True Confessions Of A Creative Eclectic


Every Great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is a triumph of enthusiasm ~ Emerson

Where was I when they passed out the roadmaps to creative success?  If that happened in Art School, I missed it because I was in the other building learning about statistics, debits and credits.  I’m not complaining.  In fact I feel fortunate that I wasn’t programmed with artistic shortcuts and principles as I was in business school. “Pick one thing that you like, do it well and you will succeed”.  The next time somebody hears me give that advise to one of my kids, I hope they slap me because I wouldn’t be walking the talk.  At times I feel so scattered, I don’t know what to do next.

As a blogger, I spend a lot of time reading the posts of others, looking for insights and inspiration.  Last week I read a post by JoDee Luna, the author of an innovative book called Refrain From The IdenticalAlmost immediately, I picked up on her description of the “Creative Eclectic” and I knew that she had coined a name for my affliction.

I am a Creative Eclectic.  About five years ago, I found myself enthusiastically pursuing a plethora of ambitions that I had neither the training nor the time for.  Sketching, painting, writing, producing videos and even making music on garage band began filling my free time and taking priority over getting a good night sleep.  Today, as you might gather from a visit to my websites and blogs, I’m like a kid in a candy store.  You might also realize that like a confident (or cocky) gambler, I’ve left behind my day job and I’m now “All In”.  I do have moments when I catch myself saying out-loud, “Am I Crazy?  This is never going to work!”  But somehow, some way, I know that it will all come together.  After all, the most beautiful symphonies have roots in madness.

As of late, I have a half dozen or so unfinished paintings hanging haphazardly in the studio and I’m excited to finish them.  But as life goes, you can only peel one potato at a time, and right now I’m working on my video business.  My wife and I together, have created a new blog called The Local Tourist – Colorado.  It is all about finding adventure in our own backyard and documenting those adventures through our video production enterprise.  We would love it if you would check it out.

Rock On, Rock Art – A Colorado Artist’s Field Trip

Horse Picture at Picture Canyon

Yesterday, we awoke to a glorious spring morning in Cuchara.  The forecast was calling for temperatures in the mid 60’s, another day of melting snow and ice and another day of mud.  A couple of hours later, it was almost surreal as we watched the mountains shrink and then disappear in the rear view mirror as we traveled across the plains of South-Eastern Colorado.  The temperature was 81 degrees.  Our mission:  To explore Picture and Carrizo Canyons on the Comanche National Grasslands in Baca County.  To view prehistoric petroglyphs and pioneer homestead ruins.  To celebrate the Spring Equinox by going somewhere warm and dry.

At Picture Canyon, the rock art was amazing, although it was sad to see how many people would rather leave their mark than take a memory of an undisturbed historic site.   Most of the pictures were likely inscribed into the rock by Plains Indians in the 17th or 18th Centuries, but it is possible that some of the rock art could have been made by long before that by early Indians or by Celtic Explorers.   The “Crack Cave”, is only illuminated by direct sunlight during the spring and autumn equinox and it is speculated that the petroglyphs within the cave were used to track and record the astronomical calendar.  Unfortunately, despite our near perfect timing, we were not permitted to enter the cave.  The Forest Service recently closed the cave to protect the bat population from disease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The remains of several early 20th century homesteads still stand in the canyon, not too far from a giant spring that is lined with cottonwood trees and cat tails.  This must have been quite a find, to be out in the middle of this dry, parched land and to have running water percolating up from the ground within a stones throw from your front door.   These two room homes were built with   native stackable rocks held together with mud.  The walls were about two feet thick and the same rocks were also stacked to create a livestock corral.

Picture Canyon is huge, experiencing it in its entirety would take days on foot.  Horses and mountain bikes are allowed which would make one-day exploration more efficient.  Charlie (our dog) was getting burs and cactus needles in his paws, so we kept our hike short, about two miles.  But we felt that we had seen everything that we had come to see, and we were anxious to move on to Carrizo Canyon before the Sun set.

carrizo Creek Paradise

Carrizo Canyon is truly an oasis in a vast arid land.  Carrizo is the Spanish word for “Reed”, a plant that grows in water.   The one-mile nature trail begins at the newly improved parking lot and picnic area.  As you wind your way along the creek, it is easy to appreciate that this was a place that was dearly loved by its early inhabitants.  Petroglyphs can be found in the canyon walls just off the main trail and it requires a bit of a scramble through boulders to get there.  Plant and animal life is abundant here.  A rope swing hanging from one of the tall cottonwood trees indicates that a lot of people must come here to swim.  This is a short hike, but we plan on coming back to spend a whole day, relaxing, taking pictures, and swimming in the summer.

For me, Carrizo Canyon was a profoundly peaceful déjà vu.  My imagination raced with visions of Mothers and Grandmothers grinding corn and preparing cloth from animal hides that had been brought home by the hunters.  Children jumped into the deep refreshing pools and played on the sand beach that lined Carrizo Creek.  Jubilant, excited young voices and the sound splashing water echoed throughout the tiny paradise.  Up high in the smoky canyon, the red light of the late afternoon sun filled the air as a man knelt, etching the figures of deer and antelope into the sandstone wall.

This is exactly the type of inspiration that this artist needs.  When I can feel the subject matter at the deepest level of my being, I am likely to find an effective way of communicating that feeling through my art, whether through my writing, producing a video or painting it, or all of the above.  Look for our new video about our field trip to this beautiful area at http://LocalTouristColorado.com.

Carrizo Canyon

The Everyday Inspirations Of A Colorado Artist

Spring Is In The Air Near Stonewall, Co

Living at 9600 feet atop Cuchara Pass is not recommended for those who prefer dry ground, a clean car and a convenience store nearby.   We awoke yesterday morning to 12 inches of moisture filled spring snow, a surprise storm that gave the weather forecasters their third miss in a row.  As always, we are hoping to deposit as much H2O as we can into the Snow Bank so there will be plenty to withdraw in the summer months that are just around the corner.  “Gotta make water when the sun isn’t shining”.

Up here, cabin fever sets in on a fairly regular basis during the winter months.  Fortunately, it usually just takes a short drive in any direction to give us a renewed outlook, after all we live along the incredibly scenic highway of legends.  Yesterday, we headed south and despite the fresh snowfall and the cloudy skies, signs of spring could be seen everywhere.  The ice on North and Monument lakes is quickly melting and the first signs of new growth are appearing in the deciduous forest.

Long before the asphalt of highway 12 was laid down as a U.S. Mail delivery route connecting La Veta and Trinidad.  Legend has it that the Stonewall postmaster’s last name was Stoner and the vertical Dakota Sandstone formation that bordered the town was dubbed Stoner’s Wall.  Long before a town name like “Stoner’s wall” might be considered dubious, it was changed to stonewall to represent both the man and the landmark.

Dakota Wall Formation At Stonewall, Co

Today, Stonewall is home to the Shopping Bag, our local convenience store, a mere 15 miles from home.  We picked up a few items then drove around to observe some of the wind damage from one   particular sleepless night last winter.  Stonewall had sustained winds in the 100m.p.h. range, tall trees were blown over and a number of buildings were either damaged or destroyed.  It is indeed fortunate that nobody was hurt or killed by these record winds.

Along the drive home, we stopped to shoot a few photos before climbing up our long snowy driveway in four-wheel low, cabin fever remedied.  If you don’t know it by now, The Greatest Adventures, Are Waiting In Your Own Backyard.

If you want to learn more about the Highway of Legends, the following websites are a great resource:

www.cucharavalley.org

www.spanishpeakscountry.com

www.sangres.c0m

www.trinidadco.com

PLEASE VISIT MY OTHER SITE –  THE LOCAL TOURIST – COLORADO.

What Is My Day Job Again?

 

I know that it has been a while since my last post and I feel bad about it.  It has also been weeks since I picked up a paint brush and I miss it horribly. Yes the computer crash and the taxes and all of the other day to day details have kept me away, but in reality I have just been extremely busy applying myself to the other forms of expression that have everything to do with my art.

My wife and I started a video production business about a year and a half ago and it is finally beginning to mature.  For me, the art of telling stories in words and digital media is every bit as important as telling stories on canvas and on paper.  Somehow, I have faith that what may appear as a scattered direction at the moment will end up being perfect synergy in the end.  Most artists have to multi-task to put food on the table and I am no exception, but I am also fortunate to be pursuing things that I am passionate about on all fronts.  Please check out our brand new video series and our new blog at www.localtouoristcolorado.com.