Tales from the field

On Thursday I had to go over to Borrego Springs for an Art meeting.  I was held up by gazillions of wonderful visitors looking for the right place to stop to look at flowers.  Of course you can’t see flowers in detail when you’re driving at 55 – the speed limit along the S22 which for those non-locals is the only road between Salton City and Borrego Springs.

Purple flower in Salton City

I don’t know what it is, but it’s one of my ‘private collection’ because I’m apparently the only person who goes where this flower is.

By the time I was late for the meeting, I’d composed this in my head and plan to put it on a sign at the corner of S22.

Superbloom

While you’re trolling for flowers at 20,
that vehicle that’s riding your ass
is a local that’s late getting somewhere,
so please let the tailgater pass!

Another nice little surprise

Yesterday I went to pick up my paintings from the Imperial County Fair.  I often enter about 10 paintings but this year only had four that fit the categories well (you can only enter two in each category).  I was pleasantly surprised to find that ‘Arrows‘ had won 3rd place in “Non-objective or abstract paintings, any media”, and “Hope Rising” had taken 1st place in the same category.

Following the county fair, one of our local museums, Pioneer’s Museum, hosts the first and second place winners in each category, so I had to run off to drop Hope Rising at its next venue.  My good friend Ginger Ryerson who curates the art wall there and the art shows was there for the intake.  Hope Rising is a heavier piece so I helped her hang it.

Ginger Ryerson hanging 'Hope Rising' at Pioneers' Museum in Imperial

Just leveling it a little more….

Sonnet Challenge #32

I get inspiration when at art fairs from my neighbors.  At the SouthWest Festival last weekend the booth across from me was selling metal cacti and palm trees. It inspired me to write a sonnet about the real thing.

Cacti

Cacti protect themselves with spiky skin
from critters that would like to eat their flesh,
but on account of that protective mesh
of thorns, cannot get to the juice within.
Cacti may bloom when given sufficient rain.
The pincushion creates a sudden flower,
bright in the sun, until another shower,
with nectar got bees spreading pollen down the chain
of life. Some cacti hide their spikes inside –
the poison pencil’s not the one to chew.
Others make buds that drop and roll and root anew
and spread their kind through desert far and wide.
So if your home’s where little water went
it’s probably best to be a succulent.

Sonnet Challenge #29

I spent some time in early August hoping we would get rained on, without joy.  I was hopeful yesterday too, with a wind coming up from the gulf, but the dessicating desert air all mopped it up and we just got haze.

Storm Building

I watch the nimbus build across the west
a great gray blanket blotting out the sun,
the gathering of storm has just begun –
we need the rain! The cumulus start to crest
off to the south, into great thunderheads.
The tension builds in the electric air.
I bring the lawn chairs in and thus prepare
for wind that might just tear such things to shreds
with its intensity. I know the drill;
stratus accumulate and start to bear down
as if to smother this belittled town –
they’ll rumble, crack and then they’ll start to spill.
The coulds build up as if to promise rain,
but in the afternoon’s heat dissipate again.

Salton Sea News

A symposium on community impacts, recent research, and possible solutions

via Shrinking Shorelines and the Salton Sea — Salton Sea Sense

Student progression.

About 15 months ago, ‘Jo’ took my absolute beginner’s class.  Earlier in the month, she took the class again, not having painted very much in between.  One of the things that I ask at the beginning of the class is what the student hopes to get out of it.  It can help me tailor the class a little to hopefully cover any specific items. In this class Jo was lucky in that she was the only one, so we got to discuss her progress a little more.

She had indeed painted the day before, using watercolor crayons.  The papers were tiny piece of printer or drawing paper – not the best surface.  Jo expressed that she had had difficulty making out what she had painted afterwards and had ended up using ink to define the items painted.  Towards the end of the afternoon, after the standard Shadows exercise, we looked at Jo’s paintings and I thought we could tackle one of them as a larger watercolor and make a more realistic painting.

Working a little larger does help.  This time we used watercolor paper (Canson 140lb cold press) – about 12×9″.  I drew a quick value sketch first on a scrap to outline some of the changes that we would make to make the little barrel cacti look more round, and the rocks “rocky”.  The main adjustments were addition of shadows/shading to bring out the shapes of the cacti and rocks.  I suggested a simple blue sky/purple hills/sandy mid-ground behind the cacti in order to make them stand out from it, rather than a green one of a similar tone.  The cacti flowers didn’t come out as well as hoped – I’m not by nature a floral painter and they were a little on the small side to do much more with than a bit of impressionism.

Jo said her husband thought everything she painted was wonderful, but when he came to pick her up after the class and we showed him the before and after, there was no faking those eyebrows shooting skyward.  Here’s the before (on the right! 🙂 ) and the after.

After and before cactus paintings

Monday’s cactus painting on the right, and Tuesday’s redo with Absolute Beginners class and a little individual guidance.

Going bananas enough to have a day off.

bananasculpture

We went to the International Banana Museum on Saturday, one of the few Touristy Things To Do Near Me that we had never done.
display2

This is housed in half a former bar in North Shore, CA. The bananatender is the son of the original bar owner. The other half of the bar is now a liquor/convenience store.

display1
Fred started the museum about five years ago when he stumbled on the Guinness Book of Records Banana-related-items collection available on eBay and decided to make it his retirement business.

bananatree

There are a lot of bannanery things here as you can imagine.

bananaflipflops

The banana flipflops were one of my favorites.

weknowtheartist

I couldn’t believe there was a piece of banana-related artwork in there by an artist we know – D actually has a one of his prints.  Neither could Fred and Kim. They’re looking forward to me getting them in touch with him.

splittingasplit

We couldn’t resist splitting a banana split. Can’t remember the last time I had one.  They had a decent selection of ice cream flavors too.

If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a look – but do go to their website first and call to make sure of their open hours.