"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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mountain Spirits, a painting's stories

"Mountain Spirits," 22 x 30, 300 lb. d'Arches
Long ago we built a cabin in the foothills of the Manzano Mountains in New Mexico.
My family bought two and a half acres  southeast of Albuquerque, where we grew up, so my Dad could have a studio.
As boys, my brother Jerry and I were given free reign to roam the forests, and the cabin and the mountains became part of our souls, our spirits, forever.
    " mountains became part of our souls, our spirits"
We loved the freedom, and the scenery as Dad painted oil landscapes. We could see the blue eastern slopes of the Sandias to the northwest, and south of us were the intriguing peaks of the Manzanos. 
I've even hiked to the top of the tallest Manazano peak where there is a fire observation tower. So many stories.
Dad painted them many times, and so have I. One of his, of sunflowers, painted not far from our cabin, hangs in our living room, as I've written about before. 
On the road to those peaks you pass through isolated little mountain villages, and in one, Tajique, is picturesque little Catholic church and its campo santo. I passed through there one Sunday and people were just getting out of church. So many stories.
I also took a black and white photo of it, which is somewhere here, though I can't find it at the moment.
My Dad painted that church, a small oil, and it also hangs in our living room. But  years later, I also had to try, and I think my watercolor is somewhat worthy of Dad's work. It may be my masterpiece. They hang together.
Then I tried this painting, my largest, and it hangs in my home studio where I'm writing this, getting ready for my April art show in 11 days at In Your Eye Gallery in Paseo Arts District in Oklahoma City. 
It will be one of 36 framed paintings and at least a dozen matted series, "Unicorn Universe," and "Barn Again."
The gallery will be open for the First Friday Art Walk from 6 to 10 April 6, and it's open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 5. 
I'm now a resident member of In Your Eye, and will even be down there painting some days. In other months I'll have a few paintings displayed, along with 10 of my fellow co-op members. 
The stories, the spirit,  of a painting lead down many roads.

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