27 July 2011

Don't marry a technique

... because when you overdo it, which one day you surely will, you will never be satisfied with the content. That was the lesson of early July. It is a bummer to put aside many long hours of work for maybe ... well, maybe never again. And when you are not satisfied, and look at the lesson lying there on your drawing table waiting for you to acknowledge it, its best to go all the way back to the beginning, Open your soul as a vessel, which rebuilds confidence while narrowing the field to a field you feel most comfortable wandering through. A home in which your heart beats and breaths are in sync. 

Indian Blanket Rock Garden
Here is a first, as far as I know, a painting I up and quit, don't like and then posted. Online. There was much promise, hours and full days spent running back and forth up the hill, down the hill, looking at the real thing and running back to lay it in. And when one glistening afternoon as a shaft of bright sunlight landed square on the full work, instead of the Indian Blanket clusters (Gloriosa Rudica), it had become a portrait of ah, rocks.. I'm only showing you an early phase because the later phase was not photographed, I had about 3 - 4 days left simulating dirt, which was coming out nicely, a mottling of Van Dyke and Antelope browns, but it was too late for the Indian Blankets.  I put the whole thing into the back of the closet, you know those kind of places for "someday" - Someday it might not be there and I will have forgotten about it kind of places?

Right away, I moved on to more familiar territory. Much father down the mountain is a valley we call the Flatlands. Every spring, thousands of sheep and their lambs are pastured on the other side of the fencing shown. Other times the occasional herd of cattle lease the land. Most of them time it is fallow and it is old enough to have grown mature Sage and unattended wild oats, cheat grass and weeds, all of it indigenous to the Transmontane region: desert thousands of feet above sea level mixed with mountain forests, heavily sprinkled with old growth Oak carpeting the canyons, the foothills and the flanks until, high up, where the top meets sky, it is all Alpine.  You'd need a helicopter to get up there.

Crow Alley
People whip past these scenes as if they are not there. Its like the upscale train Woody Allen stared into from the window of a dull grey commuter car filled with empty cheap seats, his train to nowhere.  He saw people in the next train whooping it up, toasting flutes of champagne, much laughter and celebration, jeweled women in evening gowns. As the train sped past him, he saw lovers, people dancing to a hot band from the Roaring Twenties. In this territory, I get to be him and them, simultaneously. The watcher and the celebrator.

Crows and Ravens circle slowly above the mountain tops, waiting on a thermal, floating noiselessly through the air and playing chase with each other.  In this unnoticed and seemingly invisible location, they have a entire runway for smooth landings complete with happy hour perches. To stand beneath lifts of feather is to be a silent air flight controller, unnecessary of course, and awed with every perfect arrival and departure. I don't think those passengers in fast cars would be interested. We have a long way to go to help them to see and sense the forces of Nature and none of it is simple when so few care at all about the world in which we live together.

Fortunately, every day is another lesson.
A great day is a day with lots of lessons.