Sunday, July 22, 2007

Wish Face

Rob's birthday was a spontaneous two day celebration this year, thanks to our beautiful Oregon friends. An evening singing, dancing,playing music and Sardines with Danny, Vicki, Riley and Scotty. Vicki made us a gorgeous Thai meal and we sipped red wine and ate coconut ice cream. A hike up Mount Pisgah the next day with a shish kebab cookout in Nancy's green backyard at dusk, hanging out with her, Georgina and Micah. We made strawberry shortcake for dessert but Micah was unimpressed and quietly slipped away to buy a full on chocolate cake with "Happy Birthday Rob" on it. Sweet! So we had two cakes as well. I caught the best shot of Rob's wish face with the magic Micah cake.

Overextension and Back Again

Home is where I want to be. After literally months of preparation and nearly two weeks traveling and camping up in verdant Oregon, we have landed at home with a sigh. The trip was marked by extremes. Peaks and plunges. After vowing to pace ourselves and thinking we were, we worked ourselves to exhaustion anyway, left a day later than intended and plowed north, 500 miles in one day.

There was an extreme heat advisory in effect for most of southern Oregon so we sucked on frozen water bottles and pined for air conditioning as we pushed through. Our van did great considering how overloaded she was. That was a plus since we've had lots of car karma on other trips. Our usual stop in Ashland was fruitful, stocking up on food, water, treats and a squirt of some Peruvian herb called Qat (
ilex guayusa). We got to fair by late afternoon with all the good stuff: golden light, smiling faces, pennyroyal redolence and a Full Load Teddy (a magical slip of paper that allowed us access into the Eight to unload right at our booth). The site looked good, no mud, not too dry and no mosquitoes.

We took our time unloading and making camp. It is after all a three day endeavor just setting up. I soon discovered that the brew from Peru was a stimulant, big time. It kicked in so strong that I was clearing debris like an Amazon. Before I knew it I not only had the kitchen just so, I'd cleared a new tent space where before there'd been a fallen tree. Did I move a fallen tree? I think maybe I did. We worked until dark and then fell asleep reveling in our new foam mats. So comfy. It is possible to love a hunk of petroleum. I remember the trees dancing over our heads like a dream.

Camp was more organized and tidy than ever before which did my head good. Tables placed well are a revelation. On Wednesday, Rob and I built new bones for the "wall" between us and our neighbor so we were all about strong lines and consolidation. Our scene felt so together that we were ready when everyone began to land. The energy shifts and builds with each arrival, so it's key to be grounded. Danny, Karen, Zoie...Mom and Dad...Mitch's Clan...Jay and Eileen. All told there's close to 20 of us sharing that behind the booths camp space. Tight.

So, Wednesday night, after Danny, Karen, Zoie got in and pitched tents, it rained. Full on pour, thunderclaps and all. Danny saved us with his excellent tarping skills but by the end of the day we were wondering why we do this crazy thing? I caught a momentary charge from the ionized air but soon enough my batteries began to run low.

The Fair was opening on Friday so we spent Thursday setting setting up merchandise. That's the hardest part for me because it's not straightforward and focusing is hard. The girls demand help setting up their scenes. There are cards to stock, signs to put up, paintings to hang, tags to place and dozens of other nitpicky decisions for me and only me to make. Besides, spectacles begin to appear along the Path and folks start to drift in to check stuff out. Invaluable aid was given by all with a special shout out to Steve for being my slave with a screw driver while hanging canvases and to Mom for tasteful discrimination and taking initiative on painting placement. By day's end we looked pretty good. The best ever. I think the weeks of painting paid off. Almost all original pieces in the booth made it feel high caliber.

So, Friday the party officially begins but by then I was pooped. I stayed juiced up on feedback from people who were liking the work. I feel such thanks for everyone's appreciation. That kept me high. And breathing in the vibe we co creative creatures make. So much luscious opulent expression. I got to trip around on Saturday night as is tradition, laughing and ogling and dancing. Highlights of the weekend include: large serene light forms changing color, dancing in the dark to the Kitchen Syncopators, members of Royal Famille du Caniveaux playing music at Chez Ray's Saturday night, African Harp, lavish visuals, amazing folks, deep conversations, synchronicities. It all adds up.

By Sunday I hit my low, waking with sneezing and chest congestion. Low ebb and vulnerable. Not my first fair cold but by then I'd had a few other firsts . A territorial dispute with a neighbor (that new wall) and a reprimand from the Fair for not being in my booth at all times(!) Not in my booth? My booth is me. The dispute worked itself out but I have some processing still to do on that last one. I sink so much energy into offering to the Fair that I can't help reeling a bit with hurt and anger. Can't they hit on the party booth down the way? Shit. Nevertheless, I am recommitted to sticking to my booth.

By the end we'd chalked up a strange and turbulent but lucrative fair. I sold several originals, hundreds of cards and prints and took in enough praise to last me a year. The fun bubbled up in twinkles and small doses, flashed out from niches and impromptu stages. Bits strung out, together they made a decent pretty thing. When I think of all this I grok the Country Fair adage "Thanks For Being Us". I couldn't have done it without everyone. My fair family. Us.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Encouraging Patronage

Art Altars

Madrona Manor

In the midst of our OCF crunch we had a chance to step outside of the craziness for a small respite. It so happened that Rob's mother's youngest brother flew out here from Florida. Rob hadn't seen his Uncle Mike for over 30 years so we had to get together. He generously offered to take us out to a fine meal "someplace over the top, your choice" he said. Our choice, hmmm. We consulted with Mom and Dad since they've eaten out in the county more than we have. We picked Madrona Manor out on Westside Road in Healdsburg. I've been wanting to go out there because I knew my grandma lived there in 1943 with her mom when my mom was a new baby. My great grandpa was like the ranch foreman out there. It was a good choice. It was fancy French/Cali country and the hotel and grounds were beautiful. After a rather stiff mannered French Maitre d' seated us at a large table and addressed each girl as "mademoiselle" Eden whispered "This restaurant is so fancy it's kind of scary." Mike turned out to be a really nice guy. He had two Southern ladies with him and it was nice just to hear them talk. They were game for the minimalist gourmet cuisine scene. When a wide bowl was set before Uncle Mike with what looked like a tablespoon of fresh corn in the center, even I thought things had gone too far but the waitress quickly assuaged dismay by topping the bowl with a hot creamy soup from a small pitcher.They even rolled with the unexpected arrival of some "beet shooters" sent out by the chef. Where else but California do you get a shot glass of blood red juice topped with peach foam? We had a bottle of Pinot, appetizers, entrees, dessert (very impressive for the girls) and cafe presse decaf. Wow. I don't even want to guess how much it all came to. A small fortune. But Uncle Mike didn't blink an eye. He's had a successful career in water table consultation and is still in demand all over the US so he can enjoy the good things. I hope they liked it all as much as we did. Great folks. They even came back to our digs for a quiet visit and then au revoir. Always nice to meet new family in the world.

Faerie Queen Bed

It is that time of year once again, Oregon Country Fair looming. We have so many irons in the fire over here, it's cookin'. I'm painting, making altars, bagging prints, designing signs, assembling displays, consolidating our camping gear for two weeks up there. The girls are each making stuff to sell. India has her very popular wool gnomie dolls, her poetry stickers,bottle cap art magnets and jewelry and she plans to face paint, too. Eden has art stickers and this year we worked together to make faerie chairs and other whimsies. Here is a sample: a faerie queen bed. I'll eventually post more pix over on flickr though it may be when we get back.
UPDATE 7/20: Eden sold this one the day before the Fair for $45 to a woman who intended to use it for a jewelry display in a store window. Nice. E took her money and bought a bright green velvet top with puff sleeves and pointed hem. Sticks and moss from a graveyard at dusk becomes pixie garb. True faerie magic.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Between the Lines, Over the Edge.

I finally finished this baby. It's been in process for months. Not that it's taken me that long to paint it, I was just contemplating more than painting. I gleaned the eye lamp shape from Picasso's Guernica. That was my starting point. It grew from there. No planning on this one. No preliminary drawing. Just flow. I wanted to speak about evolving beyond left brain perception. Moving past the alphabet and the rational mind to embrace intuitive knowing and other ways of seeing. Stepping beyond the known into Mystery where ancients, mystics, poets and shamans have walked before. A new path into the supple realms where anything is possible.

"The eye is lamp of the body."-Jesus

Fire Flowers

Sort of a sad Independence Day considering the bitter reality of the news: Executive Privilege abuse, US Attorney scandal, endless war and a Constitutional crisis...seems the only one really celebrating freedom is Scooter. Still, I like to see fireworks, experience fireworks. I thought we'd miss them this year since we are so crazy busy working to get launched up north to Oregon Country Fair but last night we were in the right place at the right time. On Highway 12 cruising past the Fairgrounds. The traffic slowed to a crawl and eventually stalled completely as everyone abandoned the flow to just ogle. Kinda cool. Tough luck if you were actually in a hurry to get somewhere, like the guy who was yelling curses at everyone afterward. Pretty spectacular.