Sunday, November 12, 2023

Travels, a Demo and a birthday

                                           Northwest Canyon watercolor on Yupo 26x20 inches

 This painting was once a long view of one of the Silver Creek Falls. It was acceptable but I didn`t want to look at it. Recently, I thought I would develop it further into something I could continue with as a collage. Except now I like it.

The day after the open studios I flew to NYC to see an old friend with some health challenges. I had bought my ticket thinking this can`t be delayed but before leaving we talked and I learned she was actually better than stable so I saw some different, also old friends, first. A solid week of nonstop talking ensued. I only took a duffle bag with the pants and shoes I was wearing. Being on a subway or train with a big suitcase is no fun. It was possible because it was still early autumn. The visits were so fun and so  satisfying it was as if we were all still young. My timing was perfect! I overthink everything but this time imagining the transportation, likely activities and selecting what to take as if I were backpacking was smart. I was stunned that I pulled it off.

 I always want to go to the botanical garden and it never disappoints. There was an art installation that involved over 400 black vulture sculptures integrated into the gardens and greenhouses. I never read a statement from the artist but I think I understood the 'warning'. They were amazing. I wasn`t visiting as a tourist  but when you fall into someones life in progress, you need to do something. So we had little excursions.

One was to the Metropolitan Museum of Art rooftop sculpture installation by Lauren Halsey. Inspired by the Egyptian Temple of Dendur a couple of floors below, the artist incorporated portraits of her family and friends in this new 'temple'. The video of the project is well worth watching.

 Another was a trip to the Museum of Modern Art where a massive wall of moving digital images derived from the permanent collection greeted visitors in the lobby. It was mesmerizing. Responding to justified criticism, the museum now has works by women and foreign artists I`ve never heard of, everywhere! My head was spinning which maybe was the point in this abrupt adjustment.

Once home, John and I delivered 36 paintings to the White Bird Gallery and returned a few days later for the opening of my show in conjunction with the annual Stormy Weather Arts Festival. I did demonstrations Sat. and Sun.

A few friends were about which greatly helped my confidence

                                Stormy Weather 1 and 2 watermedia on Yupo 20x13 inches

Last weekend, the months of painting, the open studio meetings and the travel had all concluded. The next day I turned 70.
I don`t give my own birthdays much thought. I`ve felt that wanting them somehow special was for the kids. This one was different not that I had expectations but internally, this had my attention. Obviously now facing the [hopefully] distant exit, how would I respond? What did I want to change? What could change? Curating experience was important, trying to only do things that are meaningful. At long last I have some economic peace I can work from and try to help. There is a strong sense of a threshold that I`m crossing, even if just mentally. What does it mean to be an undeniable elder? Until we actually are, it seems like a looming condition best not to dwell on. It`s easy to see the freedom and release from younger concerns yet how to manage the emotions that arise from the physical limitations and setbacks and the loss of loved ones? I don`t know but I`ll take it a day at a time. Finally the true value of time itself is clear. My parents did everything they could to show me attitude was everything, I know this to be true. With my mind more or less intact, I will define this for myself and figure it out. Just like everyone else.

                                                             photo by Cameron Nelson

 Of course it`s on me to do the research but is it too much to ask of the press or local government to serve up factual information about eclipses?? Before they happen? I`m still upset that i did not know that to have the profound experience from a total eclipse, it has to be total. Like 100%, not 99% like it was at my house in 2017. I could have seen a once in a lifetime event by driving to my in-laws 35 miles away. When I learned the truth about an hour before the event, it was too late, the roads south were jammed. 
OK, then a month ago all of the sudden there is another one happening for Oregon but it`s not the 'night in the daytime' type it`s the annular kind which has a ring of visible sun around the shadow of the moon. Not nearly as cool but if we want to see it, too bad, storm clouds are likely. You need special goggles anyway. What is not mentioned is that those goggles can penetrate through the clouds and that cameras can too. So another spectacle of nature eludes me. Even in my shadowy driveway the light had changed dramatically. I appreciated that. 
A friend of a friend took the photo above.

As I understand the situation.

Believe me, I have no delusions about who reads my blog. I am not trying to influence anyone, but I want my own thoughts visible. Many writers claim they don`t know what they think until they start writing. In a small way that`s also true for me.

In the killing and chaos in 'Palestine' in the last month there has been a lot of international concern about the deaths of Palestinian civilians. Rightly so. If ever a people have suffered, they certainly have. War has limited but particular objectives with many innocent casualties. This is always the reality.

Israel is a democracy, the Gaza strip is not. Hamas was not elected, they violently seized power from the Palestinian Authority, the guys in charge on the West Bank. Benjamin Netanyahu has been Prime Minister in Israel for a very long time. He is not a straight-shooter and his arrogance and dishonesty has weakened Israeli society. I don`t believe he thinks Palestinian self rule is possible or even desirable. Under his 'leadership' many illegal Israeli settlements have been built in the West Bank, It seems he believes Israel can take possession a little bit at a time. He has serious corruption charges against him that are pending. He has striven to stay in power and change the very nature of the judiciary to do so. He is distracted which is why the attack on Oct. 7 was so horrific. Israeli intelligence and technology was a massive failure that day. His political life is seemingly over, thank god. Much of the decay and deceit of the 'peace process' is directly on him and his right wing allies. In one tied election after another, he has been able to assemble a governing coalition by bringing in religious nut jobs into the government. I don`t think he can now ever win another election. He has done serious damage.

Hamas is a terrorist organization that has been in control of the Gaza strip. Funded by the ruthless Islamic fundamentalists ruling Iran. Being terrorists, Hamas launched a sneak attack on ordinary Israeli citizens. We all know what happened, the atrocities have been documented. Because they`re terrorists they located their headquarters undergroud under the largest hospital in Gaza City. The Palestinian people are their human shields. They have a vast network of tunnels that are only for Hamas to shelter in and launch raids on Israel. The needs of the Palestinians are the responsibility of the UN one of their leaders explained recently. Israel believes only the total destruction of these terrorists will protect their country. I would say good faith negotiations toward the two state solution is also in Israels interest.

As this affects the politics of my country, I want people to know who is who. Hostile statements and generalizations about Jews are completely unacceptable. Antisemitic beliefs are as repugnant as racism and must be condemned. One can care about the humanitarian crisis of the situation without hating Jews. Jews do not equal Israelis. The government of Israel is not the citizens of Israel even though elected. Hamas is not the Palestinian people, they are butchers who put the Palestinian people directly in harms way. Anti Islamic bigotry is equally wrong. Americans, including me, need a real education about Islam. It gets mingled with government in several countries to no ones benefit. Saudi Arabia is just as distasteful as Iran yet they are our 'allies'. I don`t understand the big picture. Fossil fuels are killing the planet yet we act as if those near eastern countries are indispensable.

                                                               Circle of Life by Moises Levy

 Paintings by Victor Higgins, an early modernist landscape painter in New Mexico. This guy is Beloved in NM and deservedly so. Using abstraction to strengthen his vision, he seems to get rather effortlessly the unique singularity of that landscape. New Mexico doesn`t look or feel like anywhere else. Arizona and Texas share long borders with it yet its cultures are distinctly different. There is a dreamy quality to it that is perceptible even when living there. Even with all the difficulty making a living there.

click HERE for work in my studio