Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Second Outing in the Desert


Well, today was just full of great suprises. I've come accustomed to painting near my truck. In the panhandle, It's flat enough most everywhere that you can just pull right up and paint off the tailgate. But not out here. On my first run out I was able to do a little off roading to get a great perspective on a landscape. I've been drawn into the valley of the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande) and the farming that is done there. It seems to be the likely transition from the agriculture of the plains. Today, I investigated a position off a small ridge and once again thought I'd just drive on out, and so I did. One problem, picked up a thorn or two in not one but two different tires. Not good, I tried to jockey my truck for a turn around but made the mistake of leading the nose end a little ways off the downgrade. That caused gravity to take hold of the motor and when I tried to reverse out it dug the back tires into the soft gravel dirt of the desert. Whoops. Maybe the heat'd cooked my squash. At this point not only am I not getting any painting done, but I'm stuck with two tires going flat. These are the type of hitches I'm used to seeing with plain air painting, it's kind of like if The Duke Boys decided to start painting. I once had to walk back to the house from five miles out on a position I set up on in the panhandle for the same reason. Someone borrowed my jack. What good is a spare without a jack? What good is a spare with two tires going flat? Anyhow, there was only one way out of there, and that was a short desent off the side of that small revine and onto a dirt road below. The last bit of the trail was about a four foot drop at a nearly vertcal grade. Thank Jesus He was pushing and I had enough speed to get the front bumper out of the ground, not get high centered, and make it onto the road surface. It wasn't too bad. I made it into Presidio and had to replace one tire (cut sidewall) and fixed the flat on the other. I need to sell some paintings and get some real tires. Still made it out there before dark and got my picture made. I should have a t.v. crew following me around. If they make shows about the Ice Road Truckers they ought to find interest in the shenanigans I get myself into. Whew! This sure is fun!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mobil Operation Underway in Redford


The Origin of Project Mobile Studio


When I left the Texas Panhandle to come out to Redford, I was working on a project to develope plain air landscapes called Project Mobile Studio. The Origin of the idea came during the days when I was driving a Tractor/trailer across the U.S.A. I wanted to figure out a way to sustain my acrylic painting in the harsh atmosphere of a dry, windy climate, or any climate for that matter. Through the means of abstraction, I developed a series of languages with the acrylic medium in which I began to apply to ordinary subject matter, revealing a layered, extremely fluid outcome. However, given the fragility of the acrylic medium, it made plain air painting near impossible. Furthermore, the pallet set up, canvas size, and incorporation of multiple application processes made it even more difficult, and nearly impossible.
Usually, my original idea always excedes my financial abilities. At the time the idea was realized, I was driving an Eighteen wheeler and spent ten to twelve hours a day with a view of the world at about twelve to thirteen feet off the ground. This gave me the idea that the fully realized and operation mobile studio would definately have to include a full tractor complete with stretched frame, to house a twentyeight foot box, a complete sleeper, with living quarters, and a sissor lift within the box which would lift the painting pad up to a level of approximatly thirteen foot six inches off the ground, providing a unique perspective on all landscapes. The tractors internal, twentyfour volt, four battery power supply, with included diesel generator would allow the vehicle self sufficiency, as well as enough power to run compressors and water pumping systems. This is just a scratch of the detailed blueprints in which this ultimate mobile painting laboratory would include. The price on that ART dream would be around $1.3 million dollars for complete construction.
This was a huge set back. How does a truck driving artist come up with that kind of money and still eat? Well, my solution is to prove my art. Therefore, I have begun out of the back of a 1997 Ford Ranger pickup, featured in this picture, Project Mobil Studio prototype001. Temporarily, to resolve my need for a hybridized machine, capable of sustaining the life of acrylics, I've switched to oil paints and smaller scale works. In my next post I will tell you a bit more about the plans which are already underway for Project Mobil Studio prototype002acrylictrailer.
Thank you, and stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dastardly Dogs of the Desert


There's a lot about life that is taken for granted. A lot of time is wasted by petty desires and wants, struggles toward the things we think we should have. Many times, we are given things that we respond to, only to come accustomed to the feelings of comfort that seem to direct us toward the notion that these things will be around always. I've had many relationships with many people, of all makes and models, but when you discover that out of most of those folks, the simple relationship to a dog rates higher in desirability, is longer lasting, and is more memorable than most people, well, it makes you really question just what sort of generation you're a part of.
Today was not a good day in the desert. This morning, just before dawn, My friend Checkers, my oldest companion and Boston Terrier, went out to use the bathroom in the coolness of the morning. Exploring this new environment further, he wondered just beyond my hearing capability, and was lynched down by a pack of local heathen dogs, or possible coyotes. When he didn't return after a half hour or so, I grew suspicious, and set out to look for him. He was found near the main road, just after day break. If you knew that one, you know there has never been one like him, nor, will there ever be. This photo is one of him I took out in the deserts of New Mexico, near Alburqurqie, just three years ago, when he lead me out to an interesting marker in the middle of nowhere, interesting dog indeed. Loving pets are like comets, or shooting stars, thay are a wonder to behold, and you never really know when it is that you're going to get a good one. And like the stars that cross the sky, the world is too hard a place for them to remain, and in the blink of an eye, they are gone. Cheggs, my friend, thank you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Arrival in Redford

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I've finally made my way down to Redford. Loaded up a bunch of materials in my truck and trailer and spent a Sunday making the trip down. All went well despite a detour and a few showers. Redford will be the site of a 2009 studio for new work. I've been here for the second day and have just about got everything organized to begin work. Stay tuned and subscribe to my youtube videos to keep up to date!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Headed to Redford Tomorrow


It has been two weeks since I arrived back in the Texas Panhandle to gather supplies and equipment for an extended stay out in the desert basin of Big Bend. Only the last two days have been dedicated to packing supplies. Prior to returning home fourteen days ago it had been two months since I'd seen my house. When I left winter was still clinging to the country side, clutching it, like a crow who'd figured out the scarecrow, refusing to fly away. But, when I returned life was here again.
When your away for long periods of time there is always a stack of mail waiting on the desk for your attention. I've successfully, over the past three years removed myself from the grasp of American society as much as possible, shortening the stack of letters, bills, and junk paper waste that accumulates in a burn pile in the corner of my room. I'm happy enough to just receive copies of my magazine subscriptions and that's it, an occasional bill here or there, but it was my willingness to live life with cash that allows me to do things like break away and go to the desert for three months to a year. That, and a lot of planning. In fact, I've been preparing for an artistic offensive for over three years now. How elusive it is! The things in life we long for. How much is the theif that robs us? How many don't even know that they're being robbed? Content, to feed on what the social monster of human acceptance dictates to them. You need to be this way and do all of this. You need to be content. I wish I could be. But I'm glad I'm not.
Have you ever been pushed by a force of water? There's a point when you stop resisting it because you understand that it's power is greater than you, and you are going to go wherever it takes you. A point when vision is distant and downstream. A point where you begin to aim at targets, focus and take them down. Swim, like a fish.
The river winds around where it wants to go, Like this post. I began writing it to talk about the twelve days spent repairing an old chariot and a wagon idea for a mobil pallet and easel; prepare for the future always. But here I am, discussing fish, the social robber of dreams, the death of the human spirit, and the time of the operation of the machine.
I'll see you in Redford.

Monday, June 8, 2009

One Step Closer to the Edge


Some of the plants you see here in the Graham/Ford Co-operative garden were started in my room back in January. Last year I worked a summer vegtable garden probably one tenth the size of this years. My nieghbor across the street retired from farming this year and as he put it, "was feeling a little ambitious" regarding a Panhandle vegtable garden. If Hank Hill was another twenty or so years older, that'd be my neighbor, or the voice, anyway. He purchased this lot next to our house, tore down the old decrepped abode that sat on it, ran the disc over the land once or twice, and finally, asked if we were interested in a collaborative effort. Together we have a couple of varieties of sweet corn, watermellon, honeydew mellon, canteloupe, black eyed peas, sweet peas, beans, potatoes, okra, two varieties of tomatoes, and about five different varieties of peppers. If all goes well with moisture I'm hoping to experiment further on a hot sauce recipe.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

News from the Panhandle


Today is June the seventh, 2009. I'm up in the texas panhandle taking care of miscellaneous business I needed to take care of before going to the Big Bend area. So far, so good. I've stayed as busy as possible with out a break until today. I still have about three major details to take care of before I ship out. The summer heat is beginning to take hold of the panhandle now. The spring wheat has turned to gold and the month old corn stalks are two feet tall; a beautiful contrast of the colors of life and death. Irrigation is going full strength as the farmers are struggling to get the crops up due to a lack of rain in this region. Lately, there have been a few showers that have helped, however the wind and dry climate removes moisture nearly as fast as it goes in the ground. This is the time of year when the Panhandle really comes to life. For an artist it is the best time to be on the prairie, but the elements can be challenging. It has me questioning my trip to the desert, but my commitment out there has been set and my agenda will have to be fulfilled. I needed a little time away from the prairie anyhow.

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