Friday, October 28, 2011

Winter Coming

A brilliant Friday morning in the making here in Santa Fe but don't let the sunshine fool you --winter is coming.  I am trying to embrace this fact with comfort food like squash and swiss chard from the market, homemade corn bread and learning how to make some New Mexican favorites with red chile (still on the list) --that and company coming for Christmas, and a solo show opening a week from today are keeping me on my toes.  Still when I sit surrounded by books and a cup of tea in the darkness of too early to go to bed I wonder if I'll make it without getting fat on too much. . .that reminds me of a poem I wrote once so here I share it even though a wee bit premature since it isn't even Halloween.  I actually sat down to write about "Bombay Beach" the movie and the Village @ Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City.  Funny how the mind leads one astray.

The poem from Alaska of course, where I spent over 20 winters, but as I ponder other cities close to the water, far from the sunshine of Santa Fe  I contemplate how to manage my sometimes limited and unreliable artful resources to spend part of the winter south of the border, part of it closer to family, art, travel, etc. but I'm optimistic.  Life is good.

Thick With Cream

Windows across the street read them like words: 
loose, not connected, solid, not square, rectangular. 
A billboard of darkness endorses a simple statistic
of life by north:  November, December, January.

Not wind hurling from a frozen sea but a soft gray stillness
uncovers winter bones layered inside cold blue denim.
Cowering beneath silk underwear doughboy skin:
pudgy, cracked, already thick with fat.  Itchy,
before the holidays. 

You celebrate by drinking coffee thick with cream
and green tea with cake late into the afternoon. 
You honor a social moment, a conscious thought,
a ritual to commemorate decision.  Light a candle
to acknowledge life inside this blackness

that brings stars too brilliant to count.  At times
the ocean wind is still as death but often it blazes,
not flame but a severe penetration of memory. 
To remind us, the lazy and the sane tucked indoors,
beneath our covers thick with too much that has been lost. 

Many survive intact with sameness. And others do not. 
Those angels of risk that walked to the edge of the east,
and waited for sunrise.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Provincetown to Portland and other endeavors

I am back from a wonderful two week foray with friends and family.  East Coast time zone, the Outer Cape, Crane's Beach, the Isabella Gardner Museum and the gritty working waterfront of Portland which is really not all that gritty --lobster benedict at The Porthole sitting outside on the wharf on an October morning for breakfast --wow! I actually had the Florentine but yum doesn't lobster and hollandaise sound good?  Also a visit to the Portland Fine Arts Museum which was quite fine. I scored a great argyle sweater from a local consignment shop for $13.13.  Other highlights included dinner with friends at Vignola, ice cream from Beale's and the Standard Bakery. . .Did I mention it was 80 degrees by day and people were still going "to the beach" --from Provincetown to Portland.

We spent two nights in Provincetown on the Outer Cape.  A small seaside town with a rich artistic legacy including Robert Motherwell and Hans Hofmann, among many others.  I am interested in the Fine Arts Work Center (FAWC) which provides a 7 month residency for visual artists and writers in the quiet winter months.  What a privilege and experience it would be to be selected.  Wish me luck.  Commerical Street is alive with galleries, though some are seasonal, but the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) is open year-round as is Angel Foods a fantastic deli grocery in the East End Gallery district.  I think I could be happy here-- with paint and poetry and a bottle of wine when those cold ocean winds begin to blow. . .

My friend Diane and I played tourist one morning by taking a tour with Art's Dune Tours.  A very fun way to experience some of the history of this place.  Our driver Barb, think Kathy Bates in an SUV, was a character and a wealth of information.  First thing is to deflate the tires to 14 PSI which allows the vehicle to maneuver along the beach and through the dunes.  Still one steep hill I was holding my breath.  Along the way she pointed out the historic dune shacks --no electricity, running water or toilets, but an amazing setting.  These small structures with scenic vistas were built by the Life Saving Service to house seaman --forerunner to our current Coast Guard.  Sometime around the 1920's, long after the dune shacks ceased housing life-saving personnel, many of the community's creative and/or eccentric characters began using them as retreats and hideways.  Now they are part of an artist residency program during the summer months. The shacks are set along the part of Cape Cod National Seashore known as the Province Lands.  Only a handful of applicants are admitted each year.  If you like rustic, solitude and seek inspiration this might be for you.

It was a whirlwind but an excellent itinerary with food and friends and art and ocean.  The week to follow was equally fantastic.  One rich with family and celebration and worthy of a blog post of its own.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Some roads lead to art, food and friendship

Just back from coffee at the Subscription with fellow neighbors and artists, surrounded by dogs and the silence of Sunday morning purusing the news, borrowed chairs, sunshine, conversation of place and "how to" success, winter coming and finding a niche.  Nice. Yesterday I ventured north then right on Hwy 554 to the El Rito Studio Tour.  Stopped at the community artist mercado.  Walked away with beeswax candles and "no bake cookies" --a childhood favorite at only $1/bag.  Then to the wonderful hacienda style adobe gallery of David Michael Kennedy, longtime fine art photographer, working in silver gelatin and palladium prints. . .

I've known of El Farolito in El Rito since my first trip to Abiquiu in 2007.  Didn't venture inside then but it has been on my list of "places to eat" ever since.  I understand it is on the green chile cheeseburger trail and I couldn't remember if it is best known for red or green but I went with green.  Next time I'm choosing the red.  An open sign beckons but standing room only.  Still it looked possible so I headed in, through the small long room passing tables already taken, to check it out.  A tall young man asked if we wanted a table for two, my friend Nancy and myself, then just as quickly offered to sit us with another couple --did they mind?  They were already sliding over on the picnic style bench seat.  Thanks.  And so it was.  A lovely beginning to friendship ensued as we made easy conversation between ordering and the (lenghty) time it took our freshly made New Mexican creations to be served --a basket of sopapillas on the side. We covered states and adventures from Alaska to Texas ending exchanging names & numbers, what a beautiful day and hope to see you again.  And we did. At Studio 16. . .

Sparksville I call it.  Larry Sparks on the brochure. He has a studio.  Well actually two studios but the entire compound is artful and well worth a visit.  Found objects and mixed media paintings and sculpture. . .even a view of Pedernal greets those that venture here.  We had to pass on the invitation to stay for the chili feed but all in all a lovely day right down to that amazing light casting across the late afternoon landscape as we chatted our way back to Santa Fe, where "still much to do" on my mind.  I am leaving on vacation next week.  A week with a friend to walk along the ocean and explore possible artful communities south and north of Boston.  To linger with wine and contemplate the possibility of change and meander the pathway of friendship.  And then back to my midwestern roots. To family. Pause. A wedding (niece). Joy. Doubt. Words and silence and golden moments.  Smile for the camera and go well into all that is offered.  I have some aniexty.  Breathe. Mostly excitement.  And so quickly it passes.  Laughter. A hug. A tear.  Remember when?