"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, 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.