Re-Boot Your Life

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Re-Boot Your Life

I had the opportunity to re-visit the old haunt yesterday.  I was in Southern Colorado on assignment and ended up running head on into the most beautiful colors in the Cuchara and Weston areas.  We were fortunate to have lived in these Aspens and Pines for seven seasons and I shot a photo from this exact spot about 10 years ago.  I’ll have to dig it out and compare.

From time to time we become overwhelmed with the complexities of life and we get locked up, paralyzed, much like our computers do when we overwhelm the RAM memory.  When that happens to me, I look for a way to shock me out of the gridlock.  This photograph was exactly the Re-Boot that I needed yesterday, the right thing at the right time.

Once In A Blue Moon

Full Moon Over the Spanish Peaks and La Veta, Colorado

“Every Artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

There is something powerfully captivating about this land, where high alpine twin peaks stand alone between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains.  The Ute, Comanche and Apache tribes called these mountains the Huajatolla(breasts of the earth) and considered this aesthetically poetic region to be sacred.  Today, these mountains are known as the Spanish Peaks and artists are drawn here from all over the world to become inspired.

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.

Knowing + Patience = Freedom

“Icy Paws” 24″x48″ Oil on Canvas

Charlie is the lone survivor of the four canine soul mates that have touched our (my wife and myself) lives over the course of the past thirteen years.  Roughly twice a day, he will stand before me, stare into my eyes and wag his unkempt yet lovable tail with a posture that signals that he is ready for a walk, an adventure, an exuberant indulgence in the freedom of being what he was designed to be.  More times than not, I tell him that I am not ready, that I am in the middle of something important and that he will just have to be patient.  He almost always responds by replacing his forward leaning stance with a neutral sitting position, maintaining that intense expectant eye contact for as long as it takes until he hears those words “do you wanna go for a walk”.

Today is the Fourth of July, Independence Day in the USA, a day that specifically commemorates the signing of the Declaration Of Independence in 1776.  While we certainly use this day to honor our fallen heroes and brave soldiers, the Fourth of July has also become a celebration of our individual freedom, the freedom that we have to pursue the life that we authentically desire to live without having any governmental body or religious sect enforce the contrary.

In my experience, I have discovered that the greatest oppressor of personal freedom often resides within our-selves.  Now back to Charlie for an Illustration of that point.  Charlie hasn’t had a lifetime full of choices, education, experimentation, goals or trials and tribulations, yet he seems to have an absolutely clear understanding of that which he wants and that which he is.  When he is idle, I don’t think he ponders   what else he might be to feel complete.  He simply sits and waits with unending patience, knowing that the opportunity to revel in his purpose will eventually come.  In this respect, Charlie knows a freedom that few humans ever find.  Many of us humans have early inclinations towards the things that truly interest us and often those are the things that we are best at, the things that come naturally.  The problem is, most of us don’t follow that lead.  Instead we fail to recognize the validity of those revelations and we set off on a journey to find something better.  We find ourselves in a quagmire of expectations, material distractions, uncertainties and compromises all in the interest of finding something that we had all along, an authentic purpose.

Personally, I met my creative spirit early on in life and then like most of us, I jumped the fence and searched the world for something better.  Almost thirty years later, I have come home to my artful purpose, I am patiently waiting for the next opportunity to create and for the first time in my life I feel that I have truly claimed my inalienable right to be Free.  Happy Independence Day!

“Patience” 16″x20″ Oil on Canvas (Yep, that’s Charlie)

Two Ducks, Six Bears And The Misadventures Of A Landscape Photographer

Mr. and Mrs. Duck

First there is a warning quack, then a resounding quack-quack followed by the fluttering of wings.  “There goes Mr. and Mrs. Duck” Tammy will say and we watch the pair skim over the water in the same easterly direction.  And so the chain of events repeats itself, day in and day out as we take our daily walks.  Ahhh, summer in the mountains of Southern Colorado.

When I was a kid, I’d take an old shoe box, poke a hole in the end of it and tape a piece of black and white photo paper inside.  It always amazed me how I could miraculously produce a photograph using such simple tools.  Today, it amazes me that with all of the fancy equipment I can’t seem to get a wildlife image that looks much different from those pinhole camera pictures.  Shooting photographs or video of wildlife is an art form that I have not neither mastered.  I am persistent however and I have the desire, a combination that will eventually unlock the door to success.

So, back to that elusive pair of Ducks and the comical scene that unfolds each time I try to photograph them.  I’ve done everything shy of dressing in camouflage and building a duck blind to capture their image.  I have indeed, crawled through the grass on my belly and hidden behind a nearby shack a number of times.  Holding my camera in shooting position, I peer around the corner as if I’m an FBI agent on a drug raid.  “Quack…Quack Quack….Flutter Flutter”, they’re gone before I can take command of my focus ring.

Quack…Quack Quack…..Flutter Flutter

It seems as though the same scenario plays itself out no matter what the subject matter is.  Tammy and I drive everywhere with cameras ready and tripods extended for when and not if we see a heard of Elk, a Bear or a Mountain Lion.  The way it really seems to work is quite different from what we anticipate though.  In the past 7 days, we have seen a Blonde Male Bear, a Black Male Bear and a Momma Bear with three darling little Cubs.  When we see something really great there is an adrenaling rush and a very confusing attempt to communicate with one another that could easily lead to disaster.  “Stop” “Go” “Roll Down the Window” “ Move out of my way” “We need a new windshild” are the types of things you might hear in that moment.  It’s not uncommon for me to lose my mind and attempt to take pictures from a moving vehicle, while I am driving.  And then there are the times when we are whispering and moving very slowly to get into position.  I open the door with the key still in the ignition and the “ding-ding-ding” announces to the whole forest that we are there, larger than life.

So go easy on me when you judge these pictures.  They aren’t as easy to get as you might think.  You can bet that I will be bragging it up when I finally get that award winning wildlife shot.

It Really Is All Relative

Back in the day, somebody brought home this truck and they must have beamed with pride as the Colorado Sun glimmered and danced on the factory fresh chrome. Imagine the smell of the new upholstery and the feel of the transmission as it shifted from second to third. In all likelihood, at some point in time a happy couple went out for a Sunday drive in this truck and as they noticed an old wooden wagon, abandoned and leaning at the side of the road and they thought to themselves, “back in the day”.

My In-Laws out for a Sunday drive on the new Can-Am

Now, Imagine a line of wooden wagons climbing up Glorieta Pass on the Santa Fe Trail.  Despite the excitement that they must have been feeling as they traveled that last 20 miles, many of these folks parked their rigs and hoofed it up the hill to visit the impressive ruins of the ancient Pecos Indians.  Oh, how these weary travelers must have marveled at the ingenuity of those who accomplished so much without the “modern conveniences” that they had.

The Pecos Mission (circa 1600) on a hill next to the Santa Fe Trail

Last Saturday, en route home from a weekend getaway in Santa Fe I felt compelled to take the exit from I-25 to see what the Pecos National Historical Site was all about.  And as I walked about the ancient city on the hill, I thought to myself Wow, “back in the day”.

My Family in front of the Old Pecos Mission on a hill near I-25

Super Moon Rising

“I never did a day’s work in my life, it was all fun” ~ Thomas Alva Edison

When opportunity knocks you have to answer the door, right?  Hmm, I’m not so sure about that one.  Who says Opportunity makes housecalls?  If you think about it, even the winners of the powerball must first make the effort to exchange their hard earned money to buy a ticket.  As Thomas Edison, one of Mankind’s most influential creative’s astutely observed, “opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work“.

In my experience, opportunitiy is a kind of omnipresent, latent circumstance that is waiting to be claimed.  If I put myself in a position to cross paths with it, and if I am patient, and if I believe, more often than not I end up banging loudly on opportunity’s door.

Over the course of the past week, Tammy and I had the opportunity to visit the same general area of the Cuchara River Valley to film evening interviews for projects that we are working on.  On both occasions, the interviews ended just before sunset and we seized the opportunity to capture the valley in the most incredible light.

 

Show And Tell

“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” ~ E.E. Cummings

Welcome Home, You Painter’s Sky.  I’ve missed your graceful, billowing clouds, the way that they float silently across the front range of the Rockies and into the heartland.  I’ve missed your contrasts and your textures, especially the whitest whites against the cobalt depths of space.  I’ve missed the way that your shadows slip across the landscape, causing the dazzling colors of summer to flicker and dance. Welcome Home, You Painter’s Sky.

Please Check out my other blog and video’s at the LocalTouristColorado.com

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Time And Time Again

                         “And Summers and Winters Scattered Like Splinters And Four Or Five Years Slipped Away” ~ Jimmy Buffet

"Down Before Noon" - oil on canvas - 30"x30"

I have been dying to share my most recent painting but have also been waiting until it is complete.  It has now been a few months since I have picked up a brush and this was the last thing that I was working on when my whole focus shifted to the video production business.  I miss the simplicity of spending days on end in the studio and somehow posting this painting today, unfinished and unsigned makes me feel good.

They say time flies when you’re having fun, I say time flies no matter what.  What is time anyway?  The dictionary says that time is “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present and future regarded as a whole”.  Aha!, that really cleared it all up for me.  Now I know that time is simply………well……..wait, let me read that definition again.  In Truth, when I try to wrap my mind around the concept of time, I have flashbacks.  I’m sitting in Algebra class, raising my hand and telling the teacher that I just don’t get it.  I don’t think I’m alone here.  Hey, If time is money, why aren’t we all rich?  If time is of the essence, why to most of essentially have no idea what time really is?

I do know that I perceive time to move with increasing velocity as time goes on.  It really doesn’t seem to have anything to do with having fun or not having fun, most of the time anyway.  Sometimes, usually around the time of my birthday I sit and stare out the window(for a very long time) and I try to understand how it seems like yesterday that I was watching first runs of Magnum P.I.   Sometimes I wonder why as soon as I get all of my winter clothing out of the box and into the closet, I am suddenly looking for short sleeve shirts that are packed away in the box.  Sometimes, I wish I could just make time stop, but then again that probably wouldn’t be much fun.

An Easter Day Encounter With A Passionate Artist

“An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding:  And it is not to be found in foreign lands, but in the heart itself” ~ Robert Lewis Stevenson

If you follow my blog, you may be aware that I am in the midst of a dramatic life change.  It’s as if I am on a great journey, my vehicle is my own burning desire to add purpose to existence.  I am compelled to create and the fuel that carries me from one opportunity to the next is none other than good old high-octane inspiration.

Last Sunday was Easter and the weather was exceptional for this time of year in Colorado.  Tammy, my wife suggested that we make a short road trip to San Luis, the oldest town in the state, to hike the Stations of the Cross.  She had been there before and wanted to share it with me.  It was a great opportunity to film a video for our Local Tourist Colorado Series and fuel up on creative inspiration at the same time, off we went.

As we arrived in San Luis, it felt as if we had somehow been transported back in time and a long way south.  San Luis has the character of small village that you might find in Old Mexico.   Sunday Mass had just ended and a number of people were crossing Main Street and walking up the path to the Stations of the Cross Shrine, we followed.

It would be an understatement to say that the Stations of the Cross is an unexpected surprise.  For Christians, the hillside represents Mt. Calvary and the ¾ mile trail symbolically follows the footsteps of Jesus from Trial to Crucifixion to Resurrection.  For those who appreciate art, the Shrine is an absolute masterpiece.  This is a living gallery, the walls painted with stunning vistas of the San Luis Valley and it is certain to inspire anyone who experiences it, despite their spiritual beliefs or background.

How did this collaboration come about?  When was the Shrine built?  What chain of events brought the Sangre De Cristo Parish, The Knights of Columbus and world-renowned sculptor Huberto Maestas together?  Where does the artist live, who has created this portrayal of the Passion with such passion?

Back in town, we were shooting a few photographs.  A pickup truck came to a stop right in the middle of the quiet street.  A smiling, friendly looking fellow rolled down his window and struck up a conversation with us.  Would he mind answering a few short interview questions, give us a local’s perspective of San Luis, we asked.  He agreed and requested that we follow him to his studio.  There, he introduced himself with a gentle handshake and it quickly became apparent that we had met the man who could answer all of our questions.  The man was Huberto Maestas.

With a microphone clipped to his tee shirt, Huberto sat in front of our camera for just over an hour.  He spoke and we listened as he described in detail how the Stations of the Cross came to be, how he came to be an artist and about his warm feelings for his hometown and his Family.  His humility also made a deep impression on me, he never once mentioned that his work resides in the permanent Vatican collection in Rome.

The thing that most impressed me about Huberto Maestas, was his passion for art and his unwavering certainty of purpose in life.  He said “In this day and age you gotta pay bills, you have a mortgage, you gotta pay electric bills and it’s the last thing people need, a painting or a sculpture or something beautiful that you create to be around, but its what makes life easier, to have the things that make you happy.  I found a way to do that I suppose, or it was just something I learned, and If I were to retire tomorrow, or better yet win the lottery, I would put a heater in my shop and just continue to create.”

As it turned out on this Easter Sunday, I returned home with a full tank of inspiration and a stronger faith that I’m on the correct path and my course is true.  If you do what you love with all of your heart and if you actively take steps to get where you want to go, station by station in life the universe will open up doors that you never knew existed.

The next time you drive through San Luis, stop for a few hours, have lunch and walk through the Stations of The Cross.  Don’t forget to stop by Huberto’s Gallery and the Shrine Gift Shop.  Visit the Taos Artist guide for more information about Humberto and please watch our short video which includes the interview with him on LocalTouristColorado.com.

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