I spent a perfect day here painting. My boys ran up neighboring Argentina canyon across the crest trail and down Bonito where we met for a picnic. My girls splashed up and down the stream I was painting (look close they are in both photos). As you can see by the second photo I was in full sun with no umbrella, so my painting came out too dark. It is hard to judge values when you are getting blasted by sunlight. Good lesson. Bonito day.
7″x5″ Pastel on sanded paper by Dana (an open studio visitor)
One of my favorite things about running an open studio is helping people realize images that are in their heads. It is like solving a puzzle for me. This study as done on one such afternoon. Dana sat at my open studio, having just lost her uncle Elwin. She wasn’t a portrait artist, she had limited time, and a limited selection of pastels, but a desire to express. So I sat with her and suggested she do a value study, in colors that weren’t flesh tones just somehow represented her Uncle. As she worked she told me about her uncle.
About Elwin (in Dana’s words): He was just short of his 88th bday. He was born on a farm in southeast NE and raised thru the depression. Since I can remember, he’s been a treasure hunter. Hugely interested in rocks of all kinds and rock hunting… also collected antiques and memorabilia. He had a great eye for finding something that has value. Traveled the world leading people on tours. He had over 70,000 photos on file, and was the go to guy for entities that needed a photo of any given situation (for a price). He was a top seller in eBay until the day he died.
The window’s curtain, lightly blown,
Reveals the lawn that’s newly mown.
But life is dark before my eyes,
For dead of night has swept the skies.
A sudden flash disturbs my sight –
From stillness comes a blink of light.
I grasp the door without a sound,
And step out on the dewy ground.
Across the yard, it zips around,
The firefly that I have found.
So silently I move along
To music of the cricket’s song.
I focus on my bright delight,
And lift my arm up to its height.
I’ve cupped my hands and soon it’s done.
I’ve caught the little ray of sun.
A rush of guilt envelops me,
For now the dark is all I see.
I peer inside my two cupped hands,
And there the sad, gray creature stands.
I part my hands and let it see.
It lights up just once more for me.
It spreads its wings so it may fly
And lifts itself into the sky.
I thrill to watch and see it go,
Happy knowing what I know:
That it will always, always fly.
My light and joy will never die.
These are the hens that live at the farm at Ghost Ranch, but Ranch is full of many more flocks. It fun to see all the ways people create family. Through marriage and birth, or adoption and chosen family. Some flocks are just groups of people who have met at the Ranch for years and years to take a certain class, but the class becomes almost secondary to these reunions that have happened for the last couple of decades.
Aristotle was right when he said “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” The individuals are great, but the flocks amazing.