Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Conversation Can Occur

I struggle learning foreign languages. I wish it were easier since traveling is my passion. Having lived in Italy several times, I recall how much I wanted to be fluent among my friends there.

As a child, I had trouble speaking English. Some of my earliest school memories were in the office of a speech therapist helping me correctly form and enunciate “r’s”.

Which brings me to hyper text markup language. Html is the language of the world-wide web. In code form it is letters, numbers and symbols strung together on a page. But read by a web browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome, magically a web page appears complete with stories and pictures.

I am not fluent in html, but know rudimentary ways of constructing a website. For about a decade I have used a program called Dreamweaver but still feel a novice.

Lately, during the slowest time of tourist seasons in Santa Fe, using WordPress, I managed to make another website, one that I have needed for some time. I have owned the domain name but it has sat vacant. Now it is up and running . . . have a look:

I made many mistakes along the way as I did with my other websites. Fortunately the web has places to find “speech therapists”. I may not be able to roll my “r’s” like the Spanish and Italians, but at least a conversation can occur. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

People Of Color

Whenever I hear the term “people of color” I cringe. EVERYONE IS COLORED. Do we say, "birds of color", or "roses of color"?

The phrase “people of color” is a meaningless label of human beings. 

I am an artist and see everyone colored, and also multi-colored. When I do a portrait of an African, I will use some of the same colors when painting a fair skinned person. Reds, blues, browns will be mixed in different proportions but are common to both.

On television, streaming online or on radio, when I hear the phrase “people of color” I recoil. To me, a gaffe has occurred. I don’t particularly blame anyone because society has a long history of racial prejudice; which is ignorant. 

I made a sample in the image above. Nobody is white or black. EVERYONE IS COLORED.

O CHILDREN OF MEN! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.
- Baha'u'llah

Sunday, January 12, 2020


Fractured is a theme I can relate to, having experienced much personal trauma and fissure in life. That's ok, I believe what my darling daughter Naomi said before she died, "Hardships can make us stronger. Every situation in life has some good in it."

When I learned that an important photography gallery in Santa Fe made a call to submit work with "fracture" as theme, I knew I had enough images of merit to enter. 

The show syllabus is as follows
“Today, our world can seem divided in a multitude of ways. Between debates over the climate emergency, corporations literally breaking our earth with fracking, families split at national borders and our divided political systems, concepts like societal unity and harmony feel like a distant hope. Even on a personal level, humans have the capacity to feel fissured, split, and incomplete in our thoughts and emotions. Shifts in perspective, breaks from tradition, and experiencing loss can all encompass the idea of the fracture. This concept can have both positive and negative connotations. However, acknowledging that something is broken is the first step in working toward healing. How can art be a platform for expressing, and ultimately bridging these personal and social divides? What role does the photographer play in observing, documenting, and healing the fractured landscapes around and within us all? “

I entered five images, gathered from extensive travels and street photography, as well as studio work. Camera photos I take are simply starting places because they go into my “digital studio”. Then I manipulate them to bring out a story poignantly. 

Sometimes I combine images into collages, and transform them with tools available in photoshop. 

I can't show the pictures included in my entry.

The one above is from Andalusia, Spain, in ruins of a home with my friend Pepa dressed in flamenco attire holding flowers.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Beyond Coincidence

It is beyond coincidence—a spiritual epiphany, that Amy was surprised yesterday by a mysterious visit that coordinated perfectly with her heart and mind. 
She is deeply connected with indigenous cultures and yesterday at our gallery, decided to draw a kachina figure from her memory. Before going further, let me explain about kachina dolls: They are figures carved from cottonwood that represent a deified ancestral spirit of Pueblo culture. Most closely associated with the Hopi Tribe, they are highly stylized and once you have seen one, you recognize them forever.

Amy owns a small collection. Last summer at Indian market here in Santa Fe, I bought one from a young Hopi carver, and Amy bought another.

Back to our story: The Hopi Reservation is about 265 miles away from Santa Fe but when Amy had almost finished her drawing, a Hopi fellow came in the door, almost on queue. He had a box of kachinas he had carved. His companion and daughter were with him. The little family was desperate for cash to get back home and Amy bought a figure. The man, Lawrence, described his Kachina. The name is Mocking Kachina, (Kwikwilyaka). He represents a Hopi man that is incomplete but still holds his faith. The Mocking Kachina makes fun of everyone when it appears at the Mixed Kachina Dance. He mocks the actions of anyone who passes within his view. 

This carving wears only one shoe and carries a pouch of sacred cornmeal and a ceremonial rattle. 
I did research online and found descriptions like this of a ceremony with dancers in the role of Kachinas: "Kwikwilyaka is the Mocking Kachina.  As a clown he has little personality of his own but fastens like a leech onto any activity that catches his eye.  With mirror-like accuracy he will reflect every action of the unfortunate whom he decides to mimic.  He drives the other kachinas such as Hó-e to strong measures to rid themselves of this unwanted echo.  Should a person in the audience become the focus of this undesired attention, he must wait until something else diverts the kachina.  But the wait is very difficult without inadvertently making some movement, and the rapidity of the mocking usually produces gales of laughter from the rest of the audience. During the Bean Dance procession he is a foil for the Hó-e and an annoyance to others." (Barton Wright

For a good article, see: Kachinas 

The image at top, from left to right: Blue Star Kachina, Tawa (Sun), Mocking Kachina, Diné (Navajo), Crow Mother