Sonnet Challenge #38

I decided to spent some of my new free time to call people I haven’t seen in a while, or have stopped seeing in the course of life because of the social distancing.  I also decided to use the time for some more poetry.  On Sunday afternoon I sat down to write a poem but didn’t find any inspiration, so I decided to call someone.  I got voicemail.  So I called someone else.  Ditto.  Eight voicemails later, I had my inspiration.

Voicemail

A quiet day with little going on,
in Covid times the schedule is quite bare.
I miss my friends, hope they have not become
statistics with what’s going on out there.
I guess they also won’t have much to do
so thought I’d be the one that would reach out,
pick up the phone and say “Hey, how are you?”
not leave our friendship’s worth to me in doubt.
But all I got was voicemails! Every one!
Had I missed out on something? Checked the news…
there’s really nothing different going on!
I guess just me that’s sat here with the blues.
They’ll all call back at once, that’s what they’ll do
And get my outgoing voicemail message too!

Monthly newsletter

My schedule has been so free recently I’ve actually had time to post my monthly newsletter to WordPress in advance.  Enjoy the fun I had with this scammer!

Sonnet Challenge #37

Got the inspiration for this one while doing a little clean up for my absent neighbor.  I was working early in the morning before it got way to hot, even for the acclimated desert rat, to be doing yardwork.  I decided to turn the inspiration into a kid’s summer day because the first line had a bit better ring than ‘I caught the sun while grubbing in the yard…..’

Catching the sun

You caught the sun, you held it like a ball
in two-year hands – a shining rounded joy
so newly given, a perfect rolling toy
and never thought that it would burn at all.
Your retina was blotched from gazing up,
your shoulders burned, your face, your arms, your knees
from summer’s day your heart demand you sieze
to dance beneath the heated turquoise cup
of sky. And as earth rolled round to sunset
you played your heart out, flew it like a kite
upon the solar wind, til it grew night
and tiredness told you it was time for bed.
Your red face says you caught the sun today.
Your smile, that it was worth it just to play.

Sonnet challenge #36

It was inevitable.  At some point someone was going to challenge me to write a sonnet about Covid-19.  Despite my science background, I was mostly inspired by the roadwork at the corner of Highway 86 and State route 22.

Behind the cones

Workers dismissed, how long for, they don’t know.
Equipment lying folded by the street’s
half torn-up surface; they’ve been here for weeks –
the crane, the gravel truck, the red back-hoe,
all wondering if they’re going to start again.
It’s been a month now since the workers left –
something is wrong – the world’s been set adrift
and they are out here rusting in the rain
that’s also started to erode the work
they’ve done so far. Nature takes back the earth
freed from the blacktopl strange kind of rebirth
spawned from the fear of one small viral quirk.
One day when covid-19’s finally gone
the work behind the cones will carry on.

Monthly mailing

I thought I’d try this way of reposting my Monthly Newsletter.  Nope, my html isn’t good enough to get rid of the squares…..

 

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There are many ways in which government can get involved in art, aside from their involvement in the creation of public art.  I had two such significant encounters in the last month, one negative and three positive.

The first positive encounter was somewhat by proxy.  Ontario Airport has a few display cases in the concourse where the art of regional artists is displayed.  I was very happy to be informed recently that my application to show work there was approved and on Feb 19th five of my paintings were installed via the intermediary of Chaffey Community Museum of Art.  The paintings will be there until mid August.

Art fair promoters have to work with local authorities on the locations for art fairs and any permits that are required, rules to be followed and registrations of individual artists to be processed.  I’ve done hundreds of fairs over the last decade and one of my favorites is in Palm Springs.  A few years back we had an issue where the city decided to move our venue from the center of town (loads of foot traffic and drive-bys to supplement our other advertising) to the civic center for the following season.  We appealed to the council and they relented.

A few weeks ago our promoter commented that the permits for the two March shows hadn’t been approved yet.  We protested further and pointed out that the reason they’d given was no longer an issue.  Then more burning hoops were given.  This from an eblast from West Coast Artists:

After meeting with the City of Palm Springs’ Special Event Team today here are the new requirements for the Desert Art Festivals.

Loading: We are allowed to reserve 7 parking spaces in the small parking lot for loading at the end of the event. We are to stagger the loading process so that all of the 60 artists use those 7 spaces. There is no parking on Alejo and no parking on Palm Canyon Drive for the purpose of loading. We are not allowed to close the parking lot for loading or unloading.

Cross Walks: We are to have crossing guards at the crosswalks because some people neglect to push the button for the crosswalk. This is perhaps a safety issue?

Parking Attendants: We had contracted with the property owner across the street from the park, 4 acres, and we must have Community Service Officers patrolling the lot and showing people how to park during the event. Two officers at $55.00 an hour.

Police Presence: We are required to have 2 Palm Springs Police officers at the event on Saturday morning for a minimum of 4 hours to make sure everything runs smoothly. 

Traffic Plan: We are required to have a Traffic Plan for the parking lot across from the park where we intended to have Patrons park. The spaces in the dirt lot should be delineated so that people know how to park….

After all of these new requirements and the fact that the City Manager, Mayor, and several of the City Council Members have made untrue, disparaging remarks regarding the event to the public, I can’t help but feel like they do not want the Desert Art Festivals in Palm Springs any longer.

After the meeting in Palm Springs, I attended the meeting in Rancho Mirage. They have welcomed us with open arms and are going to push the Permit application through the City at an accelerated pace. 

At The River in Rancho Mirage management had very few requirements. They have opened up their facility and are very excited to welcome our events. Our events are actually WANTED in the City of Rancho Mirage. The comment was “We would love to take the events from Palm Springs!”

Later on it became apparent that The River were not able to accommodate us on the 21st/22nd due to an existing event scheduled, but Indian Wells welcomed us back too, for that weekend.  Not all cities are the same!

Here’s my schedule for the month:
Fairs:

Mar 7th: 29 Palms Art Gallery Spring Art and Craft Fair, 29 Palms, CA.
Mar 14th: “Art on Main St“, Old Town La Quinta, CA
Mar 21-22nd: Desert Art Festivals, Indian Wells, CA  (Their website might not be up to date yet, it’s on the corner of Cook and 111).
Mar 28th: “Art on Main St“, Old Town La Quinta, CA

Shows:
Feb 2020-Aug 2020 Ontario Airport.  Show case at terminal displaying 5 mixed media paintings.

Mar 2nd-26th: Artists 55+.  Walter N. Marks Center for the Arts, College of the Desert, Palm Desert, CA. Reception March 10th 5-7pm

Mar 5th-22nd: 29 Palms Guild Members Juried Exhibition. <29 Palms, CA.  Reception  March 7th, 5-7pm. 

Classes:
Mar 19th: Painting for Absolute BeginnersBorrego Art Institute. $110.  Contact me to book.

 

Tales from the field #31

A few years back I was travelling from Southern California for a show in Bellevue – right next door to Seattle.  It’s a two day drive, pretty much up the entire west coast of the US.  I had kinda planned on stopping just north of the Oregon border, but didn’t make firm plans as I figured I wasn’t sure if my tiredness would get me that far, or my awakeness would let me press on further.  I’d actually spotted a well-priced motel in my aim area, and sure enough, just as California disappeared in the rear view mirror, the eyelids started to droop.

I pulled off the road at what appeared to be a motel-bearing town in this rural stretch of Interstate 5.  Miraculously I passed the very motel I’d seen on the internet.  The parking lot was only half full. It was late, though.  The office only had a dim light on.  I knocked on the door.  In a few moments the motel clerk appeared.

In fairness to the man, he was obviously of Indian origin – India Indian, not Native American.  Different culture.  I asked ‘Is there room at the inn?’  ‘No,’ he replied.  Oh, ok, nevermind, I thanked him and turned to leave.  I’d gotten as far as the truck when he came out after me.  ‘I have room at the other end!’  Huh?

Turns out he’d misheard me as ‘Is there room at the end?’ and had completely missed the Christmas reference!  In his further defense, he’d only been in the US about 5 months.

Tales from the Field #30

We all tend to get a little bit bitchy when we’re setting up.  Everything has to look nice, plus we have a deadline to get set up, and we’re perhaps discovering something that’s forgotten or broken or misplaced. Maybe we’ve had to wait in line a long time to get loaded in.

Last year at Sedona, there was a couple in the booth across from me who were setting up.  I’d not met them before and no, I don’t remember their names, so this is incognito. This husband and wife team had a range of items, some of which went on a panel on the back wall of the booth, and many that went on tables at the front.  As they were working together, they were constantly bickering.  This goes here, that goes there, where’s such and such, I need your help with this, I can’t I’m busy doing that.  On and on.

After about 30 minutes of listening to this banter, which was getting increasingly harsh, I walked over to them and asked “Do I need to throw a bucket of water over you two?”  Turns out a good laugh did help, though they admitted that though they have been married many years and still love each other, they’re usually at each other’s throats during setup.

Sonnet Challenge #34

This was inspired by my ex’s doormat, which said ‘Welcome Fishermen and other Liars’.

Fishermen

They say that fishermen will lie a lot.
They’ve time to make up many a fishing tale,
sitting by lake or stream, all day they’ve got
to turn that fingerling catch into a virtual whale.
And when they come home with a two-pound trout,
the only the only worthy product of the day
they’ll think next time the wife won’t let them out.
“You should’ve seen the one that got away!
a five-pound beast, it nearly broke my pole,
my buddy saw how hard it fought the line,
it nearly pulled us both out of the boat,
an eagle swooped and snagged it just in time.
Someone will help with just how to begin
so get out there and fish and reel ’em in!

Tales from the field #29

Last weekend in Palo Alto, we were setting up booths – we start early because there is only one line of traffic allowed down the streets because of the way we set up, so the people on the non-traffic side get there at 5am to set up.  By the time we’re done there’s usually a little trash that comes out of the process, and there was with mine.

Walked down the street a little to where I knew there was a trash can next to a neighbor’s booth.  This is what I found.

trash can with fancy dress

Nice cover. Is it incognito?  I wonder which artist got paid to design that?

I asked the artist next to it if it was something of his he’d rested over the can.  No, the city people had come round and put the covers on.  What?  On a day when they expect a lot more people than usual and have many food stands, they close the trash cans.  It did not make sense.  Fortunately I have a few plastic bags in the box of tricks so I deployed my own trash can behind my desk for myself and my neighbors to use.

Later, when going to the restroom, I found the city had deployed larger trash barrels near the food stands and porta potties, marked recycle and landfill. It’s always interesting to go to different cities and find what is and isn’t regarded as recycle in different places, but I’m not going to do a survey on that. life is not boring enough.

Tales from the field #28

Avid readers may remember that last year at the Palo Alto show, I was setting up my booth only to discover I had inadvertently packed a gecko, which I then kept in a cup until I was able to release it in my yard, 10 hours drive to the south and in a completely different climate.

I almost did it again last weekend, this time managing to catch two of the three geckos that were hiding in the nooks and cranies of booth-wall bags and painting boxes to show how lucky they were to not be taken somewhere that they wouldn’t be able to live.

Two desert geckos

Two tame little geckos who almost had an unfortunate journey.

Oddly this was a journey that was destined to involve the transportation of another reptile.  My other half Ken, who breeds bearded dragons and uromastyx, was in the process of having a uromastic shipped from San Diego until we realized I would be making the same journey in a lot less time.  We coordinated with the seller of the lizard and he was willing to meet me at the show site, Liberty Station, at the end of the show.   We did a quick transaction at the corner of the street and I packed up this little girl to bring her back to the desert on a four hour trip rather than a day at the hands of FedEx.

Uromastyx lizard

Little Miss ‘Liberty’ saying goodbye to her former owner.