The wind is a good metaphor for change. This year started with strong metaphorical gusts back in Reno. I’m single again. And now here I sit at a ranch with horses outside my door as I compile an essay from my journaling.
Wifi doesn’t reach my cabin and that is how i would have it. Sunday I touched up the pink on the cabin I’m staying in. I’m under two giant cottonwood trees along the creek at the horse fence. The frogs are better entertainment than wifi but loud.
It’s like a dude ranch here I guess but we’re all working. Many people can stay here. More and more. We’re building housing. I’m painting pictures on the side of the housing. I’ve been painting at Iveson Ranch for like 6 years now.
The first couple days I took my mule to the pasture. The mule is a vehicle with one forward and one reverse gear. It’s made by Kawasaki. This one’s mine, Eddie the ranch foreman tells me, designated for the artist. Someone called it my art car. It has a roof and a bed for hauling stuff. Round rubber wheels get me around the ranch quickly and efficiently and I love my mule but it’s loud to start.
We sat together alone out in this pasture of desert sage vegetation. Maybe I should name this mule. This is work–it’s research. A friend called this my paintcation.
Sage is more like 5 kinds of plants we call sagebrush. Some are hops, some are rabbit brush and then there are grasses like cheat grass and Great Basin Wild Rye which is very tall. There’s bitter brush which features the little cottony yellow buds and then spiny brush. There’s moisture saved in some. It’s the desert but it makes me wonder how much moisture there is in these plants.
Grey and brown are handsome backdrops to the valley’s floor with the spring greens dominating in wide variety. Green can be grey, brown, yellow or blue. The desert is dusty and dust makes things look grey. My mural on the container is the subject of sagebrush. To warm up I painted a canvas in oils on the easel beside my steering wheel.
In the valley where I sit a patch of pale sunlight inches along. Wind moves light, sound, temperature and moisture. Almost no blue cracks through the silver. Apparently the sun patch has found me but the wind pushes it away in a rustle.
I’m here because I’m an artist. Appreciation is what I do. My purpose is one of preservation. There’s sense of purpose out here. At the ranch everything has purpose. Conserving this place, this environment’s protection is priority. Water is king, our leader. We serve water. It’s not the other way around. This vegetation feeds deer and wildlife. Interested in how conservation works? Talk with these ranchers. The chain of causation continues to feed and the vegetation is crucial.
Did I mention dogs? The dogs here are one black dog and three white ones. Buddy is not a resident here but a visitor and young and with blond peaking thru the white. Mara is fluffy and slow moving sweet, big. Her leg is hurt so she moves slow. Blue is Australian shepherd and I love them. She’s pretty damn chill with David Bowie eyes of course and with grey fur. The black one is Jessie. She’s old and tweaked with a crooked neck and bad eyesight, no hearing. She’s still happy though. She makes due. Loves life, doesn’t wanna miss a thing.
The hierarchy is challenged with the interloper, the pup, Buddy coming to energize things. Blue is right there though, she’s on top of things. Everyone knows their place and things work even when the youngbud comes to knock around but with good spirits of play and companion love. They chase the cat up the fences which are rail road ties stood on end and up around the pond at the front yard the cat sat there all morning the other a.m.
Attention to detail is a championship sport around here. Six years of it has me in pretty good practice but I still get heckled once in awhile by Eddie.
The mix of people here churns up interesting moments. Everything here is interesting. An artist might get special treatment but it’s not about better and worse, it’s about different. An artist is unique in his position in the world. We soak it up. We’re here to reflect.
I sit on my mule on the ridge after dinner over looking the ranch.
The sun went down like an hour ago. The frogs started up just then. I engulfed bratwurst which is like my favorite. I’m listening to Elvis Costello and the sunset has become a yellow ochre or sienna color like mustard it seems. Dark yellow is an interesting thing.
I left dinner abruptly and sped up the hill to this spot and they can see me from the dinner table on the front porch. I’m up the hill and possibly they even get a hint of my music echoing down. The wind has kicked up from behind me, due east, which is where the Black Rock sits. The heat collects there. The wind blows through on its curved path. Here the valley collects the wind and the heat gets sucked up and out.
I’m stuck with green minded thoughts. every thought it seems like I’m seeing green. My thoughts are green. That’s a strange thought.
The purpose here is I make beauty. I’m grateful for the way I make money. I hope to effect people with what I’m leaving here on the surfaces of these cabins. I hope to inspire. I hope the vision I share strikes a nerve with observers. I’ve heard great comments so far. I can’t wait to see this one. It’s a challenging thing painting so big. I simply have to wait patiently until its finished. It takes time. It’s a workout. It’s not a simple. This thing is huge. It’s fucking huge. It’s over 100 linear feet, this mural. Each box is longer than my Victorian Square mural.That’s 70 feet long.
I’m thinking of sneaking to bed. That’s probably what I’ll do. Now it’s silent other than my laptop speakers so I turned the music off. Earlier it was the frog battling the generator for sound from this elevated point. Down at the house you don’t hear it much but up here it’s a different sound point and the two sounds are predominant over people’s voices. It’s raining. I should go home and go to bed.
Their croaking started up slowly tonight with just a few kicking it off at dusk.
What would Mark Twain do?