Thursday, January 7, 2016

Tyrannosaurus Truman

During the snow storms this week I've been having fun with my new toy dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus Truman...


A dizzy hadrosaur ambles away...


Monday, November 16, 2015

Garland Prairie: One Year Later

A year later, more photos from Garland Prairie. Apparently it's where I go to experience monsoon season. Looking at the dates from last year to this year, they are within 12 days of each other. I worked these images up last week, but they're from July 4th.


Bright Sheep








Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Garland Prairie or Why I Don't Share Everything Online

Sheep Barn

Monsoon Homestead
     I've been working this year on a new photo project. I have no idea when I'll show the work. But even after having started it several months ago, and not being able to work on it as much as I would like, I am still excited about it. (And, for me, that's saying something.)
     I can tell you that it involves how we regard place and how we inhabit, or no longer inhabit, a space; how something as sentimentally valued as a home or a personal item crafted by a loved one can easily become abject, cast off, and left to rot. It's another chapter in how I feel about memory and I'm curious about how it will be received, or if it will be readable by anyone other than me, or those who sit through my lengthy explanations of it.
     I have been hesitant to share it online for several reasons, but mainly because when art is experienced virtually, it is just that, virtually experienced. With painting and sculpture we can see, if we are attentive, that we aren't really experiencing the work first hand or in person when we view it online. With photography, however, we tend to forget that a photograph is still a physical object crafted by an artist.
     With some phones sporting very good cameras, photography has been at once democratized and cheapened. I believe that, just as pounding a few nails into a board doesn't make you a carpenter, taking pictures and applying filters on Instagram doesn't make you an artist. And the thing I dread most is that you will be viewing my artwork on your smartphone's tiny little screen, in whatever app you prefer, while in-dispose, rather than facing it at its intended scale in a space and time set aside for such a purpose.
     That being said, while I have elected not to toss the bulk of my work into the sea of snapshots online, I do create some photos for the express purpose of sharing in virtual reality. They are often images created to accompany a narrative, or one-off shots that won't be printed but tell a quick little story of their own without text. So, here are some shots from recent trips to Garland Prairie where I was working on the aforementioned project. Keeping my word to myself, these photos are not part of the project, but by-products of time spent in the field. Click on an image to enlarge and enjoy.

Barn Interior

Sleeping Porcupine

Low Hanging Juniper (Porcupine's Napping Tree)

Michele's Friend

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Steve Zissou and the Star of India

     On a recent trip to San Diego we stayed a few blocks from Harbor Drive. The Star of India, whose description can be read here, became a pleasant fixture at the start of any walk I took along the water. 

     I'm not sure why I was so taken with her. Perhaps it tied me again to my fantasies about being on the water and living off the bounty of the sea, dreams that I fostered in my short time as a child in Rhode Island. One thing was conspicuously absent from the experience though, the smell; the Pacific just doesn't carry the same intoxicating nostril filling scent of salt and sea that the Atlantic does. Still, it is an ocean and I found myself moving nearer to it at every opportunity. 
     On our last morning there I met a kindred soul who shares my yen for the ocean, none other than Steve Zissou himself. He was there filming his latest foray over the deep and stopped in to do a bit piece on the very ship that greeted me each morning. We chatted for a spell and posed for a photo. He let me call him Stevesie. And before we departed, his assistant handed me a red cap and a Speedo. With a pat on my shoulder and a skip in my step we departed, he to his next adventure and me to mine as the happiest member of the Zissou Society that day.

Monday, June 9, 2014


     While walking in the pinyon-juniper woodland desert northeast of Walnut Canyon, I came upon this somewhat grisly scene. 
     I imagine that the tire might have held water and that this unlucky bovine was able to enjoy it for a short time before his untimely death at whatever hands. The carcass was completely empty, yet the stench of death lingered. Fortunately I was able to stand upwind to photograph the scene.
     Over the past year I've come to enjoy this strip of land, despite its having been ravaged by cattle and unethical wood cutters. It's obvious from aerial imagery, the difference between this exhausted land and the protected area within monument boundaries. 
     The lack of vegetation provides vista views and open off-trail hiking, but the large scale sacrifice of things like oxygen, food, and habitat is hard to reconcile with bare juniper stumps, spent bullet shells, clay pigeons, and beer bottles. Still, the flora and fauna there are worth a reverent look, even if it does mean staring into the eyes of human ignorance and irresponsibility for a while.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Forest People

        Recently I visited the Phoenix Zoo. I used to love zoos. After keeping a few pet snakes over the years, I learned that I don't actually enjoy keeping an animal strictly for my own pleasure. I found myself wanting to give them increasingly elaborate environments that would mimic their real habitat. Through this process I realized my deeper desire to inhabit those places myself, and the pet was just my surrogate for that experience.
        Back to the zoo, I was okay, if a little apprehensive, about the exhibits, until I got to the orangutans. Their name means "forest person" and rightly so. When I looked into the eyes of our fellow great ape, I was immediately struck with an awareness of being looked back into, followed by deep sorrow, then by nauseating regret. That realization of consciousness motivates me, it's a part of my conscience, and changes the way I view the world.
        Not wanting to debate the mission and effectiveness of the modern zoo, I'll just say that I was afforded the opportunity, ironically, to see myself through the eyes of a captive creature I might never have encountered otherwise.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cow Mind

A Swiss Braunvieh cow wearing a cowbell (Wikipedia)

        When you have "cow mind", then decide if you can eat cow. This thought occurred to me last night. I'm not vegetarian, but I am very curious about the mindfulness of eating. Rather than speaking of plants and animals as commodity, what if we related to them as the parts of the greater whole that we all are? There are numerous thinkers and teachers who can give more comprehensive, exhaustive reasoning, but I'm just thinking out loud here. If we really entered into communion with the life around us, what differences would there be in us and the world we inhabit? Is it possible to recognize the consciousness of our fellow inhabitants? Is it possible to know/have cow mind, dog mind, flower mind, tree mind, rock mind? How does one enter into this practice?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

More later on the long time between posts, but here's part of the reason for now...

I'm having my first exhibition of paintings in far too long. 

The show is at Firecreek Coffee Co. on Route 66 and San Francisco in beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona. It opens on Friday, September 6th, First Friday Artwalk, and will be on display through the end of the month. Here's a sample of the work being shown...

Untitled 36 X 60"

Untitled 36 X 48"

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Visual Journal

     This semester I am student teaching at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy in Flagstaff, AZ. My host teacher, Janeece Henes, has fostered in her students the practice of keeping a visual journal. The basis of this practice can be found on this website:

     I have enjoyed seeing what students do with this format and, as with any assignment this semester, I have adopted the practice myself. As a result I now carry a book-bag full of art supplies to support the habit. Whenever I have time to fill I pull out my journal and start a new page or add a layer to an existing one. Here are a few images from my visual journal. Many pages are in progress and may not be finished for a long time as this format allows for a slow development of imagery.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Memory Stacks