Sunday, April 25, 2010

Reading for the pictures...

As a kid I remember pouring over my grandparents National Geographics, but I probably was in my thirties before I read a whole article. Curled up in the corner of the couch at my grandparent's house I would study every single photograph and only reading the captions....only read the captions, the all white pages of text were quickly flipped past in search of more pictures. Isn't there a joke of reading Playboy for the articles? Well, we did get in trouble at a friend's house for pouring over the pics of an African tribes, where the villagers weren't wearing much clothes, but that is a different blog.
I would do that with all my families books, living surrounded by big beautiful books from Time/Life covering all aspects of the West...Didn't read the text, looked at the pictures and captions. Especially remember a big big thick book on the Civil War-

full of Brady's first photographs of battlefields, with the dead still where they fell and haunting tin types of idealistic soldiers heading off to war.
Never was much interested in nature articles- flora and fauna- but like looking at animals...History is always what I would love to look at.
I really didn't tackle reading novels as a kid, there were a few, fantasy, always needed a romance in them. I have dyslexia, though no one called it that even when I was a kid. I wrote every letter backwards and started from the right to the left when I wrote. Still don't know my left from my right. I did get sent to the Special class for about two grades- and walked a lot on a balance beam and had a very clever Special Ed teacher, who knew I loved are, so she had me make bulletin boards, with very long phrase I had to cut out all the words and get them the right way on the board- got very good at pulling out staples from bulletin boards and trying again and again.
Wasn't a good reader at all as a kid, was in the Brown section of the SRA reading program, my best friend was in the Fuchsia Pink. Never was able to work my way up to the Fuchsia Pink. If that isn't a testament to how I still see myself...I will never be Fuchsia Pink.
Still love history, but now can BS my way into research libraries and flip through the actual photographs and diaries of interesting the Wetherills, who were the first whites to gain extensive knowledge of  the ruins of Mesa Verde. My current obsession is looking over their archive at the BLM's Heritage Center's research library.

Humm, makes me do some thinking... I still read way more nonfiction then novels today, too much white on the page- too many letters, no pictures? Watch five times as much movies as I read fiction...cause well it is pictures in motion...only finished writing, successful writing I have done is in the form of  nonfiction, done a lot of that with teaching and in writing scripts- school plays, church events all produced and  audio bible stories-which were produced with sound effects by Group Publishing, years ago... theater friend once told me, "You could write a script in your sleep" she is right I could, and I have- going to sleep running an idea in my head and waking up, still running it.
Is this turning into a " walks like a duck, talks like a duck, is it a duck" things? or " doesn't read novels, why am I trying to write  a novel cause novels don't have pictures what is fun in that!!! "

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Avatar-Why I love this Movie

With no coincidence, James Cameron's Avatar was released on Earth Day 2010. Marketing is at the top of Cameron's brilliance, just read an interview that he is intending to finish six minutes of delete scenes and re-release the movie again in the movie theaters in August and then a mega packed, behind the scene second DVD launch in November for the holidays.
And you know what-I am unashamed, I will be first in line to experience all of that- not so much the avatar action figures or video games, am a little old for that and not a single geeky boy that lives in my mother's basement ( I know there is more to that demographic- different blog)- but here are the reason why I am so impressed with this movie.
1. It's a sheer artistic feast for the eyes. Avatar is a testament to what artist, of all kinds- writers, visual artist, computer artists and actors can do when they are unencumbered by management. Only someone like James Cameron, almost a sure deal ,could be trusted by the money people in Hollywood to make a movie like this. The Lord of the Rings was another movie, where the artisans were allowed to go farther then would ever be seen on the screen, but the rich creation of that world did show in the final version. When artist get an opportunity to do it, it is magical, I hope someday to be part of a collaboration like Avatar or the Ring Trilogy, mabe hired on to stitch rich tapestries. When creative people hands are tied you get.....Disney's Narina, a disappointment- it could of been wonderful too.
2. Its Composition- I mean that literally. The camera angles are better than most live action movies, when Sully is being chased by the black oil slick leopard and the animal grabs his backpack and the camera angles swings around in slow motion, wow- again- discovered because there was time to think of such things and discover a cool camera angle- Cameron actually took the cast into the rain forests in Hawaii so they could remember the feeling of wet, smells of musty air and sounds when they were back running around in black suits with computer lenses zoomed in on them. But my favorite compostion of all that is so powerful is right before the last battle, Sully stands, totally transformed perfectly in a tribal leader and camera pans around to show all the tribes coming to defend their homes- wow.

3.It's skin. Literally. Monster INC. was a technology breaking film because of Sulley ( hum, I wonder if there is any connection) the monsters hair moved, independently, in an organic way- making it look real. I think the most amazing break through as far as technology for Avatar is  literally their skin- skin is translucent, it is golden ( or blue) and toned because of the blood vessels and muscle tissue below it and it looks freak real in the movie, look at the veins in his hand, which in every frame, every frame was created-wow!!
4. The message of Creation. JRR Tolkien did not write "metaphors" meaning there was only one meaning for what a tree represented- he wanted the viewer to find his or her own understanding. I don't know Cameron's reasons- not do I think he is much concerned other do- but what I see is story about respecting Creation, and frankly as God's stewards of this earth, we suck at it. God created this amazing planet, unique and beautiful five times over, with each continent offering amazing diverse people and landscapes. He created sunsets and sunrises, tides and snow, mountain peaks and a whole lot of other things that scream one thing, " I am God" Yes he created it as a home for us, but didn't our mother's teach us how to take care of special things, and why should be allowed to destroy the gifts we are given. The Navi worship and are accountable to a single Creator- and recognize the connection they have to the earth. The main plea in the Bible is not " to exchange the Creator for the Created" and frankly we suck at that too.

5. Main reason why I adored this movie- it is simply ,with all its advanced technology and hype, a "Boy meets Girl" story, my favorite and testament that when two people dare to love, they can change their world and make a better one....Happy Earth Day!

What We Woke To....

Almost 5'' of snow on the ground on April 22! Yes it is at 7,000 ft. elevation but still, April!!
(scroll down to previous post to see what the pergola looked like three days ago!)
And yes the Apricots are done for....
But the unpredictablity of Colorado weather is why I love living here...I think...but snow in April, we haven't had a cropped of apricots in two years- guarnteed the liliac will be lovely this year- we either have apricots or liliac-my own theory~

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fingers Crossed...

Our Apricots are in bloom...
And since we are at about 7,000 feet above sea level, it is always touch and go if another frost will come before the blooms set. People, in town, want to be kept updated on if we are going to have an apricot crop, many coming out and picking them for canning and even a secret recipe of "apricot brandy", that somehow start out as vodka?
These are big apricot trees, biggest most people have ever seen.... and old...

We live on an old homestead. The barn in the back is made of railroad ties, pulled up from the tracks of the old spur lines of the railroad that is now gone. Mr. Ruben, who we bought the homestead from, remembers climbing in the big tree in the foreground when he was a boy- he was in his eighties when he told me

It has to be at least 35 feet high and over a hundred years old. There is a "Centennial Tree" program, for the biggest trees in Colorado- we could see if it was one biggest in Colorado. My littlest still plays under its branches and up in it for that matter, there is always something hanging there, ribbons, flowerpots, or more interesting fair....old trees and little boys and girls will be forever friends.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Overload on Inspiration

A couple days ago I discovered TED- a great website of eighteen minute videos of "Big Idea"- see previous post for the lowdown- well I spent a day listening to the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Love Pray, on the fact artists are connected to something greater then ourselves. I listened to a multi millionaire wine entrepreneur, who started a web based wine show on the importance of branding yourself and touching the world through new technologies and having passion for what you do and then to top it off I listened to JK Rowling's commencement speech at Harvard where she talked about being a voice to those who had no voice and how that passion was installed in her before her fame when she was responsible to read the mail at her job at Amnesty International. Blogging about the above-lead to some intellectual virtual discussions, which is great, but I started to feel some anxiety- kind of under the heading of "There is so much to do in this world!" and being anxious about not being able to do it, which is so...........stupid.
Everyone knows the story of Elijah showdown in the Bible- how even though his alter was covered in water, after the Baal Priest failed to call fire down on their alter- Praying to God fire was brought down from heaven and not only lit up Elijah's alter but also burned up Baal's alter and his priests for that matter.
What is less know is Elijah basically freaked out after that- hid in the wilderness out of fear- but God had mercy on him and the birds brought food- and God listened to Elijah go on about well..." the fact he was an unique brand, had touched the world, been a voice for those who had no voice, etc. etc. etc." and you know what God said- "I had six others I could of sent and well, I just happened to pick you."
Humbling...which leads me to Otter Pops.
What got me out of my anxiety- I picked up my girls from school, came home and headed out again to go to Karate class. My sixteen year old second degree brown belt got in the car sucking on an Otter Pop- and I saw her for a split moment as if she was four again, giggling and being goofy.
I don't have to be " a unique brand, touch the world, be a voice for those who have no voice", I need to be a mother to those two girls munching on Otter Pops in the car, I need to be a wife to my husband, a friend and a child of God and well....simple grow where He has planted me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Know your Muse

I found this amazing video from TED, a cool site collecting videos of talks on it looks like about everything-need to dig deeper- am always looking for entertainment to occupy my "other voices" while I am in the studio.
But this talk is by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the hugely popular book and soon to be released movie ,Eat Pray Love, about where the source of creativity comes from. I have to give credit to finding it to Writer Musings blog- though she has some disagreement with Ms. Gilberts belief in something outside herself being the source of her creativity. Watch the video and then read below for my take- for what it is worth and check out Writer Musing's blog as well and please throw in your two cents too.

So what did you think?
I think Ms. Gilbert is spot on- Artists throughout history have given credit where credit is due- to someting greater than themselves. Julie Cameron in her widely popular books- Artist's Way- talks about an Energy Source in the Universe that is just there to tap into.
I think, I know what that source is and at the end of the video Ms. Gilbert hit on it- God.
I have felt the transendence she talks about on numerous occasion- I have watched my hand move across a piece of paper and captured the lines of the model in front of me ( yes- Christain artist draw nude models) and wondered to myself how I was doing this- other days nothing magnificant comes from my hands- in fact sometimes I lack the ability to draw- go figure that one?
I have also had argument with God, like the write in the car Ms. Gilbert talked about- when He has tried to instruct me in really inconvinient times.
Once at a writers conference He would not leave me alone, so I went to the snack bar during lunch break and sat down and humored Him and read Hebrews- but then it was time for the next workshop, so I ignored Him and headed out to my next workshop, I had paid money to go to this conference- traveled hundreds of miles  and not to  sit and read my bible- well- twenty minutes later I sat in an empty room- the instructor never showing up, and all  the other writers finally giving up and heading out, and finished reading Hebrews. In all the time I have been going to conferences, I have never heard of a instructor just not showing up. Explain that?
He sent me up into the mountains another day of the conference I had paid good money for- and you know what I have the skeleton of an entire book etched out because of that "vision quest" or whatever you want to call it. Wilderness for me being Rocky Mountain National Park- when I was surround by hordes of other people and relatively close to the parking lot at all times and the snack bar.
Ms Gilbert did not get into this and I totally disagree with Julia Cameron about an energy source just there for us to tap into- God is a jealous god- he says so on many occasions- there is a spirtual realm we as artists tap into to- but there is also consequences- we are "for or against God"- I know a whole other discussion- but I'd just like to stay with the discussion of yielding to a source- a muse, a genius, a spirit, a daemon or God- without well....a proper interview of intent, bacground check and references. Just because there is a spirit- far more knowing and powerful then me that is offering to lead me- doesn't mean it is wise to listen to it... unless you know its intent.
I know God's intent- I know what he want of me- he has laid out all parts of our mutual Contract- His part way more heavy and  dangerous then my little part of completely surrendering to His will for me. He breathed this gift into me and all credit goes where it should - to Him and I am very very wise when I actually listen to Him and not so much when I don't.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Heading Home From Tucson

Of course eventually we had to come home and left our little "route 66ish" revamped motel.

Of course we found the best Mexican Food that morning, by wandering the streets of the oldest part of Tucson called the "Presido" where the first wall was built like in the mid 1700's. The houses were all renovated and definitely where I would live if I could live in a place that the temp reaches over a hundred most of the summer- I might be complaining about the snow this winter- but I am a Colorado/Mountain girl to my bones. We found Little Cafe Poca Coso, not because of our fancy aps on our smartphones or trip advisor- but by the old fashion way and best way of asking a local.

We found The Grille a few days before the same way- a very scary building in the un-renovated area of Tucson's downtown, that served gourmet breakfasts and another good local Mexican restaurant by asking a "cute guy" in Borders- someone else did, I didn't.
The Davis Bilingual Elementary school was having an art show at the Cafe- wow- was impressed with what the Art Teacher was doing with these kiddos and of course I had to be a patron and buy some art work!

But with very happy tummies it was time to go home- and in a little village outside of Tucson- we found a way we could fuel our souls as well! The church we started with Matt and Wendy, our fellow Tucson travelers, is in a old Creamery Building- so we appreciated a church housed in an old gas stations!

Of course - the morning of our return-this is what we woke up to!

 But it melted fast because Easter, after churched we had about 50 people over for lunch and they did get to enjoy the new pergola ( structure over table,)we had put up in the Fall but not really enjoyed yet!
Sun is shining now- and Spring Break is over and everyone is back to work and school- including me!!


Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tucson Trip- Hiking Seven Falls

Of course we also hiked in Sabino Canyon, up to Seven Falls, about a 3 mile hike up.
I lost count of the times we had to cross the same stream- I haaaaaate getting wet, so every laughed at me.

Did a little lizard hunting, luckily they were usually too smart and too fast.

Put on a whole bunch of sunscreen...
Almost at the top, I sent the rest on ...
and happily sat down to sketch...

Since up at Seven Fall, those little colored dots are people, they were doing this....did I mention I hate water.

Of course on the way down we had to cross the stream all over again- yuck!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Tucson Trip- Hummingbird in Flight

Still at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

I was very happy with my Nikon SLR camera- the "sports mode" is much improved.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tucson Trip- Biking at Fantasy Island

We of course did some biking too, well, everyone else did some biking- I sketched....biking or having a few hours uninterrupted to sketch- I'll take sketching. So....

documented the send off...

And then went to sketch- which was just down the road on a wide turn off- where across the highway was a falling down barn-but turned out to be an active residence!

Happily sketch, unitl I realized I was loosing the light and then wonder why no one had called me to go get them! So headed back to the trail head and paced around wondering why my hubby wasn't bringing back my babies from the "wilds" before it got dark!

Everyone did get in safe-and so we headed to a local brew pub-the best thing after a good ride or sketch, no matter where you happen to be!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Tucson Trip- Mission San Xavier Del Bac

We drove south out of Tucson to go see the mission in the San Xavier Indian Reservation, we were probably looking into Mexico, we were so close.
There was a whole art class set up, sketching-so my group headed off and I plopped down and did a quick marker sketch. The mission is heavily done in a Morrocan style. Which is not that unusual, because Spain retained much of the artistic influence of their Muslim conquers,even after the Christians took it back over-and since Mexico was settled by Spain-  Mexico is a land of heavy patterning and bright colors as well.
The chapel and oldest part is the center, darker rougher looking part-the church is very asymetrical, literally missing one bell tower, that was never finished.
The the heavy patterning continues in the interior of the chapel...

Pretty amazing, though writing this the day after Easter it makes me ponder somethings. I love churches and cathedrals, they are true works of art, all the frescos, stained glass and paintings are a way for the priest to communicate to the illiterate people the stories of the Bible. But San Xavier is a good example as well of how its shear impressiveness and granduer was also a way to communicate to the Natives, the power of Spain to help in their submission.
San Xavier, was covered with statues of Saints, candles to buy and then burn, even had a replica of the Saint you could pin a small trinket on to be healed...all contrary to the message I heard and celebrated yesterday- that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, that Him and Him alone could save- that the curtain in the temple that divided the Holy of Holies where God resided over the top of the Arc of the Covenant stood and that any one who entered would drop dead, being in the presence of God, except the High Priest, once a year on the Day of Atonement- that in the moment Christ took the sins of the world on his shoulders and offered up his life for us-the curtain was ripped in half and all who had the blood of Christ on them, could be in the presence of God.

"No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest."

Hebrews 8:10-12
If you read the Bible, God gets extra mad at those who keep others from coming to Him!