Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Heat of the Day

Baby it's hot outside. Time seems to be moving very slowly, maybe it is because I am in between projects. Finished the doughnut piece for Bethany, had quite a critique on facebook about it, for me it was a simple little something to hang when the new organic doughnut shop opens.

                                            Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) 11 1/2" x 12"

Cara said earlier that the newspaper reported that this was one of the hottest Augusts on record. We also had more rain this month than in the last ten, so she said that the paper reported. Inside the two feet thick adobe it isn't that bad, and that cold beer on the desk stays chilled for quite a while. Drinking the Shiner Bock, not too bad, it was on sale at the grocery store.

Greg is asleep, he sleeps throughout most of the day, starting in the morning I will go over and check on him every few hours,  make sure that he's still alive or hasn't fallen and can't get up. Some old friends of his were here over the weekend, they were all camp counselors together at a girl's horse riding camp back in 1964, that was the last time that they had all seen each other. Greg held a small party for them Saturday night that I co-hosted.

                                        "The Board", summer 1964, Camp Kiniya, Vermont

I was an honorary member of "The Board" for the evening. I really have nothing in common with these guys, we managed to form a bond though. We sat in Greg's "de-gayed" parlor, many tales were told, vivid reminiscences, apparently Greg was camp chaplain/garbage man. One of the guys had the yearbook from that summer so long ago, there was a shot of Greg behind a pulpit, one of his favorite places to be, speaking to a group of young women, I wonder if any of the girls remember what he said? It was time to re-create the photo from above, I didn't get any shots myself, I know sounds odd, but I did get a bit of video.

One of the guys started strumming on Greg's guitar, they sand songs from the camp songbook, we all sat around, tossed a couple back, had some laughs and soon they were leaving. I got bigs hugs from all of them and many thanks for caring for their friend.

Soon fiesta will be here, this will mark my one year anniversary in Santa Fe, I moved here the night of Zozobra, the burning of Old Man Gloom. This event began something like seventy years ago, from what I understand it was started by a small group of artists who found fiesta way too pious, some of these artists were living up here on Canyon, heck probably the lady who owned El Zaguan at the time was one of them.


Old Man Gloom, built to be the largest marionette in the world, five stories tall, representing the year past, is set aflame and with it goes all of the negative energy of the past year. Last year you had better believe that I had a lot of offerings to send up in the flames. Then I had to face this new version of me. I felt so awkward and shy, didn't really know what to think of Santa Fe or how the hell I was going to find my way, an exciting and scary proposition. Have I done that? Have I found my way? Am I being real and honest? I think so.

The Historic Santa Fe Foundation hosts a fiesta party here at El Zaguan, supposedly it is quite the event. They are using one of my images for the invite and have asked me to paint a carnival cut-out for the event. That is my next little project, have primed the plywood, hope to sketch out the image later.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Monsoon on Sunday & postcards to the White House

Art Matters - a postcard created to stand in solidarity with other artists around the US sending a message on "artists & the economy" to President Obama in time for labor day --this is mine but so much has happened this week I wonder how much art really matters in the grand scheme of things, yet if not, that is kin to saying I don't matter or beauty doesn't matter or, well it is a long list so let's just say thinking outside the box, imagination, and creativity matter but there is a balance to everything and that is what is missing blah, blah, blah. . . tolerance, compassion. . .the absence of . . . reflection, grace, humility.  And this week the rape of Libya. . .

While the East Coast prepares for the onslaught of Hurricane Irene I realize how benign my own small flood over the lip of the door that sits below the road, once a trail for burros, in this high desert town abundant with art galleries.  The 9 bowls of water I tossed out into the monsoon on Sunday is relative.  Everything is but still stunning when it happens on your floor, to your mother, in your town, country, village.  A neighbor found a snake in her bathroom and a black bear was reported prowling around Acequia Madre recently.  The 5.8 earthquake near DC was felt all the way north to Maine and all the way south to Atlanta.  Having experienced a fair amount of earthquakes in the 20 years I lived in Alaska I sort of poo pooed it until another Alaska now in Virginia said it felt bigger than the 7.9 he felt while living in the Last Frontier.  So weather is relative and the earth is alive.  But what a crazy year it's been.  Christchurch, Japan (as they fade away you know there is still displacement not to mention nuclear particles floating about), the tornadoes that devasted the south and middle of the country, flooding, hugh snowpack in the north, drought and fires in the SW.  Is it cyclical?  Does it matter?  We want to name everything right now.  Tame it.  Shoot it.  Claim it and poo poo the things that don't fit "our" agenda. We are human afterall --such frightening creatures.  So dear.

There really is no (profound) point to this blog today, certainly no panacea (though wouldn't that be brilliant) -- just a pondering of too many things as the earth shakes and sheds.  Here the sun still shines 80+ degrees by day and cools off after dark.  My favorite time the mornings.  The quiet.  When possibility is soft and moments of grace still within view --a little mystery not yet shattered by the headline of the day or that cut to the quick remark or media hysteria or whatever it is that sets us off kilter. Yes. ART matters.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Zaguanistas, Select Clips


                                                               Bethany and Brenda
                                                Greg, Max, Bethany, Billy, Adam, Brenda
                                                               Adam and Bethany
                                                                 Greg and Billy

Friday, August 19, 2011

Interlude before the party

Having lunch at home in that interlude between shopping for the "opening" and attending "the opening" --fortification for 3 hours of social draw them in AND across the threshold to artful garden gorgeous, wine and music and words and pictures.  Looking forward to the Zaguanistas 2nd group show of the summer and winding toward a new season.  All is well.  Strawberries in the colander, signage laminated (@ $3.99/ea.), labels soon to be printed, tables to be laid, ice in a bucket for beverages, sunflowers to grace the proceedings and joy at the possibilities.

Printed a few new cards on that great Moab paper.  It's expensive but when a friend called last week just to tell me she was sending a thank you note on one of my cards and "how wonderful the quality. . ." my heart warmed.  I will have digital photo artist cards for $5/each + a great selection of fun images from my travels mounted on 12"x12" cradled panels. A creative framing solution that I hope people will like --little acorn hardware and plexi over colorful images.  Still need to print labels, and cut those sunflowers.  Hoping for a crowd and at the least a few loyal friends to muse away the lingering summer daze.  Life is good at El Zaguan.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Nobody Told You It Would Feel Like This

I listen to a lot of music, a lot of music. As soon as I wake up I turn on the computer and go to my artreview blog, there I have a playlist, this is a curated number of songs, songs that I am constantly and consistently modifying, the day starts out with these pre-selected tunes. 
 After that plays I will usually listen to Al Green, been listening to his music every morning for about three years now. One musical thread that I hear throughout broken-hearted love songs is the line about "nobody told me it would be like this". It strikes me as particularly ironic because everyone told me to be careful, that the heart when in love can be a fragile thing and to beware the ides of break-ups. 
I am not saying that I have a broken heart, albeit my last long-term relationship was quite challenging and ended ugly, and I did fall in love again and will once more I am sure, but this is more about listening to what people say when you ask their advice. 

So over a year ago I began thinking of leaving New York City, this after being there nearly thirty years. I was an associate director at a young gallery, usually ended up behind the bar at the openings, love being the one in charge of pouring liquor, really enjoy getting people high. I asked one of our friends about Santa Fe, she had done the residency at the art institute here, what do you think of Santa Fe, I ask, in her drunken east coast drawl, we all had one after enough booze, she says, oh its so provincial. Well being from New Mexico I kind of took offense, and feeling like a wizened New Yorker I thought that that could be said about any place, including the Big Apple. 
After all the big city is tough, and one must prove their mettle every fucking day to be precise. So then I asked a new friend, a beautiful man, one who I met at a local Brooklyn hangout, Olea. This guy was handsome, present, kind and extremely pleasant, naturally I wanted to find him in my bed, oh yeah lots of Gay guys feel that way he says, oh my wandering heart. He had lived in Santa Fe for a spell, worked in the restaurant biz, Santa Fe is filled with wealthy people, they come and go at whim, it is expensive and a tough place to get ahead, you're options will be very limited without money.

Being a native New Mexican I took slight offence, how could the City Different, one of the largest art economies in the country deny a native son, a prodigal son, one who had taken New Mexico to NY in a duffle bag, one who found a certain respect in the big melting pot, why wouldn't this environment accept and embrace me, respect and support me?
Then I asked an old friend, we were New Wavers back in the early 80s, there were a handful of us outcasts who found refuge at a once a month Friday night party at a local bar. We had been out of touch for many years till one day the ex and I went to an art opening, and lo and behold there he was! I recognized him immediately, what the hell are you doing here, I asked, oh this is my friend's show, wow, yeah he's from San Francisco, I still live in Albuquerque.

We exchanged info and eventually became friends on fb. So I tell him that I am thinking of moving to Santa Fe, tell me what you think. Oh it is awful, a transient town, you need lots of money, Albuquerque has a better artist's community and is much more doable, I wouldn't recommend it.
 I knew that I had to get out of New York, but I can not say that nobody told me that it would be this way. I am not at all unhappy with my decision, I mean life at El Zaguan is like a vision, one that I had years ago, when I was having lots of visions. A truly beautiful environ, a warm and welcoming place, one that I can call home.

Perfect Studio Saturday

Backdrops and raindrops and painting on panels (raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. . .), the poet and the image co-mingle.  Sounds sensual. Not naughty.  Inticing they await their placement. Composition.  Ideas germinate come gather the harvest. The wine is red, the pizza is cold.  Laundry up and down and put away.  The sun not shining so seldom Santa Fe I feel transported.  Happily.  I am an internal girl and this weather a gift.  Still rumbles the thunder outside the open door.  Quiet on Canyon. 
The writing is on the wall. . .the shadow dangles all pale and graphic and full of possibility, or electrocution.  Go well your heart.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dialogue and dynamics

Dialogue and dynamics might be construed as communication or the lack of and because words are said aloud certainly doesn't mean they have been heard or understood or that action will follow or how that action might be railroaded because of dialogue misdirection and suddenly the path you thought you were on has come full circle and the dialogue dynamic has been roughed up and soothed and still a maybe but with greater potential of being back on track.  Amazes me and causes great distress like a river with a million tributaries-- all of us in our own boat.  And so brings me to regress at the wonder of day tripping to a Monastery in the Desert, the white formations of Plaza Blanca then back to the land of Zaguanistas, the art of communication which is often just chatter to consensus and I feel as if I have failed on some level, and again at each effort. God bless the wilderness. . .

It has been a lovely few days spent tripping around with friendship and forays into Forest Service Road 151 along the Rio Chama to the peaceful place at the end --though beautiful felt tentative as we walked into the silence of reverence.  Not the wilderness but through the Stations of the Cross.  An odd discomfort.  Not with the landscape that spilled before us but the fear of "shhhhh" --it is not a tourist destination though there is a gift shop.  Closed for Desert Friday.  I buy the beer of the Monks at Bodes in Abiquiu instead though it is sold at grocers and many restaurants all over Santa Fe. 
It was not the silence I feared but the childhood trigger of "getting in trouble" --it is that flaw that seems to keep me in constant flux in the flow of communication, of driving the speed limit, of always wearing my seat belt, of not talking on my cell phone while driving or not drinking and driving. . .while those might be commendable qualities it is not because I am saintly, but instead driven by those early childhood dynamics where words were not said to correct but to berate, not said to support but to surprise, to confuse and to criticize. . . and so I am mindful of silence yet struggled to hold in all that beauty, like a breath.  Would god really mind my joyful surmising?  I believe reverence is relative. . .so go well into the understanding of who we are, the pathways we choose/attract, and the people we meet along the way.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Boar story, in progress

Lou didn’t know how to drive a car. Not even close. A twenty-eight year old rusted, rattling 3-speed stick-on-the-column piece of shit truck fast down a narrow orange dirt road, slapped by tobacco leaves as big as parachutes, as close as the brushes in a car wash? No. Over a high crown and deep holes full of water and the cans and bottles from the night before and the hangover from the night before and the pressure? Uh uh. But the steering wheel steered and the brake put the brakes on things. He could shift some due to the miracle of having spent most of the spring with Albert Mazza and his dirt bikes on the trails along the dye stream and in the field behind the bowling alley, where the carnival came late in the summer. He could drive, sure. How hard could it be?
Anyway, he said he could. He says he can. Almost always—all the time. All summer. This was the way he was going to do it, he had decided, or realized, the first time Mike and Jesse and Sarah were going to hop a freight train to Chesapeake. They agreed the night before, drunk on single-malt from Mike’s dad’s locked cabinet. Someone was gonna pay for that. Mike for sure, maybe the rest of them too. Mike said fuck it, he’ll never know the difference, while pouring in the water, back up to the line he’d marked with a piece of tape when they started. Lou knew. Lou’s dad was an unlikely snob that way—an enthusiast, he called himself. Single-malt scotch wasn’t something you bought off the shelf to get drunk with your friends. You drank it in special glasses: sniffed it and then swished it around in your mouth like you wanted to put off the loss of it, like you would keep it there if you could, instead of the spit and McDonalds and harsh words that were in there the rest of the time.
That all went well enough. It didn’t come up again, the scotch, and then next day the trains were too fast, nothing you could run beside to grab the thin ladder, pull yourself up and take the ride.
He felt he had gotten some credit anyway, a small piece of regard that he would need to sustain a place with the only kids he knew here, the only ones even that he had seen in this odd, hot place where he would be spending the summer--at least the summer--with his mom and her new boyfriend, away from his enthusiast father, who didn’t limit his enthusiasm to the single-malt but included whatever was on sale, whatever was bought for him in the bar—one for Carl too—a beer for him and a beer for me, and the chaser, always. He went after that too, hearty and often, too often, finally, for Lynne, Lou’s mother. So now North Carolina. She said she was taking Lou, and Carl said fine, but Lou heard “excellent,” when his mom shared the story.

Of course he hit the boar. It would have been hard for anyone to miss. It popped up into the road, from the green mess just off the right edge of the clay. It popped up and then stopped in the middle of the road, just stopped. It was about the height of the bumper, and probably as heavy as the motor of the truck itself. A small hippopotamus, bent on its own demise.
So they hit the hippo, and they hit the roof of the cab and the dash and the steering wheel, Jesse and Lou respectively, as it bumped its way along under the truck. The wheels slid, locked by the brakes and they came to a stop with the giant lump of a thing lodged in a space before the differential and beside the driveshaft. The left rear wheel of the truck was a few inches off the ground. The boar’s coarse grey hair parted in thin lines as the creature, to Lou’s amazement, drew shallow breaths, its pinned torso moving in and out into the space that was left on one side. Intestines lay inert out there, shot from somewhere, and black blood drifted from the crown of the road to its edge, in a twisting trickle, around little clumps of the sticky dirt.
They didn’t speak. Lou was transfixed on the disaster beneath the truck. Jesse surveyed, up the road, down the road, and at Lou.
Jesse started talking.
You did ok, man. You stayed on the road. A lot of people would have swerved, as if there’s some good in that. That would have been a world of fucked-up, you and me upside down in that fucking thicket of leaves.
Lou walked to the edge and looked into the thicket, the place that heaved this mess of an animal up onto the road, into their path. The timing of it was incomprehensible. A cross-field bullet to the wide receiver, led perfectly. From the closed-eyed quarterback to the closed-eyed receiver.
What are we gonna do? Lou said. He imagined getting to town, running maybe, for some emergency vet who would do the work, sweating heroically while the two of them pulled anxiously for the unfortunate monster. It was now moaning softly on the exhale. Lou felt his soaked shirt stuck to the front and the back of him as he tried to even the rhythm of his own breathing.
We can make it over, I’m pretty sure. Jesse tiptoed to get a chunk of two by four and a brick from the bed of the truck. He hammered the two-by-four into the space between the raised wheel and the road. I’m gonna drive it. You stay forward of the wheel. It could fire back that piece of wood, and we’d be dealing with you too, smashed up in the road out here.
It seemed unlikely, but Jesse gunned it, loaded the clutch and near exploded forward, rolling and further compressing the animal as it went. Then the truck was free and Jesse hopped out, smiling.
And still the boar breathed, though much less inspired than before.
Ok, now let’s get something to eat. Jesse pulled open the truck door and got in.
What about the boar? Lou was feeling woozy in the sun.
Jesse put his hands into the front pockets of his jeans and then took them out. Yeah, I know. It’s just that I’ve only got a few left, and I was hoping for a rabbit or two after lunch. Jesse waited for Lou to let it go, but Lou didn't say anything. Ok, alright. Ok.
Jesse pulled the shotgun from the rack behind the seat. Put your fingers in your ears.
He blasted it. What control was left in the animal released, and it sank a little into the road. The rising and falling stopped.
Lou's head spun. He crouched down to get right. The blood and little bits of things on the orange ground looked unlikely, impossible.
He steadied, stood up, and got into the truck.
Then they were roaring again, rattling, slapping the leaves. Lou looked through the dirty windshield, but there was nothing to see, just tobacco ahead, tobacco on both sides. Up there a ways the sides converged, seeming to pinch closed the path. Lou rubbed his hand up and down the back of his freshly buzz-cut head. Everything is one way, and then it's another. Lou and his mother were not going back to New York. They weren't going anywhere.
Jesse turned to Lou, looked at him hard.
Let it go, man, you did great. You stayed on the road.