Thursday, November 27, 2008

Call My Bluff...Home On The Range 24x30

Thanksgiving and another happy day is upon us. You know, it's a healing thing to be thankful...regardless of circumstances. A grateful heart is incapable of criticizing others and a thankful tongue is not able to complain. A good practise is to effuse, out loud, God whether He feels near or far. Your own ears will hear yourself giving thanks and your brain will tell your heart to chime in. Soon you will be persuaded that there is much to be thankful for and your countenance will be changed to a glowing bright orb that radiates goodness and cheer to all mankind. Or something like that. Whew...I think I should try to follow my own advice once in a while. The picture above and psalm below are for your viewing and reading pleasure on this, my favorite holiday.

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits-
Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Psalm 103:1-5

Monday, November 24, 2008

Long Mount 12x36

I had just enough wine the other night to remind me that it's pretty easy to have too much. Not that I overindulged, it's just that the delightful soothing draught of liquid warmth can be subtly...well, intoxicating....especially to an empty stomach of a not large person who hardly ever imbibes. The following is a word to the wise...another little poem that has nothing to do with the new painting pictured above and even less to do with my circumstances the other night. Offered for sale here.

Red sparkle lets you know
The warmth and joyness fill your head
I hope that we don’t stumble
On our way to lay our head
Down to sleep the sleep of fools
Inviting as it is
You take in hand the crystal globe
Where swirls the one that says
Drink, drink your fill and drown your will
Give no thought for the morrow
I’ll take good care of you and yours
...And haul you in a barrow!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Above The Vines 20x20

Dont Put Your Trust In Stars

Star bright and starlight…I hope and pray and hope I might
Catch a star to wish upon and catch a wish when hope is gone
Gone from my head the happy thought that weaves and spins tomorrows joys
And just as true as wishing might bring to you the hopeful sight
Of dreams come true Dreams old and new
to have and hold and to hold anew
But truth be told that falling star will burn a hole right through your heart
And if by chance your pocket fills with falling stars for tomorrows ills
That flaming spark much hotter than a million suns will come again
And bake a hole right through your leg and heart and heel coming limping beg…
It wasn’t even a rainy day and all my hopes are gone away.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rose Coast 20x20

The other day I was invited to a Mexican birthday party at a local park. Some of the folks were close friends and it was quite a pachanga. A while back I had presided over the wedding ceremony of the couple who was celebrating their third child's first birthday (One of my disguises is that of a Mexican pastor). Over the blaring ranchero music we ate shredded beef stew (barbacoa style) and drank coke and Bud Light...the favorite beer of Mexicans in the US. I played around with some of the kids for a bit to get away from the loud music. The cutest one of the bunch had been our foster daughter a few years ago. She is now seven and calls me papi. She lives with her mom and a younger sister and brother...all from different dads. I saw her again last night and was reminded of the divergent backgrounds of people in America. I am a half Polish Swede from the northland ....often putting on like I'm some beaner from La Tierra Caliente and raising a bunch of mexed-up kids in the process. In spite of that (the mexed-up part) we can all hold our own when it comes to slinging slang in at least a couple of languages, and next to kielbasa my favorite sausage is chorizo. Looking into little Leticia's face I was reminded of the strange and very kind love of God that keeps spreading out His common grace on His little ones far and wide. Two years ago on Christmas the little girl's mom was kidnapped by the Sinaloa drug cartel here in Tucson. She (the mom) had become like a daughter to us through circumstances that had happened a couple years previous...Leticia (the little girl) was placed with us by child protective services. Anyway, several of us got together and were able to pay the ransom the narcos were asking. Get this, the police recommended that we pay them to get her back telling us how lucky we were that it wasn't the Jamaican drug gangs 'cause they would just kill her when they got the money. After 7 days she was returned safe...a bit bruised and frightened but that Christmas had a happy, albeit tearful ending. This girl is someone many of us would have written off a long time ago. Of course they still have a steep hill to climb but to see the little chamacos happily cavorting around the dilapidated, drug-free trailers and dog carcasses on Tucson's far south side really warmed my heart and made me think there was yet hope for America...I just don't want her voting till she's read all my blogs and my forthcoming book!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cloudset On The Flats 24x30

I've been working on a book. The working title, which I'm sure will be changed, is All Mexed Up...memoirs & musings of a poly-lingual multi-culturist and his noble, albeit sometimes misguided attempts at changing the world. Of course with such a pretentious introduction I'll have to write it under a pseudonym...can't have people finding me on eBay you know. That would totally deflate any hype that our marketing team will try to create. Anyway, this has taken the place of the coffee table book which I'm setting on the back burner for the time being. That will probably be my second published book after the first hits best seller status and propels me, reluctantly, into the limelight. In all reality, I should have written it a few years ago for timing is almost everything in this business. (as if I knew this business) I have a good-sized leather pouch hanging from my belt that contains numerous jewels and precious stones. Some are still rough and dirty but others are rare and highly polished...quite reflective in fact and these would serve to bring to light a lot of questions and conundrums our modern age is confronted with concerning the border and immigration to the US. Of course it will be filled with all kinds of little anecdotal stories of exaggerated heroism and third-world exploits, so it should be entertaining if nothing else. I will post more about it here and maybe even open a blog with excerpts and a forum for others to comment etc. The glorious skyscape pictured above is being sent to our Florida gallery.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Earth Below 36x24

Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.
Oscar Wilde

He also said that melancholy is the joy of sadness.

Well, if king Solomon states that with much knowledge comes much grief and that insight and understanding bring much sorrow, I think that drawing the line someplace just sets us up for a whole bunch of melancholy. Do you wallow in self loathing and decadent crapulence more often than not? Well, if you do, you might have the makings of a great artist...or you might just need to draw clearer lines. Thanks to God (and a lack of personal crapulence), I have refrained from overt and extended bouts of melancholy. Unfortunately though, according to the above, my artistical endeavors are sure to suffer. I am, however, quite adept at covering up my shortcomings (or lack of line drawing) as you can see in the painting pictured. A fine example of American art (and subterfuge) that any vodka-bottle-strewn studio would be proud of. It's being offered for sale here. PS. From now on we will wonder if our joy is true and happy or just the embracing of sorrows...thanks Oscar

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Stream O' Plenty 24x36

My son was given an asignment today. He had to write a short story or poem that had something to do with autumn. So, in the true spirit of father-son solidarity I write the following.

Autumn is now in full swing even here in the desert. And with it comes a veritable cornucopia of memories and images, not the least of which is that of the venerable pumpkin. It dances through the back roads of my mind conjuring hallowed, albeit foggy pictures and scenes of yesteryear ...that serve to almost bring a tear to my bright and hazel eyes. Multi-use vegetable as it is, there are countless varieties and just as many things that can be done with almost each and every size and color variant of this, mostly orange and tasty squash. There is one thing, however, that the smaller grapefruit-sized gourds have been used for and for which I am quite ashamed and cannot recommend.
The word "trolling" is as part of the vocabulary of Midwest fisherman as "tortilla" is to the southwest bean eater. In regards to fishing, well, there is just one typical connotation. Concerning vandalism and aberrant behavior though, there might be several uses of the word. Here I am referring to the dastardly act of throwing snowballs, light and fluffy, at cars and passersby from behind the hill at Riverdale park. We called it trolling. At first it was just a bunch of blood pumping, adrenaline flowing fun. No harm was intended. And save for the odd car screeching (or sliding as it were) to an abrupt and blustery halt on the historic West River Road, no one was ever hurt. (although the one police chase incurred was quite invigorating) Well, unfortunately for the unwitting passersby, adolescents grow...into bigger and stronger adolescents and...snow melts away. This leaves a horrible vacuum and necessitates that something replace the little round fluffy projectiles that we so eagerly and happily heaved at unsuspecting travelers during rush hour as the sun was setting over the Mississippi. Of course the most logical option was to go down to Peterson's field and do a little pre-season harvesting. You can imagine how this quickly turned into one of the most perilous activities that the Riverdale Right Footers ever partook of. To our credit I will say that as trolling turned into a more popular sport in our neighborhood and was taken over by older kids who soon grew bored with gourds and pumpkins and turned to rocks and real damage, we quit the practice. Every once in a while I pine for the northern climes and my hands begin to grope, involuntarily for something to chuck at unseen cars careening out of control over the next hill. This is my curse. This is my burden. This is my favorite fall memory. The painting pictured above remotely and in only a very esoteric and obscure way relates to pumpkins and fishing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Marsh 20x24

You mess with the bull, you get the horns. That's what my son told me the other day after I hit him in the belly. I have two teenage boys...and that's the wrong thing to say to a dad like me if you know what's good for you. Now, this did come from the same kid who pulled his own teeth (that weren't loose) to make room for braces. I told him that he'd be saving his dad about a hundred bucks per tooth and that if he pulled them himself I'd pony-up and give him something special. The next night he walked into the room with a bloody grin...and a large moller in his hand! However, this is also the kid who likes to hold his blankie and play with legos while a lot of youngsters his age are already planning their escape. No, I'm breeding them to stick around and keep up on the chores and to hunt and gather what the earth brings forth...and a couple of them show real promise artists and future presidents! I will vote today...but I'm curious as to the hunting / firearms use background of candidates. I had a thought the other day as I hiked the desert hills not far from here, shotgun in hand, that went like this. I am not interested in voting for someone who has never walked fields or forest of this land...who only knows the city. I guarantee there will be something amiss in that persons world view. I think I would have the same thought about someone who didn't play piano or the saxophone so you see my opinions might not be altogether scientific or even that logical. Anyway, I don't really know about the two who are running today...I suspect that according to my new criteria neither of them are worthy of my vote...Oh how I wish they were offering a chicken in every pot! But wait, they are. ...but who will pay for it?!?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Piled High 36x24

There were several scenarios running through my mind as I walked up to the bank to make a small deposit. The man getting off the bike near the front door was the reason for my suspicions and musings. He looked bedraggled and scraggly and as I watched him unfold a large, army issue duffel bag I knew something was amiss. Or did I? A hot breeze escorted me into the double lobby / foyer of the Norwest bank branch as cool breathe from the air-conditioned climate met us with a smile. Tucson, mid summer and everybody wants to be at the pool, inside where the air is nice or...robbing banks! Of course, it's the perfect time of year for all of the above. Well, I had business to take care of so I went about it as best I could, pushing away the distracting and fanciful image of myself thwarting the robbery attempt and the glory that would be bestowed on me afterward. Finished with leaving my small wad of hundred dollar bills in the safety of an American bank I fully indulged myself to meditate on the potential scenarios mentioned earlier. But first, I must mention the sheriff deputy seated by the door with his 70's era mirrored sunglasses. (The same ones I wore as I tooled down the road in 1977 with my long hair flowing and glowing in the sun astride my Suzuki 550 next to Lake Superior.) I smiled and waved to him...noticing how his presence was sure to put a twist on any thwarting I might be partaking in...and the fact that he didn't smile back. My first reaction was to think how rude he was. That bank should get rid of that @#% non-friendly, anti money-depositing-customer element. Bad for business. Regardless, I was too busy planning my thwarting to follow-up on how I was going to fix the bank's PR problems...I'd get to that later. The glass double doors offered a perfect spot for me to feign a heart attack. I could just lay down in front of them clutching my breast and that should give the vigilant, albeit preoccupied-with-not-smiling sheriff time to disarm the thief. Quickly my thoughts raced to a horrible conclusion...the perp opens fire right inside the crowded bank killing all the tellers and I'm to blame. No, I thought, as I walked past the doors, we need to get him outside. This is where we can take him down. It would've been so easy to slash his bike's tires. I have experience at that you know and I was carrying at least two knives at the time. Sure, that would be the easiest and least obtrusive. However, the fleeting moment of opportunity passed as a few errant brain signals mentioned the possibility of him catching me in the act. I've never been caught for all the tires I've slashed and I wouldn't want to press my luck. Anyway, in all reality, I should just tackle the SOB and take him down just like so many movies I've seen and gun fights I've lived through vicariously thanks to the elite training I received via Louis L'Amour westerns. As I crawled into my work van I paused a moment, staring at the entrance waiting for it to didn't.

Needless to say this all gave me a good chuckle as I drove away realising what a beautiful, creative and artistic mind I must have. To think that I even entertained the idea for more than a second, that I might prevent a bank robbery. Wow, what an imagination. Two hours later I drove by the same bank only to see it surrounded by squad cars, lights a flashin' and the whole area cordoned-off. That night I heard on the 6 o'clock news..."The bank robber got away on a bike with an undisclosed amount of cash" The painting pictured here is a place not far from yet worlds away from the true story above.