Monday, December 28, 2009

Robert In Korea

You might remember an entry I made here about a year ago...maybe a little more. It was a request to pray for the people of North Korea. Our friend Robert marched across the frozen Tumen river the other day (from China) demanding / pleading for relief for the people who suffer incredible deprivations there. (We have seen videos of streets strewn with orphaned kids...) Well, regardless of the guidance or misguidance of his actions please pray to the God of heaven that He take care for Robert...and especially for the people (millions?) that are starving and being tortured in north Korea. What's happening there is on the scale of the holocaust, it's not a few aberrant political dissidents on some obscure mountain top somewhere far's a whole country being oppressed like you and I can hardly imagine. Here's an article about Robert

Have Yourself a merry Little...

Here's a little Christmas cheer...Ellie is learning this tune and Marissa pretty much just plays what we tell her to. Maybe I'll upload some of her blues piano playing soon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Salmon Bench 1998

The salmon bench was an idea whose time had not yet come. I carved these fishies out of a conglomerate called cantera stone. Two inches thick, this is the balsa wood of rocks. I perforated the piscatorial silhouettes with a hammer drill and broke them free of the stone. Before they swam away I took chisels and grinders to 'em and magically made dirt come to life. Don't laugh, a lot of really smart people believe that happened once before. Anyway, I inlaid them into a big slab of cottonwood which is one of the worst kinds of wood you ever want to work with. It can be pretty but it is twisty and punky and tears and rips and continues to warp and cup long after you think it's dried. Why use it? 'Cause it's cheap and available and you're in Mexico living off of dirt, (that has yet to come to life) that's why. The frame is made of iron which we heated in a hand-cranked forge and pounded and made into very cool split feet that looked like leafs and added some other hand-forged details. All this spells a lot of work...not to mention the magic that went into it. I made a series of benches and rocking chairs with elaborate, fancy appointments that were either way ahead of their time or...a little too out of fashion . A few of them sold and a couple ended up in various rooms of my house. I gave this one away to a friend with a house full of unruly kids with too many crayons, scissors and not enough dirt out in the back yard to play in. The last time I saw it, it was hard to even recognize through all the scratches and dings and graffiti. It should outlast most of us though. Maybe that says something about wood and steel....the main ingredients in dirt. Or maybe it says something about flaky artists with too much time on their hands...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Boys With Guns Rooster Repose 12x16

My friend is a bit of a gun nut. And he is also a serious art collector. What? You don't think the two can go co-exist? Well, he has some of the biggest and best artists of the west in his collection and was on the board of the prestigious Rocky Mountain Oyster Club art show for many years. The rooster pictured above can attest to his keen sense of quality and good taste(huh?) hangs on a wall somewhere not far from a large Burt Proctor of my western heroes. I could rattle off a list of artistical whose who (whose work hangs next to mine, lucky them) but, the real collection was the pile of armament we unloaded from a few humble vehicles the other day. We had a very fun afternoon throwing lead around the desert, shooting clay pigeons, plinking targets and enjoying the sunset within view of the Tortolita mountains. To be honest, I'm a little skittish around guys with firearms that don't have a hunting background. It seems there's something different about the way a person handles a gun if they were taught by a dad or uncle or grandpa out in a corn field or a duck blind when they were almost too small to hold up a .410. ...and almost sunk the canoe by putting a couple of shots through the hull. Anyways, these were good ol' boys and everyone was safe and very helpful with the kids. Eli took the sporting clays honors (again) and all of us (except Scott, who is a distant relative of Tiger Wood's wife) could place a nice grouping with a variety of caliber of handguns. Scott is good at golf though...he almost beat me the last time we played.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sierra Vista 24x30 Mill Pond Blues 12x24

The bot fly larva are large and undulating and particularly gruesome when coupled with images of the Star Trek movie where Kan dropped one in Chekov's ear. Black to creamy white in coloration they start out as little eggs under the skin and grow to finger-sized worms usually found between the skin and muscle. I've wanted to learn the song Mule Skinner Blues for a while now but truth be told, rabbit skinning, although relatively quick and easy, has the potential to send you into a psychological downward spiral that even a last-minute-change-of-heart Kamikaze couldn't pull out of. Yes, your dreams of tasty, mouth-watering rabbit fricassee can be quickly dashed when you encounter one of these little beauties wriggling around your food while preparing breakfast. So was my experience the other day after a lovely morning hunt bagged some wild game for the family larder. Well, according to the Arizona Game & Fish web site there is no harm in using meat that has been host to these dainty little parasites. I guess the upside is that they have a distinct nutty flavor and are a good source of protein. I have encountered bot fly larvae many times and, in fact, so common it's become that I am probably an unwitting host to several colonies at this moment. Don't worry for me though, I should be just fine...just don't skin me alive. These are my Christmas week images (above) least for now. There's been a pile of visitors here lately and with all the running around and bot flies invading it's a wonder I can even keep painting.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Move Out 24x36

This painting should be titled The Generation Gap. Why? 'Cause when I was a kid all it took to spark my imagination was a field like this. It bespoke endless possibilities for adventure and mischief. Yes, hiding behind every crook of this creek, just waiting for discovery and for me to prove my mastery over God's unwitting and innocent creation were bugs and creatures and fish and fowl...that's what I see. My kids, on the other hand, if dropped off in the middle of this big meadow would scan the horizon for any sign of civilization and make a bee-line for the nearest seven-eleven with the wild hope of scoring a Slim Jim and a Slurpee. Hmm, that sounds good. Maybe there isn't as much of a gap as I thought.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Whispering Winds 30x24

The last time I had seen Daniel we were joking about ending up in a Mexican prison. His was a genuine laughter...mine was nervous. There was an outside possibility, it seemed, that some time in the clink might be in the cards if we (he especially) didn't play the hand right...Or, of course, if God almighty had other plans. If He did, I was hoping they didn't include me. At least not in regards to jail-time purification. We joked again the other night, our first reunion since his release a month or so ago. After five long months in the stir I was expecting to see a hobbled, gaunt figure with sunken eyes and a peaceful aura of benevolent acquiescence...the result of endless days of torture and starvation, scrounging for bugs on a damp cell floor somewhere in the bowels of an old fortress where the moaning souls of tormented men never cease to wail. I had dreamed of Dan as Gandolf the White and was half expecting to see fire fly from his cane. Well, in keeping with the holiday mood and all, he appeared a bit more like a jolly white-bearded, heel-clicking version of the image I had in mind. It seems the only comfort (besides family) he was deprived of was a mirror. And when he finally got a good look at himself, expecting a Tom Hanks look-a-like after Cast Away, he was surprised to see an even healthier Dan - bigger, stronger, faster. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration but he did look good and our reunion was as sweet as it could be considering the circumstances. In some sort of twisted-universe, twilight zone kind of way, we could be considered responsible for how things played out. Not that anybody did anything wrong mind you. Remember, we were dealing with a third-world country whose corruption knows no limits and which treats people and justice like so much garbage thrown out the window of a passing car on highway 15 in southern Sonora. Our adoption of Trini precipitated the forcing of hands that were being sat on, as the saying goes, and, well, it stirred up a few hornets nests besides and as a result, produced the most stress filled three years of our lives. Trials and tribulations always come. Life is full of them. Thankfully there is One, whose name is the Prince of Peace, who gives peace in the midst of turmoil. His words often come to mind "...In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good courage, I have overcome the world." Thanks again to all friends far and wide who offered up prayers, however feeble. The King eternal hears and none of us are any the worse for wear. The net of all this is that Dan has a great war-story to tell, Trini is growing and happy with her new family and Mexico has apologized, actually calling us the "victims" of their internal problems. No, no one feels that justice was served but at least we're not rotting away in a steel drum somewhere on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez...or worse.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunset Blvd. 18x24

This snappy little sunset is available on auction this week before Christmas. See link at top right of page for access.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

El Dorado 24x36

Available on auction here.

Santa's Helpers

That's me in the middle, red boots and all. The snow elves pictured on either side of me are grandmothers now...I seem to be the only one who barely ages. I found an old school chum recently by searching You Tube. We were in a band together...were gonna be bigger than the Beatles. What happened? Well, I am bigger than any beetle I've ever seen and ...I found a video of Mark playing guitar with Janis Joplin's original band. (BBHC still tours!?!) Had Mark moved away from the weather pictured here I'm sure he would have gone straight to the top. FYI northern peoples, your hibernation for 6 months of the year costs you that much more in productivity. Think what you could achieve if you all moved south.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rudy 36x24

I painted this very expressively...lots of paint and large brushes. I made this over several days adding glazes of colors and washes. If I had any sense I would keep this one in my private gallery for secret showings on special occasions. Senseless as a water bug, I have made this available on auction here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Low Field 12x24

It was dark, just after sunset on a cool and cloudy winter evening. The squad car's lights were strobing brilliant blue and red and I was half blinded. I waved the knife back and forth, reminiscent of Sulu when he fought captain Kirk (one of my favorite episodes and one that readily comes to mind whenever I find myself in similar circumstances, wildly waving a knife to stave off my opponents in the narrow hallway of a space ship). The drop point blade glowed and glistened as it arched and weaved and cut deft swaths through the still and emergent desert eve. I was completely oblivious as to how this might look to passing cars or... the video camera pointed at us from the patrol car.
We had just spent the whole day packing and moving a friend's household. We were bone-tired and more than ready to stop at Nico's Tacos on the way home. Our only goal, as we yawningly planned our future was to pick up a couple of fish burritos and spend the rest of the evening, sans girls, burping and rubbing our bellies and leaving a big ol' mess in the kitchen. My cat-like reflexive maneuver to strap on the seat belt at almost the same instant the siren blared and the flashing lights from the lawman's car on my tail filled the interior of our bedraggled mini van, left Eddie and Eli in awe. I'm sure they were wondering how I could move so fast at my age and after such a long and laborious day. Well, as I've proved more than once, a cop on your tail is a sure-fire remedy for vehicular lethargy. A very nice patrolman with a heavy German accent informed me that the translucent red tape had come off my busted tail light and as I braked I was blinding the drivers behind me; much like his spotlight was blinding me at the moment (he really said that) So, as he checked my criminal history I dutifully pulled the red tape out of the glove box (can you tell I've been through this before?) and proceeded to the rear of my car, knife in hand (ostensibly to cut the tape). I was half-way through the job when the officer returned to chat with me. Lucky for me he hadn't checked my background in Mexico and Central America. Anyway, as affable as he was ( and I, of course) my friendly gesticulating left him a bit uncomfortable. He asked if I wouldn't mind putting the knife down on the bumper as we finished our conversation. I was just getting ready to broach another subject (the weather) when I realised my faux pas. I apologized, set the knife down, instinctively stepped away from the vehicle (yes, I've seen COPS) and sprawled, spread-eagle on the pavement. Hey, don't blame me if I'm an animated conversationalist. Plus, it's not every day a cop that sounds like "Arnold" pulls you over in Tucson, Arizona.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By A Stream Near A Lake 14x11

It was a neat little house with a big red barn; a nice hay field and this pond were part of the deal. The place was for sale. The price was good and it was near the coast...had a big garden spot too. Well, we still talk about greener grass over there somewhere but the dreams of the "perfect" house and the "perfect" life (replete with the perfect fishing hole(s) and plenty of wild game) come careening and crashing to an abrupt halt when once you start to hang your hat on them. Dreams are fickle things you know; not a lot of hat hooks sticking out of them. They come and go and vanish like a slim wisp of smoke from a butane liter at a Ted Nugent concert or...The kinks, The Who, Bob Seeger, Elvis, Yes, The Eagles...I guess any number of settings wherein a liter has faintly flickered in my outstretched hand only to leave the slightest hint of a trail of a foggy, ghost-like memory buried deep within my cortex, would suffice for this imagery. Some of us have learned to content ourselves with more modest "dreams"...of actually waking from them (literal ones) everyday (in the a.m.) and making it through another sun-cycle without offending anyone or kicking the dog. This is the criteria my dreams (figurative) must meet. They are not dependent on circumstances. They are much bigger and much more important (internally) than where I live or how much sweet mula I make. Besides, we all know that character is formed by the shattering of dreams and the beautiful string of disappointments and unmet expectations our lives seem to be made up of. At least that's what I tell my kids at Christmas. They've already started haranguing me about all kinds of very expensive toys they want me to buy them. Haven't they learned anything?