"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 watercolor, metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The miracle of life from death on a walk in the park

Life, and beauty, from death, Hafer Park
Everywhere you turn, on a walk in Hafer Park on a cool morning after a rain, if you look and listen, you can be almost overwhelmed by the beauty, and sacredness of life...and death.
A walk in the park
Those are the times as I age and become more aware of life and death, when I talk to myself--which if you believe in an omnipresent god--is talking to eternity.
It helps you to see, to look, to enjoy...and to know as Native Americans and many other non-Western materialistic cultures know, that all life is connected, and so is what we call "death," which isn't an ending, but a beginning of new life.
No death. No life.
Which also inspires art.
Whew. Deep stuff for a walk in the park. Thus these photos.

What are flowers but beautiful death producing seeds for more life
Death amid life...I want to paint this tree

Miracles of life, if you look

Life, death..this always make me think of Poe's "...dark tarn of Auber," in Ulalume.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Reflections on a missed 10th birthday a month ago, alas

missed decade's birthday--I knew it was coming and meant to celebrate, and then simply forgot, until the middle  of this month.
That emphasizes to me something not about my memory, but about change in life, in evolution, or identity.
started this blog May 3, 2009, when I was ending a 19-year stint as department chair at UCO, changing to being "just" a professor, and going through the stress of identity change. But I was still a journalist, a journalism teacher, a writer, and that identity was the focus of the blog.
Why did I forget?  Because my life has again changed (that is so naive--our lives change every second) with retirement two years ago. I've steadily written less in the blog and switched it more to of a forum for my art. 
At  one time, it continued because I was still teaching the blogging class--a necessity for success. Then I considered trying to make the blog into a commercial effort, but art changes that, and besides, writing well takes lots of time and effort...which, as I have less time ahead, I'd rather spend doing art.
Most recently, including this month, I have a resistance to the keyboard--Not writer's block, because I see stories, and photos everywhere--but just repulsion to sitting down here.
I've  written several times that the blog has become almost comatose...in 10 years, there have been only two months, last year, when I didn't write at all--a far cry from earlier months when I'd post every day, sometimes in multiples.
So why now? Maybe the hunger is back. Maybe also as my art web page is almost ready to go, with a link to this blog, I see a purpose--telling the stories of the paintings and art. 
And there's still this obligation, this self-competition inside to keep it going, since most blogs don't last very long, as noted in the first post.
For the record, the blog has attracted readers in more than 150 countries, and with more than 280,000 page views. This post is number 2,117.
Most active year was the first, 339 posts in eight months. Most posts, 70 in August that year.
So as the blog continues--telling stories of art, nothing shows more how it, and I have changed in 10 years than that first article.
Here is is, typos and all:

May 3.

The death of journalism? Or new life? Who knows...having conducted my last faculty meeting Friday in 19 years as chair, I show a pix of me at with faculty in fall 1990...now I'm old "seasoned" as they say). We viewed Did you Know from You Tube, and a section from TED on creativity. Our meetings, curse them all, are always about red tape and paperwork and regulations and policies, and never about what we're supposed to do best...teaching. The highlights of my career...my students and friends. Great article about me in last issue of Vista by Kory Oswald....look it up at Vista online. His descirption of me is dead on. "Clark looks like he could be your grandfather, or drinking buddy, or both." I'll drink to that.

Sunday is church with the New York Times. sitting on a leather couch with Crystal the cat in my lap, reading, sipping coffee, eating oatmeal, watching the rain come down outside. and facebook with friends like Farsooth Razak in NYC, or listing to Richard Mize's redneck rantings.

Aug. 1 I will be out as chair, and heading for just teaching, and running Journalism Hall of Fame, and watercolor painting, and writing and research....long suppressed by the red tape of administrative duties.

I'm keeping a journal of "The last Time" of this year, the last time I'll do a schedule, I'll attend meetings, etc.

None of this may seem interesting, unless you're itnerested in the insides of higher education, yet, but I assure you it will.

I ceased my Coffee with Clark radio program years ago, but this is the successor....It'll be worth your reading please.

So this is all off the cuff...let me hear from you.

Ursa the professa

Monday, June 17, 2019

On the "theology" of painting-I

"Sunrise at Fajada Butte," Chaco Canyon, N.M., 8 x 10 oil
A week ago I plunged into the world of attempting oil painting, a new "theology" in approaching landscape art.
What you see above is my  somewhat crude result of the intense four day workshop,  "Painting the Canyons of the West," taught by Prix de Wast artist G. Russell Case, (click to see his web page) at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
It's taken me this long to just sit down and try to write about the experience, far beyond anything I could have imagined.
Russell Case discussing painting with his "Fading Tradition."
Russell used the term "theology" in explaining the processes of  oil and landscape painting, including his painting demonstrations, general talks, helpful one-on-one advice with each of us students, and walks through the brand new Prix De West art show in the museum, using selected works as examples.
I'm not sure why I'm exploring oil painting at this stage of my life and art, but something is pushing me. I'm not ready to give up watercolors, as Russell did, but I need to try to grow. (One unintended side lesson, for me at least--I don't agree watercolor is more difficult than oil...I'm so swamped and intimidated with new ideas and information that watercolor seems comfortable.)
Much more to share as my late in life, do-it-yourself art school continues--I've got almost two note books to digest and try to share this journey of mine.
For the record--I'll probably continue to fine tune the above painting...which is my burden, because it is overworked. Every day I seem something else.
By the way, you have to camp at Chaco (20 miles of gravel road off the highway) to get this morning view--which I did 10 years ago.
Below is the group photo of the class, courtesy of  Gretchen Jeane, director of education at the Museum. People from as far away as San Diego, also Kansas City, Little Rock, near Fort Worth, Sayre, and lots of locals. 

"Out here there's the sky"--today's proof

Beautiful day for a walk in Hafer Park. Perfect for looking up and enjoying the ever changing drama of our skies


Saturday, June 8, 2019

Susan't Porch...watercolor

"Susan's Porch," 8 x 10 watercolor, matted for 11 by 14
"Is that for us?" I hear often from my wife when completing a painting. "No, it's for sale," is the reply.
"When do I get one?" asks Susan again. "I want some Oklahoma red dirt and fluffy clouds."
So here it is, Not for Sale, "Susan's Porch." Yes, there she is on the porch, looking at the clouds.
Unless of course I can do a one she likes better,  with fluffier clouds. Then this will be renamed, and for sale.
My palette
 after the final touches