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Later in the day .... I got around to working on my grotesque XMAS piece and a retouch on a small painting sold...
1. Santa and two reindeer at home. 2. at INCAHOOTS. 3. the client wanted a full moon...
I spent most of the afternoon working on a huge lump of wood I brought up from the river... here is the metamorphosis.
At the end of the day I helped Ruth put up XMAS lights on her shop, then later we returned to a RAVE of old buddy Glen Neff.
We danced and had great fun with all of the inmates of the ward...
My daughter Rowan will be in Scotland in two days. She will be there for a week or so, then her and Geno, her beau are off to Malaga, Granada and other places I would like to see someday....then off to places I don't care if I ever see.
That is how curiosity works...each one of us compelled to go to what we think is cool.
It got me thinking about when I was near my daughters age and took off for Scotland. I arrived in London on a Greek ocean freighter and from there I took a train to Oxford where I stayed with California friends for a few days.
Next I bought an old Raleigh police bicycle and peddled for the next ten days to Edinburgh, Scotland, of which consequence, my daughter was born four years later.
Obviously I passed over an incredible amount of story-telling, even if I only retold the story of the EURYSTHENES, the Greek freighter that took eleven days to get from NYC to London, with a FORCE 11 gale blowing the whole way.
I will say this about that journey; it included day and night terrifying waves 60 feet high. I asked the Greek captain what number the gale force went to and was told 12. I asked what was it called after that. His simple reply, "Chaos."
So my daughter is about to fly off into her own gale force. Where did she get such crazy ideas?
Once in a while I come across photos that remind me how big my life has been...
1. Sections of 300 foot mural in Corsica 1984. 2. 300 foot mural. 3. Mural at Winery in Corsica, 1985. 4. Old Scottish friends, David Harding and Pete Simpson 1990. 5. A painting I destroyed (long story). 6. First mural in New Mexico 1986. 7. El Madrid Lounge mural. 8.Dome mural in Fargo North Dakota. 1998. 9. Best dog ever, Flat Tire. 10. Rowan's first boy friend in Corsica, Harold, 2001. 11. First mural in Scotland 1974. 12. Mural in Isfahan, Iran i977. 13. My recluse period1999-2001. 14. Best friend and daughters namesake, Mike Rowan, 1999. 15. Brothers Robert and Tommy. 2002. 16. My little girl Rowan in 1980. 17. Rowan in 1983. 18. My little gal and best pal. Ruth. 19. The best road home in the redwoods. 20. Road home called the Queen "T" in Arizona.
Thanksgiving. Okay Thanks. Thanks a lot.
I am gad to be alive with a wonderful partner, Ruth. We have a good life and are lucky.
I wish others in the world could have the same.
This morning I cut up a days collection of firewood, which if it turned off really cold, would be about a weeks supply. Part of our luck is we have a quarter mile of river front that has at least two or three winters supply of dead wood. All I have to do is go down with my 4-wheel drive Toyota and chain saw and do a little honest labor. We are lucky and we make our luck, both Ruth and I.
Our cats are even more lucky than us, They have a safe enclosed yard to wander around. They eat better than half the world of people let alone other cats or dogs. They are lucky.
All of us who live in America are lucky, even if the economy is not doing well. All one has to do is look in detail at any other country.
So, Ruth and I are very thankful, very happy and very lucky to be here and now.
1. A week or two supply of wood. 2. Scarlet checks out the pile. 3. Going exploring. 4. Bushiest tail in the west. 5. Turn-up in her loft.
We had dinner with my daughter Rowan and her man Geno last night, a practice Thanksgiving meal, with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, etc...it was lovely having them on a pleasant evening talking about their very near departure to Scotland, Spain, Morocco and other parts of Africa.
I tried not to express my fear of such a journey, at least the latter part, where they will be wandering around west Africa. Hopefully they may get caught up in the fullness of Spain or Morocco and forgo running around with backpacks like Livingston in the jungle...the problem is they still will have to get to Dakar for their return flight.
I know there may be greater danger in driving on the freeways of LA or perhaps even hanging out in a perfectly respectable club in Santa Fe, considering the number of maniacs in America these days, but at least they would be here and I could get to them.
Rowan showed me the map of Mali where they plan on doing some deep in-country travel, and there were hundreds of small towns and cities on the small tourist book she had---probably there are many times that number of little habitations not even shown---it is scary because it would be so absolutely easy for them to just disappear into that bush.
I can only hope the little angel that has been on my daughters shoulder all her life continues her guardianship.
Geez, it's almost Thanksgiving which means it is also time to start decorating for the most commercial day of the year...yes, XMAS.
I stopped calling XMAS that other name some time ago, being I have lost any connection to the son of Mary and Joseph and all the mythology of that event two thousand years ago. In fact I have pretty much lost any belief in organized religion no matter who is involved. I am not indicating I have a better philosophy or spiritual redemption plan, nor am I pessimistic of the possibility there just may be a supernatural Almighty of some sort.
If there is a grand master plan, it is way beyond my thinking power of acceptance.
I have come to a similar belief of Kurt Vonnegut, that the Universe simply continues through some kind of fractal indifference, even though us humans from time to time feel a great connection to pain or euphoria.
It seems to me, who ever or what ever is in charge doesn't really care what we feel.
What is real is what each one of us experiences at any moment we come to self awareness or make the jump and have compassion for the world around us.
Perhaps if there is a God, it is broken down into tiny specks of time when a sentient being does something above and beyond the call of greed or fear. All hail to that kind of brave heart.
With that in mind, remember there are only 30 shopping days before XMAS.
One reindeer done of the eight...and St. Nick done except for painting if I decide to go that far...also to hang them on our gate and put XMAS lights around them...oddly the sick theme seems to be apropos for the present economy.
The anonymously-published poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (also known as "The Night Before Christmas" or "Twas the Night Before Christmas") is largely credited for the contemporary Christmas lore, including the eight flying reindeer and their names.
In the poem, Santa's transport is a "miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer" and the reindeer are "more rapid than eagles." The poem does not describe them, nor their positions in the sleigh-team, but does say they fly.
The relevant segment of the poem reads:
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!
I should know better than talk about good weather...or perhaps I am reminded of the ten years I lived in Scotland, that when one might say to a native, "Oh what a beautiful day it is," the reply invariably would be, "Aye, but it will be bitter tomorrow." Most often it was true.
So yesterday not only turned off rather chilly with a bitter wind, the sky also had that kind of savaged torn cloud look of dead winter, the kind of sky that only inspires despair and depression.
Sure enough I felt moody and down most of the day, and when I finally got around to whacking at my artwork, there was no joy or revelation of progress. I would have been better of to have given up and done something useful like collect firewood down at the river, or go to the bar and jabber with the other inmates of Madrid.
Okay, I did go to the bar, but I resisted for at least two hours.
Today the sun shines and before I brag about how fine it is, I am going back out the studio to see if I have any hope as an artist.
The weather has been so pleasant ( in the mid sixties) I have worked outside in my shirt for the last week. I wish the stuff I produced was as good as the weather--it's not, but it is just as unpredictable.
God knows what I will do next.
Anyway...for the moment I carry on with the horse theme and the macabre St. Nick idea.
1. Horses in the moon. 2. Horse post coital. 3. Buckaroo Bob in the gallery. 4. St. Nick in his sleigh. 5. Three chairs painted.
I got started on the second part of my contribution to WCAD 2009 ( www.kwacoart.com/WCADupdate.htm - 4k ) yesterday....now to see if I actually get it done...but I will try.
However at this point it may not only take some imagination but a major element of Black humor to envision my skeletal St. Nicholas and his skeletal reindeer. At the moment they are just limbs of Russian olive trees I saved from the fireplace.
The idea is that by XMAS I will have them assembled and installed on our front fence, complete with XMAS lights. And that will be what I do for Holiday Cheer.
1. St. Nick. 2. The layout from the front reindeer. 3. St. Nick in his sleigh. 4. One reindeer. 5. Layout from St Nick..
9PM: Walking down in the river where the UGLY ONE LIVES...
Sunday morning and southern California is on fire. I look out our window and the world is fine and know fortune shifts for all.
1 to 7 Little Horse Paintings 8 X 10 inches. 8. Next project to paint chairs.
I am on to a new series for a while, or around 25 individual pieces...it was Ruth's idea to make very small and affordable running horses, so that is what I started doing. It was a good idea because I sold two of the pieces as soon as I took them into the Mineshaft last night. Okay $35 is not a fortune for a small work of art, but it took less than 15 minutes to make each piece so I am happy to get $140 an hour if I should be so lucky...
Also I get to sit in at my big work table in the studio, feel the warm sun stream through the window and listen to pleasant music or talk shows from our local alternative station KSFR. That is about the energy I have at the moment. Getting old.
What is in the back of my mind is that as soon as I get another 6 or 7 pieces done for Ruth's shop, I want to get back to doing the skeletal Santa Claus and Reindeer for Christmas. I like the idea of them flying over the entrance gate coming down our driveway.
Perhaps a macabre St. Nick is not a winning number, but it suits the way I feel about XMAS these days.
Also in about two weeks my little girl, my only little girl, Rowan will be off on another gallivanting expedition. This time to Africa, of which I am not too happy about it, but then one can die of LIGONIER'S disease on a cruise ship in the Bahamas.
What scares me is Africa not just being what it is, but it is so far away not only in distance but time---meaning still in the dark ages and no pun intended.
Oh well, Rowan rode down DEATH ROAD ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FRf6FF6KxA ) in Bolivia last year, so hopefully she will survive EBOLA and people who shoot American tourists because they are there...
This what one does as a father or mother, worry that your kid will not do worse things than you did....
WORDS THEY TRING TRANG
TYME IT GOES THATHE
ME IT SLINGS SLANGS
WHAT THE FUCK IS NEXT?
Yesterday and maybe even today I could win hands down the UGLY AWARD OF THE YEAR.
I am talking about my face, not my nature, but some people might disagree.
Anyway, the point I am getting to is: CUTTING WOOD CAN BE DANGEROUS.
Above you see the peaceful glade I was manicuring of fallen dead trees to be used for firewood. In the process I made some arbitrary decisions to cut down a few baby elms that would eventually be competing for survival. Perhaps the MOMMA elms did not approve of my summary executions, and decided to fight back with the force of physics, meaning I got whacked in the nose by a chunk of wood and bled profusely.
Being the vain man I am, I covered my war wound with a bandage and photographed the damage in case some day one can suit trees for punching you in the nose.
However I am afraid I can't do much about improving the mug of the grizzled old goat above.
A beautiful day, and I am happy to be living in New Mexico....however, winter approaches...so down to the river meadow and cut a few more dead trees for firewood. Actually, aside from the chain saw noise, it is really peaceful to be on my little patch of river bottom and act like the world is somewhere else.
Who knows, if I get enough wood together, I may even go and look at my studio, to see if there is an artist in there somewhere.
Veteran's Day. I am a army combat medic vet, got out in late 68 and was more than thankful.
Some of you may remember 1968 was a nasty year for Vietnam, but I was in Germany, in an infantry outfit that was the replacement regiment (1st & 4th of the 3rd Infantry Division) for lost troops in Nam.
Everyday someone would "disappear" from our company or platoon...we even gave it the code name of DISAPPEARED...highly intelligent stuff. The average intelligence score in my company was 64, whereas in the rest of the American army, 100 was considered average.
I suppose in the third book of the trilogy I have been writing now for over twenty years, I may tell the story of my getting out of the army via the psychiatric ward, but for this moment I will just say I was on my way to Vietnam.
The other day something happened that was about as scary as my time way back in 68, although in a completely different mode.
I had taken my sketch book to the bar, because a urge had come over me to continue the series on cowboys and horses.
So there I am on the porch, more or less minding my own business, sipping a beer a scribbling away, when the president of the local biker club BANDITOS comes up to me and asked me if I remembered the time I did a sketch of him in a bar in Santa Fe.
Well, first of all, I could not remember ever sketching him anywhere, and secondly this particular gentleman has kind of an abrupt manner of speaking, so I thought possibly he might be a little pissed off at who ever sketched him.
But then he said, "YOU DO FANTASTIC QUICK-DRAW MAGIC. CAN YOU SKETCH ME AND MY PALS AGAIN?"
Well, the way he asked was more like a command, and me being the brave kind of guy I am, said, "HEY, NO PROBLEMO!"
Next thing I know, there they were, posing for me to do a sketch of them. The guy second from the right was an old friend witnessing my ordeal.
I have sketched in public all my life, painted murals in public for years, toured 37 states doing drawing presentations in over 450 schools, and one time in my life, sketched live nude models on stage, but I never had six big tough mean looking biker guys all staring at me expecting to see the miracle of "QUICK-DRAW-MAGIC" the president said I could do.
I have to admit, I nearly had a bowel movement in the wrong place.
I started making scribbled lines all over the place, and I could see in the eyes of the BANDITOS they were wondering what in the hell that mess was, and so did I as I looked at something a monkey could have done.
After about seven minutes, they were getting restless, so somewhere inside me, the thing I have always been able to do happened, and I added just a few darker lines on top of the mess I had made, and I could hear people behind me say, "That is exactly what they look like." It seemed like a good place to stop.
I showed the drawing to the BANDITOS, and much to my surprise, they not only smiled, the president gave me ten bucks.
A guy behind me took the above photo of the BANDITOS as I scribbled on.
Maybe one of these days I will do a painting of the BANDITOS.
That is my veteran's day story.
Nov. 10 The weather, blustery and grey with the notion that winter is on its way.
Ruth and I prepare to hunker down, sit by the wood stove and catch up on wasted time, of which we have not done since last year...
I do things in the afternoon but not too much.
I keep walking into my studio which I cleared of many obtrusive items, thinking that was the reason I did not go to the easel and create new paintings, but now I don't have that excuse.
I look at the buckets of paint, canvass, boards and a ton of material that when I was young would have died for, let alone have a large studio space (albeit damn cold in the winter).
Oh well, the stuff is there, and perhaps the neurotic stuff in me that made me make all the stuff I have, is still there...somewhere.
But truthfully, it just seems like stuff, no matter what people compliment.
Hmmm, it occurred to me that money along with the compliments, makes stuff seem much more real.
I guess I am just a material girl.
Nov. 8 ...and yes, it is the weekend and the sky is clear, the sun is shining and the world is at peace...in my back yard...as for the rest of it out there, WHEW AND BY GUM. I don't know what that means exactly except there sure is a lot of crazy stuff happening if you watch CNN. It's news.
As for me, I finished closing in the roof, and now I get to go down on the ground and do a maintenance job, which I have let slide for four years , which means the repair job is even bigger than it was four years ago.
The point and lesson of life is this: When you see a problem that needs to be fixed, do it. Then it goes away. (for a while)
Then you can go to the bar and see old friends , as I did last night...well, I go to the bar more often than I should, but it has been a while since many of our friends have sat at the same table at the same time, or be hanging at the bar a few steps away...
Another member of our aged group MERGED into the GREAT BLUE FUNNEL (a term coined by Kurt Vonnegut).
1. West end of roof under way. 2. Roof done. 3. Coming to the bar. 4. Our table filled. 5. Members of the Bar.
Nov. 7 ... in a continual state of disbelief, not only because we elected a "black" man, but also the old disbelief...will he do better than the fickle flying finger of fate has in store?
Yesterday, I listened to Amy Goodman's DEMOCRACY NOW---THE WAR AND PEACE REPORT and her guests as usual are the Nay-Sayers and Radical Left Conspiracy Crowd, and much of what they said was, IT IS THE SAME TEXT...
In other words, Obama's CHANGE platform is the same-old, same-old.
Nothing will stop skepticism completely.
I talked with my daughter yesterday, who sees Obama as the SAVIOR.
I had to be the Devil's Advocate and say, "Ideas are easy, but the manifestation of Ideas is difficult."
We can only hope BULLSHIT has been displaced for a while.
Meanwhile, the world goes on and I keep busy doing small artworks, finishing touches on the house, collecting firewood and be amused by our small family of cats and dogs,
1. Three cats passed out after breakfast. 2. Redrawing an old water color my family had on the wall when I was a child. 3. Finally I finish the new addition and tie it to the old single wide trailer--guess which is which. 4. Some of Chrissie's old paintings close in foundation. 5. My version of a new-age totem pole. 6. Dogs go on their morning run. 7. Shiloh and Gina. 8. S and G again. 9. And the weather has changed the cottonwoods from gold to brown overnight. 10 to 14. More horse and buckeroos.
AMERICA HAS CHANGE
I was surprised... to discover something in me that was below the surface...that is, I realized with Obama winning, I once again believed in something that had altogether disappeared a long time ago, in fact during the time of Nixon. I stopped believing the American Dream, and consequently stopped believing in my dream. I was depressed and did not know where it originated.
Depression, when one experiences it, all that person sees is colored by the depression, so one feels like shit, and the world looks like shit, therefore life is shit.
I finally understood, ever since the last days of Nixon, I had stopped believing America was a special nation in the world---in fact it became a form of national depression, because the country felt like shit, it looked like shit and therefore it was shit.
Shit being a lie, or fiction at best.
Fiction is interesting, but when every part of ones country is controlled by destructive forces, such as the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and governed by compassionless warmongering people, then the fiction/lies become depression of the national soul.
I can only hope this day will be the rebirth of my country, which in many ways was once like the young man I was who had limitless potential.
Maybe if this country can be reborn so can the young man I once was.