What If

Drawn To Fire 1500

“Drawn By Fire”

From time to time my inner critic screams at me “Where is your focus Man? Don’t you know that a jack of all trade is a master of none?”. He has a point. I do have a tendency to be overly eclectic in my pursuits and I agree that in some ways life might be easier had I narrowed the field. The thing is that over and over again the words “WHAT IF” pop into my brain and I must drop what I’m doing and listen to the words that follow. What if I leave behind the safety of that solid career to try to build a new business from the ground up? That was a big one! What if I create videos that showcase the beauty of nature? What if those videos can promote tourism and the arts or sell real estate? What if I follow my childhood dream of being a photographer? What if I pick up a brush and move some paint around to see what happens? What if I use this time that I’m coping with illness to paint full moon winter scenes with cabins and skiers and full moons? WHAT IF? WHAT IF? WHAT IF?

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The truth is that listening to the “what if’s” can and will result in spinning wheels. You may be led down a few dead end paths and at times you may feel completely stranded but if you just keep the wheels moving eventually you will find traction. If you keep the wheels moving you will find yourself on a path to completeness that never would have been found had you played it safe. Don’t ever forget that “Every Brilliant Idea begins with ‘What If’”

 

TwoStepsForward 2500

“Two Steps Forward”

Fetching Water 2500

“Fetching Water”

 

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My Wall In The Denver Art District at Grace Gallery

 

An Artist’s Work Is Never Finished

Alpenglow 6 2000

As promised in my last post I completed this piece this week and I’m sharing.

Something about finishing a job just feels so good, even euphoric.  You have arrived at the point where everything feels right and good enough.  You sign the painting, hang it on the wall and direct a light toward it at just the right angle.  You Love it!

Enjoy those moments of accomplishment because a sobering reality will follow.  It’s likely that it won’t be long before you see it with fresh eyes and wonder what in the hell you were thinking.  Perhaps it goes back on the easel for modifications, perhaps not.  In any event you soon realize that you aren’t finished at all.  A healthy dose of varnish will be needed to protect the piece from handling and UV light.  What about a name or title?  High quality photographs of the work will be needed for potential reproduction and marketing.  The tedious task of getting the work to market has only begun.

As if the whole process isn’t overwhelming enough life keeps throwing all sorts of curve balls at us.  Shit Happens, right?  Take my first ever Colonoscopy this past week for instance.  People kept telling me it really wasn’t that bad and now that I’m experienced I have to tell you that I disagree.  No person should have to gulp down a gallon of stool softener as if it were beer at a college kegger and no male should have to discover what it is to have water break…over and over again.  Anyway, you get the picture!

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Monday Mantra ~ #44

worthy

I stood barefoot in the cool sand of Canon Beach, Oregon in late August and witnessed the most incredible sunset, two nights in a row.  Not all days end so perfectly but all days are complete enough to be included in the portfolio of life.    Have a great week!

 

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#Monday Mantra ~ Week #12

coin it

May 2016 be the most successful year ever for You and for Me!

I make this toast from my heart. My brain is a bit more hesitant to get involved in what it considers to be whimsical wishes. My brain is busy paying attention to the headlines. My brain is trying to make sense out of the Current State of Mankind. My brain can’t quite believe what my eyes and ears are telling it. If you are anything like me, you’re shocked to realize that nothing really shocks you anymore. You are witnessing global human conflicts occur at previously unimaginable levels and you are witnessing the early effects of a very scary planetary climate shift. If you are anything like me, its kind of hard to remain positive about the future.

So, back to my New Years toast. How can I wholeheartedly believe and visualize that 2016 can be the greatest year ever? The truth is, every generation has had distractions that it considered to be overwhelming and perhaps even hopeless yet it somehow found a way to overcome. It always helps me come back to the light of positive thoughts to find inspiration in the words of others that I can take ownership of figuratively speaking. Roughly 100 years ago, Napoleon Hill wrote a something that gets right to the point.

“What helped you over the great obstacles of life?” was asked of a highly successful man. “The other obstacles,” He replied.

May 2016 be the most successful year ever for You and for Me!

A Painting For My Daughter On Her Wedding Day

“Metes And Bounds” – Acrylic on Canvas – 28″x20″

Pause, feel the warmth of the early summer sun, see the beauty of the “here”, reach out and touch the “now”. This moment is your point of beginning and from this place your journey will be like running prose.

You will traverse up hills and you will stroll through meadows, you will celebrate summits and you will pace through valleys. At first you will “zig”, thence you will “zag” in degrees and minutes yet not determined.

Monuments will be discovered and Markers will be placed from hence you stride for new hopes and dreams.

Terrestrial Law says that seasons will change and night will follow day. So too, in Metes and Bounds, the compass never forgets the point of beginning.

The landscape immediately to the East of I-25, between the cities of Pueblo and Trinidad (Colorado) is uncomplicated yet stunningly beautiful. Horizontal lines give way to plateaus, hills and canyons and the clouds of summer seem to reach up to heaven. There is something etherial and romantic about the High Plains. At first sight, the Pioneers of yesterday must have sensed more than ever that they had departed their old life, that their dreams of reaching the Rockies and beyond were coming to fruition, that anything was possible. For the same reasons I chose this scene as a way to express myself as I come to terms with the significance of my Daughters wedding day. This painting is for Casey and her new Husband Nace. I can’t help but to feel great about their future together when I visualize them working together in the field, harvesting crops or building fence. I rejoice when I see how happy they are simply being together, the best of friends.

Looking Up

Stars Over Manataka

I know that creativity is alive and well within me when I awaken in the pre-dawn hours with ideas that I cannot let go of, when I am inspired to rise and begin my day holding on to that consciousness rather than releasing it back into the ether to vanish like some forgotten dream.

When I was much younger, I spent a great deal of time outdoors, quite familiar with the vastness of space.  I completely understood that if I removed myself from sources of interference on any given clear night, I could see into the universe ad infinitum.  With age, it became more difficult I suppose, to simply remove myself from the interference and look up.

Lately, I’ve been looking up again as if I have stumbled on to some new revelation and I’ve got to tell you, I’m excited about it.  You see, I am beginning to understand that there is a repeating pattern in all of nature.  Think about the seasons, there is spring, summer, fall, winter and then spring once again, ad infinitum.  There is day, night and then day again, ad infinitum.  There is awakening, sleep and then another awakening, ad infinitum.  Can the same be said of life and death?

This is heavy stuff and it probably should remain in the pages of my private journal but this is afterall 2012 and there are plenty of reasons to ponder weighty subjects these days.  I often wonder what season it is within our country, there is so much anger, fear and division and it seems as though people really don’t listen to one another.  On a global scale a lot of scary things are happening, what season is it?  If life as we know it no longer exists, then what? Somehow, some way, I believe that we, as the human race are about to remove ourselves from all of the interference and look up once again, to awaken in a cycle of infinite possibilities.

Ad Infinitum

Stepping Out Of The Box

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” ~ Emerson

We all have the necessary ingredients within our own imaginations to formulate the existence of our choosing.  Why is it then that so many of us struggle through so much of life trying be something that we are not?  For me, I suppose that it had much to do with fear of failure, fear of success and perhaps a false notion that material success is somehow on par with creative independence.  Blessings counted, I can now say that I’ve stepped out of the box.

If you find yourself trying to be something that you are not, my best advice is to surround yourself with people who thrive in their own originality.  It doesn’t take long to understand that the happiest people are those who fix their imaginations on a self defined purpose and then proceed to work tirelessly toward that end.  I hope you will take a short minute and a half to watch the artist profile that my wife and I just completed for one of the most original creatives that I personally know.  Annie Enke is an out of the box artist who makes of all things…boxes…and much more.

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