SHAMANS | LANDSCAPES | META | CATRINAS | ABSTRACTS
None of my landscapes are of real places—other than that they must be close by where my shamans live. Call them “unearned memories” that live within me and come to life only when I paint.
"North Pasture" 20"x16" Acrylic on panel.
"Winter Storm" 16"x16" Acrylic on panel.
"Too Late" 16" x 16" Acrylic on Panel
We had a plan. It was always a Thursday. It was always noon. High noon. She would get there first, having told anyone there to ask that she was headed to the visiting library they opened up every week in Hemmon—just across the county line. She’d be first, but by no more than a half an hour, and she’d stand beneath Sentinel Tree watching for me. Sometimes it might be harder for me to slip out, and my brat brother watched me like a little plaid-shirted Chicken Hawk. But I usually made it clean away in time enough, and I’d run to feel the wind in my face, watching the rise of the sun. And I’d see her there. And she’d half run half slide down that big hill until we tumbled into each other’s arms, all laughs and wantings. And the plan for that last Thursday was no different except that we were never going home except to make our own. But this Thursday. This one most important Thursday in all my life, a calf had gotten out and there were all three of us boys out there chasing it and I got away late. But I ran for my new life. I ran for us. I ran for the future we had dreamed and the family we would make. But this Thursday—this one damn most important Thursday of all time, though I ran like the wind, though my feet barely touched down, when I ran up around Sentinel Hill I could see that the shadows were just a little long. And when I wiped the dust and tears from my eyes and looked up the hill, she wasn’t there. Too late.
"South of Heartline" 16" x 16" Acrylic on Panel
South of Heartline is where I grew to girlhood and then became a woman. Jack and I were just friends all those years—laughing in the back of the bus as kids and making pleasantries when we ran into each other at the drugstore or, later, at the school where we had both become teachers. He was short for most men his age, but I never really noticed but the first time. I had a reputation as a bookworm. And one cold morning during a fire drill when we were huddling unabashedly close to fight the chill, I fell in love. Luckily for me, I found out later that evening that he had, too. With me. Turns out we both wanted to go back and burn down that school ourselves before it got to be light.
illow Creek 16"x16" Acrylic on Panel
There is this place called Willow Creek up in Overton County. There may be ten places by that name spread through the flatlands of this area alone. And though there are not really all that many willows there, well, there are enough for the name to stick. But this one place is special in my mind because that’s where the old women of my clan used to go to gather wood for brooms and switches and baskets. When I was a little girl, my grandmother would take me up there sometimes and show me the old ways. I thought she was crazy and I was mostly bored except for when a fish would slap the water in an otherwise silent world. I would watch her rough hand trail along a branch as though feeling for gnawing insects inside. She said she was listening to its spirit. Witchcraft, I thought. Well, the Council came to her when they needed a shaman. When her husband died (he was NOT my father) she brought his pipe here and buried it. And when she dies, she has told me more than once, she wants to be brought here for her rites and to feed the willows and become the creek.
"The Long Way Home" 36"x36" Acrylic on canvas.
Summer. A haze of ennui has drifted over you–lazily–unnoticed at first. You head home, but tentatively. There seems no point. All colors are the same, as are all the days and all the nights, the air still and holding no promise. You look at your shoes and wonder whether the feet they hold have somehow found the sudden end of a path you did not know you were on. Then you look up and see magic. The grass is yellow rather than green. And the distant sky–just there beyond that rise–has an intensity you’ve never seen before. Your shoulders turn with your eyes and you take a step. “That way!” cries the voice of the child within. And you take another step, and then another, having decided without thought to fall into that infinite blue, thinking that something mysterious and wonderful could wait for you there, just beyond, if you were to go, for the very first and very last time, the long way home.
"Meta One" 48" x 48" Acrylic on canvas.
"Meta Two" 48" x 48" Acrylic on canvas.
"Procyon" 16"x16" Acrylic on panel.
"The Whispers of Deneb" 36" x 36" Acrylic on canvas.
"This Is What Democracy Looks Like" 36" x 36" Acrylic on canvas.
"The Hubris of Certainty" 36" x 36" Acrylic on canvas.
"Bird In Flight" 36" x 36" Acrylic on canvas.
I touched your wing and felt the universe electric, waves of possibility echoing into nothing and everything: all illusion. I see you from the crests of different hills within that spectrum, which is mere artifice drawn by itself. But here, for your pleasure alone, I touch those contrapuntal nodes you perceive as colors and to which you give many names. And I make within you questions newly asked. And I... I do not know whether the cat lives still, nor do I care.
"The Open Window" 36" x 36" Acrylic on canvas.
Life is a chaotic melange of real and unreal in which questions are free to answer themselves and pattern (in all but the mathematical sense) is meaningless illusion. So we create joy as only we may know it. We organize everything, because consciousness demands no less. And because in an infinite universe we are infinitely small; we create the outrider to push back the dark, to measure some measure and to oversee all.
"The Atacama Conspiracy" 36" x 36" Acrylic on canvas.
Shhhh.... No one must know. There lies beneath this rattling air, beneath layer on layer of sand upon stone, the machine of our God, seeing with eyes closed. Silicon. Magnetite. Copper. Greenish bile and bloodless bone. None who look upon its face live to tell. But I believe. I must. I was told by my father those ages ago, who was told by his father as well. And who am I to question their words? They must have heard tales from those who did know, those messengers not of sinew made who spoke to the ancients and said it was so.