Saturday, July 3, 2010

Leafy Testaments

Thanks everyone, for all the 500th Postiversary wishes and for brother Steve's birthday greetings. Both of us have been delighted and honored by everyone's response. We've still a couple of days to go before Deep is bestowed on a random comment-leaver, so jump on in at the previous post.

The journey of the next 500 posts begins with a single entry, so to accommodate my need for a blog topic I took down one show on Thursday and immediately installed another yesterday. Thankfully I have patient and competent friends willing to help with such an expedition, since the Darling Man I usually boss around work with during such adventures was off having fun of his own. (Can you say "flat tire on the way to a gig"?)

Were it not for J. and R. I think I'd still be at the Salida Café trying to decide what piece to hang where. I arrived early in an attempt to have all the decisions made before the muscle arrived but for some reason was completely stymied. The support team brought energy, good eyes, and good humor to the afternoon and turned a challenging installation into plain old fun. (Although I still think that one needs to go a half inch to the right. Don't you agree? Snort.)

We were almost finished when I decided I needed to put one more large piece on the last wall, so I ran home and got Cottonwood to add to the collection.

Cottonwood is one of several images of iconic Chaffee County trees that I have created in the last few years. For many decades, perhaps a century or more, this stately cottonwood served as a graceful landmark along CR 301 near Buena Vista. It wasn't until we were about to hang the piece that I learned the tree was cut down earlier this year to accommodate the pipeline for a new Nestle water bottling plant. It was crushing news-- one more turn of the screw for the many members of this community who fought hard against the establishment of the facility at all.

Inside my sadness over the loss of this tree, though, I am finding a whispered reminder of why I do the work I do. I try to pay attention. I try to be a witness. Drawings, paintings, and linocuts are my testimony. It's good to get it down on paper now. It might not be there the next time I look.

Not to end on a bummer, though... Look what else I discovered yesterday.

Actually, this was the second hummingbird nest of the morning, the other is barely 100 yards away on the underside of the highway bridge. I imagine that one's like an apartment next to the railroad tracks, but this one is a cool refuge in the country. (Yup, I am definitely having fun with the new camera.)

The moral of Post 501? Simple.

Be a witness. Testify. It's good for all of us.


  1. good moral and one people should do more often. a person doesnt even have to take pictures, just keeping the image alive in ones mind works.

    really sad that that tree was cut down :( a home for many living things gone for good, but your image does keep the memory of the tree alive.

  2. It is a sad testament to human nature that we destroy nature in the name of the !@#$%^ almighty $. It is also a sad testament to human nature that Nestle has been allowed the go ahead for this water plant. I had really hoped and "prayed - my own form" that this would not happen.

    On a lighter note - that pic. of Hummer/nest looks like a terrific linocut-to-be to me. What a really great pic - I would have to print and hang it. :-D


  3. Lovely post. Thanks for the reminder, the pics of the show (sorry we weren't there to help you hang this time!), for the sad news about the cottonwood, and for your work. Especially the latter.

  4. THAT is amazing news -- it's like cutting down trees to make way for sidewalks. Human beings in a modern industrialized nation can't make sidewalks and pipelines go around a tree? I'm very glad there's a careful and loving memory of it in your print. There could be another show with a gallery full of nothing but the cottonwood print. It could be titled:

    Nestle makes the very best ...

  5. Right, Jeff, why can't they make these things go around?
    But you see things like this happen all the time, everywhere. It's an evolution of sorts. And it happens in nature: lightning hits a tree, it's gone and that's the way it is. Humans manipulate, nature manipulates. And Sherrie preserves the memory, the knowledge, the testament that it did, in fact, exist once.
    Nothing stays the same, and that's sad, but that's how it works.
    I hope I didn't offend anyone.
    I love Sherrie's work and she's right, and she and others like her are very important.