Friday, July 1, 2011

The Sun Stings My Skin, While Watching Los Alamos Nearly Burn

TA-54 Los Alamos Red
Image © 2011 Melinda S. Esparza

Thinking About Area G-8 Los Alamos (glass front)

Image © 2011 Melinda S. Esparza

Thinking About Area G-8 Los Alamos (glass reverse)
Image © 2011 Melinda S. Esparza

It was scorching hot here this week. That's what it takes to bring up the monsoon rains to our region. 112 degrees, 110 degrees, 107 degrees. Yeah, it was dry, so our coolers worked wondrous well. And, night before last, we received significant rain.

But, there is something that happens with the density of the air, and I usually can tell how hot it is because I get a headache---and when I walk outside to get the mail, my skin hurts. Even one of our mesquite trees was starting to die back. Yet, what really got me was that:

My eyes were full of images of smoke, fire, mountains and comments full of worry this week. Guess you know about the largest fire in New Mexico's history--Las Conchas fire. My cousin lives in Los Alamos. He decided not to evacuate. It was hard to sleep each night after listening to the Live Updates from KAOT 7 News. The images of the fire were mind boggling and all I could think about was the air quality in the town as the monster huffed and puffed around the canyons and edges of the Valles Caldera and headed north, sweeping by Los Alamos and attacking sacred ground in Santa Clara Pueblo. To see how documented the fire, check out these great photos.

I painted these two images influenced by the watching. The first one is on an 8" x 8" artists' board. The second painting is on a 5" x 7" piece of glass, with the reverse side too.

Today, there is some good news for Los Alamos. Perhaps it is too soon to say all danger has past, but there is more hope for the region.

So, let me end with a few quotes I found today. I was looking for Julia Cameron quotes from her book, The Vein of Gold, and found this at Good Reads:

"As you move toward a dream, the dream moves toward you."
— Julia Cameron

"Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite--getting something down."
— Julia Cameron

"Serious art is born from serious play."
— Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way: A Spi Path to Higher Creativity)

And, while I was searching I found an old favorite, humorous quote from...Jack Handey:

"Happiness is not a circus clown rolling around in a big tractor tire so that his arms and legs form 'spokes.' Happiness is when he stops."
- Jack Handey

Looking for some happiness...


Donald DIddams said...

These paintngs are hot, just like the fire, and I can feel the rawness of the emotion in them.

The rains will come, the fires end... but real damage is being done, and not just by fire. If only more could see it and realize the truth of the Jack Handey quote.

Integrating art and social awareness without letting one smother or distract from the other is an art in itself -- but it is also a path toward the happiness when that tire stops rolling.

Melinda said...

So true, Donald. The circus being played out in our political climate is a major distraction from our country's needs. How I wish the tire would stop rolling and the scary clown would take a break. Nature is tough, but greedy people in a sociopathic cultural forrest are more inflammatory. It's good to know that we are not alone. Art provides a respite, and one path out of the fray.

Thank you.

Barbara Muir said...

Love the paintings, and linked to see the photos. How terrifying. I heard about this fire on the news and was worried. Scary, scary stuff. I agree with the clown quote. Never did like clowns, and neither do my children, and their cousins. It must run family deep. We do love funny. Clowns aren't. Thinking of you. Wishing for rain.


Edgar said...

The Area G-8 is every bit as ominous and expressionistic as that time-lapse movie of the fire in your link.

Well done. Thoughts and prayers of safety to everyone in northern New Mexico. Thank you for memorializing the catastrophe.

Melinda said...

Thank you so much, Barbara! I just heard from my 80+ year old cousin and he said they've had a bit of rain today. There is hope!

Oh, yeah. When I read that joke of Jack Handey's, I howled. Did anyone ever love clowns?! And, if so, are they as scary too?

We are starting to get some monsoonal action here, and it usually travels east to New Mexico. Let's all think rain for the southwest and clear skies for Canada.

Virtual hugs to you.

Jeane Myers said...

stunning Melinda - you work as always has such life to it! xo

Melinda said...

Thank you, Edgar. Agreed. I'm fairly confident of the safety measures taken by the Los Alamos scientists, but, you know, "nature finds a way."

Linny D. Vine said...

You are the Tucson Woman Artist that paints all the passion and energy of the element fire! Incredible, Melinda! As to the heat and the fires I am sending wishes for coolness and rain your the way, you are so cool!

Melinda said...

Thank you, Jeane! I felt as though I could smell the smoke all the way from here in Tucson. Then, I realized that our state is on fire too.

Better to have paint that is full of life and fire than the land to burn!

Virtual hugs to you.

Melinda said...

Thank you so much, Linny. We can use your good wishes and I just know that they are full of power, Linnyland power, to bring the rain to our parched earth. In fact, we have clouds now...!

Oh, how I'd like to be cool. You are very kind.

cohen labelle said...

Hi Melinda
I'm thrilled to see your work - as always every particle of paint is infused with life and urgency.
Very sad to read about the wild fire in Los Alamos and dislocation to families. What can you say - the scale of global warming is becoming more and more evident. It'll take time and serious effort from everyone and policy to turn this around.
Aside from rain - what we really need is more Melindas in the world - more artists!!!!
xo, Marcia

Melinda said...

Hello dear Marcia! The idea of more Melindas is a frightening prospect, but I'll agree on more artists!!

It is truly sad the way we have treated the earth. I do hope we can mitigate some of the damage before we destroy it all.

While we work to change the way we live, we can keep beauty and metaphor alive through art. It certainly helps us to think on the better things.

Thank you. Virtual hugs to you.

Jeffrey J. Boron said...

Grand work Melinda. Amazing expressions of the overwhelming power of wild fire. Be cool...


Melinda said...

Thank you, Jeffrey!

I'll try to stay cool, mostly by dreaming of cooler places--like Canada!