Sunday, April 29, 2012

Flashback

The print bench remains empty. Well, not exactly empty. I'm getting ready to hang a solo show at the Paquette Gallery here in Salida on Tuesday, so there are boxes of framed work stacked in the spot where I usually keep the registration jig.

I do have a couple of print-related things to share later this week, but tonight it's time for a little trip in the Wayback Machine.


Four years ago tomorrow the Darling Man and his packed-to-the-gills car arrived here from Ohio. Some of his belongings were already piled in the living room, which evolved from my space to our space in the time it took for David and the rest of his gear to step across the threshold.

A few months prior to that historic moment, however, we'd conducted a sort of living/working test drive at David's digs in Ohio. I shipped my computer, paints and paper to Cleveland for the entire month of January. Yes, January. In Cleveland. (If you don't believe me, check out the Cleveland posts.)

During that period I worked on an illustration for a wayside panel that was later installed overlooking the Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs. Crazy thing is, I never actually saw the sign completed until last Friday.

David had morning and evening gigs to play in nearby Manitou Springs that day, so in the intervening hours we spent a little time in the park. Our plan to do some hiking was blown away by uncomfortable wind, and while we were trying to decide what to do instead I remembered this sign. Off we went to find it.

Four years after installation the panel is in pretty good shape, except that the colors have faded significantly in the intense Colorado sun. We expect this. If a sign "guaranteed" to keep its color 10 years makes it to five around here, we're feeling pretty smug. (You can get a sense of what the colors DID look like here.)  The part of the illustration that shows the "Kissing Camels" formation has been worn off by countless fingers.. which I didn't expect, but I quite liked. It's good to know the piece has been useful to people.

It felt a little strange to stand next to this sign, both because I had only ever seen it on my computer screen and because it is so strongly connected in my mind to Ohio and the early days of my relationship with David. When I first walked up to it I felt as though I had discovered my forgotten diary propped up in a public place.

I've done a lot of wayside signs, but until yesterday I had never considered that they are as much about my history as they are about the natural and cultural history of the place where they are installed. It's an interesting revelation and I felt my attitude toward them shift just a little. They're no longer just public pieces, they are personal, too.


2 comments:

Michelle V. Alkerton said...

So very cool and wishing you all the best with your solo show :).
Stay inspired!

Susan J Tweit said...

Four years? Really! Wow. I wouldn't have guessed that. Great realization about the illo work being part of your personal journey too. That's something to ponder, and I hope the attitude shift is helpful. Can't wait to see your show at the Paquette!