Sunday, June 16, 2013
For thirteen and one half years she lived with us. She adored all nine year old girls because that was the age my daughter was when we got her. She was a good dog, with some quirks, like biting the neighbor through the fence as he irrigated his pasture. She had great dignity and patience, and raised our next dog, a Dalmatian puppy, with care and love. She was a beautiful dog, and whenever I would see wolves on TV they would remind me of Dusty. She watched over us.
Over the last several years she developed arthritis in her hips and cataracts in her eyes. She began to have more and more difficulty walking and started losing her balance, falling easily when she would come around a corner or when one of the other dogs would brush against her. Poops would drop out of her without her knowedge. I knew her time was running out when she defecated as she ate one morning, losing her balance, and then landing in her feces, unable to pull herself back up. We called a Vet, a woman, and arranged with her to come to the house. On that last day, we gathered around Dusty while the Vet gave her several injections: a tranquilizer to relax her, then another injection to end her life, except that her heart wouldn't stop beating so she had to give her another, this time directly into her heart. It still beat, Dusty wouldn't give up, but finally, she died."Crossed the Rainbow Bridge" as the Vet said.
I found this image today, done several years before Dusty was born Like many of my images it is prophetic--looking like Dusty with her Lupine head, her black torso and her long, thin legs. Inside the body of the dog is a photograph of a young girl with her eyes closed. I like to think this was what Dusty dreamed about as she left us--that nine year old girl who brought her into our lives so many years ago.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Kids in other parts of the country went to ball games with their dads, or concerts in the park, or maybe the circus, but in Santa Fe, New Mexico, we went to the Rodeo. I admit, the cotton candy was a big draw for me, but, sticky sweet stuff or not, I loved the entire thing: broncs and bulls slamming out of their chutes while their riders leaned back, raking the animals shoulders with spurred heels, hoping to last for 8 seconds; trick riders and barrel racers galloping around the arena on beautiful horses, always at full bore, and at times,the bodies of the horses came so close to the ground that they seemed to defy gravity. I never thought to worry about the necks of the running calves as ropes swirled out, landing loosely just behind their ears, then tightening so that they flipped to the ground while the horse slid to a stop, the rider jumping off with a small rope held between his teeth to secure the animal's ankles. Once released, the calf would get up and wobble away as the cowboy coiled his rope and mounted his horse.
Lurking underneath the excitement and fun was the ever present threat of danger, the very real possibility of serious injury or even, every few years, death. It gave the evening an extra boost, like the ominous storm clouds that would come up over the mountains to the east as we sat in the dark under the bright lights, lightening flickering, thunder mumbling . When it would become clear that one of our warriors was wounded, the crowd would become completely silent as the medics knelt over the twisted cowboy or the gored clown. An ambulance would drive in through the soft dirt and the still body would be loaded in. Once through the big double gates at the south end of the arena, the ambulance would start it's siren, ear splitting at first, but growing fainter and fainter as the ambulance raced away.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Since January of this year I have been working in my studio, painting panels and then adding photographic elements to those panels. The entire process is slow and tortuous, until it isn't, and then things happen with such speed and clarity that I wonder if I'm in the same time continuum as the person who had been plodding so miserably along.
My studio has gotten progressively more cluttered and chaotic, not just from day to day, but from year to year. Earlier pictures of my studio show a clean, open space. Now every surface is full of heaps of paper, scissors and paper cutters, boxes with bits and pieces of photos, and stacks of painted panels. The floor is littered with scraps of uncut paper--if I drop something I'm cutting, forget it, I'll never find it again. I keep adding more and more tables to the room, but I'll never have enough. The shelves around the perimeter walls are stacked three deep with unfinished pieces, all waiting to be completed.
Piles of hands and arms, waiting to be fit into something.
The worst thing is that I have been doing just the "fun" part--if you want to call it that--of marrying of the images with the painted grounds. I haven't wanted to bother with doing the unfun part, which is gluing the images to the surface and then putting on a final finish varnish. It's tedious work which calls for a perfectionist's attention to detail, and which, if it goes wrong can be disastrous. Like not paying attention and gluing something upside down. It's the kind of work a really good assistant should be doing, but, unfortunately, that assistant is me. By the end of my time gluing all these images(and there are alot)I will have a sore jaw and such a stiff neck that I will be forced to move my whole body to turn my head. A sensible person would make a few, glue a few, then make a few more, and glue a few more, etc. etc. But when you're your own boss, you get to work in any wacky, disfunctional way you want.