Monthly Newsletter

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Tales from the field #23

Sometimes life give you just what you need.  On Saturday I was at an art fair at Rainbow Stew in Yucca Valley.  My neighbor, Christine Chase, had brought a project to work on during the day.  She had a number of pieces of upcycled household objects that she assembled into a sculpture.  At the end of the day, we packed up a little early because it had gotten windy and we were starting to get blown away.  I helped Christine with the last few stages of taking down her tent safely.  As she was packing she realized that now that the project was complete, she didn’t have room for the sculpture  and the box that the pieces had been in.  She asked if I needed a box.  I said I didn’t, but had room to take it and recycle it appropriately.

As I disassembled the booth, it got windier.  Because it had been a 1-day show with no chance of rain, I’d put the loose canopy top on.  It’s easier to transport, I put it on the frame at home, but it isn’t waterproof.  As I had intended to leave it on until I returned home, I didn’t bring the bag it goes in.  As I was taking the booth down, it became obvious things would be safer if I removed the ‘sail’ from the top.  I was bemoaning the fact that I hadn’t brought the bag, but then suddenly realized why serendipity had given  me a box….

box with tent top

What do I need a box for? Oh, wait…..

What do I call it???

So this poem just kinda fell out of the end of the pen.  I feel it somewhat goes with my recent painting ‘Go Forth’ but not quite.  (Hmm, I have a few panels ready to go just wasn’t sure what I was going to put on them, now I think I know.)

After writing the poem, I was at a loss as to how to title it.  Then an odd text came through on my phone.  I have no idea where from or what it meant, but I figured it was the answer to the question I put out there.

654 916 442

Somewhere ahead is a ray of sunshine
shining just for you.
It pulls you forward into its brightness –
a ladder, not a shaft,
raising you from the dirt
into the softness of the gray texture
that you thought was a storm.

Even as you approach it
The incredulity of the event
makes you doubt,
but the closer you come
the more you realize
this is the portal you sought.

Rushing to the base of the light
now knowledgeable of all,
not just a believer, a hoper,
you long to step into tomorrow
and fulfill the mission of your soul
but as your toes hover over the patch of brightness
it vanishes again.

Brown stormy day.

Dusty Sunset

Dusty Sunset

Perhaps the wind started to remind me what caused the amazing brown and gold sunset I photographed many years ago, and finally got to painting.  You can tell by the scratches it’s an old film photo. The creosote bush in the foreground on the photo is no longer there.  I was certainly in the right place at the right time though, to get this momentary shot.


10 paintings to start.

I actually started over a week ago and have been plucking away at it in stages.  This is the progress so far.  I thought also that I would use this as a quick visual ‘how it’s done’.



Circles on paper

Circles – I used the bottom of a jar that was the right size.

Cut circles

Cut circles. My hand is sore.

A few key pieces

A few key pieces

Starting to take shape

Starting to take shape

All the front is arranged.

All the front is arranged.

The inside of a cloud (complete with angels).

Refractured watercolor clouds, inside a cloud.

Refractured watercolor clouds, inside a cloud.

I had been somewhat reluctant to go to the annual Art on the Lake show in Big Bear.  Last year our forecast ‘intermittent thunderstorms’, that two local friends said could happen on the other side of the street, or even if we did get rained on it would be for 10 minutes, turned out to be an hour and a half’s downpour complete with flooding.

But the forecast was good when I headed up the hill.  On Saturday the forecast was revised from ‘fluffy clouds’ on Sunday to 20% chance of showers on Sunday.  By Sunday morning that had been increased to 30% chance.  I think what that meant was for 30% of the day, you will be on the inside of a cloud.

At 2pm it hailed and thundered for about 20 minutes.  Then it paused and took a breath, while I photographed my booth (which still had a dry patch in the middle at that time) and rained until 5pm.

Caravan canopies are not designed to withstand three hours of heavy precipitation.  Blissfully though, I had angels.  Bob (I don’t know his last name) and come by on the Saturday and liked a painting.  His wife Judy wasn’t with him so they came back on Sunday.  At first they sheltered and chatted, but then Bob helped me back and stage my artwork on a table in the Art Guild booth next door, which was waterproof, and disassemble the booth, while Judy went from corner to corner pushing up the top of the booth to evict the puddles growing there and seeping through.  Then the clouds parted to brilliant sunshine (of course….) and I loaded my sodden equipment in the truck and headed home.

The good news is no artwork was damaged – I did break the frame on one due to my heavy handedness while packing, but not the glass, so that will easily be fixed with a few frame bars.  I also found that two years ago – the one time in the last four years that I missed the show – also had a similar storm experience.  Perhaps I won’t go up the mountain to cloud level for a show again…

A modern fairy tale.

"The Greening".  Refractured watercolor on gallery wrap panel.  20"x48".  $1680

“The Greening”. Refractured watercolor on gallery wrap panel. 20″x48″. $1680

A couple months ago in Fountain Hills, I spoke to a woman who said she knew of an artist who had done a painting kinda-sorta like my refractured watercolors, in particular like ‘The Greening’.  She couldn’t remember the artist’s name and apparently he had only ever done one painting like that, but she thought that it was a much older man who lived in Santa Barbara, CA and promised to email his name to me when she returned to her home in the Midwest in May.  I have not yet had that email, but I will tell you of her story.

Once upon a time, she bought a condo, and after a while decided she needed artwork.  A friend suggested she go to the local framing store, as he also sold art, so she did.  On walking in, there it was, hanging at the back of the store, The Painting To Surpass All Paintings.  She Must Have It.  She asked the store owner to pack it and tell her how much the check should be for, because She Must Have It and money was no object.  No, he replied, it’s not mine to sell, it is only here for framing.  Then, she said, I don’t care how unethical this seems, but you must give me the owner’s phone number and I will make him a better offer.  The store owner sighed.  It’s pointless, I know, He Will Not Be Parted From It.

Months later, she was in a hardware store.  She said while she was telling me the story that she could not think why she would possibly have been in a hardware store, but she was and she met another customer and they fell to talking and he could think of no earthly idea why he was in the hardware store either, but they talked and they got along well and eventually he asked her for a date.

They went on a date and got along very, very well and another date and another date and some weeks later he invited her to his home.  To her astonishment, there it was on the wall, The Painting To Surpass All Paintings and She-Who-Must-Have-It had unknowingly been dating He-Who-Will-Not-Be-Parted-From-It.

There was only one solution.  They must marry.  So they did.  And the three of them lived happily ever after.

However, She-Who-Must-Know-Who-Painted-It is still waiting….