There’s nothing quite like raindrops caught on the thorns of a cactus
Here in the desert of Southern Arizona, we are blessed with sunny skies and crisp mornings this time of year. As soon as I step out of the house in the morning I feel the energy of this place. There is evidence of javelinas from the night before who have been rooting in the gardens, the birds are establishing their territory and there are certain plants, notably ocotillos that have tall spiky limbs that occasionally droop such that they make perfect perches for birds to sit and capture the early morning rays. I call these the warming perches and they are occupied by the same crowd of birds each morning.
For the last few weeks I have challenged myself to develop a race walking style for my morning exercise. It is an amazing gait that frees tension in my back and the aches and pains of the early morning rapidly dissipate. I find that concentrating on the physicality of the gait, frees my mind to daydream about paintings and sculptures that are some place and time in the future.
I watch other walkers too. My route includes familiar faces of people that I do not know. We share a wave, a smile and “good morning”. It’s a comfortable, companionable sense of community amongst strangers.
Today however, I was struck by a few solitary people, who seemed to be bearing the weight of the world on their shoulders. There was no lightness to their gait, their eyes were cast down, shoulders hunched, teeth clenched, a grim determination marking the progress of their walk. No bird was seen, no acknowledgement of the rugged beauty that they were marking off with each plodding step. What anxieties or worries were overwhelming their spirits? Will the walk eventually penetrate the grim wall that seemed to surround them? Greetings bounced off these walls and fell to the ground un-noticed. I have been there, it’s a self imposed, cold, inhospitable place.
As I continued my walk, the vision of these people lurked amongst my daydreams. Unwanted memories of sad times emerged from the depths:
“Plodding steps mark time,
Life passing between shuffles,
Once past, forever lost.“
I was forced to re visit the strategies I have used to drag myself out of that world.
“Look upward and smile,
Smell life, taste air, feel the wind,
Reframe that inner voice”
I’m looking forward to greeting the world in the morning.
Sometimes an experience is so intense that capturing it needs time and multiple dimensions
Walking in the desert as sunset approaches is a magical time. Dead chollas glow as the late sun penetrates their thorny skeleton. I stood for a while marveling at their “aliveness”. I dreamt of being able to capture the moment. Words as well as images flooded my brain. I conjoured with words all the way home. Juggling reality, emotion and timefulness. As soon as I got home I scribbled words in my sketch book and let the thought of painting incubate for a while.
I’d be interested in your opinions regarding putting haiku verse on the painting. What does it add, does it distract?
… Moving on…the back story and bon-voyage
It is always exciting to see work move on to a new home. At the time I created this piece, my world had been turned on its head, and I was struggling to see the future. The piece emerged subconsciously from the confluence of exploring the possibilities of inside/outside turning and my own emotional transition into “singlehood”. One afternoon, while swimming in our local pool, I became mesmerized by my shadow on the pool floor. It was a bright sunny afternoon and I was trying to make long powerful strokes. A small wake appeared close to my head and my shadow kept appearing, disappearing and reforming. From those fleeting reflections, I envisioned female forms emerging, phoenix like, from the old, incomplete world supporting a new world order that is yet to be defined.
Initially, the backs of the three female figures faced outwards and were turned as a single unit. The three sections were then rotated to face outwards and carved to reveal the front of the figures.
The Globe at the top is hollow and free to be held.
The new guardian of this piece has recently moved to Green Valley. It is always bitter sweet to leave a place that you love, but new places hold special excitement too. I hope that Possibility’s globe will inspire and hold new dreams of the future.