Friday, September 9, 2011

The Return

One Moment.  Charcoal on paper, 14 x 11 inches.
 Back in the desert once more.  When you've been gone a certain amount of time,  things all seem to have shifted slightly.  Or perhaps it's because you have been gone, you have shifted, and so the way you see familiar things is new.  Dry heat instead of wet heat.  The green here seems dusty and faded - bleached.  The house and yard feel neglected, despite the care of a dear neighbor.  The stack of mail, overwhelming at first, is nearly sorted through.   The air is sweet smelling, after the olfactory onslaught of the city.  I welcome it.  I would write the proverbial "it's good to be home," and in some ways it is.  In other ways it feels unfamiliar and empty.
The face I was overjoyed to see.

I still wake up in the wee hours.  I stay in bed, tossing, thinking if I lay there long enough, I will fall asleep once more.  But I do not.  I finally get up and watch the sun come up.  I gaze out the window, waiting for the familiar rabbits, jackrabbits and quail to make their morning appearance.  They come every day for the water I put out and to nibble on my carefully watered garden.  They have learned ways to sabotage my fences and chicken wire, in my absence.  Part of me is disappointed that my flowers are in some fuzzy bunny tummy, but another part of me can't help a small smile.  If I were a rabbit, I would eat them, too, especially the lemon yellow flowers that are now nothing more than brown sticks, nibbled to the bare.  Here is the first rabbit of the day, cautiously hopping to the water where a small finch splashes.  The rabbit is too skittish to actually take a drink, and has already left in a hurry.  I don't remember my windows being this dirty.  Maybe it rained.

I finished reading Musa Mayer's book Night Studio, about her father (the painter Philip Guston) on the airplane.  A worthwhile read, especially if you are an artist or if you live with one.  It illustrated quite well how obsessive the urge to create can be for an artist.  In this passage, Ms. Mayer writes about what her father put her mother through:  "His work habits were erratic, consuming.  No moderation there, either; no regular schedule for her (or me) to count on.  Often she'd barely see him for days when he was working late at night.  He would paint all night long, sleep in the daytime, and hardly see the two of us."  For me, the most compelling chapter was the last chapter of the book, where Mayer struggles to come to terms with being the daughter of an artist like Guston. I won't give anything more away, in case you read it.
Untitled (the helmet).  Charcoal and pastel,  7 x 5 inches.
Time to return to the studio.


Leslie Avon Miller said...

Welcome home. We never step into the same river twice, or perhaps we can never come home to the same place.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're home. Love the roadrunner! Did I miss you tonight at the opening?? Got there late.


Annie said...

Welcome home! Lovely to see your beautiful Pono. Lovely drawings. I must read that book as I am a huge Guston fan and since I can totally relate. As a painter there are no set times to paint and as I have been obsessed too, and often! Good I don't have a family to bother with it all
:-). Have a wonderful week. xoxo

Cynthia Schelzig said...

The face you were overjoyed to see and I bet HE was overjoyed even more:) I am on R & R right now but never leave home without a trusty laptop or work/ DH said,,,couldn´t you have left those AT HOME.....(how dare he:)referring to the books of course,,,,then you give me this book tip....ironic isn´t it. I will have to read it I suppose. Have a good weekend!