Saturday, December 29, 2007

Backing into 2008


I was born breech. As my mother says, I entered this world "fanny first," and since then, my sense of direction has always been a bit strange. I seldom approach anything head-on but am more apt to get a vague sense of the lay of the land, then back my way into a given situation.

The heyokah is an indigenous sacred clown who does things backwards. His purpose is to remind the rest of us to take ourselves somewhat less seriously and he is called to this purpose by an encounter with the Thunder Beings. Purportedly, the heyokah, after this powerful encounter, can influence the weather himself.

Last summer I was working on my heyokah collage. It was the height of our desert monsoon season and rain was falling in torrents outside my studio. I was backing away from the easel for a longer view of my painting, when a flash of lightening swept across the floor, knocking out my computer modem. The ensuing crash of thunder was deafening. My little encounter with the Thunder Beings was sufficient for a lifetime. I knew I'd rather paint a heyokah than be a heyokah.

"Heyokah" is the only painting I ever made that works equally well in any orientation. You can turn it upside-down or rotate it 90 degrees in either direction, and it'll look reasonably balanced, or at least I believe it does. In that way it lives up to its name. "Heyokah" is custom-packaged and awaiting pickup by DHL for its insured journey to Argyle, Texas. Here's hoping the driver doesn't have to go the distance in reverse, that his encounters with thunderstorms are few and far between.


I am happy to report that the Santa Sales Spirit has been good to me of late. "My Misplaced Wings" will be flying to an entryway in Oklahoma City. And "The Alchemist's Dream" is bound for Tucson, where it is destined to hang on a bedroom wall.

The paintings, once they're in the gallery, have a way of holding out for the right person. When that certain person comes along, it's a sweet, inevitable encounter. It's always a pleasure to send a painting to the proper home.

28 comments:

murat11 said...

Congratulations on the new homes for the babies, San.

Heyokah was the the word Phil Jackson applied to his "wayward" but brilliant basketball star Dennis Rodman, when Rodman (of the rainbow coifs and the cross dressing and Madonna / Carmen Electra dalliances and, let us not forget, awesome rebounding genius) joined the Chicago Bulls. Leave it to PJ to figure out a wonderful way to reframe what the rest of the league just called trouble.

There were a couple of heyokahs driving around in the wonderful Sherman Alexie-inspired movie Smoke Signals. Definitely a Netflix flick if you ain't seen it already.

Keep thundering on in your New Year. Or, as Van would say, Rave on.

Lee said...

Neat folk tale, San. Thanks for sharing that and its interesting link with your birth and personality. :-) I'll have to go researching this one.

Heyokah is an interesting painting. I like the multi directionality of it. It is delightfully vibrant and full of effects such as the bit of lightning. I really like the way the black and white stripe of Heyokah works to contrast him with the colors but doesn't preclude their intensity. Did you notice that the name while not reversible is similar when said backwards?

Congratulations on having a good series of sales right before the end of the year! May you have many more this coming year and the rest of your life.

Happy New Year!

Merelyme said...

i like the thoughts of your special paintings going to just the right person. you are most talented.

San said...

Thanks, Paschal, for the Rodman parallel.

Yes, I saw Smoke Signals and loved it. I've even met Gary Farmer, who played the dad. He opened a really nice gallery about a block from us with the intention of showcasing indigenous art. Sadly, the gallery didn't make it.

Have thunder, will travel into 2008.

San said...

Thank you for the tremendous well-wishing, Lee! I hadn't thought about the almost reversible quality of the word. Cool. I do like that black-and-white stripe thing. Although I don't clearly remember, it may have been what motivated me to paint around this theme in the first place.

Peace, love, joy, and fulfillment in 2008...HUG.

San said...

Merelyme, thank you for the kind words.

Happy New Year!

Sparkling Red said...

That means there are paintings out there right now, waiting patiently for us, and we don't even know it yet!

San said...

Red, I'll be happy to let you know of any that might be waiting for you in particular. ;-)

I have an irresistible impulse to wish you a Sparkling New Year, but I'm having deja vu--seems like I said that after another post. Well, if I didn't say it already, I should've.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I was born breech, too. Hmm...

Both the painting and the story of the Heyokah are fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

I liked Murat11's baby analogy. I guess that's one key difference between a work of visual art and music. Since visual art is more location-specific, it's important to make that location as good as possible. Music, on the other hand, usually gets spread around more, so perhaps it gets taken a bit for granted. I wonder what my music would sound like if I thought it would only be heard by one listener...

San said...

Moody, what a possibility you present--what your music would sound like were it to be heard by one listener. It reminds me of that question: What would you do today if you knew this day to be your last?

Yes, the "location specific" limitation is a very big difference between visual art, which is "material," and music or writing, which are less so. I envy the fact that music can be spread around, as you say. As much as I love selling my paintings and sending them off across the distance to their new "parents," I sometimes want to look at them again, in the flesh. And I can't.

QUASAR9 said...

lol San,
unusual way to be born
most are born gasping for breath,
I guess you left everyone gasping when you were born

QUASAR9 said...

Here's wishing you and yours all the fun of the dance

San said...

Yes, Quasar, especially my mother. I was breech and I tipped the scales at almost 9 pounds. Then almost 5 years later, my sisters the TWINS came along.

San said...

Back to you and yours, Quasar!

HMBT said...

I was born back asswards too. I also was a little over 9 pounds. I was my Mothers only live birth. I still call muyself the upside down and backwards girl, because that's how I see things most times...from the inside out. You gotta go in to find out as they say. Love the work! The layers of color and the fact taht it can be hung any old way you want is fun and wonderful. It'a a work of play and topsy turvy fun.
Congrat's on the sales!!!
And here's hoping you and yours have a magical new year!

San said...

Heather, how interesting that you and Moody are weighing in as breech babies.

Thanks much for your warm words re the painting. I always enjoy reading what you have to say, the way you go at it from the inside out.

Magic to you too, and yours, in 2008...

Celebration of Life said...

Happy New Year, San!

I had an interesting trip home from Billings! I am going to write a blog about it.

I love your paintings, one day I want to visit you at your shop and claim the painting you have painted for me! :o)

San said...

Jolene, Happy New Year to you!

I hope you make good on your intention to visit Santa Fe one of these days. We could get together--that would be fun.

QUASAR9 said...

Hi San,
Here's wishing you and your Inner Circle all the best for the coming year, may it be filled with much fun, joy + happiness. The days filled with much much Sun (light) and the nights filled with bright Starlight.

San said...

Quasar, what a lovely wish!

Thank you for that. I send it back to you and yours...

Lisa said...

Happy New Year San - may 2008 bring you everything in your dreams and more.

And congrats on the sale!

kate said...

Happy New Year! I like your Heyokah collage and the story behind it.

San said...

Lisa, Happy New Year!

And Happy Dreams-to-Reality!

San said...

Kate, thank you.

In 2008, I wish you: outrageously beautiful love, plants, paintings, and knitted creations.

Mary said...

The paintings are beautiful! I just saw your comment on my much neglected mosaic blog which I visited and updated. I just resolved to pay it more attention in the new year.

So here's to many more works of art finding good homes in the New Year!

San said...

Mary, thanks for the visit. And much continuing success with your beautiful work.

CHEWY said...

San,
Congrats for finding loving homes for your babies. I've had some beautiful swans and some ugly ducklings birthed in my studio these past couple weeks.
Happy New Year.

San said...

Chewy, Happy New Year to you. I look forward to seeing the new kids.