"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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Administrators' guide to kill creativity

This is an adaptation  from last year, now that I'll be attending the Oklahoma Creativity Forum tomorrow in Norman to try to learn how to help protect Oklahoma from creativity.

http://stateofcreativity.com/events/okcf/

Calling all idea police: Our state is facing a insidious threat to its stability and conservative, God-fearing, status-quo lifestyle.

We must prepare to challenge and defeat these liberal-socialist ideas and thoughts from beyond our borders, which will be bigger threats than terrorism or homosexuality. Based on my many years of experience as an administrator in higher education, I believe I'm called by God and Sally Kern to provide some proven guidelines for other administrators  on how to squelch creativity. These should be memorized by all  idea police as we mobilize to protect our state from creativity.

Administrators' Creativity Squelching Checklist
  • Call lots of long meetings that bore people to death, sapping any creative energy people have with trivia, wasting time that could be spent creatively, and accomplish nothing but bolster your authority.
  • Make sure every person has multiple committee jobs that require paperwork and is saddled with several reports on things like strategic planning and program evaluations.
  • Demand that all ideas be presented to you first, on the "Permission to Have a New Idea" form. (Sample  of page 1 of 10-page form attached at bottom of this list). Form must be signed by all people involved or affected.
  • Remember, it's always more important to have a slogan, changed often, rather than any substance.
  • Applicant must  demonstrate on appropriate form how New Idea fits a prescribed list of objectives attached to  the current slogan.
  • When presented with the form, ask them if they've filled out the necessary budgetary, personnel, travel, facilities, and other paperwork. Demand those be returned by the end of the day.
  • "They can be found on the website," will saddle them searching the web the rest of the day so they'll miss the deadline.
  • If they do turn in the forms, tell them they've filled out the wrong ones, because they were changed yesterday.
  • Assign their idea to the New Idea Committee for approval, and tell them it only meets once a month. Next meeting will be three weeks from now.
  • In talking to them, use lots of obscure acronyms--the ones nobody knows. These confuse, irritate and depress them. It makes them look ignorant and you "in the know." Meanwhile, creativity begins to wither in the barrage of nonsense. Hint: best examples are from the U.S. military and higher education.   
  • Insist that they also fill out all the seven-category rubrics for evaluation of the New Idea.(Appendix one to the Permission to Have a New Idea form).
  • If they question you, or disagree, accuse them of insubordination.  Refuse to sign their form. Start figuring out how to make their job harder so they won't have time to have any ideas (Remember, there is no statute of limitations on getting even). Assign them to at least one more committee immediately, telling them how essential their experience is.
  • If they somehow manage to accomplish all the paperwork for a New Idea, assure them you'll look at it sometime this week, and lose the form in the clutter on your desk. The first time they call about it, tell them you're "working on it." The next time, tell them you  fought for it, but the higher ups, "they," didn't. Tell them to try again next year. Then ask them if they've filled out all the reports from their committee work and tell them they're due today.
  • Be very suspicious of people from different cubicles talking together, or to other administrators.  Such conversations are breeding grounds for creativity. Insist on following a "chain of command." Don't let anyone talk to others without your approval. Make them fill out the "Permission to Talk to Others Form" (Find it on our special Squelching Creativity website).
  • If all else fails, just make up a policy that forbids the New Idea ("It's somewhere on the website"). 
  • Other sure-fire ways to squelch creativity: "We tried that once years ago. Didn't work." Or, "We've never done that before."
APPENDIX
Permission To Have a New Idea Form--page 1 of 10
  • Name________________________________ 
  • Qualifications to Have  a New Idea (no more than 5 pages):
  • New Idea (no more than 5 words):
  • Benefits of New Idea (no more than 5 words):
  • Potential dangers of New Idea. Make sure to explain how New Idea won't harm Oklahoma, and the guarantees for that. Are there any proven antidotes? (At least 10 pages):
  • How will the New Idea make your supervisor look good?
  • Review of literature supporting New Idea with APA style citations (at least 5 pages):
  • Statistical analysis of effects of New Idea including Chi Squares, ANOVA and Likert scales (at least 5 pages):
  • Bibliography  (Warning: You may use only Oklahoma sources):
  • List of all people potentially affected by New Idea (include all e-mails):
  • Be sure and fill out the next nine pages, signed and approved by every person potentially affected by the New Idea.
  • Power point presentation on New Idea must be completed, with lots of small hard-to-read fancy type, bright colors and graphics. Get IT's approval. Be prepared to read every word of each slide  at presentation to New Idea Committee (Power point will probably not work, so be prepared to read entire document anyway).
  • (This year's organizational slogan goes here, and on every page)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Clark Boys Reunion at Heaven's Bar


"Where the hell have you been, Mike?"
"Not hell, not Oklahoma--earth. You ought to know, Terrence you left me there, long time ago."
"Time slips away from us up here. Don't know what you mean. Seems like we've been waiting for you for eternity."

"All four of you left. You could be a little more welcoming...it got lonely down there, especially the last year.... What are you drinking Champ?"
"Everything...no drink limit up here, infinite mixes. Margaritas are better than in Juarez. Matter of fact, everything is better than Juarez."
"That's hard to believe...what about the shaves and food and you know, the girls...."
"Still the bachelor, aren't you, Mike? No girls, but, let me tell you about this bar...."

"Rex, it sure it sure is to see that smile again. Last time I saw you in that hospital, you weren't smiling, but I remember you told me to live every day...."
""No, I wasn't but I got well just like that. Amazing. Now we sit around this bar all day telling stories."

"What are you drinking, Louis?"
"White Russian, naturally, with all that raw cow's milk I milk every day. This is heaven for health food folks. "
"Some things don't change, do they?"

"Not up here, Mike. Say, how's Santa Fe?"
"Too much traffic, just like Taos. You wouldn't recognize it, Terrence, except those leather chairs are still there in the lobby at La Fonda."
"How's the leg, Terrence?"
"Fine. Never have to change stump socks, no itching. All I have to do is sit around and drink and draw portraits. Don't even have to sharpen my pencils. Just can't get the Big Guy to sit still for one."

"What drink do you recommend, Rex?"
"Isn't your favorite Cuba Libre? Ain't ever tasted one like this, not even when you were in the Navy in the Caribbean. Let's get you several."

"Last time I had a rum and coke was with Terry, Terrence. He's still too up tight, but he's trying. Said he missed not ever getting to drink with you."
"He'll get his chance...just not yet."

"Ok, guys, I 've been waiting  to hear the old stories all over again--Comanche, family, New Mexico, the war, it all. This is  one hell of a reunion."
"No, Mike. It's a heaven of a reunion."

Dr. Terry Clark: A Memory in the Arts I Can't Forget

Dr. Terry Clark: A Memory in the Arts I Can't Forget

Monday, October 24, 2011

Home is the sailor, home from the sea

Rest in Peace, Sailor

Michael Henry Clark
Sept. 4, 1922
Comanche, Oklahoma
Oct. 24, 2011
Walsenburg, Colorado


The last of the five Clark boys--Terrence Miller, Lewis Watts, Rex Thweatt, Mike, Champ

Stories and photos to come soon of this world traveler and my favorite, most influential uncle. I talked to him this afternoon. He died as he was going to bed tonight, after watching the World Series.

Mike with Susan and I at La Fonda in Santa Fe
Seven years ago, he was our best man at our wedding in Santa Fe. He will be buried in the National Cemetery at Santa Fe, N.M., across the road from his longtime apartment that he moved out of 50 weeks ago. Now he'll hear taps again every night, and the bells of St. Francis cathedral.

"Home is the sailor, home from the sea"

I miss you already, Uncle Mike

--Terry Michael Clark

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Okies at Heaven's Bar

"Who's that guy in the overalls, down at the end of the bar?"
"Oh, that's Henry Bellmon."
"I thought you said there weren't many politicians up here?"
"Right, but Bellmon was so honest, with himself and others, he was never in doubt. God likes his plain speaking, so unlike most politicians."

"Say, I need another drink, What's the speciality of the house?"
"God's own cocktail, The Holy Spirit."
"Oh yeah, I'll have a double."
"One at a time is all you can say grace over, believe me."

"Bellmon was from Oklahoma. Hard to believe. Any other Okies up here?"
"Lots of them, because so many of them suffered so much--"red state" to the contrary--you know, a poor state, redskins and rednecks. Trail of Tears and Dust Bowl. Coming from Oklahoma, most of them had been through enough hell on earth."

"Speaking of ...Any Indians up here?"
"See the guy down there with the pipe? Sequoyah. Next to him in gray is Stan Watie, and then there's Quanah Parker and Geronimo just to the left."

"What?  Watie fought for the Confederacy, and Parker and Geronimo, didn't they do some pretty bad things to white folks?"
"So. What makes you think white folks are special? Besides, God has a special place in his heart for rebels, those who go up against the vested interests. He loves their passion. Stop and think--most folks in your old world aren't white. Ever wonder who made it that way, and why?  You guys can ruin a neighborhood pretty quickly. All that  mixed blood is one of the reasons God loves Oklahoma, plus all the immigrants. He really identifies with illegal aliens--going all the way back to Abraham and the Jews."

"Uh, who's the guy with the rope, joking with the guy with the patch, and telling stories to the guy with the cigarette?"
"You are slow, aren't you? That's Will Rogers. Don't know what we'd do without his humor. God steals it all the time. And Wiley Post...he loves flying at this high altitude without oxygen."
"And the other guy?"
"John Steinbeck."
"But he's not an Okie."
"He's not?  How could he not be an Okie and write Grapes of Wrath?  He's an honorary Okie for sure."
"According to who?"
"Him."
"Who?"
"The Big Guy."
"Oh. And who's the guy with the guitar and cigarette?"
"That's Woody Guthrie."
"He was a Commie."
"Commie, smommie, mommie. I told you God like's rebels, and besides, God loves his music. Hums it all eternity long."
"Those two women?"
"Angie Debo and Clara Luper...again, it's the suffering thing."
"Who's the tall, stately, guy."
"Bud Wilkinson...always a gentleman...rare for college football coaches, though I hear God's reserved  a place for Eddie Sutton."
"Sutton? But he had all those problems...."
"'Problems'? You mean sins? Faults? You know anybody who doesn't have 'problems'?
"Uh, no, but ... "
"No 'buts' with God. About the only people I've heard Him get disgusted with are those who think they're holy, who refuse to associate with people who have 'problems,' as you call it."

"Any other politicians?"
"See the two short guys at the table over there? Carl Albert and Marion Opala. Those two white cowboy hats on the table? God's reserved that table for George and Donna Nigh--but that's about it for politicians."
"What about all those religious right politicians in the state?"
"Like I said,  that's about it for politicians."

"That's a scraggledy looking group over there."
"Just Okies, most of them you never heard of. Good people who lived through hard times and good, and tried to do their best. God likes Okies because so many of them are just friendly, down to earth --as you might say."

"That's quite a mixed  group over at that table. Who are they?"
"Oh, some small town newspaper people and journalism professors, among others--Ralph Sewell, Carter Bradley, Ned Hockman, Harry Heath, Ray Tassin, Larry Hammer..."
"What? Tassin? He was one of the most profane ... "
"So?"
"I mean taking God's name in vain..."
"Whoa! Don't ever say that to God, unless you want to make him really mad and cause a hurricane. Cussing isn't taking His name in vain. It's all those people--especially preachers and politicians--who quote God to make money or get elected or scam people or start wars in His name. That's taking His name in vain."
"Uh, that's not preached in churches."
"Of course not. You see any churches up here? Hear any doom and gloom sermons up here? Notice how happy people are up here? No coincidence."
"Ok, ok. Who's the tall guy with dark hair at that table?"
"That's Walt Radmilovich?"
"You let PR people in?"
"A few, but not TV weathermen."

An October week's Pslams

Psalm for Monday--Lord, help me to remember what is important and not to allow those who are not--the dishonest, the backbiters, the micromanagers, the control freaks, the trivial, the self important-- to interfere with my life and vision. Help me to help those who need help, to laugh, have fun, take risks, and to matter. May my actions thwart those whose only goals are selfish, and encourage those who are in need.
Psalm for Tuesday--Lord, be merciful to me a sinner, and forgive those who believe they sin not, the judgmental, the destructive, the fake, the pretenders, the disloyal, the two-faced, the insecure who feed on others' success and failures. Let not their negative spirits infect me, yeah even though they try to beset me, nor their penchant for rules and judgment against me and my students and friends and family. Strengthen me from my students' belief in the future, and in their imperfections and promise. Let me help teach them that risk and mistakes and other's judgments are not failure, but steps to happiness and success. Let me and them learn joy from adversity and the inherent goodness of most people.
Wednesday psalm: We've got about all the uncertainty we can take, Lord. So many people are downright angry and loud and afraid. What we need is to listen, to try to understand opposing views, and to look people squarely in the eyes. At midweek, help u remember that it starts with us, that if we want assurance, we have to be assuring, investing in the good of people. Don't make us blind to evil and injustice by a few people, but help us discover and share the good in most of the people we deal with, knowing that is the only thing that can defeat so much negativity. And, by the way, soothe us.


Psalm for Thursday:  As the week, and the year, and our life wears on, help us to remember the anticipation and joy of the coming weekend. There is more to life than work,  people's expectations, and financial worries. Renew in us the joy of a child's laugh and smile, the excitement in their eyes, and the pleasure of children and grandchildren saying our name. And for those less fortunate, help us to bolster their lives with that same spirit, and to fortify ourselves for the coming weeks.

Psalm for Friday: TGIF, literally. But let us not be too joyful at the passing of time, unless we spent it well, helping other people, enjoying life, spreading good will and honesty. Forgive us for the time wasted on hate, ill feeling, revenge, worry, dishonesty and the trivial. Infect us with the relief of the end of a week to strengthen us, but let us not forget those who don't have jobs, who are hungry, and who have to work while we are off enjoying your creation. Keep us humble and helpful to those less fortunate. 

Psalm for Psaturday--May this day renew our sense of humor, and encourage us to actively seek ways to not make sense, to play, to have fun, to laugh and enjoy the child within us that is trampled by the "sensible" adult world all week. Restore our souls with that creativity smothered by the years since we "grew up." Let today inoculate us so we won't be infected by  the stuffed shirts who have lost their childhoods and take themselves too seriously, piling stress upon stress on us during the workweek.

Psunday Psalm--We know why you rested on the seventh "day." The world is to much with us, and it tires us out too. We need down time more than ever it seems--not just to recover, but for time to think, to remember, to dream and imagine--vitamins for survival in the coming week. Help us resist the temptation to have to be "productive" today. Instead let us dedicate our efforts to helping other people and to our inner world, to rejuvenate  the weary body, spirit and mind.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Journey watercolor

Journey 2--about 5" by 5" watercolor on scrap paper

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Look, an artist."

The Alamo, 12 by 9, watercolor
Several years ago, when I painted this, "en plein aire," sitting on the ground on a warm day in San Antonio, a group of school kids came up and one said, "Oh look, an artist."

That was a defining moment in art for me, that I've written about this week for another arts blog, information to come soon.

I never framed the painting, but just tossed it in pile file in my closet where the not-so-good and failures and rejects  and I don't know what else go. I throw very little away and you never see the real failures...it's all part of my continuing art education.

I go through it every once in a while, for ideas, for inspiration, for a self-critique on my work and progress. Every once in a while, I see one that should be rescued and framed, that looks better "after all these years." It paid off during the Paseo Arts Festival. An experiment I painted of Taos Pueblo I hauled out and framed, and it sold for more than $500 from Adelante Gallery. Lesson--paint more, experiment more, let paintings sit and, like writing, maybe they'll  grow on you, as you grow.
Taos Dreaming, 22" x 30"
Anyway, my favorite cousin, Sarah Beth Lutrick Foote, is a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (I told you I was a genetic Texan), and I gave  her the Alamo painting for her birthday. She framed it and it hangs in her East Texas home next to her DRT certificate and what not.
Looks pretty good...but then it was done by "an artist."

The what do I do with these watercolor file in my closet.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Watercolor Journey

Journey--about 6" by 5", handmade paper from India


The crowd at Heaven's Bar

"So how long have you been bartending up here?"
"Seems like an eternity."

"There's quite a crowd coming in, and they all seem to crowd around Him, don't they?"
"He's the life of the party, great storyteller, brings smiles to everyone with his jokes."

"That's not the picture we got of Him on earth."
"Yeah, something got lost in the translations, for sure, plus all those preachers and their doom and gloom. Don't get me started."

"Besides Jesus, who's that other dark-skinned guy down there with him?"
"Which one?"
"With the head covering."
"Oh, that's Mohammed."
"They let him in here?"
"Yeah, and that bearded guy next to him? Brigham Young."
"What--Muslims and Mormons too?
"Why not?"
"Well, the churches and preachers...."
"Don't start that again. The  "P word" is off limits. Look, it's God's place, so he can invite who he wants."
"Doesn't that make some people uncomfortable?"
"They get over it when they've had a few and start having a good time--see the skinny guy in the white toga like thing?
"Yes."
"That's Gandhi. Next to him, smoking a cigar, looking like a bulldog? Churchill. Couldn't stand each other...now they're friends."

"Any journalists up here?"
"Very few. They're usually too skeptical to believe in a free happy hour. Takes them a while to come around, but once they get thirsty enough. See the woman in the red robe? That's Helen Thomas. God likes people who are honest enough to ask tough questions. She gave Peter fits at the gate."
"And the women next to her?
"That's Helen Keller--who can see now--and Joan of Arc,  Florence Nightingale, and Pat Nixon. There's a special place at God's bar for those who have suffered and helped much."

"Yeah, I noticed the bar gets longer as more people crowd in. Seems magic"
"It isn't magic. All those special effects of expanding walls and such in Harry Potter books? Where do you think Rowling dreamed that up?"

"She's not up here yet, is she?
"Not yet, but I have it on the highest authority she will be."
"But she was into magic and wizards and things."
"Don't you dare mention the P word again. She got millions of kids to read and have fun. She's coming."

"Speaking of that, I don't see many p...."
"Oh, they're up here, blending in, having a good time--the good ones who cared for people, comforted people, didn't get rich or write books or be on TV or have 'mega-churches'...lots of them out there, but they don't draw attention to themselves up here, any more than they did down there."

"What's that back room with the crowd in it? Looks like mostly women."
"It's for all those mothers and fathers who lost children in those stupid wars men started. Or just parents whose children died before them. He spends a lot of time in there. He knows what it's like to lose a son."

"What about politicians?"
"Very few--most of them sold their souls to the Devil. But Jimmy Carter made it, Abe Lincoln, Margaret Thatcher, Harry Truman, Teddy Roosevelt...but they're rare--tends to be the honest ones--honest with themselves and others, and could laugh at themselves."


"I see old Bob Illidge down there, drinking vodka and playing cribbage. Are their any other professors up here?

"We've got a few professors, as long as they're not conceited about their "publications" and self-important as "senior faculty" with their tenure. God isn't impressed with arcane publications with big words and footnotes that only a few others read. Publication? God pretty well wrote the Book(s). The professors who get in are the ones who were the really good teachers--honest, humble, helping students. And tenure? No tenure up here--look what happened to the "fallen" angels. They want tenure, God tells them to go to Hell."

"And Illidge? What a hoot he is. God actually lets him win at cribbage some times. Illidge says he's waiting on Clark. Said Clark had a surprise coming some day."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Psalms for October


Psalm for Monday--Lord, help me to remember what is important and not to allow those who are not--the dishonest, the backbiters, the micromanagers, the control freaks, the trivial, the self important-- to interfere with my life and vision. Help me to help those who need help, to laugh, have fun, take risks, and to matter. May my actions thwart those whose only goals are selfish, and encourage those who are in need.
Psalm for Tuesday--Lord, be merciful to me a sinner, and forgive those who believe they sin not, the judgmental, the destructive, the fake, the pretenders, the disloyal, the two-faced, the insecure who feed on others' success and failures. Let not their negative spirits infect me, yeah even though they try to beset me, nor their penchant for rules and judgment against me and my students and friends and family. Strengthen me from my students' belief in the future, and in their imperfections and promise. Let me help teach them that risk and mistakes and other's judgments are not failure, but steps to happiness and success. Let me and them learn joy from adversity and the inherent goodness of most people.
Wednesday psalm: We've got about all the uncertainty we can take, Lord. So many people are downright angry and loud and afraid. What we need is to listen, to try to understand opposing views, and to look people squarely in the eyes. At midweek, help u remember that it starts with us, that if we want assurance, we have to be assuring, investing in the good of people. Don't make us blind to evil and injustice by a few people, but help us discover and share the good in most of the people we deal with, knowing that is the only thing that can defeat so much negativity. And, by the way, soothe us.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Conversation at Heaven's bar

"So you're open all the time?"
"You are new, aren't you? There is no time up here...we're just open."

"Happy hour doesn't seem too busy."
"Doesn't matter...we get a crowd when between the angels' shift changes."
"So that's when they hurry over?"
"Nobody is in a hurry up here. We've got eternity."

"Who's the big guy down at the other end?"
"I Am."
"Huh?"
"Him."
"Who?"
"You know, The Big Guy."
"You mean, God?"
"That's just one of his names."

"Where's the long white beard?"
"Why would he have a long white beard?
"Well, all the pictures...."
"You know anyone who's seen God and lived to tell about it?"
"Well, I know some preachers who claim ...."
"Preachers! How would they know what he looks like when they can't even get along with each other?"
"So why not a beard?"
"Does he look old to you?"
"No, but...."
"You keep forgetting, there isn't any time up here, so how can you get old?"

"Then why is he frowning?"
"Probably more of those preachers claiming exclusive knowledge of His will...you know, like judging who's a Christian or not, or who's a Muslim or Jew or not, or telling people how God wants them to vote, or getting rich instead of caring for the poor. Stuff like that."
"So what does He do about it?"
"Where do you think the term 'Happy Hour' came from, anyway? He invented it, because he's like anyone else, he needs to get the universe off his mind."

"Does He have a special drink?"
"Yes, his favorite cocktail is called "The Holy Spirit."
"That sounds blasphemous."
"You accusing Him of blaspheming Himself?"
"Uh no, it's just that..."
"Where do you think He got the idea to name The Holy Spirit?
"Did you make it for Him?"
"No, He created it Himself."

"Uh, who's the skinny Jew next to Him?"
"You are really dense. Think a minute."

"You mean Jesus?"
"That's one of his names, yes."
"But sitting at a bar? Drinking? Those churches and preachers claim drinking comes from the Devil...."
"There you go again. Preachers! Why do they spend so much time trying to make people unhappy? That's the Devil's work. The Big Guy likes people to be happy, especially after a hard day, or century or whatever."
"What's Jesus drink?"
"For some reason, he usually sticks to red wine. Told me once it brought back memories of fun times. Makes him smile a lot. And see, The Big Guy is loosening up, smiling, joking with Jesus and those poor people down there. That's why we always have happy hour."

"I need another drink. After all those years in a dry state, this is more than I can say 'grace' over."
"That's the spirit."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Conversation with God's bartender

"Is it happy hour yet?"
"It's always happy hour at this bar."

"Now that's my idea of heaven."
"It is."

"What?"
"Heaven."
Huh? 
"Heaven. Didn't you see the sign outside when you came in?"
"You mean 'God's place'?"
"Yeah
"I thought it was just a come on, so if your wife called, you could tell her you were at 'God's Place."
"You see any telephones?"
"No. Uh…does that mean I'm, like, uh...…"

"You need a drink. What'll it be?"
"A light beer…"

"We don't serve light beer up here. It's sinful. "
"I don't have much money on me… ."
"Don't need it up here. Matter of fact, it's outlawed…."
"So all the drinks are on the house."
"Well,  'house' doesn't quite describe it, but…don't worry about the tab."

"Well, I'll be damned…."
"No, you're not, or you wouldn't be here."

"Anything?"
"Yes, I always recommend a stiff one for the first drink.". 

"So I'm dead?"
"No, you're alive. Now what will it be?"

"Ok, Ok, how about the best Scotch in the world, a double, on the rocks."
"Can do, but forget about 'the world' part. Here you go, best in all creation. Bottoms up."

"What about my wife…won't she be sad?"
"We thought so, but the last time we checked, she was smiling, heading for the bank."
"I think I need another one."
"Of course, that's what happy hour is all about, for eternity."

"Always happy hour huh?"
"Didn't you ever read about 'I am that I am'?"
"Yeah, so?"
"That means there's no time up here, so it's always happy hour, or any other hour for that matter."
"I'll drink to that."
"Sure, what'll it be?"

"Say, my wife sort of frowns on this., What if she comes up here and finds me here?"
"There's only happiness in heaven, and from what I've heard, you don't need to worry about her coming up here."

"Hell of a deal."
"Yes, it is."









Sunday, October 2, 2011

Inspiration, and a coffee shop?

Wide open skies...fellow blogger and lover of New Mexico Alan Bates of Tulsa, Yogi's Den, http://www.yogis-den.com/ changed the layout of his blog recently, including a photo of what looks like Osage County and the Great Plains. I love it, and he includes a story of one of his hobbies, geocaching. You gotta read it.

I've been tinkering with my blog, and need to do more, soon as computer whiz kid and son Travis helps me, naturally.

Creativity runs in cycles, or hard work primarily, but travel and friends and ideas all help.

Driving into Paseo yesterday I needed a cub of coffee. Two convenience stores didn't have any. So I went to the friendly folks at Picasso's cafe, a few doors up from Adelante! Gallery.

But it got me to thinking. What does Paseo not have? A coffee shop.

Oh, it used to have a dingy one where a martini bar now is, but maybe I need to consider a coffee shop there. Not that I have the money for something fancy like Coffee Slingers, or perhaps as hippie with it as Red Cup, or as evangelical as Full Cup, but maybe...

Think I could make a go of it? Wi-Fi? Sure, what else?

October, and now what?

Visiting with metal artist and Paseo gallery owner, "A Jeweler's Art," and friend Sheridan Conrad yesterday about October and change and art, and we both came up with a question, "Now What?"

I was down in Paseo at Adelante Gallery trying to paint en plein air between taking down some watercolors of my month long show and rearranging the rest of the display. There's  something glorious about sitting on the front porch on a cool October day, chatting with a few people coming by, trying to paint.

Frankly I was stuck...it's been a while since I painted, and longer since I wrote other than journalism. I don't like the term writers' block. I think it's just a rut, or a lack of motivation, or distractions. But I decided I had to go back to the place I was this summer where there was a painting a day, even if a poor one.

So I got started on a sketch of a tree on the other side of the street, twisted and interesting like old people.  I slipped into the old habit of spending too much time trying to realistically draw it, and not enough getting my feelings into it.

Plein aire in watercolor is more difficult than oil because dry temperatures, wind and sun can dry the water quickly and interfere with intentions. The other problem with watercolor is that it "dries down," and is not as brilliant was you though when applying the paint.

But I tried anyway, and began to experiment  with wet paper and a multicolored background over the drawing of the tree.  Then I had to let it dry and that's when I walked up to talk to Sheridan and those questions came up.

I think October makes you ask questions like that. Sheridan took me down the block to the three galleries, including gallery owner Linda Hiller,  forming "Paseo Creek Galleries" (on the east side of the street) --one a photo gallery, another a collection of several artists, and one a contemporary gallery.

By the time I got back to my painting about 30 or so more minutes later, it dawned on me how great it was not to be on a schedule. I picked up my brushes and finished the tree.

Today as I was looking at it, I consider it too bland and restricted, though I stopped by Sheridan's on the way home and showed it to her, and she said, "You've got the feeling of it." I thanked her for inspiration.

But today I'm looking at it and find myself not particularly satisfied. Otherwise, "Now what?" First, a little explanation. It is only about 8" by 10," on some handmade India paper that doesn't have a true white. It is earthy, but the varied colors I used, did indeed dry down. But still, it's a painting.

So today, I painted another one, being much looser and faster. It's smaller, only about 8" by 8" I suppose. I used more vibrant colors, and it helped, but what really helped was just painting "from the hip," rather than trying so hard. Frankly, neither one of them look much like the tree at Paseo, but they're paintings, not photos.

What I like about Paseo is the non-traditional--the open aire, the free expression in many forms, and the inspiration that comes from associating with creative people.

So, "What now?" I don't know next life stage, next area of endeavor, next day or even next article, or paiting. But I have painting, and today written. Maybe that's the treasure of "Now What?"

Here they are, Tree 1, and Tree 2.