Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Overlook

The Overlook
Oil on black canvas, 18x18

The Overlook is where you go if you live in Westerly, RI, and need a tiny breathing break from life. People park along the edge of the road, look at the big homes and watch the waves break against the rocks. Sometimes there's a seal, but usually, it's just space and air and water and waves and the sweet scent of the ocean. 

Scenes from the Road

I arrived in Tubac, AZ, yesterday, on a beautiful, sunny afternoon, warm enough to chase away all thoughts of winter, snow, grayness, cold. The sun shone on the mountains, I could roll the window down in the van, and relax in the knowledge that I'd made it, safe and sound, across pretty much the entire country.

Peter waved, and the dogs barked and I pulled out of Wachapreague on Saturday, the van loaded with paintings, tent, and all manner of stuff for the three shows I'll do out here - Tubac, Feb. 7-11; Tucson Museum Spring Artisan Exhibit, Feb. 16-18; and the Fountain Hills Great Fair, Feb. 23-25. (Please click here for more info).

The country spun out before me, huge and fascinating and beautiful. The flat lands and salt marshes and tall pines of the Eastern Seaboard t fell away to the piney woods and palms of the Florida panhandle, the surprisingly industrial landscape of Alabama and Mississippi, with bristling ports and creaky bridges, giant gas globes frighteningly close to the highways - and then, all that is behind me, and I'm in Louisiana, and the bayous and water-soaked rice fields lead up to the Atchafalaya basin and the slim causeway that crosses it.

Then, it's Texas, 878 miles of it on I-10. Surprising hills and verdant fields in the east, the incredible bustle and 16-lane-wide highways of Houston, overarched with curving flyways and bridges - and then all civilization falls away, and Texas goes on and on and on and on. You drive by wind-blown towns with empty main streets and paint-peeled houses. Whole neighborhoods living in their RVs. Dogs on chains, and small herds of cows, and here and there goats and burros. Old cars rust into the land, and the door of an abandoned Winnebago swings in the wind, above a structure that once, clearly, was a patio.

The West starts in Texas, with little dots and splotches of red land, and then, up a hill and around a curve, mountains and buttes and a changed landscape. The New Mexico line is a celebration and a marker, and El Paso, with its stinking cow lots and thick array of stores - three Super Walmarts! - and frightening fly-way overpasses fades into memory.

Then, all of a sudden, after days and days of travel, I'm in Arizona, and breathing sunshine and welcome and the promise of seeing people I love, family, just up there, past the cities, by the sun-warmed mountains, glowing ochre and pink in the welcome evening light.

Photos, from top: me with my friend Bonnie, whom I visited in Florida. Then me with Sadie, Bonnie's flat-coated retriever. Next, a rest area bathroom in Texas - it's nicer than my house! Texas just has too much money! And finally, one of the windblown homes you see along the road. 

Dog of the Day

I met Peaches at a gas station in North or South Carolina. Her brand-new family drove to Georgia from Connecticut to get her. She's a rescue, and a fine, friendly, sweet puppy. 

A Final Thought 

"Art is the child of nature in whom we trace the features of the mother's face." 
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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