"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December drama

"December Drama," 5 by 7 watercolor card
"Out here there's the sky," I say, describing the influences on my painting. 
December brings its own aerial drama to the Great Plains, different from the thunderheads and storms of spring and summer.
Whether is cold clear night air, or cloudy skies with a hint of snow, or dawn and sunset though, when light is at the extremes, moods reflect the beauty overhead.
While mountains are in my soul, I find myself attracted in art more and more to the color and drama
of those wide-open spaces and places underneath that vast sky.
(Day 13 of daily December watercolors)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December Nights

"December Nights," 5 by 7 watercolor card
Starlight on snow in clear, mountain air... December nights are cold and crisp, but the stars seem closer, and bright enough to illuminate memories and love,  quiet enough to inspire worship,  calm enough to awaken creation and songs.

"Silent night! holy night!
All is calm all is bright....

Glories stream from heaven afar"

(Day 12 of 31 December watercolors)

Monday, December 11, 2017

December sanctuary

"December Santuary," 5 by 7 watercolor card
Barns grab  my attention and interest, wherever I go, wherever I live, though I'm not sure why.
The old weathered ones, whether huge wooden structures typical in the Midwest, or small ones, barely more than sheds in the West, beckon my imagination with untold stories.
They're symbols, icons of rural life, with a distinctive odors of livestock, hay, dust, and old equipment. 
But they're also sanctuaries for rural life, especially in cold winter weather in December and later. They hold hope for the future, as in the words of the poet, "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?"
And long ago, a sanctuary for a newborn baby.
(Day 11 of 31 December watercolors)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December seasoning

Season of seasoning, 5 by 7 watercolor card
Season of seasoning...December means making a big pot of chili, where I come from, New Mexico.
But to make it with the right seasoning, you need chile peppers. The state question is "Red or green," and when eating out there, I always ask for "Christmas" (both), on the side, never knowing which one will be so hot I only use it sparingly.
Now we buy red chile powder in New Mexico, and green chiles for roasting. Both go into the frig or freezer until time for making chili, or green chile stew, or posole. Other ingredients come from the store, but never include canned chili.
The results, including how much "bite" there is,  vary with every batch as there are no set measurements for the red powder or green chiles added to the big simmering pot. There's always enough to freeze to bring out with the next cold snap, and I've found the "bite" tends to increase with time.
Every time I visit New Mexico, I think of chili and chiles, especially seeing the red chili pod ristras hanging from adobe walls, more than decorations, but part of the seasoning of the season.
(Day 10 of 31 December watercolors)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

December Dust

"Adobe Dreams," 5 by 7 watercolor card
December ends another year as days and lives grow shorter. 
The old saying, "From dust to dust" may have lost its relevancy in a society surrounded by artificial materials, where we live in air-conditioned cocoon world of plastic and metal and brick. 
But when you live in the West, dust is alive, andI think when you live in an adobe dwelling, always surrounded by mother earth, dust is always a part of you. 
I love the color of adobes in New Mexico reflecting the infinite colors of the ever-changing skies, just as our lives do, on this celestial journey. Are we not stardust, traveling dust unto dust?
(Day 9 of 31 December watercolors)