Between the age of 12 and 18 I lived in Bend, Oregon which at that time was a timber mill town. Consequently a good percentage of the population either worked in the sawmill or were loggers working out in the woods.
"Widow maker" was a term the loggers frequently used. Basically it defined a snag branch that got hung up somewhere in the cutting down of a tree, that the logger had to be very wary, otherwise it would fulfill its prophetic name, and the wife would have no husband at the end of a day.
What I am getting at was my experience yesterday when I cut down a dead cottonwood. Up about 30 feet was a monsterous branch that had been struck by lightening, that was balanced above the area where I had to stand to cut the dead tree down. (the cottonwood will either become a sculpture or firewood)
It was a little nerve racking. As I cut into the tree, I had to keep one eye up on the "widow maker" knowing that once the tree began to fall, the hung-up branch would fall exactly where I was standing.
Obviously I survived. Funny how what we learn somewhere way back in history, can actually save our butts years later...
The cottonwood and acacia trees are beginning to change color on the river. Our apple tree is full and the apples are just beginning to turn red.
I turned to Ruth this morning as we were watching the "news" where there was a story about football players doing "Twitter" stuff. I asked her why did people "twit" cause I didn't get it?
"What is different about that from your Blog?" she asked back.
Considering I am proclaiming to the entire internet world, fall is happening in the northern hemisphere, I can say, "Uhh, not much."
I ran out of steam yesterday and did not much at all except take a few cat-naps and watch the tube...
Late in the afternoon I went out to the studio and started cleaning up the mess created during the LOVE-IN hippy van project...
Then this morning I received an email from Andrew Crummy who is the founder and main organizer of World Community Arts Day 2010. So we start again...
During Ruth's LOVE-IN event I could not help but think what our village was doing was a preamble for WCAD 2010
The finished artwork on the
The photos to the right is the progression of painting and a few of the people who took part in Ruth's LOVE-IN which was village wide...the van being only one of the activities locals got involved with...there was poetry readings, music played, locals dressing in 1967 style, and generally everyone celebrating a peaceful and beautiful day.
In short it was a great success and the talk of the town is a LOVE-IN should be an annual event.
Less than 36 hours before Ruth's LOVE-IN takes place on the streets of Madrid...
I have no idea if anyone will take the occasion seriously, but I agreed to paint my van in good old 60's Flower Power fashion just for the fun of it.
If I can get it to Madrid without being busted by the cops for not being licensed etc... It will be parked in front of the Mine Shaft Tavern from 12:00 to 5:00 PM
Yesterday I started the process in perhaps a silly mode by covering part of my van in canvass, thinking it might be cool or even if the painting turns out to be something special, it could be taken off the van...
On counter thought to that, the canvass is glued on so completely with Liquid Nails, it will probably tear the metal off if I ever try to remove it.
Another brilliant idea gone bananas...
On the other side of the action, I am dedicating the event to Patricia who is a mutual friend of many people in Madrid. She is going through the terminal stages of cancer and is in severe pain. It may only be days if not hours left for her.
Maybe the painting will help bring spirit to her.
So nobody is perfect!
I wonder if I am in some kind of UGLY CONTEST, being each time somebody else takes a picture of me I think, "Christ, who is that and what happened to that cute little guy I used to be?"
Well...hmmm...age gets us all, one at a time.
Anyway I am off on a journey back to olden times when I was not only cute, but when I used to be a painter of strange visions. I am finding it easier to return to studio ideology than getting a pretty mug, but then again, they are still strange visions which at the moment few comprehend.
MARY PONDERS BABY JESUS'S DESTINY
I am doing this in part because of the very large and very minimal mural I am in the process of creating. The finished panels will eventually be installed over our living room...
Last week I took off for Tucson and my oldest brother's 80th birthday party.
He called me a couple weeks ago and told me he was having a surprise birthday party...I guess the surprise was intended for the guests, as most likely everyone expected it to be a traditional red-neck party with the police and-or emergency teams called for...
In the end it was a peaceful affair, however not without a price, as my nephew Kip slipped off the wagon hitch as it was rolling down the road and jerked his arm out of the socket. He was trying to pull one of the lines up tight that kept the ten head of horses going in the right direction.
In fact the whole party was about the skill of my brother Red being a wagon master, and that is something I finally witnessed more clearly than ever before...
If you know about fishing, then you know the trick of keeping your finger on the line so you can feel the fishy-whishies nibbling at the hook. Well driving a team of ten horses is like having ten fishing lines in your hands with each finger feeling the tug from each horse. It is amazing to see a team of horses trotting along at 10 or 15 MPH suddenly do a 90 degree turn to the left or right.
Then home, I got coxed into being a happy fool...on a whim I put on an old hat I wore years ago when I acted as a street theater clown in Europe...anyway I went to The Mine Shaft and when a guy pulled up in a fancy car, the clown in me was resurrected...
Hey I was just too sexy for my pants, and this may be the x-rated poster of the year...
9:00 PM Ruth sells Shaman accessories from time to time, and drums are one of the most useful objects in that case...drums with animal images being the most popular.
I worked on two today, but what was actually novel and enjoyable for me was being able to user our pool table in its secondary role, as a work space.
8:00 AM Awakened at 3:00 by loud rolling thunder. For an hour, hard rain falling and sheet lightening flashing across the sky.
Beautiful, but I was glad we were in a warm DRY bed...no water was dripping out old leaks that plagued the house for years...
This morning on TV I watched ex-president Carter say what is perfectly clear to me, but obviously not to the people who want to pretend all of those good old bad days are behind us philosophy...Carter stating the motivation of the hatred expressed by the Republican right wing is based in RACISM...
And I can hear what the right-wingers are saying about Carter; once a fanatic always a fanatic...
Well...the rain fell and made some of New Mexico wet last night, and that is one truth I am certain of....
Sunday night Ruth and I went to have an evening with a long time friend of mine, Marilyn Wood and several other good old buddies...one of them being my ex, Chrissie, her man Rico. Chris Wells and Nelson showed up as well....
I know probably all of the names above mean nothing to you, but one views ones life with incredible antidotical moments of which there are always other people who help make it, and that was the company Sunday night. In short it was my little society page...
Other than that, I managed to have a major accomplishment yesterday by not only getting my motorcycle front wheel repaired by a professional motorcycle guy, but also got the wheel back on the the bike by myself...WHEW!!!!!
Changing the wheel on an 800 lb. bike is a challenge to say the least.
The summer slowly winds down Ruth and I talk about buying a new gas powered furnace/heater for the house. The one we have came original with this house and is completely inefficient in not only burning propane, but spreading what little heat it creates from one end of the house to the other.
We found a beautiful and incredibly hot little heat maker at FIREBIRDin Santa Fe. The problem about that is by the time it is sitting in our house operating Ruth will be minus some big bucks.
The truth about that, is before Ruth, I got used to living in a semi-warm house for at least most hours of the day I walked from room to room and got even more used to waking up being in a deep freezer.
Since Ruth, in the winter, I have got used to being in a warm house all day and a warm house when I wake up. In short she has spoiled me and my cheap Spartan habits. Yes it is lovely to look out the window, seeing snow and ice in a frozen world, while I am in a cozy little warm nest.
It costs a lot of money to be warm. Ruth pays for the propane heat and gadgets that burn it, and I go down to the river and supplement our house with wood from dead Russian Olive trees.
What I am leading to is soon I will be doing my weekly lumberjack bit, and seriously, I wonder how many years that will go on.
1. Eventually I will run out of dead trees.
2. Eventually I will be too old to act like a lumberjack.
3. Of the two above I wonder which will come first.
This week: being tired of large stick sculpture, I switched to doing old things like rearranging the gate to my gallery with paintings---two were done in the last few days...being influenced by the novel, GOD OF SMALL THINGS.
In between I worked on the ceiling tiles for our living room/pool room and was duly supervised by Jezebel the Cat.
Then there was the fiasco of trying to change the tire on the front of my motorcycle. It still sits in the driveway with one leg.
And...beyond that I was reminded of when I was a serious canvass painter from many years ago, and I would often have the insight that the splashed accidents covering the tables I worked on had more genuine artistic merit than what I was attempting to do with my particular vision...
Anyway, HEADS YOU LOSE, TAILS YOU WIN and IF YOU THINK IT WAS NOT BEAUTIFUL, WHY WOULD IT GO ON? I am trying to merge a kind of Zen thought with abstract figurative image...a biblical theme of creation and the tree of life....
And...I got the old Van running and spent two days cleaning the pack-rat nests out of it. Did I ever tell you how much I HATE pack-rats?
I wrote for maybe 30 minutes this morning, getting back to THE CRYSTAL TIGHT ROPE...BUT NOTHING AS OF YET in addition to what is already online. Maybe when I go to my brother Red's "surprise" birthday party next week, my mind will drift off into literature again...
As for today, I am grinding tiles to fit the ceiling to make my wonderful Ruth a little bit happy...
Have you ever tried to change a tire on an eight hundred pound motorcycle?
I have. Tried, that is.
First one must not only jack the bike up, but of course only being two wheels, one must find a way of balancing it so as not to fall over during the removal procedures of said tire with wheel.
That, I discovered is the easy part. Trying to get the tire off the spoke wheel is difficult but not so impossible.
Now, with the new tire and the tube it must be put back on...all of which I struggled for nearly three hours yesterday.
The tire won. I could not for the life of me get it back onto the spoke wheel.
Today I seek the council of an motorcycle wizard.
Finally got started on putting a good tire on front of my motorcycle. While I was at it, it seemed a good idea to wake up my old Van "Queen T" that has set for over a year without being started.
Pack rats were building nests in the engine compartment and interior. It will be part of Ruth's LOVE-IN in a couple weeks so the rats need to find another home.
Who knows what it will look like, but I agreed to do a "Flower-Power" style mural on the van...it can always be painted over...
The old van is a 1976 Dodge which I travelled around the USA in 1995-96, doing over 60,000 miles and visiting nearly 450 schools where I did chalk-drawing performance/demonstrations. I would be famous for an hour or two a day and nobody nowhere for the next 22 hours. It was interesting and amazing to see 37 states of America, but lonely as hell, if well paid.
When I separated from my ex-wife, I lived in the van for another couple years, so it has a strange and nostalgic value only to me.
Yesterday I sat in Ruth's little corner shop INCAHOOTS and played shop girl which I am lousy at. I didn't sell one thing, but Ruth arrived and managed to make a few bucks. In-between she worked on crossword puzzles and I did a sketch of her.
A gray overcast morning and the sense of autumn.
As for naked people running onto a theater stage, the whole idea is overcast as well, being the HE-SHE BANG which normally is performed in the "Engine House" of Madrid's old coal mine, is now taking place near Santa Fe. Thank God, my stupid idea is dead.
It would be difficult enough to get 7 people to meet in Madrid over a mutual idea, let alone 20 miles away on a road that is full of cops looking for suspicious beat up old cars and people who look fugitive...
Ah well, Ruth's LOVE-IN still seems to be drawing attention. She has passed out a hundred flyers so far.
Most days around 5 we meet with some of the regular crowd of our little village's beer joint, The Mine Shaft.
Yesterday I tried to convince some of them to join me in doing a theater piece for the up-coming "HE-SHE-BANG" but other than getting laughs for my idea, no one readily volunteered.
On the other hand, Ruth passed out flyers getting people to volunteer for an old-fashioned style "LOVE-IN" hippies used to do in Golden Gate Park in the 60's.
She was more successful, not only because it is not a bad idea, but also no one had to be semi-nude on stage in front of an audience as I was suggesting for the skit.
Now to explain how I got the idea is this:
Last weekend the helicopter cops and SWAT team people busted several of our elderly buddies for growing the evil drug Mary-Jee-Wanna.
In fact they made an old man fall on the ground as they ripped his 6 plants from the ground and threatened him of severe consequences for his immoral gardening.
It so happens he is a cancer patient and Viet Nam veteran, and pays taxes...
They also busted a younger man who had 10 plants and I heard the SWATEES found two or three other plants that no one was willing to claim as their property.
The confiscated nasty drug took three helicopters, some where between ten and twenty vehicles and up to thirty agents of decent morals to put this rampant crime wave to a halt forever in our sacred and pure little villages of Madrid and Cerrillos.
Maybe it cost up to a half-million to perform this public service, but no one knows for sure.
It is worth the cost for good morales.
So we were talking about it at one of our cocktail hour seminars, where only pure and decent alcohol is served, when Krazy Bob said "I've got an idea. How about the next time the DEA comes, we help them out by setting up gift shops at the drug-bust-site, selling I GOT BUSTED tee shirts and buttons.
We all thought it was a spark of genius and a real wholesome way to help our government's sensible drug policy of eradicating bad habits from the minds of mankind.
That is when I got the idea of further demonstrating our support by having a semi-nude theater presentation of the past event.
In the 7 minute skit, a nearly nude SWAT team comes on stage to the Safari's famous guitar tune of WIPE-OUT. They wear only women's shear bikini underwear with Mary-Jee-Wanna plants sewn on for disguise, They also wear head gear resembling condoms. They all have SWATEE stenciled on their chests and backs.
On the stage as they arrive are typical Grandpa and Grandma dope addicts blowing smoke onto their large baby in a crib.
The SWAT team see the baby is wearing a large clock and that is why his name is Baby Ben.
The SWATEES realize he is a real Future-Ticking-Baby-Bomb-Dope- Fiend and must be beaten into submission.
So with large phallic appearing billy clubs hanging from their bikini-Mary-Jee-Wanna panties, they knock Baby Ben out of the crib and beat him until he confesses his evil ways.
Next it is Grandpa and Grandmas turn, but while the SWATEES are debating which old geezer to club into reason, two local entrepreneurs see the golden moment of opportunity and set up a gift shop selling anti-drug wisdom.
It is a pop-up shop that takes only ten seconds to erect (A big Erection) and it is already fitted out with I GOT BUSTED tee-shirts and giant buttons.
Meanwhile Grandma is pushed down a flight of stairs and as the skit comes to an end (in fact Grandpa's end) the SWATEES form one long spoon chain humping dirty old gramps off the stage with the chorus NO BUSINESS LIKE BLOW BUSINESS.
Hmmm.... maybe Ruth's LOVE-IN is the better to do.
The elkafoo is finished and standing next to the buffalope. I had to drag it by the tail out for display near the highway.
I am tired of the process for the time being so a switch to work on finishing the ceiling in pool room and living room.
Ruth and I are going for our first bicycle ride today. It is a test drive to see how she does changing gears on a 15 speed...
Remember yesterday, Ruth had that nice little bike?
Today I traded it in for a mountain bike.
It's because her little legs didn't get to the ground.
I came home and thought about sculpture.
I thought about painting things.
I went to the pool room turned on the air-conditioner.
Happy Birthday Ruth!
Above on the left is the finished 2009 portrait of Ruth and me and how it looked along the way...tonight we are going to find a bike that fits Ruth a little better and have a celebration lobster dinner. Life is good.
SEPTEMBER PHOTO GALLERY
...And the old van gets painted from 12:00 to 5:00 PM
The Van in process...a dedication to Patricia.
In the studio...
Mostly the ceiling will be ivory colored but some of the smaller panels I am not using have gone off into a rehearsal for color that will be used on the Van for Ruth's upcoming LOVE-IN.
Buffalope and Elkafoo
Gina Lola Brigida II and Shiloh.