I must express my whole-hearted approval of the decision by the Supreme Court that was announced today – we have turned a momentous corner toward equality for all people in this country, no matter what your gender, no matter what state or in which city you choose to live. You have now legally been awarded the basic human right that you should have had all along, to be who you authentically are in every state of the union, live where you would like to live and with whom, enjoying those rights and to express your personal preferences legally with the partner you choose. I could not be happier. What the hell took so long? It is all so very basic….the right to be who you were born to be with the some rights as every other human being. It is all about tolerance and RESPECT. Let’s get some more of that going. Let’s all grow up.
Visiting the Denver Art Museum yesterday was a deep, soul fulfilling delight – first the magnificent exhibit of the work of Joan Miro; a collection of his abstract art at its finest including sculpture, paintings and minimally simple line drawings. Then the breathtaking, mind-bending realistic trio of sculptures by John DeAndrea. Two such widely disparate styles in one brief afternoon stretches the mind and provokes timeless questions about what leads artists in the direction to do what they do. The videos were extremely informative of course, but as an artist myself I could still scarcely imagine how these two artists began their journey from A to Z.
I especially love the above quote by Miro, posted just over a huge line painting in the show primarily in black of nothing but gestures; squiggles and swoops that he says he had on his mind for years and years….until it finally surfaced. When people ask me, as they often do, how long it took me to do a particular painting, I always reply, “All my life.” And that is nothing unique to me – all artists feel that way.
Many of you may remember LINDA, the nude sculpture pictured above, done in an oil polychrome media with paint of polyvinyl applied. Yes her hair is real, and yes her feet are incredible, and if you stand and watch her long enough you find yourself expecting and hoping she will take a breath. Light and pollution are detrimental to the materials LINDA is made of and she only comes out of dark storage every decade or so. Yesterday was her last day at Denver Art Museum for a long while. There was also an elegant nude black woman in the show and a two-figure sculpture of the artist himself in the process of sculpting a half-finished seated nude. Of course these sculptures are all life-sized.
Art continues to fascinate, does it not? Any kind of art……
As we speak I am in the home stretch, finishing final edits, of my new novel and constructing all the accompanying marketing avenues that are so important these days. It is a daunting task but an exciting journey. The book is a novel, but indeed some of you will recognize some small glimmers of what you have seen before in my blog and my first book, all wrapped into a much larger story with a detailed plot. I will soon be offering all of you some enticing excerpts to chew on before the publication. Writing a manuscript and painting a very large painting are so much alike. The work is consistently hard over a long and arduous period of time, the labor is often painful and you need to push it all out, but the birthing is exciting and rewarding.
Photos: Instagram – jobrownscott9
We were on our way back to Denver from a long weekend at the International Pastel Society Conference in Albuquerque, taking the winding and picturesque way home along the back roads of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, stopping for a night in Santa Fe, then headed north, when we came upon the ongoing repair of this iconic church in Taos. San Francisco de Asis is a lovely, clean-lined contemporary church despite its age, made of the clay, sand, dirt, straw and water stucco mixture authentic to the area. It was a hot morning, but the community was out in force helping the men who applied the mud to the walls as if they were icing a cake with super stiff milk chocolate frosting. This mud stucco is highly prized for its historic significance and its strong insulation from the heat but requires constant maintenance against the ravages of wind and rain.
At first, upon our arrival we were disappointed to find that cranes and other scaffolding were “ruining” our pictures of the stunning church, but of course we soon realized how fortunate we were to witness this centuries-old process happening to a very very old church. The sky was immaculate; what I like to call Santa Fe blue in all of its glory. The stark white of the crosses and the slightly rose-brown of the stucco were a gorgeous contrast, but what struck me most was the dedication and joy of the people who were there to help.
There were many other examples of Americana and Spanish influence along our drive which will follow in days to come. A road trip such as this, which brings you right down to the ground, literally and figuratively, from aloof and sterile air travel is a great and powerful way to know your country and your fellow man, while teaching you also about yourself and what kinds of things you hold dear. I recommend it; I eat it up and I relish every bend in the road wondering what is next.
During our recent trip to these two enticing places we experienced a number of amazing things and had our eyes opened to sights we will never forget – the glitz and glamour of orderly, polite, uber-wealthy Singapore in stark contrast with the crumbling ruins of mysterious Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia set amid the poverty stricken, red dirt countryside that surrounds that site.
Sometimes, however, it is the smaller discoveries on a trip that stick in your visual memories and linger in your heart and soul. My traveling companion and I are both artists and I am a writer – we cannot even comprehend how NOT to be visually oriented. We take thousands of pictures; we describe scenes, light, color, people and smells using a different vocabulary known only between the two of us…we store away ambience, mood, a fleeting happening there or a dialogue overheard here that will later fuel a painting or a paragraph in the book I am writing. We absorb everything, keeping it all in the loft of our minds for later use.
Here are ten things both large and small that impressed us, amid the hundreds of overwhelming experiences we had:
1) In the Singapore airport there is a special dimmed area of grouped reclining chairs for the purpose of giving travelers a place to sleep. Such a civilized, valuable addition…
2) In a different area there is a long table, supplied with free paper and crayons, where children and adults can do colorful rubbings of raised designs – perhaps a dozen or so – in various Singapore-related images. It is easy, it is fun, and for weary travelers it is certainly a welcome change of pace.
3) All over Singapore on various street corners you will notice a lattice-roof area which shelters a sort of courtyard perhaps as large as your living room, with sturdy wires, arranged in a grid, hanging down about 20 inches with hooks on the end, and each hook is numbered. What could this possibly be, I ask ? Well of course these places are there for people’s caged household birds, so that they can enjoy an outdoor afternoon.
4) Do not go to Singapore without eating Chili Crab – it is messy, best eaten outdoors, perhaps at a restaurant along the water. Spend a long, leisurely amount of time for this dinner; it is an experience! Bring friends; keep ordering food.
5) Go to the Marina Bay Sands resort hotel in the city, have a cocktail on the top floor and take in the view, but sneak around to the infinity pool (that is just for guests) – you must have a good look at it! The pool is located on the top floor, visually losing its edge as you swim, and the top of this building, at closer glance, is the shape of a long, sleek ship balanced atop a logic-breaking skyscraper in three sections. It is the iconic image one remembers of Singapore.
6) Siem Reap is a short flight from Singapore to the sweltering interior of Cambodia.You are transported to another time and place. Hit your re-set button and dial it down a bit so that you can understand and appreciate the wonderful people there and what their brutal recent history has dealt them. Buy things – they depend upon tourism and they have lovely silver jewelry. Talk with the people – they are hungry for information from the outside world.
7) If you are not faint of heart get yourself an authentic Cambodia massage. Lovely wafer-thin young women who cannot weight more than 70 lbs will walk on you, pull your limbs until you fear they will come off, bend and twist you like a pretzel and give your muscles a wake-up call the likes of which you have never experienced.
8) The most expensive restaurants in Siem Reap are not necessarily the best – you can have a gourmet Cambodian meal for about $12-15 per person, beautifully presented and delicious. The fruits and vegetables are delightful.
9) Do not spend less than two days touring Angkor Wat – if you do you will miss a lot and you will not be getting all the history and information you need in order to comprehend the vast importance of the ruins. It could not have been possible to construct such an enormous complex of temples and buildings were it not for the 40,000 elephants who hauled the stone.
10) Embrace the immense curiosity evident everywhere you go for the United States. People crave conversation – they want to understand you, where you live, what it is like there and why you came. You will love the people.