually, despite being so close to the center of action during Indian Market, my shop is quiet—like being in the eye of a hurricane of cultural and commercial activity.

This is understandable since there are over 200 fabulous Indian artists spread across the plaza and adjacent streets. The masses of people are busy perusing and purchasing Native American arts and crafts.

Traditional Native Attire
A favorite attraction during the market is a fashion show. There are various categories including traditional and contemporary. Natives from all over North America present themselves in hand made attire and it makes for regal pageantry.

To add to my happiness sharing the plaza with indigenous Americans, a local hotel owner came in my gallery and bought one of my large paintings; a colorful river scene. Nature is the most native of all. Thank you Santa Fe plaza.

Embudo, oil on linen, 36x48 inches. Print available

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Prosperity, Longevity and Happiness

We first met in a little art gallery in Hoi An, Vietnam. The front door on the cobbled street was wide open and I walked in, curious about the shelves and walls covered with magical wood carvings. After a brief greeting with the young sales woman, I became entranced by three carved figures, standing together on a shelf. They are meant to stay together and I bought all three, along with a teak wood Buddha and a few other carved objects.

The three have been with me for years now. I forgot what each man represents and sent photos to a friend in Vietnam who sent me the info. Over time I lost track again.

They stand on a bookcase and offer silent blessings each day. I could not tell Amy what they personify and had to work hard to come up with three phrases; happiness, longevity and prosperity . . . but could not identify which is which.

A search on the internet came up with answers. They are “Sanxing” the 3 Star Gods. In my picture above, the first figure, from the left is Lu Sing, who wears the ornate head dress. He is the deity of prosperity and gives guidance in matters of career, social status and fortune. The next figure, with bulbous forehead and holding a peach in one hand is Shou Xing. The peach represents immortality. He knows how long every human being will live. He carries a gourd, attached to a dragonhead staff, that holds the elixir of life. The last figure is Fu Xing, auspiciously associated with the planet Jupiter and considered the personification of good fortune. He is generally depicted in scholar's dress, holding a scroll, on which is sometimes written the character "Fu". He may also be seen holding a child, or surrounded by children. Mine also has a crane at his feet.

Knowing the meaning behind the sculptures deepens their effect. May they always stand together for the highest good.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

The Clouds

When my friend Therese saw the likeness of birds in twilight clouds and showed me the photograph she took, I thought to make a painting. It hung in my gallery for several months. A few days ago a woman from Denver, Colorado became entranced with it and bought it.

Karen had recently moved with her husband to Colorado from the east coast and had left much of her art collection behind, in order to begin fresh. “Our house has been bare because I have not wanted to buy anything unless I really love it."

It pleases me greatly to be able to meet the people who purchase my art. I was able to look into Karen’s eyes and see her excitement. I was there when she took a picture on her phone and sent it to her husband for approval. He replied, “Nice.” She laughed at how when he says “nice” it usually means something much more. Then she looked back at the painting and pointed to a face she saw in the clouds. Therese saw the face too, and eventually so did I.

Pareibiola is a psychological phenomenon that causes people to see or hear a vague or random image or sound as something significant. Some people do this regularly and others don’t. My father admitted he never could see the, “man in the moon.”

I love looking at skies with clouds that shape shift and turn colors. Especially sunsets give me great joy and a sense of awe. I made a photograph of a landscape with clouds forming the shape of a heart over mountains. Even my father, bless his departed soul, would be able to see it.

For more, see: The Geese Are Clouds