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.
When I went to pick up my paintings yesterday from the Riverside County Fair – also the National Date Festival, I had a nice little surprise. Of the three paintings I entered, two came home with ribbons, and I came home with a nice little check. ‘The Setting Sun’ had taken an honorable mention in the Theme of the year, non-traditional, and ‘Gentle Storm’ had taken first place in the same category. Well, the theme of the year was clouds….
Two winners at the National Date Festival. Oooh, look at that big fat bow.
Another weather-related tale to follow the drizzle in Arizona. Last Friday I was scheduled to sit in the gift-shop at the 29 Palms Art Gallery, and was also going to take artwork in for the upcoming membership judged show. I knew that there had been a little snow in the high desert because Snake Jagger had posted a picture of some snow in his front yard in Morongo Valley on Wednesday.
I love snow in the low desert: it’s up there on the mountains, where it looks pretty, not down here in the driveway where you have to shovel it.
On the Thursday afternoon, Darlene who is the scheduler at the 29 Palms Gallery called me and said that the previous day the grade between Morongo Valley and Yucca Valley had been closed because of snow on Wednesday and that it was snowing in Yucca Valley right now and was forecast to continue snowing until 11pm and freeze overnight. She thought the chances of my making it to the gallery safely the next day were slim and had called in a possible substitute.
I said let’s wait until the morning to see. Friday morning I called her and she said the sun was shining and everything was melting. Caltrans website confirmed the 62 was open so I set out.
There’s even snow on the Santa Rosas
San Gorgonio mountains with snow is not unusual
Getting closer to Morongo – on the 62 now – yes, it snowed up there!
I had to stop in Yucca Valley to pick up a painting that Raini had collected for me from the prior show so I was able to take an unusual photo – me with snow.
Selfie with snow (and sunshine).
I had considered taking a pic of me holding a snowball but the thought of cold wet hands made me reconsider. This is quite close enough to the snow for me.
I’ll take any kind of water – rain, hail, flood, fog, sleet, snow – (I’ve only so far done shows with the first 4) – and even earthquakes (yes, been there done that) over wind any day. Wind is the true 4-letter word. Nevertheless, it’s not easy to set up in the rain.
The ground was sodden when I got there, hence tarps under everything. The 4th wall is doubling as a second ground tarp inside the booth.
Soaked items include: sneakers, socks, jeans, inside of truck tailgate (it has rug), some corners of the cardboard boxes, eventually the outside of the partial walls you see set up, hoodie, mat bin, cooler, ground tarp. The weather forecast for Litchfield Park, AZ, though is better for the actual show days.
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 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.
Last Wednesday when we were setting up for the South West Art Festival in Indio, my booth neighbor from Utah, had stacked his boxes on the grass in the space between our booths. This fair is at the Polo Grounds and we have lush grass there. I’d not met Peter before but that’s no excuse to not be a good neighbor.
I suggested that he put tarps under his boxes, pointing out that the polo field was very well irrigated, plus we had had several days of great rain recently and might get dew. Yes, I know, dew in the desert seems like an oxymoron but it does happen! Peter decided to take my advice and while I was unloading and parking the truck piled his boxes into my space and tarped under his boxing area.
How wet can it possibly get in the desert???
Turned out to be a good call. On the Thursday morning when we were completing set-up, my boots were quite sodden walking around on the grass. If he had not tarped under them, those boxes would’ve been history.