About Skyscapes for the Soul

"I paint the skies with peace and passion, because that's the way they paint me."

Sonnet Challenge #17

I seem to have spent so much time recently on travelling and teaching, there’s been little time to paint (except commissions) or write, though the most recent trip to the Phoenix area produced another eight sonnets which I have yet to even type up.  Nevertheless, even without prompting from something or someone, occasionally a poem will fall out of the end of the pen.

Happiness is a gray stick
A thick, gray, gnarly four-foot stick to hold

and lean on, when you have Atlas’s day;

warm wood to grip, not metal, when you’re cold;

a friend to prod dark paths and find your way

between elations clouds, chasm’s dark eyes.

Such is the stick of happiness, who prods

you on from gray dawn to a bright sunrise

with steadiness solider than carrot gods

that promise futures.  Happiness is now,

it takes tomorrow when it becomes today;

yesterday’s a less, not a furrowed brow –

or just a tale that we can laugh a way.

When you walk with the stick of happiness

you’ll go through life with more, and never less.

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So much science in art

My beginning students learn that there is a lot of science in art.  This is an old article but I kept it to reblog:  A neuroscientist working in an art museum.  I was prompted to blog it today after having a conversation yesterday with a lady who had just completed her masters in psychology and was hoping to consult in the corporate world, rather than enter private medical practice, and to incorporate art into her work.  Maybe we’ll work together on something…..

A thousand words…

A couple days ago one of my Absolute Beginners students came to the studio for some follow-up lessons.  She had been practicing in the intervening year and had also bought some books containing lessons.  They were fine books and she had learned a lot from them as you can see from the work she produced that she showed me.

Student watercolor work

Some of this students work. Yes, I know it’s a photoshop together, just couldn’t get the right angle for a table-top shot.

Nevertheless, if a picture is worth a thousand words, and a youtube video a million, then sometimes a little bit of extra in-person instruction is priceless. Sometimes I’ve shown students the difference between the brushstrokes they’re making and what they need to do to get the effect they’re aiming for by making the two types of brushstroke on their inner arm. Often it’s also picking up on the slight difference between to two in order to guide them.

Ah, back on the map, and travelling around it.

So often, Wales get bundled in with England.  I was glad to see that CNN reported the correct geography on this article about hydrogen cars.  We Welsh aren’t noted for engineering like some other countries, but there is a lot of green in the landscape….

Tales from the Field #7.

Sometimes the trip to or from the show is as eventful as the show itself.  The trip to the Phoenix area I particularly enjoy because there’s a short-cut from Mecca to the I10-eastbound up Box Canyon.  On the outbound trip, which is during the day, the geology is very scenic.  On the inbound trip, which is usually around 10pm, it’s one of those dark-sky zones where you can stop and enjoy stars without the interference of city lights.  The alternative is to go up to the I10 in Indio, but the Box Canyon cut-off is 25 miles shorter.

On the way to Carefree, I got to the top of Box Canyon, where it joins the freeway, only to find the on-ramp was coned off and blocked by several pieces of heavy machinery.  The next on-ramp to the east is at Chiriaco Summit, maybe 4 miles, and to the west, the Indio on-ramp.  Yes, a 50 mile round trip.  Aargh.

Just to complicate matters, I’d been having some slight thermostat problems with the truck.  Although it wasn’t overheating very much, from the last trip, it seemed that if I stopped to let it cool, it got hotter.  The plan had been to try to drive to Blythe to get a replacement thermostat, if necessary, doing the work in the parking lot.  I had not planned on stopping between home and Blythe – a 2 hour leg of the trip.  And it was starting to look like I was going to have to stop at Chiriaco anyway, that second cup of coffee was working overtime, and I didn’t think my bladder would make it another hour to Blythe.

I hopped out of the truck and talked to one of the workers who pointed me in the direction of the foreman.  He said that at the last bend in Box Canyon was a side-road, marked by two cones, which went up to Chiriaco Summit.  Perfect.

detourtochiriaco1

Desert definition of ‘road’.

However, when the foreman used the word ‘road’, he didn’t quite say how ‘roady’ this was.  At first there was a dirt stretch, followed by gravel and more dirt, and eventually panning out into ancient blacktop for a while, then changing between the three options before it joined I10 at Chiriaco Summit.   I had the ‘road’ to myself.  It passed little bridges where washes ran down, and these were inevitably full of trees and bushes.  Ah, if ever there was a road I could leave the truck running at the side of it and run behind a bush!

Road between Box Canyon and Chriaco Summit

Ah, relief is in sight!

No need to stop at Chiriacco!  When I got to Blythe and bought the thermostat, I think the truck realized I was serious about doing this open-hood surgery myself in a parking lot without a mechanic in attendance. I’ve not had a problem with it since.

Art on Main

Art on Main in Old Town La Quinta is close to the closest show to my house and I’m looking forward to setting up there this coming Saturday.  Come by if you’re in the area.  I’m going to be outside the Grill on Main.

Saturday, Feb. 3, 10am to 4pm
78100 Main Street, La Quinta, CA 92253

Painting of women in Uganda

Featured Painting: And the Sun Rises by Paul Nzalamba with Master Storyteller Lungala Rubidiri


Over 80 artists sell their paintings, jewelry, ceramics, photography, textiles, glass, sculptures and more along Old Town La Quinta’s charming Main Street.
Music by Barry Minniefield from The Voice.
Free Admission & Parking. Come for the art, stay for the day!

Monthly newsletter for February

Here’s what’s happened and happening at Skyscapes in February.