"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.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The texture of "faith"

"Faith," 5 x 5 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas, palette knives only

grew up believing faith was what I was told it was, what I was taught. It was a definition, supported by  scriptures in various ways and and those you agreed with.

That was perhaps fine in youth and early adulthood, but it seemed to easy, especially when you studied the people of the Scriptures, learned stories of what the "faithful" of all beliefs endured through the centuries. 

I'm a slow learner, it's taken decades of questions and doubts and reading and failures and lessons and  fewer answers and living through ups and downs to even write this.

I don't pretend to define the word--I'm not sure that is possible. There are metaphors and comparisons and examples of those who are and were people of faith. 

But after I finished my morning reading today, I could say that faith has texture, texture acquired in a journey, experienced by living in the face of eternity. That's vague, I know.  It's only my description, not an answer or definition, and not peculiar to any belief. That's difficult for us Americans, used to being in control and children of exact answers in a computer age of science.

Another--universal and not just religious--description, not a definition, is in  Hebrews 1:1 "...faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen."

Thus today's painting, using only a palette knife to add physical texture to my attempt. Available Edmond Vibes, at The Vault April 6, and thereafter at  In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in Paseo Arts District.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

American Spirit?


"Bison skull," 5 x 5 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

Looking for a title. Sometimes paintings choose their own titles. Other times I know when I begin, or after I'm well on my way. But some paintings  stare back at me, literally in this case.

So is this one. Sources of inspiration for this bison skull come from many sources, but not a name. Best I can come up with is AmericanSpirit or American Ghost...but they don't seem to fit.

Suggestions? Email me. Soon to be at Edmond Vibes, at The Vault April 6, and thereafter at  In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in Paseo.

Where you can see eternity

"Forever," 12 x 12 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

"The prairie skies can always make you see more than what you believe."                                                           --Jackson Burnett, The Past Never Ends

"Out here there's the sky." That is my axiom as an artist, an adaption of Willa Cather's famous lines in Death Comes for the Archbishop. You can't grow up and live on the edges of the Great Plains,  or in them, and not know how they dominate and create the character of the vast land and its temporary residents.

It seems this is where you can see eternity...stretching and beckoning  beyond horizons on earth and atmosphere.  Always asking questions. What is beyond? Are humans really significant? Sky determines.

This week's painting tries to capture that magnitude of the  expanses in our existence. Thanks to friends who advised me on the skies of the painting. It took a week of mulling over possibilities to finish it.

Soon to be at Edmond Vibes, at The Vault April 6, and thereafter at  In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in Paseo.

"Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world,                                                                                                            but here the earth was the floor of the sky." --Willa Cather

Monday, March 6, 2023


"Tomorrow," 12 x 12 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas, palette knives only

"...Tomorrow is today's dream." --Khalil Gibran

"Do not be anxious about tomorrow...." Jesus

Dreams. Tomorrow. Today. Yesterday. In eternity, there is no tomorrow, no past, no time. Like dreams.

This week's acrylic, when time went away with paint and canvas and palette knives.

Soon, at In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in Paseo Arts District. 

Thursday, February 9, 2023

End of the line


"End of the Line," 6 x 6 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

"I wanna  'Boose!" I'd exclaim as a kid when a caboose would pass by as we sat waiting at a railroad crossing.

I always notice cabooses—especially red ones. I miss them. They're icons of my youth,  Why? They were part of the mystery of growing up, I guess. 

I still paint them, and write about the, I've fantasized about having one in my back yard to escape, write, read and paint. Ah well. 

Here's the latest painting, a little late for our red-themed February show at In Your Eye Studio & Gallery in Paseo Arts District, but it'll be available there soon.


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

The blurred pages of 2022

fitting that the current book I'm reading, the last of the year at No. 48 in my book log,  is "Why Time Flies, A Mostly Scientific Investigation"  by Alan Burdock, non-fiction, about the nature of time in our lives and history. 

I usually wrap up my year's reading in December on this blog, but time did blur in my life, and with it, the urge to write and blog. Even the blog suffered, with two full months devoid of posts after the computer crashed

By the "time" I wanted to write, the year was gone. By comparison,  there were 54 in 2021, 49 in 2020, and 34 in 2019But here are the books I read, or started and didn't finish from 2022. Total 48. 

Finished Dec. 31, Now rereading
 Spiritual, Religious--8: Falling Upward and   Breathing Under Water, Rohr; and six by Thomas Merton--Finished Dec. 31--A Year With Thomas Merton, daily thoughts, meditations and more from his journals; and When the Trees Say Nothing, Dialogues With Silence, The Interior Life, Monastic Tributes to Merton, Zen and The Birds of Appetite and The Sign of Jonas.

  Poetry--8: Call Us What We Carry, Gorman; Poetry of Remembrance,  Romero; The Leaf and the Cloud, Oliver; Chaco Trilogy, Price; Earth Keepers, Momaday; American Primitive, Oliver; The Potter's Book, Mulcahhy; Kerry Slides, Muldoon.

 Art, Creativity--6; The Gift, Hyde, read most of it;   How to Paint with a Knife; How to Paint Fast, Mollica; Atmospheric Landscapes in Acrylic,  Scarbe; Winslow Homer, Crosscurrents; Paint Alchemy, Oliver,, scanned.

Non-Fiction--13 (including Time Flies): The Writers Map, Lewis-Jones ed.; Greatest Bear Run Ever, Donahue; Desert Solitaire, Abbey (reread);Atlas of Irish History, Duffy; Landscapes of Ireland, Diggin; Sacred Places, Goesty; When Humans Nearly Vanished, Prothero; Road to Rainy Mountain, Momaday; Beatty's Cabin, Barker (Pecos Wilderness, N.M.); Valley of the Shining Stone, Polng-Kemps (Abiquiu, N.M.); The Scotch Irish, Leyburn (unfinished; Burn After Writing, Jones, unfinished; Lone Star, Fehrenback (Texas history  before revisionists took over).

Fiction--7: Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury, reread; Mr. Gone, Triplett; Dune, Herbert; Hell and Back, Johnson (Longmire); Tomorrow, Jospeh Conrad; Fairy Tale, King, in progress; The Little Prince, Saint Exupery.

Self-Help: 2: Memory Guide, Restock; Don't Feed the Monkey Mind, Shannon.

Resource, won't finish but keep--1:Oklahoma Native Plants, Scothorn,

Won't even try to finish--1; Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Hardy. Thought I wanted to read a class. Not after one chapter.

"Let There Be Light"

"let There Be Light," 6 x 6 acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

the beginning...it was a very busy time. Still is, especially it seems to me in the beginning of a new year...so much to do.

I don't make resolutions, but have goals, like a long "to do" list...of a new year, that can be attempted or checked off.  One of last year's was "Don't piddle, paint." Alas, there was still too much piddling.

This year, I will try to paint daily, put some paint on something almost every day, whether complete or not, whether in minutes or hours.  And the way I paint is often an interruption between episodes of thinking and evaluating.

But at a beginning of a new year, the idea of one more black and white painting came to mind, for our January member show at  In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in Paseo Arts District.

"Let There Be Light," the first painting of 2023, resulted, palette knives and brushes.