Friday, July 29, 2011

My newest painting, Baby Javelina Thriving at Wildlife Center (oil on canvas, 8 x 8 inches) has been written up on Santa Fe Reporter staff writer Wren Abbott's blog.  Thanks, Wren.

Monday, July 11, 2011

News flash: it rained!

Las Conchas Fire, Day 1, from my porch, 60mph winds

Up until a couple of nights ago, I could see the flames of the Las Conchas Fire running along the ridgetop and down into canyons 20 miles to the west, and shooting 300-500 feet or more up into the sky. About 1/5 of the western horizon is still glowing like the huge ember that it now is. There is another fire closer, in deep wilderness about 10-15 miles to the north, near our ski basin. If it comes running down the watershed, it will be at my house in no time, if the winds blow from the north.  If the fire gets into the watershed, though, they will fight it aggressively. 

My home is in no danger at present. Wish I could say the same for the animals in the forest.  And the residents of Santa Clara Pueblo.  After all of the prayers for rain, they now have to worry about flash floods and erosion, since the fire took their watershed last week.

The air has been smoke-filled for a more than a month. We have  lost hundreds of thousands of acres, within a 25-mile radius, to 2 fires.  Not to mention the massive Wallow fire still burning after a month, in Arizona and now western central New Mexico, the biggest fire either state has ever seen. 

I feel pretty helpless.  Animals talk to me in my dreams, asking for succor.  I am working on a painting of ravens, a coyote, a fawn, a rabbit, and fire. 

This is the worst drought in NM recorded history.  The forests are still a tinderbox, but we finally had a brief rain yesterday.  May it be a harbinger of things to come, and may it come gently to Santa Clara.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tassel Eared Squirrel

The Conversationalist in a Contemplative Moment,
oil on panel, 10 x 8 inches.

Here's the latest piece in my Horizontal Brothers series.  Can you tell that I am slowly wending my way through John Muir's collected works?  This little guy is an Albert's Squirrel or Tassel-Eared Squirrel.  They shed their ear tassels in the summer.  The painting is a portrait of a being I see frequently in Bear Canyon, near the Randall Davey Audubon Center.  He lives pretty far back in the canyon, in a huge ponderosa pine.  When I run by, he makes a loud noise, usually by pushing something out of the tree, which always gets my attention.  Then he comes down and poses for me, often with hands on hips, giving me hell in squirrelspeak.   I placed him in a snowy setting to protect him from the forest fires that are still burning to the North and West.  I have begun work on another squirrel I see frequently at the Audubon Center, a ground squirrel who is much more shy.