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PUSH ME                                                                           PULL ME

The Inside                                                                          The Outside

What are the attractions of the world inside the South Padre Island Convention Center? The people, the booths of pottery, painting, note cards and unusual items. The hustle, the bustle, the opinions of the attendees about your paintings.

On the other hand, there are the attractions of the world outside on the beach. The birds, the butterflies, and the vast open reaches of sky and sea. The soothing sound of wind, the kites floating gently in the sky, and the flocks of Royal Terns and Black Skimmers huddled, facing the wind, on a sandy beach.

Charles and Dorothy Clark Art Gallery

Charles and Dorothy Clark Art Gallery

It’s a strange and interesting dream an artist has … to succeed in getting your work into a museum … only to be buried and forgotten in a sub-basement somewhere and never seen for decades. A piece of yourself stored and catalogued as an artifact unless a new craze arises that makes your work relevant for a brief time. Doesn’t this seem like a peculiar ambition?

The path to get into the museum is dictated by the whims and self-interest of the dragons at the doors of the museum. The curators who dictate “contemporary taste” and long to discover an unknown artist and tie their business and personal star to this artist.

The artist must have a “cohesive body of work” and hopefully an eccentric lifestyle to elicit interest by the media who will expose the artist to the worldwide public. Meanwhile the artist must continue to produce work to fit into that “body of work” which is being touted.

Is it best to be an egomaniac and shout to the world, “Look at ME!!” …  or to just make art and enjoy the abundance of flowers, birds, clouds , rivers, mountains that surround us all?

Reading the Japanese poet Issa

A good world —
dew drops fall
by ones, by twos

Our Rose Throated Becard reflects the morning of January 20, 2017. He is fluffed up in the gray fog at Estero Llano and is obscured by drifting clouds of mist, yet his patch of rosy feathers shines out at us. We get a brief glimpse and then he is gone to find his breakfast. A poem written in the 1700-1800’s by Issa perfectly describes the park in Texas where we see him. The trees and bushes all have dew drops lined up along their stems and we hear their quiet drip as the mist begins to clear. Lovely morning.

Rose Breasted Becard

Rose Throated Becard

dried-palms

Delightful guests!  How can one resist those chattering, provocative individuals who spark a room with their wit and knowledge?  So what is the problem?  They bring the pleasure of new information, company, and good cheer. Yet as they wave goodby the energy consumed keeping up with them is the exact same energy which would have been spent on a painting or other creative endeavor.  Balance is needed but how to achieve it?  Social obligations suck up the time available for thinking and the day is fractured.  Now comes the effort to get back in the creative groove.  I loved the visit, and the fresh berry pie and the smiles and hugs. Yes, they were a huge reward.  Yet now I cannot find the thread leading to a resolution of the color dilemma this set of dried palm fans poses as they sit in the corner of my studio. Is this the “right” blue for that yellow?  Perhaps I should change the yellow?  Add a bit of orange or a piercing yellow-green?  Does it really matter so much which blue goes with which yellow?  YES!  YES!  The two together will either sparkle or thud and I am the one responsible for picking the one which will sparkle.  If I hit the magic combination there will be exhilaration and a pleasant feeling of “rightness.”  If I miss that combination there will be deflation and grim determination to try again … and again … and again.  Another chance to get it right.  Thanks the Gods there are always chances.  There is randomness and there is serendipity and we need a fine mixture of the two. Now here is an interesting thing … some artists like to flit between this and that … each project adds something to the other.  If you persist in doing a project when the time is not right it is like walking across a muddy clay field … every step adds a bit of clay to the soles of  your feet until you have a heavy platform shoe and you cannot go forward.  The  lesson the artist learns, over time and trial, is to let it flow and to lessen the tight control which is so tempting.  Serendipity is splendid … let it roll over us in productive waves.

Black Witch Moth

Early Morning Risers … dawn blankets the sky with apricot color as I trip, literally, down the steps to our little laundry room. Half asleep, I glance at the floor before I step in and there is a black blob. Catching my foot an instant before it lands on the blob, I lean over, bleary-eyed, and perceive a butterfly? a moth? some creature?  I rush in and wake D.L. who repeats my stumble down the steps and growls “What? What is it?” He stares in astonishment as I wave him back. “Don’t scare it … I want to take a photo of it.”

After a moment he says “But … But … it is dead!” Checking up close we touch the moth and it is dead so we pick it up and take it inside where I find a photo of the Black Witch Moth on the internet. There it says it is the largest moth north of Mexico at 5 to 6 inches. It is often mistaken for a bat.

One site says the Mayans called it Mah-Ha-Na which means “May I borrow your house” since they frequent indoor places. It is also considered a harbinger of death in Caribbean and South American folklore. Regardless, it is a lovely treasure and a remarkable start to our morning.

ENJOY !!

Stony Creek Road

Here is the 13 mile road between Pardee Lake and Jackson, California which is a little used road in the Sierra foothills.

California Golden Hills

California Golden Hills

On a 93 degree-at-noon day the golden hills rest in silence and so do the horses.

Resting Horses

Resting Horses

 

The Oaks spread their majestic limbs and the native Buckeye trees have begun shedding their leaves and developing the green balls which hold their seeds.  They will soon be bare which is an evolutionary strategy to cope with dry California summers and minimize their need for water.

Majestic Oaks

Majestic Oaks

California Buckeyes

California Buckeyes

California Buckeye Seed Pods

California Buckeye Seed Pods

The thistles are dried and ready to fling their seeds to the wind.

Thistle Seed Heads

Thistle Seed Heads

It is August … warmth … lazy long days …

Along this road are stone fences built by the Chinese laborers brought to the gold mines in the late 1800’s … they still stand and define each farm.

Stone Fence built by Chinese laborers

Stone Fence built by Chinese laborers

And at the end of the peaceful, old road there is ICE CREAM!!

D.L. and end of the road ice cream

D.L. and end of the road ice cream

The golden hills of California … always in my dreams …

Under a cloudy sky, crowds assembled to celebrate the huge, remarkable onions produced in this valley, the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Fields of onions are being harvested and at the festival grounds they are turned into delicious blossoms to be eaten a petal at a time. The process is visually wonderful from the vibrant young woman smiling and waving in the van which is called “The Lord Of The Onion Rings” to the customer holding her newly purchased blossom. Served with tomato ketchup or blue cheese dip it is a pleasure to pull off a crunchy petal, dip it in yummy dressing, and then pop it in your mouth and celebrate the taste of THE ONION !!