Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Calendar Series: 29th Month / Talking Ocean With Garden (1988)

Looking at this painting today, I noticed that I had painted X = X as part of the spray from the breaking wave and remembered that I had often listened to Laurie Anderson's album, "Big Science", from 1982, as I was painting and drawing. I had forgotten that influence. 

What I see today when I look at this image is a "garden" in an American flag-like arrangement, planted on scorched earth on the west coast of the United States, beginning to show signs of spring. The scorched earth is "speaking" in code, as are the garden and the ocean. 

When I painted the image, I believe I was thinking about Highway 1, the California coast highway, and that the "code" was in the line down the middle of the highway. A garden had been planted in the middle of a highway and was going to thrive. Of course, as in all of my paintings, the image is completely open to interpretation. I wonder what I will see in this painting when I look at it twenty years from now. 

Yesterday, one of my sisters emailed me a photo of spring wildflowers from 2005 in the Temblor Range at the border of San Luis Obispo and Kern Counties in California. Our family lived in the midst of the oilfields near this range between the time I was 5 years old and 7 years old. My sister and I took a trip to Death Valley during the time I was painting the calendars. On that trip, we revisited the region where we had lived as children. I can see how the overlapping shapes of the California hillsides I saw as a young child, and then in my 30s, are repeated again and again in my paintings.

The above photo of the Temblor Range was taken by Frank Kee. I remember my father telling me that when he arrived in California in spring in the late 1930s, having driven alone from Minnesota, he thought that he had never seen anything so beautiful as the vast unpopulated region of the California landscape covered with wildflowers. 

Below is a photo of Oboe, who likes to be nearby as I post entries on this blog.


robin andrea said...

I like your Calendar Series a lot, am. The colors are beautiful. That Frank Kee photograph is absolutely stunning.

am said...

Thanks for visiting and leaving comments, Robin Andrea!