As we say in ol' mexico..."me agarraron con las manos en la masa" ...and I'm proud of it. The trees are my muse, as I've said before, and will continue to be. As a boy I drew a lot of stumps, branches,broken logs and river stuff. I used to sit by the Mississippi, bottom fishing with a little sketch pad in hand just drawing bark and leafs...till my rod tip would jerk signifying that I better get up and set the hook before a big ol' carp hauled my fishing pole into the drink. So, the trees and all their parts in every season, barren or otherwise inspire the heck out of me. I want to paint a good eucalyptus, will be trying several landscapes featuring them to enter in the California Art Club's 100 year anniversary logo competition. I'm not sure if this one will be an entry but it is a nice looking tree (Silver Dollar Gum) just across the wash from the studio here. Also being offered on auction this week.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
My friend Dave invited me to be a "special guest" at his next coffee house gig. Here's the deal. It's much easier to pretend I'm a rock star than to actually be one. Well, even if I were to be a star it would probably be more like a country jamboree / folk hero / terrorist fighter that schooled Chuck Norris in the Dark Arts kind of thing. Or, I could just keep referring to my stardom as something I would have done in another life. As it is, I now have to prepare a set of tunes adequately to pull them off as if they were the most natural thing to do...Like, yea, I always sit around the house and play beautiful songs with my well tuned voice warbling away to the serenaded delight of my wife and kids and all-comers. Not! I do have a back log of about 200 half-remembered songs that would be delightful to ...play along with while someone else sang them! Anyway, I will not tell you when or where. After all, it is a small coffee house and we wouldn't want to overrun the place. I wish I could sing like I paint...at least like the picture here today. It's a beautiful sunset over a flooded wash on the way to my lawyers house...So don't mess with me or you'll hear from him or,... Chuck Norris.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Speaking of food...The hot & sour soup at the Harvest Moon on Rancho Vistoso road is the best...unless you don't like chewing on someone else's finger nails. Yes, the little pre-Valentine's romantic interlude with my wife of 20 plus years was punctuated by a hard and sharp article of indescribable consistency. I almost used it as an impromptu toothpick before I realised it shouldn't have been in my mouth in the first place. Seems the cook had some down time before the lunch rush and needed to clip his nails in case the health inspector showed up unannounced. Can't have them pesky officials snooping around and finding fault with every little thing - like my other favorite Asian eatery that has the best Dim Sum in town...recently cited for cockroaches breeding on the serving carts. Apart from the exotic flavors and aromas, I find the local ethnic eating establishments to be entertaining as well. Last Saturday the waitress at Carlota's Mexican Diner explained to me in her best Spanglish how her brothers and cousins always go to the Chinese Buffet restaurants and eat all they can - how they get up and walk around to make more room to stuff themselves. Kind of funny but wait till I tell you what happened at the Shanghai Buffet last time we were there. As we prepared to leave we noticed a small but growing commotion around the cash register. A man was gesticulating wildly and as we made our way towards the door we could hear his Speedy Gonzales English contrasting interestingly with the sing-song accent of the oriental host. A beautiful picture of racial harmony it was till we got close enough to understand their words. "Hey man" said the customer, "I could feel the rudeness on the back of my neck". "I know you all were talking about us and took the shrimp away 'cause we are Mexicans and we was eating all of it". Cheech and Chong could not have come up with a better skit. Our sides hurt as we laughed all the way home. Now, whenever anyone here feels slighted by a family member we just say..."I can feel your rudeness on the back of my neck." What do we learn from all this? Well, for one, anger and metaphor don't mix well especially if your speaking an acquired language. And, just be glad that cooked stuff generally can't hurt you...too bad. This painting is as easy on the eyes as hot soup is to the belly. Being offered here on auction.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
There's been a bit of bluster in the air the last few days. Yes, this is about as harsh as it gets here. The desert southwest has a great sky for artists with a penchant for landscape painting or... craning their necks. Really anyone for that matter. All who have a desire to let their eyes fall and rest on something worth lookin' at find our land beautiful. Not too strange I guess in light of Solomon's psycho-analysis of human beings..."The eye is not satisfied with seeing..." So, we might not get our fill but we can sure enjoy the healthful sights as long as we have eyes in our heads. Speaking of that, I'm do for an upgrade on my reading glasses. I still use the milder magnifications but you know you're in for it when you start groping for them just to look at your bowl of raisin bran in the morning. This painting can be viewed and bid on. Just follow the link on the top right to my work for sale.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I've reached some sort of milestone. My oldest son Eddie informed me that I no longer needed to impress him, that I was now free to retire. Wew! What a load off. This, after I nearly broke my left shoulder while trying to master some huge aerial acrobatics on skis. I am really grateful for the use of both arms and was able to paint today...not really my final and greatest masterpiece but the eyes still work and all my colors have not run dry...yet. This is being offered on auction here.
See above my youngest bio-child being bathed in salty water near the sea of Cortez. In the concrete water tank (pila) next to the scrub board there grows creatures that inspire evolutionary speculation. Long and thin as horse tail hairs,(I almost said feathers) they swim in a rhythmic motion. At first blush they appear to be ordinary long locks from my beautiful wife or one of her almost equally attractive cousins or nieces, then they start to wriggle and...creep you out (my response) or cause you to think that they were hairs that have come to life.(my father-in-law's assessment) Either way, they shouldn't be in your bathing water. Carmen says all the children in Los Buidbores (her home town...the scene of the living hairs in the water pictured above) had worms (intestinal) growing up and probably all contracted hepatitis before they were old enough to feel it's awful effects. I used to say"when in Rome"...but now when I travel I try to surround myself with a Howard Hughes-like protective barrier designed to let nary a germ enter my atmosphere. Well, maybe I exaggerate. I do drink purified water when possible but I continue to ingest ample helpings of indescribable sea creatures and animal by-products sold by dubious street vendors that would be sure to land me my own show on the travel channel if anyone knew. My wife had dengue fever not long before I was layed low with malaria...The children all had various maladies related to the tropics and we've all undergone heavy regimens of antibiotics to clean out the amoebas that wreak havoc on Anglo-guts around the globe. But the clincher was the hepatitis A. The tasty demon-crabs caught only a few yards from the bathing scene above were the culprits that almost made this blog and it's author nonexistent. Funny how such a cute picture conjures such pathos. Next entry I'll be sure to post a picture that inspires hope and joy and love and ...no reference to illness, mental or otherwise.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Reverse racism...I've grown to dislike the term only because I'd love to hear it used a lot more than I do. I think I've seen more true racism in my day aimed at the supposed majority coming from the perceived minority than the other way around. 'Course I've never been to Birmingham either. I know, "It's a messed up, muddled up, shook up world...except for Lola" It just seems like everybody is afraid of being called "intolerant" to the point of leaving off their convictions about right and wrong. I'll offer some clarity to my definitions before I go any further with this. The word "racism" should only be used to describe the predetermined and genuine dislike for another race regardless of the quality of the individual. I believe this sentiment is not as common as many would like us to believe and that the word is thrown around by minority "races" and the media in America as if they owned it (and as if they understood it...which they often don't) The correct word, or the one most often meant when referring to racism should be prejudice. Prejudice can be defined as the pre-judging of someones ability or their intent based on racial or ethnic (cultural) factors ...which are most often based on experience and observation. Can this be hurtful or bad? Definitely...but not necessarily. My point? We all have prejudices. We all have experiences and we all base much of our beliefs about others based on previous experience. It's not necessarily right or wrong...it's just natural. The good in good people will often encourage them to give the benefit of the doubt to others in spite of the empirical (or anecdotal) data our little minds constantly store up to the contrary. The sad thing is this - people do often turn that data into dislike and distrust which is the sentiment I often find aimed at the supposed majority by both the media (the white guilt class) and the perceived minorities. I don't like it a bit. Reverse racism...I'm tired of it and I'm afraid we're in for a lot more of it in the future. Plus, my own private heresy about multi-culturalism as regards race is this; The very word is a misnomer. There is just one race. It's called the human race. The more we talk about race as a descriptive feature in people the more it foments a desire to look for differences.
PS. Why do I think I have a right to weigh in on this? I've lived almost half of my adult life amongst people who constantly and continually believe and expect things of me and my race that are incorrect and disparaging. For many years I toiled in harsh conditions under the watchful eye of racism. I've suffered prejudice to a degree no self-respecting Viking from the northland worth his sea salt and helmet horns should ever have to suffer... all the while observing the hurtful effects on me and my family. Yes, I know all too well what it's like to be in the minority and automatically considered stupid or unable to do or understand a task or process or whatever, simply because of my race. It sucks tremendously and I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I guess all I'm asking for are a few small reparations. The Poles and the Swedes of the Midwest are due some respect too or at least a discount on their ludafisk and kielbasa ...and we should all be allowed a little prejudice when it comes to disliking most of the AFC east teams because they've beat up on the Vikings in countless Superbowls. Looks like you won't have us to kick around this year thanks to racial profiling and the NFL's prejudice against purple jerseys and domed teams.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I know I revisit some of the same themes but really, I have to rub it in a bit. Just talked to my sister in Floodwood, Minnesota. The forecast? 21 below zero! Ha, and you call me insane? Just look at my friend Mike...shameful in his attempt at trying to make it appear balmy in his snug little igloo in northern Montana. Well it won't work folks. I don't miss it a bit, in fact the only thing I need from there are the northern pike fillets I was promised... My brother-in-law Jim was a tunnel rat in Nam. One of only a handful of guys from his group that survived the war...Now he spends his time in therapy fishing through small holes on frozen lakes and keeping me in that heart-healthy diet. I am getting sick of fish oil pills so Jim, pull in a few lunkers for me, get some dry ice and send 'em overnight express! Tucson forecast?...70 degrees...It's 4 pm. I think I'll turn the heater down in the shop here.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
I was with an old friend recently. We hadn't seen each other much in the last year or so. As we got caught up he filled me in on his children's latest exploits and pursuits. Seems they're set to become the next leaders of Wall Street and fortune 500's list of greatest entrepreneurs of all time. His teenagers are being offered scholarships and internships and awards left and right. My kids?... have yet to learn to clean the shop to my liking. I imagine the conversation around their dinner table to be an interesting series of topics and debates much like an NPR broadcast. Here at home, Eli ponders out loud the serious difficulty a six fingered man would have when trying to give the middle finger to someone... Eddie spears his sister's hand with a fork full of spaghetti sauce and I horse down a plate full of beans and wipe my mouth on my sleeve. At the end of our mealtime my beautiful daughters burp and push away from the table declaring..."Ooee, I'm as tight as a tick". Yes, you have no need to fear us taking over or dominating anything or anyone... unless you're referring to the bag of chips on the sofa next to that vulnerable remote. Then again, if you met some of my neighbors you might get a different idea. I went to the gun store the other day to help my "pacifist" friend who lives in a trailer to the south buy a multi-bullet magazine (clip) for his Ak-47 . On the way we talked about the neighbor to the north of us. Last time I met him he was creeping down the dirt track in front of my house. He was dressed in desert camo with a glok 9mm strapped to his thigh. He told me the government surveillance was so good that they were reading our lips as we spoke. I can't imagine what I could even have to say that would be so important but was flattered nonetheless - he was trying to hide under my truck! Seems there's a lot of paranoia out there. Well, you can be sure of this- fear is the absence of love...and pure love casts out all fear. Embracing the Savior sure has been the antidote to a lot of the absence of love(fear) for many of us sin-sick weary pilgrims. I'm hoping that this coming year our issues with sin and fear will find their resolution in the One who is called The Desire Of All The Ages.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Our northern counterparts do a poor job of selling their weather. Every time I make a call to the barren tundra and frigid wastelands of northern Minnesota and Montana I'm met with some sort of lame diatribe about how "It's really not that bad right now... Sure it's only 3 above zero and the car won't start but really, we like it... it's supposed to get up to 20 degrees by Thursday...and the dog and cat have such thick winter coats, they're just beautiful, you should really see them".
Wow, you "really" have me convinced...as I sit here wandering if I should wear shorts today or risk over-heating and put on a pair of light cotton slacks. Listen, the day they quit trapping beavers at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers was the day you all should have moved south. Frost crystals have addled your minds for sure, and with all this conversation dedicated to pets and your politics going to Al Franken and Jesse The Body it's a wonder the north continues to function at all. Then again, I'm probably no one to brag too much about the efficiency of mind functions what with all the fumes I ingest here. FYI northern tier peoples. Try a little harder to sell your ice cream to ex-Vikings and talk less about your dogs (children and grand kids are permissible topics) This painting of the oft elusive and shy sheep of the cold country is being offered on auction here.