Rumble House: August 19, 2015

CalamityRumble House has managed through a summer of floods, four of them…hail and hassle of every sort.  Rich and Jess have managed to negotiate their way through the number of revisions that had to be made to the space, based on damage of infrastructure.  They have done a great job and the space is beautifully changed, more spacious and organized.  It’s been a strange summer for me as well, having to react to a number of events, beginning with my Max’s injury and then my own broken foot on July 2nd.  Rich and I were talking a little about calamity last night and we agreed that sometimes calamity causes our greatest creativity and active engagement.  We go places.

Some years ago, my son and I traveled a journey that I loosely named our ‘Manifest Destiny’ journey.  I finished watching four seasons of Hell on Wheels recently and the trip that James and I took wove through several of the locations featured in this series.

The trek began when we dipped south to visit Sainte-Marie among the Hurons where eight Jesuit missionaries lived, worked and were eventually martyred.  To stand in this place is to recognize, with complete clarity, the collision of two cultures both operating from a sense of protection of their own ways and intentions.  It is an example of colonization and all that can be anticipated as a result.

We then crossed the border into the United States, drove through the land where Dances With Wolves was filmed, saw Mount Rushmore, traveled through the Black Hills, all while listening to Louis L’Amour stories on book tape.  We stood overlooking the hills of Little Big Horn.  We slept in a cheap hotel room in Deadwood and we drove through the Bad Lands.  It was an amazing trip, ending with the sharing of a jug bottle of beer in Billings, Montana.

Wonders 93 Little Big HornI’ve written about Deadwood before.

It was another place riddled with a history of the ‘wild’ west…and so much of it rooted in tragedy.  It was the first time that I really thought about a lot of things.   There were huge issues that I had already read about, feeling very sad about the choices of the past, but helpless to change any of them.  One of the personalities that came to mind once we hit Deadwood was a woman of the west, Calamity Jane.  Last night I painted from one of the photo references that is an early portrait.  Thank you to Teresa for purchasing Calamity at auction.

Last night I painted her.

Kath's Canon August 19, 2015 Calamity Jane Rumble 024 Kath's Canon August 19, 2015 Calamity Jane Rumble 021I am grateful for the people I bump into at the Rumble.  They have become ‘characters’ of my own life…friends…hard workers…creatives.

Calamity Jane…what is fact and what is fiction?

What is the history that we are creating as individuals and collectively?

Kath's Canon August 19, 2015 Calamity Jane Rumble 001 Kath's Canon August 19, 2015 Calamity Jane Rumble 004 Kath's Canon August 19, 2015 Calamity Jane Rumble 005 Kath's Canon August 19, 2015 Calamity Jane Rumble 007 Kath's Canon August 19, 2015 Calamity Jane Rumble 009 Kath's Canon August 19, 2015 Calamity Jane Rumble 014 Kath's Canon August 19, 2015 Calamity Jane Rumble 016 Kath's Canon August 19, 2015 Calamity Jane Rumble 018 Kath's Canon August 19, 2015 Calamity Jane Rumble 020

Gorilla House LIVE ART: October 10, 2012

Themes for the night…

1. Cowgirl
2. Eleven
3. Liquidated Damages

First snow of the season and for the sake of ‘the battle’, I made the drive downtown, feeling drained and out-of-sorts.  Beforehand and after my off-leash walk in the cold grey landscape I blasted out to the universe, a blog post about conversations. I was downhearted about technology and how it supposedly makes our lives more simple, but winds up in so many ways, deficient.  Nothing is better than a conversation face-to-face because with electronic conversations come misunderstandings.  Hmmm…I think I brought a ‘grey’ spirit into the Gorilla House with me…at least initially…but making my four trips back and forth from the van with art supplies…I had a chance to have a conversation with myself.  Self: Buck up there chump!  This evening is going to turn everything around!

And it did!  First of all, I met some new folk and got to know some ‘old’ folk better.  I sooo enjoyed my conversations and the affirmations back and forth.  Finally, I spent a wee visit in Desere’s studio space.  I got to see the bizarre white horse in the basement.  I saw other artists get started and HOW they get started.  I didn’t enter into the gyre until about twenty minutes had passed.  I love love loved my time wandering…putzing…talking about metaphors and liquidating damages…and all other topics to do with life and art.  Joy!

I’m not going to share the full analysis of my interpretation of the topics and while I find the painting looks a tad illustrative, I had fun painting on a vertical format and exploring the forms.  Calamity Jane is in the one small bit of collage attached to this piece, one of the few times she wore a dress.  Image here.  She was the only image on my large panel for quite some time…I continued to wander.

Photo Credit: Terry Storey

And then the Baobab came to be and a context I relate with so well…The Little Prince par Antoine de Saint-Exupery….these specific words, borrowed from Chapter 5 of The Little Prince.

“…But he (he being the Little Prince) made a wise comment:

“Before they grow so big, the baobabs start out by being little.”

“That is strictly correct,” I said. “But why do you want the sheep to eat the little baobabs?”

He answered me at once, “Oh, come, come!”, as if he were speaking of something that was self-evident. And I was obliged to make a great mental effort to solve this problem, without any assistance.

Indeed, as I learned, there were on the planet where the little prince lived–as on all planets–good plants and bad plants. In consequence, there were good seeds from good plants, and bad seeds from bad plants. But seeds are invisible. They sleep deep in the heart of the earth’s darkness, until some one among them is seized with the desire to awaken. Then this little seed will stretch itself and begin–timidly at first–to push a charming little sprig inoffensively upward toward the sun. If it is only a sprout of radish or the sprig of a rose-bush, one would let it grow wherever it might wish. But when it is a bad plant, one must destroy it as soon as possible, the very first instant that one recognizes it.

Now there were some terrible seeds on the planet that was the home of the little prince; and these were the seeds of the baobab. The soil of that planet was infested with them. A baobab is something you will never, never be able to get rid of if you attend to it too late. It spreads over the entire planet. It bores clear through it with its roots. And if the planet is too small, and the baobabs are too many, they split it in pieces . . .

“It is a question of discipline,” the little prince said to me later on. “When you’ve finished your own toilet in the morning, then it is time to attend to the toilet of your planet, just so, with the greatest care. You must see to it that you pull up regularly all the baobabs, at the very first moment when they can be distinguished from the rosebushes which they resemble so closely in their earliest youth. It is very tedious work,” the little prince added, “but very easy.”

And one day he said to me: “You ought to make a beautiful drawing, so that the children where you live can see exactly how all this is. That would be very useful to them if they were to travel some day. Sometimes,” he added, “there is no harm in putting off a piece of work until another day. But when it is a matter of baobabs, that always means a catastrophe. I knew a planet that was inhabited by a lazy man. He neglected three little bushes . . .”

So, as the little prince described it to me, I have made a drawing of that planet. I do not much like to take the tone of a moralist. But the danger of the baobabs is so little understood, and such considerable risks would be run by anyone who might get lost on an asteroid, that for once I am breaking through my reserve. “Children,” I say plainly, “watch out for the baobabs!”

My friends, like myself, have been skirting this danger for a long time, without ever knowing it; and so it is for them that I have worked so hard over this drawing. The lesson which I pass on by this means is worth all the trouble it has cost me.

Perhaps you will ask me, “Why are there no other drawings in this book as magnificent and impressive as this drawing of the baobabs?”

The reply is simple. I have tried. But with the others I have not been successful. When I made the drawing of the baobabs I was carried beyond myself by the inspiring force of urgent necessity.”

Here is my drawing…generously purchased by Angela!  And, I’m so excited about that!