"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, December 27, 2022

Future tense?--only in your imagination

"Future Tense," 5 x 5 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas


reading "Why Time Flies," by Alan Burdock, a journalist for The New Yorker, who spent years(by our "time" studying time.

He divides his 280 page book into four chapters, The Hours, The Days, the Present and Why time flies. He actually discovered a 25th hour in a day in the Arctic. His is a "Mostly  Scientific Investigation" of how we measure time, what we think of it, how sunlight affects us and all organisms.

Extremely well-written and readable, the book will boggle your mind at the scientific, the history, the biologic, the physiology, the uninsured questions.

My conclusions so far is that linear tense-drive time as we perceive it is largely in our heads--past present and future.

For instance, what is "now"? We live in present tense, but how do you measure "now"? You can't, because by the time you reach the ed of this sentence, or even the next word, "now" has vanished. 

By the time you read the time on your watch or clock, it's already passed. Indeed, those around the world who coordinate time for this earth, for airlines and  your computers, know this. By the time that is "posted," it's already "past," not "now." Technically, you can't give an answer to "What time is it now?"

 Only Yahweh, who is timeless, couldn't say "I am that I am," not "I was" or "I will be." That is the definition of eternity, by the way. Past is only memories in our minds, and future is indefinite, what we imagine.

The biologic circadian rhythms of life on this earth and a rapidly expanding universe are something else, and we're also affected by that--when we sleep, when we're born, the list goes on.

So today's painting, "after" Christmas," and "before" tomorrow (the future), but not "now, comes out of reading, and my mind on our journey.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

"Light in Darkness," 5 x 7 watercolor

"Jesus spoke to them, saying, ' I am the light of the world. Whoever follows 
me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.'”--John 8:12

     "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
     "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ...
    "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  
     "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
     "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." --John1 1-5, 9-14

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Eve--Faith is a Verb

 En El Principio era El Verbo, y El Verbo era con Dios, y El Verbo era Dios

                                                    --San Juan 1:1

Faith is a verb. As is God, as is eternity.

Short story: When I taught writing at UCO, I'd use John 1:1 to emphasize the critical importance of verbs.

At a state university, I could usually count on a few students to quote John 1:1, in English. Then I'd explain, assuring the class that they didn't have to believe, but I wanted them to understand the theology behind it, that the "Word" was the agent of Creation ("Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life...."),  the pre-existent Christ.

Then I'd ask for the Spanish word of "word," and a few could answer "palabra." Then I'd put the  Spanish version up on the board, which is closer to the original Latin, and thus Greek: "En El Principio, era El Verbo...!"

Lesson: if you want to  "create" writing, sentences, pay attention to the verbs!

As I painted today's Christmas Eve card, I thought of people around the world gathering in churches, and homes, especially the poor, the paisanos and pueblo people of northern New Mexico. They  gather, walking through snow, to their adobe churches, expressing faith in their actions, seeking peace and sustenance in their humble lives.  Their faith is not something fancy or elaborate or have, but who they are and do.

Those were my thoughts last night as I was considering how to write this today. But then...

My mornings start with a reading from the journals of Thomas Merton. Today's selection, from Dec. 15, 1962,  had to be more than coincidence.

Consider these excerpts (italics are his):

  • " The interior surrender of faith... (is)...an act of obedience, ie., self-commitment... (submitting) to God's truth in its power to give life, and to command one to live.
  • "...Faith is not simply an act of choice, and option for a certain solution to the problem of existence, etc....To believe is to consent  to a creative command that raises us from the dead."

Tonight many of the faithful (those full of faith, a verb) gather to celebrate  the Verb who became flesh, "Y el Verbo se hizo carne...." San Juan 1:14 

No wonder faith  is a verb!

(P.S. I know, two sermons in one post today. Also consider that faith is different than belief. )


Friday, December 23, 2022

Reclaiming the Night

"Reclaiming the Night, " 5 x 7 watercolor, acrylic on 140 lb cold press paper

painting “Reclaiming the Night" watercolor and acrylic, soon at In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in Paseo Arts District
for members' black and white January show. 

Inspired by Chickasaw elder and Episcopal priest Steven Charleston's daily devotional.:

“Like a silhouette against the sun I see you standing on the horizon, looking out into the shadowy expanse of time, arms outstretched as if in prayer or greeting. How long you have stood there I do not know, but I imagine it has been for a very long time, so deep is the desire of your heart, the longing for an answer to your appeal. Who are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? Only the Spirit knows. All I understand is that you will still be there when the moon reclaims the night, for I will be standing beside you.” 

Stardust dreams--Two days 'til Christmas

"Stardust Dreams," 5 x 7 watercolor Christmas card 

"This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through..."
                          --Old Gospel Song

Stardust...home for eternity, lest we forget two days to Christmas what it was all about.

Physically, in present tense, our earthly bodies are indeed composed of the chemistry of the stars. But they're  not home.

Though the eons, earthbound,  time-bound and death-bound humans have tried to  seek safe homes in a troubled and world--witness stone-age caves, castles, walled cities  or today's "gated" communities.  But they have apparently  also gazed at the stars seeking  (worshiping)  lasting homes, hoping for security and timeless life beyond. 

Is not the real Christmas not a celebration of that seeking, of that hope, of that belief, that promise, in eternity as home, that there is more to life than this physical world and physical bodies?

Those are the stardust dreams, two days 'til Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Seeking warmth in a cold world, three days 'til Christmas

"Promise of Warmth," 5 x 7 watercolor Christmas card

It's a cold, bitter world this week, these days, this year. 

Weather, war, hatred, hunger, poverty, violence, disease, sickness, suffering, intolerance, injustice, crime, corruption, homelessness, bloated and uncaring institutions--the list grows day by day, around the world, knowing no boundaries or borders.

Nothing has really changed since 2,000 years ago , except the extent and volume of an exploding population and decaying planet.

Yet, in the midst of all those insurmountable odds,  there came warmth and hope, hope for the sufferers, for the needy,  for those who were journeying, seeking real warmth, trying to survive the cold, bitter world.

With three days 'til Christmas read the warmth of the Beatitudes, thinking of  He who brought warmth to the world, and who they were spoken for:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the Earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called the Sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Four days until light from the darkest night

"Star of Solstice and Hope," 5 x 7 watercolor Christmas card

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” --John 8:12

Winter solstice, celebrated the world around through the ages because the sun and life-giving light  will begin its return from the darkest night.

We know not  what day Jesus was actually born, and the official days have varied, But Christmas Day, Dec. 25,   was eventually selected  to coincide,   to adopt and convert,  those popular pagan and other religious celebrations .

On clear nights, no matter how cold, especially in arid, desert  and rural areas, the stars provide light brighter than we urban dwellers can even imagine, and it is no accident that a bright star pointed the way to  another kind of light for the world.

Four days to Christmas, and the star beckons on the darkest nights of the years.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

A bridge to a manger--five days travel 'til Christmas

"Seeking a Manger," 5 x 7 acrylic Christmas card

“The bridge will only take you halfway there, to those mysterious lands you long to see. Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fair, and moonlit woods where unicorns run free. So come and walk awhile with me and share the twisting trails and wondrous worlds I've known. But this bridge will only take you halfway there." --Shel Silverstein

"The Precepts of Jesus and A Guide to Peace and Happiness." --Raja Ram Roy, 1772-1833. Hindu scholar, philosopher, reformer, speaker of seven languages, "father of modern India."

This painting didn't start out about a bridge, but a story about seeking a manger, a feeding trough, located in a stable, (barn). But I've often used bridges in my cards, metaphors of journeys and more, and this man I've never heard of considered bridges the link between the past and the future.

For those who are seekers, for change, for something better, nothing is truer, and what is the Christmas season all about but seeking the source of its promise? Crossing a bridge of time from darkness and turmoil, seeking light and peace. Ram Roy's reforms overcame Imperial England for changes, just as Jesus overcame Imperial Rome and the subsequent empires of materialism for changes.

Bridges carry so much symbolic traffic, especially in this season, five days 'til Christmas. Think of the bridges we've crossed in the past, and which ones lie ahead, that we know not, except for one.

Borrowed thoughts:

  • The bridge is symbolic of communication and union,--whether heaven and earth of different places. Thus a connection between God and mankind, or passage to reality or crossing to  eternity, 
  • Bridges connect one previously isolated place to another, bringing people together. We say "building bridges" when we want unification, not separation. Thus a symbol of hope and connection.
Thus I believe the arts, whether painting , poetry, music, sculpture and more, are bridges, helping people change, see, listen, connecting with emotions and other people. 

Deeper thoughts than I intended when just painting a barn, but I shouldn't be surprised, For I've learned that all paintings, and art, are bridges for stories to tell in their essence, as well as by  the artist or the audience.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Six cold, dark days 'til Christmas

"Toward the light," 5 x 7 acrylic Christmas card

Warmth. Light. Amid the gathering gloom of the longest night of the year, as temperatures plunge, we crave warmth and light. Essentials of time-bound life draw us like moths to flickering flames.

Physical survival has always been so for humans, but with six days 'til Christmas, a different warmth and light, draws us to  essentials to spiritual life. Deep down, there is something that beckons, regardless of religions or cultures, to something beyond time.

We find tastes of that  every Christmas, when we gather in warmth and light and celebrate physical  living, and the incarnation of eternity. 

Sunday, December 18, 2022

"Inside the gate"--seven days 'til Christmas

"Just Inside the Gate," 5 x 7 acrylic Christmas card

"...knock and it shall be opened..."
"...so just step inside the gate...."
"Trust in dreams for in them is the gate to eternity."
"Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate."
"I took the road less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.."
(Jesus, old Gospel song, Kahill Gibran, J.R.R. Tolkein, Robert Frost.)

 While every day, and perhaps every step, opens or shuts metaphorical gates in our lives, as we choose one option or another, perhaps no one season symbolizes that more than the Christmas season and the looming end of the year.
Gates always grab  attention, especially in the rural landscapes where they mark boundaries and journeys, hinting of  mysteries or stories to tell as time passes. 
They beckon, they invite. They welcome, if not in person, in imagination, in spirit.
Definitely seven days 'til Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Moon Magic...today's painting

"Moon Magic," 8 x 10 acrylic on canvas panel

challenge of black and white! Trying to shift from brilliant color to the beauty of simple black and white requires a different way of seeing.

I've regressed these two weeks, trying to get ready for my gallery's In Your Eye Studio and Gallery, January-themed  member show.

I've written about and painted the moon many times in the past, because it pulls me like the tide, getting stronger as I age. Today's painting is the latest attempt, combined with my iconic cabin in the. mountains.

It'll be available at the gallery beginning January 6, a day after my birthday, at the First Friday Art Walk in Paseo Arts district.

Home...eight days 'til Christmas

"Sanctuary," 5 x 7 watercolor Christmas card

"I'll be home for Christmas...if only in my dreams." 

That 1943 song recorded by Bing Crosby, written by lyricist Kim Gannon and composer Walter Kent, captured the emotion and hopes of all those American servicemen in the anger and violence of remote WWII, so far away from the warmth and safety of loved ones.

It still does for so many people, perhaps even more, scattered  around the world though the years, or threatened by danger and violence of war and homelessness.

Last week on a cold day, I saw a homeless person huddled in a sleeping bag at the corner of Penn and Memorial. Near downtown recently, we saw a homeless camp of tents not far from the sparkling lights of OKC's "Renaissance." In Ukrainians, their homes are being bombed. I wonder what their Christmas dreams are like, what kind of "Holy-day" they are having.

For me, with my children and grandchildren so far away, at least I can see and talk to them through modern technology, and enjoy the love of in-laws. Long ago, returning from a Culp cousin reunion in East Texas, I wrote a poem of my thoughts during this season that  includes these lines:

 "Driving in East Texas is like going back into the womb.

It's warm, and wet, and ... green.

Where families are born, and grow, and spread out like runners 

from the ivy growing up the trunks of the hardwoods, 

across miles and years."

So as we approach Christmas eight days from now, with our "decorations so bright," let us savor the sanctuary of "home," and be thankful and enjoy every second and loved ones, remembering those who can't. 

This card captures those emotions for me, the warmth and joy of adobe, red chilis and a Christmas wreath on a white Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Moon Memories

"Moon River," 5 x 7 acrylic on canvas panel

songs stick in your should memories, bringing back times and people  before. I grew up when you could understand the words, not just the blaring beat of the music. 

So my wife makes fun of me when we play some of my favorites.  One such song is "Moon River," and for a lover of the moon, and the magic of the Mississippi River, it takes little to bring it to mind.

Now that our gallery, In Your Eye Studio and Gallery has themed our January group show "Black and White," it's no wonder I could almost see this painting before I even started.

Here it is, 5 x 7, "Moon River." Remember those words: "Moon River, wider than a mile....Oh, dream maker..."? In the gallery in Paseo in January. Framed as an 8 x 10 or so.

Mountain Time, nine days 'til Christmas

"Mountain Time," 5 x 7 acrylic Christmas card

"Go tell it on the mountain," one of my favorite songs because of its  energy, joy and my memories, resounds with me during the Christmas season.

As an adult, Jesus went to the mountains, for solitude, prayer, and spiritual strength.  I identify, again especially in this season, where "Mountain Time" is not an earthly time zone, but deeply personal.

Add a cabin for solitude in the presence of the mountains,  you literally feel closer to God, creation and eternity, in so many ways. 

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Ten Day Journey to Christmas

"Magic Beckons," 5 x 7 watercolor Christmas card

By now, we're sick and tired of the constant commercial claptrap, noise and traffic that began more than a month ago, ironic opposites of  a season and a day dedicated to supposed peace on earth.

But the journey to that magic day of personal peace in worship, faith, family, friends, goodness, giving and memory beckons, needed  even more as this violent year nears end.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Black and white journeys

"Hunters' Moon"


"Tuxedo Time"


Here they are, 4 x 4 acrylics for the January-tehemded black and white show at In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in @Paseo Arts District, OKC.

Everything looks better in black and white

"Call of the  Wild," 4 x 4 acrylic on canvas

 "Everything looks better in black and white." One version of "Kodachrome," by Simon and Garfunkel, is my theme for our members January -themed group show at In Your Eye Studio & Gallery in @PaseoArtsDistrict

"Polar Express"

an old journalist /photographer who took lots of photos using Tri-x film, I learned to look in black and white for the photos that would print well in newspapers. Thus challenged, here are two on, 4 x 4 acrylic on canvas, and  "Polar Express." More and larger coming!

11 days 'til Christmas, as time passes

"Season of changes," 5 x 7 acrylic Christmas card

As winter approaches, and the moon announces another season, and thoughts turn to Christmas, change fills the air, as we pass though gates of time in our lives.
Remembering what is past, valuing thee present, hoping for a future, the season's bright holiday lights symbolize all three moods.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The blog returns, 12 days 'til Christmas

"Mountain Moonrise," 5 x 7 Christmas card

The blog is back, after almost three months of mishaps and adventures and plenty of painting.

Blame my computer which crashed just after Sept. 18, and was not reparable--after 13 years. I didn't want to replace it immediately because of the cost, and I'm very experienced at procrastinating. Even when I finally indebted myself for a new one, about a month ago, I still couldn't seem to move myself to the keyboard.

But today, as Christmas nears, I made myself return to my tradition of posting my Christmas card countdown. Our family list of cards to send approaches 100, and last year, instead of doing individual paintings for everyone, I bought a good printer, did about a dozen, printed them and mailed away. 

Today's post is one of about 11 originals this year, then printed to cover the lists that I and Susan keep. 

That's the story, the excuse, for bringing the blog back to life out of its hibernation.

The blog has obviously changed over the years as I have, and this will be the year with he fewest posts, although one year also had two months without publishing. 

I'll bring you up to date with photos and paintings before the year ends.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Altitude attitudes

"Aspen Road," 12 x 12 acrylic, palette knives, brushes, gallery-wrapped canvas

getting altitude sickness--the good kind. 

Friends in New Mexico and Colorado are already posting photos of the signature colors of autumn in the high country, beckoning me again.

Though it will be a while before we can drink in the multi-sensory spells of that country, I can still dream, and try again to paint  the glittering,  quaking images of a high altitude beacon.

Almost everyone who knows about the magic of aspen has painted, or tried capturing their spirit, how they demand your attention and wonder, in original ways.

Aspen always catch my attention, even in summer--as you drive up into the mountains, gaining altitude, seeing the white trunks of the aspen always prompts an exclamation, "Aspen!" 

In the autumn, their changing leaves, twinkling in the clear alpine air, take your breath away with yellows, oranges, reds and more, even from a distance. To wander a country lane between an aspen grove is a walk of wonder. And somehow, photos never seem to quite do them justice.

It is difficult trying to come up with an original composition, not an imitation of some other work I've seen, and this is not the first time I've attempted to tell the story of their effect on me and others. But it is the first in acrylics, perhaps the second of my road paintings.

(Soon to be available at In Your Eye Studio & Gallery in Paseo Arts District.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Road to Autumn

"Autumn Road," 10 x 10 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

porch thoughts as autumn nears next week--shorter days, cooler temperatures...leaves will soon be changing. The texture of the season looms in color, eagerly awaited after this summer of heat.

Dreams of a favorite season, and today's painting on back porch , in plein air, "Autumn Road," playing with a palette knife to grab the textures, and a few brush strokes. Soon available at In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in Paseo Arts District.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

"Sunset" thoughts

"Sunset," 16 x 20, acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas, see credit below

hundred years ago, the British Empire, with the most powerful military in the world, and  influence around the world, was nearing its sunset.

Today, it seems the American empire seems to be following history. The most powerful military, yes. Influence around the world? Yes.

But internally, the rampant signs of decay, not just political, but in technology and education and constant war and more are everywhere in America.

Consider China, the new super power of the the rest of the century, in technology and influence.. And it will also pass, as the pressures of population and acceleration of time take toll of "civilizations." 

'Tis not the first, nor the last, for sunsets on the British or Roman, or any other empire, including the United States, tearing itself apart.

Today's painting harks back to when another empire of freedom was in its sunset. That of wide open spaces, of peoples who lived in harmony with their world.. Not a utopia, nor an empire, but of existence, wiped out by  so-called civilization of aliens.

Gloomy thoughts? Perhaps, but also,  inspiration for freedom, for survival. 


Inspired by Harold Von Schmidt woodcut in "Death comes force Archbishop by Willa Cather, 1926.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Where is your cabin?

"Cabin Fever," 12 x 12 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas
Cabins have a long life in my memories, of people and places and photos and more.

Daydreaming of them all in the summer of heat that sapped my creativity,. I had to return to my roots.

Thus today’s painting, wondering “Where is your cabin?"

Monday, July 25, 2022

Journeys to Creation

"Journeys," 12 x 12 acrylic, gallery-wrapped canvas. Soon at In Your Eye Studio and Gallery

current definition of "God" is "infinity." Eternal present spirit tense. "I am that I am,"--Genesis.

All art has stories, has histories, encounters with spirit, and so it is with this week's painting.

It began this when when a friend and fellow artist  Jim Resnicek in In Your Eye Gallery bought my 5 x 5 acrylic of a spiritual ladder, "Journeys." Here's the original blog post on it, from a year ago--"From Dust to Dust."

While we were talking, about art and ideas, I found this painting in my mind.

It comes from inspiration by my second daily readings, of

Chickasaw elder, Okie  and Episcopal priest Steve Charleston, whose daily meditations a read every day. You should follow him on Facebook for this calming words and insights into the infinity of "Spirit." His book, Ladder to the Light, drawing on New Mexico pueblo religions and cultures, of ladders from inside kivas, speaks to our struggle in this un-spiritual world. 

Two more readings begin my days. They also influenced a part of this painting. First there is the daily calendar of comments  and insights by the Catholic Trappist monk and mystic, Thomas Merton. Though he wrote and died in the 1960s, his imagery and insights seem to fit todays turmoils, evidence again of eternal spirit and present tense. See A Year With Thomas Merton.

The third daily reading is always Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest who is in charge of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque. His daily email  seems to always fit within the scope of these other two.

So this painting calls to me of our journeys to infinity, step by step, rung by rung up a ladder, across the spectrum of light and life.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Mountain monsoon moods

"Mountain monsoon," 8 x 12 watercolor, 140 lb. paper

How to escape the heat storm  hitting 111 degrees here tomorrow?

Only in my imagination of course. and I think of my favorite New Mexico Mountains, the Truchas peaks, and the blue and gray monsoon thunderheads towering up late in the morning and spreading into the afternoon.

You can see them building in the late morning, from far away, and then they dominate the sky and landscapes, bringing cool shade and weather and rain to the high country, and down into the valleys of the high desert.

So here's today's watercolor, painting the Truchas from memory, combined with thunderheads we saw on trips a few years ago--I'm always taking photos of them--fascinating infinite colors and shapes, changing every moment.

From my paintings this week, you can tell where my mind and heart are, hunkered down with memories, as the heat climbs.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

The word "monsoon"

"Monsoon weather," 8 x 10 watercolor, 140 lb. paper

love the word "monsoon," especially in the mountains and high deserts of New Mexico and the Southwest.

It means billowing thunderheads, blue-gray and infinite in shapes and power, especially over the mountains. bringing life and relief in July and August.

Today's watercolor tries to approximate that, as I long for rain and clouds and far vistas...water for this parched part of the Great Plains. I will keep trying...watercolor is perfect for these times.

I still have work to capture the beauty of them, more blue, more gray, but as I keep dreaming of rains and a break from the heat, here it is.

Here is the origin of the word, from the online etymology dictionary:

1580s, "alternating trade wind of the Indian Ocean," from Dutch monssoen, from Portuguese monçao, from Arabic mawsim "time of year, appropriate season" (for a voyage, pilgrimage, etc.), from wasama "he marked." The Arabic word, picked up by Portuguese sailors in the Indian Ocean, was used for anything that comes round every year (such as a festival), and was extended to the season of the year when the monsoon blows from the southwest (April through October) and the winds were right for voyages to the East Indies. In India, the summer monsoon is much stronger than the winter and was popularly spoken of emphatically as "the monsoon." It also brings heavy rain, hence the meaning "heavy episode of rainfall during the rainy season" (1747). Related: Monsoonal.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Dreaming of Rain

"Dreaming of Rain," 8 x 10 watercolor, 140 lb. paper

I dream of rain these days.

Unrelenting heat, and it's not even August yet. Much is still green, but if this "dome: doesn't dissipate (geen wanting to use that word), brown will be the dominate color across the Great Plains.

Can't do much about it, other than pay an air conditioning bill. 

Or, paint some of my dreams, in "water"color, of course, live giving fluid in a hot, arid land.

Today's small effort.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Gathering Storms

"Gathering Storms," 16" x "20 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

seems to rule our lives these days, at home and in the world, as storms gather on all horizons.

The only places where people are smiling, completely out of touch with reality, are in the stupid TV commercials, trying to sell happiness, no matter the product.

Gathering storms--the war in Ukraine, with a real threat of another world war on the horizon. The infuriating proof of the Jan. 6 treasonous riot at the capitol, with another coup threatened. The string of mass shootings, as the NRA ownership of Congress, looms as more disaster at anyplace, anytime. The variant spreading pandemic, and climate change threatening human extinction. 

I find relief and peace from the maelstrom of threats and bad news only in reading the insights of religious mystics, in happy moments with families, in traveling the back roads, and in painting.

Even it takes effort to shake off the gathering storms. But again, I somehow returned to the valiant colors of The Ukraine, in a similar effort to my earlier smaller watercolor, "Storm Over Freedom."

Here it is, after a week of work, dedicated again to the Ukrainians fighting for freedom and survival against the war criminal Russians and their neo-Hitler.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

"When there is no peace"--Ukraine and U.S.A.

"Storm Over Freedom," 8 x 10 watercolor, 140 lb. Fabriano cold press paper

"They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying,'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace."--Jeremiah 6-14

The colors of Ukraine keep unintentionally cropping up when I paint something these days.

That must be how deep in by subconscious the Russian war crimes against freedom  have me occupied.

Thus came to mind the verse from Jeremiah while I painted, but then it's obviously appropriate for America, this so called Independence Day.

The United States of Afraid, and Anger.

We are more divided that anytime since the Civil War, and there is no civility surviving in this country, in governments, in speech, in media, or in the streets. Right-wing "pro" lifers have rammed their vehicles onto protestors. Right-wing bigots have  threatened and  disrupted a patriotic parade in Texas with a decorated Marine as grand master. Mass shootings and murders are the norm, not the exception. 

What are we "free" from?

Where is the "Peace"? 

Today's painting was supposed to be titled, "Storm a' Coming." Not today, that I think about it. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Sizzling Solstice.

"Sizzling Solstice," 5 x 7 140 lb watercolor

storm...upper 90s and 100s all week. Saps everything, including motivation. So this was only thing that came to mind. And like everything else today, an effort. Drought in Oklahoma and the West.

Friday, June 17, 2022

The Green Leaves of Summer...Calling...


"Calling Me Home," 5 x 7 watercolor, 140 lb. paper

Summer sets in...as the heat rises and memories of summers past flood back.

Several songs capture those moods, and for me, one of them is "The Green Leaves of Summer," by Dimitri Tiomkin and Paul Francis Weber.

That's probably because I first heard it as a teenager as the theme song to the movie, The Alamo. So romantic, especially for a youngster,  a Texas native, reared on the myths and glory of that Texas bastion, even if the battle occurred in a cold springtime.

Now, after reading and aging, I know the John Wayne movie was more myth than reality, and other movies have been more accurate, and less racist. But the song remains, better than the movie, always stirring haunting personal memories, and a memorial for brave men who died.

Thus today's return to watercolor.

"Twas so good to be young then
To be close to the earth
Now the green leaves of summer
Are calling me home."