Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Recipe for a Vicarious Desert Experience

The monsoon has taken a break here in Arizona. We're getting temperatures of 107 to 109 degrees (41.6 to 42.7 Celsius). It's brutally hot. For those of you unaccustomed to these extremes, I have a way for you to simulate the desert in the height of summer heat from the comfort of your own home:

Melinda's Tangy Summer Salsa
or Oh, Yeah, It's a Dry Heat Fajita

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (148.8 Celsius).
Wait ten minutes.
Open oven door.
Lean in, placing arms one third of the way into said oven, taking care not to touch any metal baking racks.
Hold still, with face at the edge of heat, and count to fifteen.
When you feel a kind of stinging/burning sensation on your arms and face...scream bloody hell and...
Remove pained limbs, and transformed countenance, and splash with cold water.
Dry with a soft towel.
Fix a soothing libation of your choice and,
Give thanks that you are in a cooler climate.

Patagonia Shadow (6" x 8") oil on art board.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thrill is Gone, Grounded Once Again

You know it's just not possible to float indefinitely in the land of art euphoria. Yup. It's true. I know you know this. We've had a major computer virus that lasted a few days--that kept us all hoppin' and waiting. Now fix-ed, as you can see. Whew. Then, a few days ago, as I was about to start a new painting, I noticed that the window AC was leaking water over my art storage cabinet. This is the tough part. There were losses. Only a few pieces were beyond saving, but some monotypes will have to be trimmed down to the images because of the mold damage. Tonight, the salvageable work is in the bathtub soaking in a bit of bleach water. Oh yeah, my nice, black 3/4 sleeve, boatneck shirt is now decorated with bleach stains. Oh well, I've re-dyed clothing before. So, back to work and back to earth after a few days of high flying fun at the museum. Traveling around today, looking at all the great work at your blogs, is so encouraging that I'm not seriously disturbed by any of this. Just delayed. But, I do have the following abstract that offers a direction as things dry out. Study for "Moticos" #1 (36" x 36," oil on canvas) Wishing you better archiving!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tucson Museum of Art and the Arizona Biennial '09

There are a few moments in one's life that are so meaningful that the details, large and small, converge into a kind of storm, a bit like the welcomed monsoon lightning that surrounded the glass walls of the Tucson Museum of Art tonight, bringing a rain of clear moments to a lifetime of dreams--and work with hands and paint. Twenty-four years ago I was cleaning pools for a living (just out of college). Each week I cleaned the TMA's fountain (just outside the west door from the museum). I distinctly remember standing out there sweating in the summer heat, losing prime on the pump, fighting with the skimmer and the crappy suction of the damn fountain, looking wistfully toward the cool, air conditioned comfort of the museum. As I turned to look at the entrance doors, I wished then that I could be inside. Tonight, I got that wish. I stood there with friends and family of forty years, eight years, and a  few years, and looked across the entrance hall toward that fountain and smiled across the distance. Here are a few photos from tonight's reception. It was a delight to see so many people attend. When they stood in front of my painting....whoa, I was in a dream. When they read my statement, I was grateful and happy that they were not bored. I heard the words again, "Success is not a function of individual talent. It's the steady accumulation of advantages." --Malcom Gladwell

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sans Cicadas, New Mexico Sings

Oh, how I love New Mexico. For weeks after returning from a trip there, I look out of my own windows and tell myself that this place is actually New Mexico. I mean, it's the same region and the ancestors traveled these parts as well, calling it all one land. Then I get a bit snippy. What is it about NM anyway? There aren't any saguaros--no cholla or ocotillo, and the few prickly pear cacti look hassled by the junipers. Oh, but I do love the chamisa and the junipers on the hills and, of course, the light. There is something else I've noticed about New Mexico. It almost seems impossible to take a bad photograph. If you ever get a chance to travel to the region, don't worry about composition or light, or subject (just make sure it's daytime). The enchantment always shows up when the photo is reviewed. Amazing. Here are two photos of the rainbow over the hills east of where we stayed and the butte to the northwest. Doesn't it seem like New Mexico poses for visitors, never disappointing? We had a fun time, an exhausting time, and a tiring time on this adventure. We all got lots done. My boy worked on a math problem that required quiet. Mr. Artyfice painted an oil painting, and I painted a watercolor. I challenged him to switch media just to see how we'd fair. Today, the cicadas are buzzing outside, telling me to keep cool in the dark of our cave-like adobe/straw bale room. But, in New Mexico, there was a cacophony of bird song that soothed and delighted us during our stay.
  This is the watercolor that I was surprised I could do. It's approximately 4" x 6" of the butte to the northwest of our casita.