"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Season of changes

"A walk in the park," 8 x 10 acrylic on canvas panel, palette knife
"Make the world go away
and get it off my shoulders."
       --Eddy Arnold
In a  world  and our lives buffeted by constant changes and uncertainties, there's no more obvious  and encouraging symbol to me than autumn leaves and light.

I need this season as reassurance that despite troubles and tragedies, from personal to global. I've often said that painting is my therapy, because the rest of the world goes away when I'm work on art. 

Brooding and stuck, I found that therapy today from autumn's lessons on change and the inspiration to use change itself. 

"Get outside and paint," I told myself on this beautiful autumn afternoon. Most of the colors are fading or gone from the trees, but I had to try something different. I packed up my painting gear, got my tripod and pochad box (a portable palette that fits on top of the tripod) I'd never used before, and went to Hafter Park to paint en plein air--something I've avoided.

Finding a favorite section of the winding trail through trees, I set up on the side of the trail, trying to figure out what to do with the earthy, largely brown view in front of me. That added to the challenge for a too-detailed former journalist like me.

But there was still the inspiration of fall. Out came largely earth colors, mostly warm, and my palette knife.  Friendly walkers stopped to chat every once in a while.  I don't know what happened, but the results were change indeed--abstract, outdoors, palette knife.The world went away. Autumn's lessons are therapy indeed.

I should have taken a photo of my set up to go with this, but will go back tomorrow to add that. At any rate,  here's today's therapy.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

"Thanksgiving when we need it," 5 x 7 watercolor, 140 lb. d'Arches cold press

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving on your journeys.

While the roads are not always smooth and straight, the bumps and curves help us be thankful, for what we've endured, and for what matters most, for the gift and giving of love. 1 Corinthians 13

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

But we can still dream

"We Can Still Dream," 5 x 7 acrylic on card

weather? We have no idea any more, after the weather disasters of last year and climate out of control.

But we can still dream, and warm fall days with lots of sunshine and brilliant foliage.

And, as December approaches,  of cold winter nights, with snow and a full moon, and a cozy cabin in the country.

Thus today's little painting,  wanting to be there, with a loved one, dogs and cats, a wood burning fire, homemade chili or stew. No matter the weather and the world, we can still dream.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Holiday Hope

"Holiday Hope," 5 x 7 acrylic on card

little painting  appeared in the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame December newsletter as a Happy Holidays piece. Thanks to Joe Hight for the request, and I decided to try something new, on deadline.

 Sometimes a title just appears at the very end. Mailbox, sure. Snow, definitely. Cabin, naturally. What to call it? 'Tis the season, so there's a little double meaning here that also appeared.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Sacred Spirit

"Sacred Spirit," 8 x 10 acrylic on canvas panel

What is "sacred"?

Historically from the Middle Ages, it's linked in Latin and other languages with sanctification, saint; it implies connection with the divine. The meaning has changed over the years, its application broadening. 

A better question is "What is sacred to you?" It belongs to no one religious or cultural belief, and symbolizes many things. It probably varies with every person, even without religious or spiritual meanings.

The more I read of Native American beliefs and cultures, the more impressed I am. If there is a symbol of the heritage of those people, to me it is the bison, the American buffalo.

Foremost in their spiritual heritage is the white buffalo, and their beliefs hold meaning we need today in this chaotic time. Only about one in ten million buffalo will be born white, according to science.

What is more impressive to me is what the Lakota and others believe, from stories almost 2,000 years old. I found this on the American Indian College Fund blog:

"The Lakota and other tribes believed that a white buffalo is the most sacred living thing on earth... .

"The American buffalo or bison is a symbol of abundance and manifestation... The birth of a sacred white buffalo is a sign of hope and an indication of good times to come. For many American Indians, the birth of a white buffalo calf is the most significant of prophetic signs... ."

The Lakota term for the white buffalo is "tatanka," and sacred or divine-- "Wakan Tanka."

That's the spirit and inspiration behind today's acrylic painting. In the middle of these political, biological and environmental turmoil, we need some good omens of good times to come.