I enjoyed a small foray into Bear Canyon yesterday just after dawn. Rabbits are still very much on my radar. This one patiently agreed to pose for a couple of photos.
I know that a rabbit wants to be in one of my paintings soon. To that end, I'm doing a little research,
including contemplating things from a bunny's eye view
No wonder this spot is bunny central in Bear Canyon. There is a stream just to the right. To the left is a housing project-sized rabbit warren. When passing by, I can never resist spending time here. It attracts like the field of opium poppies in the Wizard of Oz. The residents seem to be growing accustomed to me.
No, this is not a rabbit warren. That would look more like holes. This is human land art. Wherever I go, if I am within 1/4 mile of a trail, there is human land art. The compulsion to make art is strong. Most of what I see takes two forms: phallic rock towers or stick-shelters like this one. The latter seem to be a manifestation of the fantasy of living in the wild. These creations are everywhere. The more we trash the planet and its non-human inhabitants, the stronger our fantasies of retreating into their habitat. The former . . . well, sometimes a phallus is just a phallus, and sometimes it's a pile of rocks.
Something about leaving traces of my passing in the wilderness goes against my grain. I'm of the old school "take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints" vein of thought. Like a bear, I do my best not to leave footprints. It's a good challenge. The bears are a lot better at it than I am.
Like every other mammal, I'm drawn to water. As summer progresses, it is getting harder to find water. Below is what's left of the raging run-off that enlivened Bear Canyon a few short weeks ago. What we laughably call the summer monsoons have started, so I take heart. Thunder heads are again forming over the mountains as I write this.
Leaving Bear Canyon, I walked through the Randall Davey Audubon Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, where I still have a painting hanging in a group show. The gallery is part of the original building and has a lovely Old New Mexico feeling.
I appreciate the access to wilderness that the Center provides, the birdseed they put out that the mule deer come down to feed on, the fact they understand and buy more birdseed, and the work they do educating kids about nature. If you are looking for a good nonprofit to support, look no further.
I am a Santa Fe New Mexico painter. I have always had two bodies of work: animals and abstractions. Both are an expression of the same concern with our relationship with nature.
My currently body of representational work, Habitat, brings animals in wildlife hospitals and farm sanctuaries into environments abandoned by humans. By placing animals in human archeological ruins, I invite the viewer to consider the destruction of wildlife habitat, factory farming, and the choices we can make to change course.
I spend a good deal of time in the wilderness, tracking, observing and photographing wildlife and free-running mountain streams.
Painting in watercolors and oils is an intimate interaction with water and earth minerals. When one moves paint around on canvas or paper, the forms that are the conceptual matrices underlying conscious experience emerge. I step aside and let that process happen, allowing the painting to breathe and reveal its internal structures and symbols.
I am fortunate to have studied oil and watercolor painting with Sam Scott. He taught me to see seasonal color, to be fearless in painting my vision of nature, and to be unafraid of beauty.