Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sketching the Blues Festival

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I have been painting and sketching this past week. The sketching was in the middle of the Blues Festival, here in Silver City. It’s a Memorial Day tradition here with many of the locals avoiding downtown for the duration.
But the city’s merchants love it. The influx of people and the business it brings is enervating and a necessary shot in their fiscal arms. The music was good, as we sat in lawn chairs, watching the parade of exposed, sunburnt freckled skin and smelled the burnt carmel corn, and churros that the food vendors were hawking. It is tradition in this southern NM mountainous part of the state.

In the midst of this hoopla, I decided to try to sketch. Using Kath McCaulay’s system, (she swears you can be invisible while doing this), I did one little sketch of the crowd and the musician who was on stage. She was right. You can be invisible while doing this. So now I plan to try doing this in a restaurant tonight. Nobody bothered me, stopped and intruded or otherwise caused undue attention to be brought to play. Neat.

Blues Festival Sketch
Then this morning, I went out to paint a view I have ridden by every time I have left Silver for Deming. It sits right off the 180 South, a lovely little ranch that seems to sit upon the landscape, alongside the Grant County airport road. At this point the land seems to be stretching out from the Moggollon and Burro Mountains foothills to the flatness that supports Deming. You could see the Floridas Mountains, but only just barely. I have always loved the way the house and barn just seem to flow with the roll of the terrain.
So I stopped and parked and set up my paints and board, nodded to the cows in the field and started to paint. I was doing just great until a snake (a really long, skinny, silver-gray thing) slithered past so very quickly. I didn’t hear any rattles, and would not even have seen him had he remained still. What really unnerved me was the much bigger snake that was nearby that I didn’t see or hear until I was almost done with the painting. No rattles, just lots of attitude. So I finished much more quickly than I wanted to, and really kind of just splashed in the foreground. I left him to his piece of the road and the hunting I was obviously interrupting. So here is the rushed version of the Edwards' place. I painted less than an hour on this one. I just threw things into the car, I wanted to get out of Dodge too.
The Edwards' Place
So I ask you, too many people (complete with kids with filled diapers and chain-smoking fiends) or too many scaled critters? You can come across either hazard when you leave the safety of the studio. I think I’d rather the scaly guys. They pretty much avoid you if they can. Can’t say the same for the two legged critters.

Daughter says to get a snake bite kit for the car. Not a bad idea.

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