Monday, January 12, 2009

P is for Cactus

She dared me. That's it. That's the ticket! I promised Silvina I would attempt a painting that she 'suggested' I make. Mm, hm.

The gigantic cactus in this painting is here as a result of a short discussion about dreams and our quests for visions...regarding our art endeavors. I thought it would be fun to make a kind of narrative piece that is somewhat like the mail art pieces I've made on paper.

It was a hoot! I hope I can make you chuckle.

Did some research, too, on the use of 'medicinal' plants in religious ceremonies. Did you know that in Arizona there is a non-native church registered to use such plants (not too far from Tucson)? However, they are in a kind of legal limbo, as Arizona allows religious use, but Federal law does not. Interesting.

So, what does it mean? I don't feel we really need medicinal plants to trigger a vision. We carry in our own hearts and minds the most powerful chemicals for illumination. We can encourage them to gain heaven and healing with our better angels or we can devolve into darkness (the internal monsters to unleash.)

The road is... The drive is... a quest toward happiness, if we'll hang on long enough to complete the journey.

Sounds perfectly legal to me...
Oil on canvas. 22" x 28"


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

Is it a British journey? (You're driving in the left hand lane). Are you saying we don't need to be stoned to paint? I am trying to read between the lines, and I'm probably getting very confused.

One of the reasons I left art college, was that people were always under some influence other than straight up inspiration. There was a strong underlying message that art needs some kind of psychotropic fuel. I never believed that. I love this thought,
"We carry in our own hearts and minds the most powerful chemicals for illumination."

The other night I dreamt about a dog -- a border collie (mine's a border collie cross) with a dark face, and just a splash of white on its chest and feet. I've never seen the dog, but it seemed deeply
significant. It was standing on the orange land you depict in your painting, only it was a hilltop.

I forgot all about it until I saw your painting. I knew the dog didn't present a threat, it was more like a
familiar, there to tell me all was well. Besides I love Border Collies. I felt pure joy when I saw her.

Take care,

I love both the whimsical painting, and your amazing writing.


Melinda said...

Ha! After I finished this painting I realized how symbolic everything in it is. Goodness. I was trying to paint without any message at all, and yet, there 'tis. I had to smile at how well you read it.

While I could say that this is a divided highway with a large median on the left, and that would be my first response, I have to mother was a war bride from England! So, there again, everything is a metaphor. As one who is also connected with Native American ancestry, the whole spirit of place and nature thing also has a strong pull.

Yes, I am saying that you don't have to be stoned to paint! How sad it is when people are not able to trust that inspiration is available without any "help." Those t-shirts that have messy scribbles on them and the words, "Don't drink and draw!" attest to the futility of such an effort!

What a beautiful dream you had. I can sense that this dog is your friend and has spoken good things to you. Seems like she is a special angel/familiar! We have a border collie mix, too, but she's not the scary smart kind. She's just very solid, sweet and faithful.

I'm fascinated by the orange land and the hilltop that you saw. Have you ever watched any of the PBS series of Tony Hillerman's Coyote Waits? Coyote is not like the border collie you mentioned, but you reminded me that the ancestors had the ability to communicate with animals. The animals still try to speak to us. But, will we listen?

Karen said...

What a fantastic, hilarious, and energetic image. Your car has incredible personality! I laughed when I saw it.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

I better find your email address. is there such a thing as length of blog comment etiquette? I wish you'd post a picture of yourself, so I could imagine you more succinctly. Last night I dreamt of this line of white light connecting me to points on the map where my blogger friends live. I think this all started with your mountain picture. But I better watch more TV and settle down.

I have big hopes that we will listen to the animals. We sure listen at my house.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Ha! You did it! P is for cactus.
I'm amazed at how do you invent these visions, and all without Peyote. I think you have a gift for using the language of symbolism. Even the colors communicate so much.
P is for Phenomenal imagination!

Melinda said...

Thank you, Karen.
I love making people laugh! Wish I could do that more often.

Melinda said...

Ah, Silvina,
You are the muse who inspired this and I thank you. It was fun responding to your dare.

Can I dare you to paint in a way you've never allowed yourself to do?

I think your work is heading toward magnificence, mastery and joyful expression.

Edgar said...

Now I want to know what will happen when Silvina says "I double-dog dare ya!"

I think it's very interesting: when you paint like this, it's a lot like your mail art, yes... which is a lot like your poetry, in visual language.

Maybe they are occuring in some of the same parts of the brain?

Melinda said...

Uh, oh.
Guess we'll have to face that challenge when it comes!

I'm starting to think that I'm on to something. It's on the tip of my tongue and on the underside of my palette knife. But, I am blindfolded and still trying to untie the knot.

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

Funny AND cool - and I'm all for a quest for happiness!! Nice piece! P.S. I found that the less I care about being 'right', the happier I am! Thanks for the comment on my blog!

Jeffrey J. Boron said...

Some folks refer to it as being in harmony...
Intersting posting Melinda, journey on...


Karen said...

Hi Melinda,
Was thinking of you and hope all is well! Looking forward to more posts...

Melinda said...

Hi Karen!
I have been a bit under the weather here--not like ice storm stuff, but am on my way back and hope to post again soon. I was able to stumble into the studio this morning. Feeling much better as a result.

Thanks so much for checking in!

Diane said...

What a great journey... and painting.. love the movement you have captured.

Melinda said...

Thank you for stopping by! Going over some rocks in the road right now, but will move forward soon!

Just visited your blog and I admire how prolific and diverse your work is.

Linny D. Vine said...

What a fun painting, (and my hit is that you will find happiness wherever you are!)