Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Monster is Back Plus Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain

We opened the water harvesting barrels yesterday in eager anticipation of rain, glorious rain, and sure enough, in the middle of night, thunder and mud soaking rain! I hear Ladysmith Black Mambazo singing, Rain, Rain Beautiful Rain! Late this afternoon, I finished another mailart piece and began painting on the monster painting of the Grand Canyon (a link back to an earlier post) that has been lingering and nagging me for a year. Funny thing, I read a really good article about traveling and hiking in the Grand Canyon in the NY Times this morning. I took that as a broad hint to get in there and work. Here is a view of it from afar. Then the close-up follows. How many artists out there have hiked the Grand Canyon? I've only visited the rim. The Grand Canyon is beyond spectacular when it's snowing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mailart #7: The Health Issue

What do you say to a young, "immortal" twenty-something who has lived a healthy life, not knowing age or illness? Oh, I hear you and I do. I tell him to take at least 2000 IUs of Vitamin D3, eat the prickly pear fruit and mesquite flour I sent him, take the multi-vitamins, drink some tea, get as much sleep as possible, etc., etc.. Today, I've got a mailart piece that I made for my college boy last March. I know. The American love affair with the car is over. Yet, I don't have a new lexicon from which I can make an allegory or metaphor for the preciousness our bodies hold and the ever changing medical information and issues that currently face us. So, I chose the image of one of the fastest cars made and the image of a dashboard to convey my motherly hope for my son's good health, both physical and psychological. Tucked into the "glove box" are 4th grade notes his classmates wrote years ago. This piece does have some naughty words in German that were fun to include. Just a note of warning because moms don't approve of such things on a regular basis. 

The message: I am like a Mercedes-Benz I am like an SLR McLaren I am like a Mercedes-Benz I am like an SLR McLaren I will be careful with fuel...I like to be fine-tuned I am like an SLR McLaren I am liking proper maintenance... Racing toward 20 !! 

 If a year were a mile You wouldn't want to rush to/at 20 miles an hour, kmh 
You'd want to walk Slowly As much as possible Looking, tasting, enjoying Every step Tacking, west-toward a quarter of a century Racing up that way Shift down Cruise Control Double clutch Once in awhile Drawn from mile to mile Walk: With Beauty Draw: Smudge lines Line the path* 
There are arrows Everywhere to direct you 
Erase where necessary Ask yourself: What memories will fill my odometer? What kind of tread will I burn...and/or bridges too? 
Love, mom © M. S. Esparza 

A few of the polite,funny German auto terms I found: INDICATORS Die Blinkenleiten Tickentocken CLUTCH Die Kuplink mit achlippen und schaken PUNCTURE Die Phlatt mit Bludymucken FUEL GAUGE Der Walletemptyung Meter TRAFFIC JAM Die Bluddinmuckin Dammundblast BACKFIRE Der Lowdenbangermekkenjumpen

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tucson Open Studio Tour, Perfect Weather, Perfect Days

The Tucson Open Studio Tour was a resounding success! The weather was cool to warm--flawless really. In so many ways, on so many levels, this event added good mortar to the bricks already lain, building this art sanctuary. It has solidified my commitment to the process.

Many thanks to everyone who visited! I'm remembering you today: The nice couple who bought the first painting. The artists who are on the path back to art making--seeing that they can start again. The woman dynamo and her thoughtful husband, who offered good advice about art marketing and who bought the largest painting. The kind strangers who came here after seeing my work in the 801 Gallery and the TPAC calendar and, finally, the ONLY art supply store in town (!), and one of the sponsors of the event, Sarnoff Art Supplies.

Then there are those art patrons who have stood by me, never wavering in their straight-forward, level headed support. Kirk--who can draw and paint circles around me. Linda--who is currently working on her second masterpiece as she raises another brilliant and good hearted boy. Nathanael--who is art walking, with quiet confidence and a gentle heart. Didn't we have fun?!!

A special thanks to you, my fellow art bloggers, whose presence I felt all weekend: Kathryn (whose Caran D'Ache made an appearance to inspire yet another artist), Barbara Muir (whose friendship and presentation advice have been priceless), Karen (whose discipline, encouragement and work keep me grounded), Silvina (whose wit and wisdom are matchless) and Linny D. Vine(whose work and kindness inspire me to dream).

And, well, that Mr. Artyfice out-did himself--My fellow artist and companion who kindly called me "Melindiva," and who raced around making sure I had cards, postcards, signs, food...and, on...and on...and--while I shouted "Brush!" All this he did with two broken fingers on the mend and very little sleep.

Now for a little chat with that falcon...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tucson Open Studio Tour November 14th, 15th

The Tucson Open Studio Tour takes place this coming weekend, November 14th and 15th, from 11 AM to 5 PM. The Tucson Pima Arts Council has brought together over 167 artists to participate in the fall event.

Whew! Yes, I signed up a few months ago and am readying the studio for this weekend's excitement (trauma?)--which reminds me of the following quote from Mark Twain, "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." (from Taking the Leap, Cay Lang) Hope you're taking leaps forward even if they're a bit scary.

Here is the postcard that we have been handing out and, if you'd like, the link above will take you to the website that shows links and maps to the artists' studios. You can take a gander at what other artists are up to in this burg.

How I wish you all could attend. For now, I'm not in the studio to paint, but hope to be very soon.

In the meantime, I've got a couple of photos of the neighborhood falcon crying out..."Go back to your studio! Go back to your studio"! (?) and a view over the fence.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dia de Los Muertos y Aquellos Viviendo

Little Yellow Zinnias, oil on linen panel, 3"x5"
I read the most beautiful obituary this weekend in the New York Times. Does this mean I'm an elderly person? Yeah, maybe. Yet, the NYT's Obits are so well written! They are like great short stories that leave you asking questions, curious to know more.

In the past few weeks, there have been several artists who have past away. I didn't know any of their names.

There were these: Nancy Spero, Ruth Duckworth, Amos Ferguson and, an actor from way back--Lou Jacobi

And then there was Albert York. As the author of the obit, Roberta Smith, wrote, he was "...a painter of small mysterious landscapes who shunned the art world yet had a fervent following within it." He was so uninterested in fame and glory that his one and only gallery representative quietly, and mostly without his knowledge, exhibited and handled his work. What I found so endearing and profound were the following:

He worked at his own pace.
He was emotionally engaged with his subject.
He kept on painting even though he had to work a 'real' job.
He didn't quit painting despite being "perpetually dissatisfied with his work, prone to scraping down his wood panels..."

Sound familiar?

In Tucson, Dia de Los Muertos is a pretty big deal. I like that we honor those who have died with a parade and celebration of their lives. I also like honoring the living by encouraging perseverance.

Now, I couldn't resist including Lou Jacobi. He was one of those character actors everyone recognized, but rarely could name. As one critic wrote, "Mr. Barnes... added: “He has a face of sublime weariness and the manner of a man who has seen everything, done nothing and is now only worried about his heartburn."" Wow. Can you imagine being so good as to convey such nuance? He was a funny, and serious man who, in real life, did everything he could to live well.

May we all endeavor to do the same, even if we scrape off a few paintings now and again.

This small, 4" x 6," oil on panel, is from an image of yellow zinnias from this summer. The flowers are now dying, but I still remember.