Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blogger's Drought

Well, still no new site for transition. This is still the only place for me on web where writing like this is taking place. I think I would like to have a place to publish all the original pages for my volume's of sketch books from over the years. That is around ten and counting, writing, drawing, free mind rambling. This site is going to be extremely shy on posts this year, my how it has flown by! The last for months, since the July 30 Mongo show, have consisted of a complete life makeover which have frozen all efforts in art. The 2011 ice age. No video's to list either, except this one about some art from the last show...

Anyhow, I got a lot of good responses from this vid, and I'd like to make more, more of everything. I'm just not certain where this road is going as it concerns my art. I know where the art was heading, know exactly what the objectives there are about, subjects, compositions, asthetics. But, the life road is the one I'm fighting against, the world.... hmm, for some reason they have rarely worked together in my case, art making and the path of life. It seems like if you want to be a real artist you have to go live under a bridge and do dope all day, or go 100k into debt to the government and be an art professor, or be filthy rich with nothing in life to worry about. None of these apply to me, at least not right now... but I summarize that any could apply tomorrow. I think the greatest weight I have, is the lack of productivity in the art world does not keep up with the extreme sense of urgency that I carry in my gullet. It creeps up into the bottom of my heart all the time...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Old Static from a Disconnected Television

Power On

Firing up here again. Life? Well, I often refer to the analogy of the whirlwind for good reason. It is the symbolic parody of how my life goes, and lately, the wind has swirled heavily and thrown things far into the air, but not in a terrible fashion. Sometimes, destruction, and chaos are the Almighty's way of correcting things, placing things where they should be in order that they, or them, as in, "His children", may once again be blessed.
My applications in West Texas, Big Bend region, (I always have to clearify because the Texas Panhandle is also West Texas), have been placed in the refridgerator for awhile. Redford was great, and my plans to return there are still high on the futures market of my ambitions, and I had fun in Brewster County, La Frontera (Slaughter) Ranch but it was hard to get paid for work out there. And during the last two years I have been desparate for money, not only to survive and continue making pictures, but to upgrade things needed to continue with computer communications. Those who have followed these writings know this.
Last July I hosted a successful art show in San Marcos called The Sons of Mongo with George Zupp http://www.chickendeadchicken.com/ . It was a boost in confidence and in badly needed sales and public relations. Visit George's website, he has been talking about it a little there...

Since then, I have relocated to Granger, Texas, for a new employment opportunity on a grass fed beef opporation. Yet another barn to convert into a studio.

I'm analyzing the prospects of a new blog site more worthy of paintings, a final output position. I anticipate that I will keep this one alive for writing purposes. Then there is always youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/Judadiah?feature=mhee which I find great for documenting and hinting toward the under story of Who.

I've also been tinkering with this possibility: http://www.justin.tv/judadiah It's a streaming site I've been practicing with, however, I'm not happy with the playback quality nor the lack of info provided in order to upgrade... but the idea is kinda there... we will see.

hmm, this site puts me off, it doesn't apply links in the words I write. I might be through here...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Slowly Returning to the Blog

New computer, ladies and gents, therefore I'm relearning everything. Mostly, video production. But, also, I've been producing a bunch of paintings for an art show coming up in San Marcos, Texas on the 30th of July, 2011. It will be a two man show with George Zupp. Also, life is still moving along, still working way out west at La Frontera Ranch, Slaughter ranches inc, in Texas. Happy to be alive, things are going well. Keep reading and subscribe to my video/youtube channel, it's my preferred choice of discussion forums, I hope to branch out into streaming at some point. See you later... click the title for more...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Well, I took a little vacation from this site. Finally, I acquired the resources to change computer platforms and that has consumed a lot of time. Also, I've been evaluating the progress of this blog as well as others I energize, like facebook and youtube, to determine the future directions of each and how they might one day become integrated.
I'm working on a few projects for other entities I'm involved with, such as La Frontera and the Slaughter Ranch, a Hunting outfit, and of course, A new body of paintings, with a show up and coming in San Marcos July 30th, 2011. There will be more as everything settles and computer files become converted and organized, and new video software learned, but the last three months have been focused on the brush in the paint.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tell Stories

I'm adding this post on the 31st of March, 011 to try and keep up with a weekly write in here at the Operation. The purpose really is because this has become a live diary of sorts where I talk about my problems and tell my heart to the air, talk about my life and what's happening, anyhow.
Life truly is a roller coaster ride for some, and there is no roller coaster like the one that has no worldly security. Ye-Haw! You never know which way that bull is going to buck, till he's got you on the ground giving you the gore through a kidney.
For the last several years my goals have been to acquire enough stability to keep a studio and make paintings. However, life today makes that really strenuous, there's alomost no real security to be found! Truth is, it has never existed on this earth, short of Adam's fifteen minutes in the Garden of Eden. But, you've got to keep swinging the bat. Tomorrow's the first of April and by then I'll discover weather or not this ranch deal will stick. Meantime, I'm working on some pictures that are about my last few years of experiences, a time when I lept into the void to chase after my goals and dreams, a body of work that reminds me of the art of my youth. It's a lot of fun. I'm doing my best to get some money together for a new computer, a mac! But for now it is only paintings, and I no longer feel comfortable talking about them until the entire body has ran it's course and done. That said, here's a teaser:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some Kind of Pep Talk

Well, I'm going to run along with this post while I think of a title for it, I'm not exactly sure where to begin with it. I guess it's been about eight or ten days since I've posted to the Operation, lets just say that it has not been my intent to neglect, but the "real-life" situations that I have been experiencing have been a little more than discouraging. And, I know that people of todays time do not care anything about hearing of one's hardships, or struggles, about no matter how much good they want to do or how hard they work and position themselves they just can not seem to get some traction in the world. Hell, I don't even like writing about it; but, my loyalty to persistence demands it, someone out there is listening...

For as much as I try to do right, it seems that I am rewarded with wrong, and my forward progress slides down a slope that takes me further away from my objectives. I often imagine an angel, just swooping down, picking me up and setting me directly on top of my goal. How great would that be? I'll bet that's the refreshment of a winning lottery ticket for those few who are blessed in such a way, or a family trying to have children for years and years then finally she or he is there.
When I rediscovered art at Texas State University in the year 2000, in a basic drawing class, I was in a social pit of despair. I was younger, my mid 20's, and things were comfortable enough to attend a four year college but I was far out of place socially. I didn't fit in with anyone, really, except a few rural folks that I knew who were attending the same school, from the same hometown as me, but a full load of college courses, to keep my financial aid, and 40 hrs a week working, so I could survive, left me with little time at all for them. So, more or less, I was alone. I did a lot of soul searching in this time, I had done a lot of soul searching before my descision to go to college, so when I was at my spiritual low God answered my cries for help with charcoal and graphite, and a semester later, with tubes of paint and some brushes, as were required for the course of color theory.

Things picked up from there. I knew after a year or so that what I was onto was more powerful than anything imaginable. That, in fact, I was involved in the true final frontier, that place as a boy I considered exploring on excursions into the wild countryside, on missions to find new places to go fishing, which amassed mostly to nearby rivers and distant stock tanks on my uncle's Uvalde County farm. Art had been around my whole life. I consider it one of the most consistent things in my life, less God and regular food and water, with the exception of my late teens, when after high school I swore it off, even at the request of many who urged me to continue, declaring, "All I'll ever do with art is struggle at life, and will never have any money or comfort". I remember saying it, and I was right (so far), one of the reasons why I often consider it as a curse. But, in my young adolescence, I could not foresee the nature and importance of it.

Since my studies at the University I have thought rarely about anything but art and it's massive expanse, it's possibilties, the imagination. Over the last ten years I've discovered, taken apart, and reassembled the whys and how to's of why it is that I must find a way to do this, to keep my head up, keep my hands busy, keep my feet and nose on the trail, render this into the realm of reality. At this point I am having such a terribe time at just keeping up with getting myself in the game. I have spent six of the last nine months working to upgrade my conditions, only to face a situation where the rural work I've been doing, and the man I've been doing it for refuses to treat me with any dignity and pay for my wages worked... I can't even get paid! And my last two hundred dollars will leave my bank and go to direct student loans for the time I spent there. At this time my heart is heavey, I feel oppressed, and I'm losing the will to keep up with this, even though the marrow of my bones shutters at the thought, the last reminencse of my existence on this earth says, "You are too great at this to quit, what you have to deliver will stand forever!"
My bones are right. This is my heart and my happiness at stake. This is what I was placed into the earth to accomplish. All of this said in the face of a lifetime of rural poverty, with no visible way out, except through the paint and brushes that is all that I have, that, and these words.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword

"In this day and age, if you are any kind of a self-thinker, then you are a conspiracy theorist..." J.W.G.

I often find myself pondering the obvious while at labor with work. It is during these moments when solutions are realized and become concrete; most often, they occur while tilling in the earth or handling the pigments and soils of which my physical being is comprised. It is much like coming to the most extensive understanding of the complexity of the universe only to realize it's only scribbled notes on a flat, rigid piece of paper.
I think of art and the world of art from top to bottom, about pictures and the people who involve themselves in these matters. By comparison, in a conversation with Andy the day before yesterday, he mentioned to me some of his business competitors and how they would call you up to take you out to lunch and discuss things real friendly like, then twenty minutes after parting, they're on the phone to cut your throat and take your business away. After five o'clock rolls around, they're calling you to meet up for happy hour drinks, all so they can cut your throat at eight o'clock the next morning.

When you gear yourself up as a young man to take on the responsibility of cultivating art into a legacy and fertilize the realm of humanity you had best understand that the floor under your feet is primarily swamp, and flooded with venomous snakes and hungry crocodiles, reptiles that spew forth the same type of shallow behavior and treachery, mouths full of bacteria. Fortunately, and to the Glory of the LORD of Hosts, this is just the fight I seek. I'm looking for the ultimate place to puke God's own hellfire justice upon the most crude of areas infected by loathsome slothful debauchery. Like hydrogen peroxide on an infected wound, herbicide, pesticide, the ring out shots of warfare against the wicked leaderships. I seek to take the entire grounds of the places of all art and it's people that are not already solidified into history and drive across it with a chariot machine, a craftsman tiller, and turn it's place of soil over and upside
down. Right it, rid it of the weeds and parasites that mean to destroy the beauty and lavish life giving prosperity of the garden itself, calling the action, "ART", a movement I refer to as Negetism, or a period when the wicked constitutions of the world prosper over the good. An inversion of proper subconcious into the dominion of the abyssal.
My intent: Invite and reintroduce an establishment of art cultivation that will ultimately clash with the dominant, "wicked rules" mentality that sickens and hinders, beckons The Pale Horse.
Shoot, what am I talking about? That's me...

I've got to go get my cookies out of the oven. No irrigation gets done without some fresh cookies.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

End of the First week of March, 2011.

Things are slowly grinding along out here along the Rio Grande Valley and Big Bend Basin area. This last week included the execution of several ranch projects around the headquarters and beyond. The first of which involved the redirection of some water lines in order to drain the large supply tank that provides fresh water to the headquarters. It had become overrun with moss and sediment and required cleaning. In order to drain the thousands of gallons of water into a usefull place we linked it with a line that would flood the yard and water the grass. It took two full days to complete the task and then another half day of scooping and cleaning out the tank itself, which rendered a mass of great natural fertilizer for the garden area.

Friday included an all day excursion down into the bowels of the Rio Grande Valley on a quest to extend Andy's mountain lion trapping campaign. This area is an extremely harsh piece of the Texas Desert and if it were not for the Rio Grande itself, nothing would survive. The descent into Reagan Canyon is long and winding, with steep cliffs and bluffs above and below most of the way. Toward the bottom the valley flattens a little and rolls into the river. It is down here in this mountain terrain where the Texas Bighorn Sheep restoration project is going on, an effort to restore these animals into this once natural habitat and also a big reason for Andy's trapping efforts. Along the way we saw the last of the once populated wild burros, solitary, and watching us pass from a ridge. The wild burros were once hunted down, killed and disposed of by potential ranchers years ago. Now even those attempted human settlements within this harsh region lie in ruins, extinct. But not Pedro, the Last Burro, he was there, then he wasn't, like a ghost who could not be removed.
Toward the end of the day we also ran across a small group of wild cattle. They bore no brands and were not very friendly at all, bucking and kicking at the mere sight of our presence, most never seeing a human in their lifetime. It was a long and hot day, but by dark we had made it back to the truck, our mission into the canyons a successful one.
Saturday was another all day expeition into Alpine to gather supplies and groceries for the ranch. I was able to acquire some 1/4 inch mdf board to mount some paper paintings I'm working on, and a new pair of work gloves. Mesquite and the thorny brush of the region seem to destroy gloves faster than you can put them on. We also acquired several plants for the garden, the first of the season, despite the cold front that was hitting early yesterday morning. I'm looking forward to getting them into the ground in a few days and even more so the homemade hotsauce that they'll hopefully produce by summer. By the end of the day it was afternoon drinks at the White Buffalo Bar and dinner at the Famous Burro in Marathon. Then, the trail back to the headquarters, I've got to get more paintings working, clock is ticking.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Big Game on Sawtooth

This week has swiftly ran by like rushing waters of a white raging river, standing still, mezmorized by the quickness and speed of time. For the most part, I've been tending to minor things on the ranch, such as preping the ground for a garden, re-outfitting (still) the pipe house, and cleaning/clearing brush and so on. It's all a slow moving process out here on a ranch, best not to get too anxcious about things because a single man really has no power to slow or speed up the river.

Yesterday, Andy and I went out on an all day ordeal, to the West End, to help the ranch's game guide and his hunter find some bighorn sheep (aoudad) on a mountain called Sawtooth. They call it that because it consists of a long flowing peak of sharp, rocky terrain that looks much like a sawing tooth of an animal, such as that of a dog. These sheep like to stay in the rocky elevation and lookout over the land, grazing on grasses, berries, yuccas, and so on. As it goes, the guide was having trouble locating anything during the first two days of the three day hunt and moral seemed to be that of a potential failed campaign.
On the third day, Andy and I headed out and met them at the Jones and set out for Sawtooth. The first couple of hours we had no luck "glassing" the backside of the mountain in search of these animals. The term "glassing" refers to using binoculars to search the mountains for animals, game and so on. Finally, Andy expressed, "This mountain cannot be hunted from the road, it's too rugged and coarse. We'll never find them from here," he said.

With that, he and I packed up a bit of gear and began ascending the mountain. Within a half mile of my hike, taking point, I stirred a herd of about 14 sheep up from their sleeping position on the edge of a knob, but quickly they were up and over, out of sight. Andy was about a quarter mile behind me and within the next hour he spotted two of the large, male sheep on a peak across from us, a very long 650 - 750 yards away, mearly specs of dust on a mountain side.
Over the course of the rest of the afternoon we watched the two animals work their way closer toward us while the guide got his hunter into a good position. Finally, in the late of the afternoon, the hunter fired a single shot at a range of about 400 yards and brought down one of the beasts. It was a good, clean, patient shot. We made our way to the animal, dressed him out, and took him off the mountain. In the end, I guess we saved this guy's hunt, and up'd the adventure greatly, as at this point we were another 1500 ft above sea level and a good mile or two from the road in hard rugged country. He enjoyed a great hunt, and so did we. At best, the experience offered up a possible way to make money with cameras and video making equipment, personal game hunting memorabilia? We shall see what the future holds, big river.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Weekend at La Junta

This past weekend of February 20th, 2011, I ventured off the Slaughter Ranch here in Brewster County, Texas, over the mountains and through the parks into the basin, back to Redford and on to Presidio to meet those who were gathering to establish an organization known as La Junta Heritage Center. The La Junta group had planned to gather on the 17th - the 20th to clean up and plan out the next move for the organization's eventual establishment. The La Junta project was the vision of a late rural, cowboy artist, A. Kelly Pruitt. He had visualized a place where art and agriculture come together to preserve and teach the rural, agricultural artist heritage he was a part of, a vision I share in greatly. It was an uplifting and exciting weekend. I was delighted to meet with most of the board members andenergetic volunteers including Mr. Bishop, whom awarded the organization a 99 year lease on the 72 acres to erect the foundry. I believe in what these folks are doing and also understand from experience that there is no stronger bond in cultivating a lasting human experience, than coupling art and agriculture. Both require and instill great amounts of patience and hardwork, not to mention a deep understanding of where we all come from. I wish this organization the best and look forward to future participation. Follow the title link to the La Junta website.
Meanwhile, back in Redford, the Gallino Brother (GZupp) was packing his gear to finalize his studio stay for the second time in Big Bend. I joined him Sunday evening in Marathon to have a look at his plot of land, site of the newer, better, bigger West Texas Gallino and had a few beers with him and photographer James H. Evans at the Famous Burro. "Thanks for supper, James." I'm looking forward to all the future shenanigans we will hopefully, productively, get into. Spending time with those mad scientist creative types is sure worth a few bushels of joy and laughs. Until then, I'm back at the Slaughter for now, doing what I tend to do.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Sunday, February 13th, 2011. In two days I will have been back on this West Texas ranch, helping out, for two full weeks. Things have been busy, organizing, setting things to function properly and efficiently, finding a place for everything. I've been entertaining the idea of starting up another blog for the sole purpose of documenting the happenings and functions of this ranch; but, at this point, I would need permission AND I'm not entirely sure what kind of terms I'm being offered or how long the need for my stay out here will last. No real surety. Things just don't seem to work out here like they do in other places, it's sorely confusing and a
little tormenting.
Several objectives are in the works. Around the headquarters the effort has mostly been to organize and set a function to what have been useless buildings. This one I've been working on is set to become a pipe fitting room, or a building specifically for serving the supplies, construction, and maintenance of the ranch's water supply. This last freeze caused problems throughout the ranch, busted valves, broken floats, frozen water lines.

On the other end, it has been feeding livestock and tending to issues surrounding the game hunting. Andy and I have been setting up a water supply high in the bluffs to serve the deer and aoudad sheep that are here and I've road along to help him set a few traps to catch the mountain lion problems of local ranches. All in all there's a lot to do, this stuff takes some time. I'm hoping things will secure up for me here, under conditions that can be agreed upon and settled. I believe I could do some good for this ranch and at the same time get on with the bigger objectives of my own art making. The latter rides upon the former. I think I'm even losing friendships and family relations because my quest for seeing a vision through is so important. Alas, it is larger than I am, and must be done at all costs.
God help us all, but sometimes, most, I feel just like my Texas State alumnus here, tangled up in the traps of the world... see you soon.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What keeps you up at night?

The space was low lite, dark like the first light of a morning or the absolute last light of day when everything falls to shadows of shadows, movements of dark and light. I find myself fuddling around with various glasses, cleaning, arranging a till. A man comes and askes for a beer, strangely it seems as though I know the person, a past friend maybe, a little more light now. More people begin to arrive. They sit down and begin conversation with each other. I look up from my familiarizations with an unknown bar, always keeping the hands busy. More guests arrive, and more there still are those I've not yet greeted. By this time I've realized where I am, there's enough light brought with each new guest that I understand what I'm doing. I set pace to attend to each one of them. At first it seems as though the first groups are family, deep friends, happy to just see me again. The man who was at the bar I served only one beer but he spoke as though he knew me, and he left an extra twenty dollars for my troubles.
On to the third, these I do not know. I greet, ask of needs, offer my service. At first it seems they are inquisitive to the offerings,asking certain questions regarding certain items; but soon inquiry turns into explaination, explaination into definition, meanwhile more guests begin to arrive, but this table lingers on in a dead humor sort of way. Their questions are not serious, they seem to know the menu better than I, the wife cracks smile at husband. Are they asking simply for company of conversation, perhaps they've been marooned here, lonely, left for an eternal stay long before the lights ever came on. Perhaps they ask intentionally to delay my response to those guests not yet attended, they smirk at one another. The idea of watching me squirm; they have some x-rated delight in the disruption of the single task manager. I realize they have drinks already, there is no real need here. As I turn to attend those who are without, the couple asks for more to drink.
Low light again. My eyes crack open to the electric heater in the middle of the room. It's three o'clock on a Sunday morning, February 6th, 2011. I'm in the guest bedroom on a ranch in West Texas, wondering how I got here. What events transpired to lead way out to this place? What sort of misdirection has befallen me? I have a good idea. My gut rolls in bed. I stare into that low darkness. I see every picture that has been on my mind as of late and every picture I've been attempting to render. Are these pictures off my intended task? My heart answers the question before it is even through. Somehow, there is some hard-truth similarities to the dream, albeit, a server's nightmare just had in the darkness concerning my last two years as an artist. Some spirit hovering over the deep, arcing past lives with current in subconcious slumber in order to correct the direction of a path. Switch the lights on. A swift river of realization runs through my blood and happiness in the truth of the coming reflection....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Take Your Medicine, Son.

Sunday, January 30th, 2011, and I am finalizing my pack up for the excursion to the ranch. Simultaneously I am feeling much like the new book I'm reading, given to me by the foreman of the Slaughter, called "Brutal Journey", written by Paul Schneider, detailing the first crossing of North America by Narvaez and Cabeza de Vaca. Roughly the trip from Lockney, in the Texas Panhandle, to the Slaughter Ranch, southwest of Sanderson, is a shade over 400 miles, the last thirty of which are through dirt roads and rural pasture lands, cliffs, creeks, and desert mountain vistas. And much like Narvaez, my ship is in poor condition and I am overloaded, as always, with the expectation that motivation will meet precisely in time with opportunity and that art will be produced. This, however, is always an idea of hope in the mind of a broke, over invested artist much as it was the same for the conquistadors of the 1500's. I, like them, must believe in the unbelievable and insist this is God's plan for glory and success in my career, although Narvaez never returned and Cabeza de Vaca was only one of four survivors out of more than six hundred who ever made it back to Spain. That's encouragement.
Even so, I carry supplies to an area of Texas that is certainly the most rural of outposts, even Redford had a town just 15 miles away. But under the circumstances of my capabilities there are only a few choices I can make: 1.Take this job ranching and hold the potential for art making 2. Apply for master's schooling with art making coupled with treacherous financial deficit and deficiency 3. Return to the highway and trucking with no promise of art or life and little money (not too short of prison). Sometimes I'd trade the struggle for the ladder, but the conquistador inside me just won't settle for it. I'd press on into the mouth of unknown oblivion chest up, head high, looking to the Almighty to make the way before me although it likely leads me to intensified struggle and ultimately death, much like it did Narvaez. My only hope is that once the layers of time have been peeled away, my art will find it's way alive, out of the void like the record keeping of Cabeza de Vaca, and live on to tell the story.
There are a lot of similarities between the artist and the conquistador, a lot of similarities in the journey, like mice feeding on supplies below deck. Include me in your petitions to the Lord, I will need them. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Revision and Packing Bags

This body of work is that exactly. Work. Sometimes it's not good to restrain yourself in artwork but sometimes it is. For me it helps in building that overwhelming surge to do something beyond, the change that is uncomfortable but what is that supplies life to medium, the presence of art. My intent, for this body, is for the sake of my conservative origins, and because I need the discipline of completing a series of real subject in acrylic, despite my wanting to do anything else, I press on.

Artist's Texas Panhandle Studio, 2011.

It all fastens around the merger of abstract ideas and realistic subjects. The further I go, however, the more compelled I am to initiate the "Negetism", as I refer to it, or the act of destroying it. I viewed an artist interview yesterday, a very good artist in my opinion, who was speaking of the same concept. He works up these great oil pictures only to "destroy" them in a positive sort of way. A way that makes them great; like one of my favorite stories from undergrad, Honore de Balzac's "The Unknown Masterpiece".
For example, in this piece I call "The Straggler". The picture itself worked fine previously, but it lacked the asthetic to make it a mystery, or to show some hint of real carelessness. For me that makes the painting new, that comunicates the human condition. There's not much in this picture that changed, but enough to hint at the idea, enough to "help" it become a better painting.

The Straggler, acrylic on canvas, 36" x 48", 2010.

The Straggler, acrylic on canvas, 36" x 48", 2011.

I took this piece over to Cheli's Cafe in Sanderson with a few others, I had my predispositions about it but had semi-settled on letting it be; until I saw the thing outside of the studio. In different light it felt a dead, and lacking finish. It just didn't have the fire a painting should have. I wanted to change it a bit, anymore would likely destroy it. That lesson noted in this conservative acryic effort. Time to move on to the next picture or risk going "Frenhofer" in my mind forever, which therein lies the potential in every piece.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In a Few Days I'll Turn 34

After my visit with Mr. Wells at The Field Lab, I made the pass through the Big Bend National Park. It's faster that way, although the speed limit, for about 70 miles of road, is only 45 mph. North of the park on Texas Highway 385 there's an entrance into a series of ranches across Brewster County toward the Rio Grande. From there it's roughly 68 miles of dirt road and secluded mountain, desert terrain until ultimately crossing the San Francisco Creek and the Slaughter Ranch. I was happy to be there once again, but was also a little apprehensive. When I last left the Slaughter it was not under the greatest circumstances, but that was mostly due to my own business error and artistic desperation. I don't want to be the sour grape in the sweet patch, but I guess I felt like that upon my last departure. It's a difficult explaination, but it seems to come upon me stronger these days, the impulse to find stability to make the greater works of art, to deliver a higher message than just myself. I don't fully understand it, or do I know how to get it done. It's tough to be a man in this civilization and remain at the mercy of the universe, to sit patiently and wait for God.

Lovingly, the family at the ranch welcomed me back as if
I'd never left. Time filters out a bit slower I suppose, or, it speeds along at a runaway rate. Things that happen are forgotten or understood to be a symptom of a detoxification of sorts; like a addict of the world going into a rural rehab, tossing, turning, convulsing in fits of violence. They informed me of all they were hoping to accomplish, and I met a couple of the family members who own the spread. They are happy and excited, understanding of the blessings it is to be stewards of such a place. There was a lot happening, hunter's were there to hunt a big horn mountain goat called Audad, and Andy has been trapping an outbreak of lions who make meals of small calves in their first year of life. All in all, it makes for a plethora of storylines and rural ranch dramas.

I spent about three days working in the barn area, cleaning and organizing some of the tools, re-aquainting myself with the area, forming a game plan with what and how I would begin the reorganization process of the areas in need. After the weekend, I packed up and left for the panhandle to check into some unexpected business. I also dropped some work at a local cafe that has some great wallspace in Sanderson. As I write this, the panhandle winds blow without stopping, and at times I grow weary of being caught in it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Trip out to West Texas

Six days since I left the panhandle to collect and cleanup things out in Redford. Got down there last Monday night, after a trip with more than one hickup and delay, but beat out the freezing cold weather that was setting in behind me on the plains.
Spent the night on the floor, covered with plenty of blankets I brought along. Tuesday was an entire day of cleaning the apartment at Enriques, packing up and repacking all the supplies in my truck. I have about a half dozen completed paintings of West Texas subject matter I brought along to display and try to sell in Sanderson, so the packing has revolved around the placement and protection of those pictures.

Everything went well in Redford. Scrubbed the floor where I'd spilt paint and repainted the walls where pictures were once critiqued and reworked. By the afternoon the girls whom had come to Redford to rent my place were settling in and making it their own, all that remained of my presence was the cardboard eagle cutout on the door and an oil painting of a cow that George and I collaborated on back in Brenham, 2008.
The installation left in the desert leading out to Checker's Hill and opening into a view of the Bofecillos still remained, mysteriously placed, inviting wonder, yet the true mystery of the installation is that it points the direction of the buried art capsules I place on two separate occasions.
They serve as the beginning of an engineered trailhead I used; assembled, installed, yet incomplete as my finances depleted before the whole vision could be delivered. The whole of the idea was to stretch them over the course of several miles, like way points on a map. It will be interesting to see how the materials I used will stand up to the test of the desert. Perhaps I will return and complete it one day. Of the three days there one included a return hike to the Bofecillos Mesa cave to retrieve my cot. Two nights on the floor was going to kill me and it was good to get out and stretch my legs. Afterwards I wondered how I was able to do a three to six mile hikes in unforgiving terrain with sixty plus pounds of gear on my back. Two days ago, with only a bottle of water, the excursion almost killed me.
On Friday I said my goodbyes and hopes for a return and headed East on 170 toward Terlingua. I had a brief, late afternoon visit with John Wells at the Field Lab. His progress is coming along fashionably and in the next year the off-the-grid site he's working on will be transformed. Next stop is the Slaughter Ranch in Brewster County, then through Sanderson to deliver paintings for show and sale. The newspaper in Floyd County wants me to do a second interview, I think this time they may actually want to give me a job writing and reporting! Either that or the guy still needs some other information. Also, a Lubbock gallery contacted me for a better look at my West Texas work, all happening right about the time I start to feel like lauching a long awaited body of work that picks up where my abstaction left off. A side of me is gaining momentum to break away from the safety of my cultural heritage and use painting as the communicative issue it was meant for. Here's to the grand revival of all ages. Wish me luck.

Digital image from "Rapturing the Candles of God", one of twelve, acrylic on paper on board, 7" x 24", 2006.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Morning Interview

Last December I spent two weeks framing all the cotton module paintings I created in 2008-09 while working out of my Texas Panhandle Studio, even donating one to a benefit auction for Lockney Health and Reabilitation. I wanted to celebrate my agricultural upbringing and reconnect with the days of operating implements in agricultural fields of cotton and corn. The diesel engines of the agricultural machines have terrified, and inspired me (the title of this blog for example), for the whole of my life. Agriculture and it's distribution, the infrastructure supplying life to the global civilization of man, has an impact exceeding the heigth of the heavens or the depth of the seas. Agriculture is the true direction of the future, and this ministry is no secret to those who till the earth and know the land. Today, these men and women, the people whose crops I once irrigated, cultivated, fertilized with my own sweat are the very patrons I seek to establish an artistic dialogue, to gain support and patronage, to provide the ability to do something farther than creativly imagined in their communities and the world. Indeed, it is truley a great commission to find whatever means necessary to implement the largest vision of the greater good into reality. Art in it's nature, demands it from the artist and patron alike who embrace it; for those who do not, disolve into unknown history.
This January, after a record cotton crop in the Texas panhandle region (the largest ever), the timing seemed right to show and display the two year old works, my effort to make contact with the agricultural peoples of my origins. How better to do this than the local barber shop in Lockney, Texas. For over a year now I've been displaying paintings on a small, clean, and well lit wall space of Bobbie's Buzz Cut's. The shop provides the closest contemporary gallery type setting I've found in such a small, rural community that is still capable of maintaining the traffic and dialogue of many people; not to mention, most of my target patrons cut their hair there. My question now, will they understand the capability of their support for things such as art? Will they recognize the opportunity, art reaching out to them, of this artist? The life of my art in this area swings in the balance of their generosity and ability to realize, and patronize, the arts. And by that I mean original, not reproduction; original equals the future, reproduction equals worthlessness, that's an art history lesson and fact. Time will tell, on the bright side the show landed me an interview with the local newspaper, The Floyd County Hesperian-Beacon, at the descretion of reporter Homer Marquez, whom I met at the barber shop while distributing these 4" x 6" post cards marketing my campaign. My conversation with Mr. Marquez was well rounded and thought loftly towards the possibilities of revival in these sleepy little ag communities, whose fruits sit as the foundation of all human civilization. I look forward to reading it, (title link to paper's page) and the outcome, and exceeding possibility of cultivated good possible through the hybridized realization of art and agriculture at the highest level. Godspeed, and thank you.

The Thoughts and Times of

The Video Bar