Friday, November 26, 2010

Join Wild Bill Tick Tock in Chicago!

For four days, December 2-5,  
the infamous Wild Bill Tick Tock 
aka Bennie Merideth 
aka Mr. A Life with a View 
will be exhibiting his extraordinary timepieces
at the One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart, Chicago.

Click here to download your complimentary tickets!  If you're not in the Chicago area, feel free to send the link to anyone you know there.

Here's a preview:

The tops lift up to reveal a hiding place for the contents of your choosing...

Love letters?

Dental appointments?


Einstein, 77" H x 8 1/2 " W

Another Roadside Attraction, 15 1/2" H x 6 1/2 " W


More clocks can be seen here.  If you can't be in Chicago, you can purchase clocks by email from the website.

Do your part in the important global movement to stamp out the proliferation of dull timepieces now!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Typical Thanksgiving Day at Our House

Flannery and I busily prepare the feast.  An assortment of mouthwatering pies prepared from scratch will be set on the windowsill to cool in the crisp autumn air.  Carrots, rutabagas, acorn squash, turnips, parsnips, brussel sprouts, cabbage, all manner of leafy greens, fresh from the neighbor’s garden, will be transformed by Thanksgiving Alchemy, into our delectable fat-free Vegan Stew.  Bennie will shoot an enormous turkey on the back forty.  Oakley will demonstrate, before our very eyes, his prowess in dressing a turkey, as he has for seventeen Thanksgivings past.

Each year the turkey’s attire is more festive than last. Oakley’s dressed turkey took top honors at the 1998 Macy’s Parade. Willard Scott was dazzled.

If our humble table doesn’t have room for each and every one of us--this year we'll be hosting a multitude--we will set up quaint picnic tables by the rushing river behind the house.  If need be, we will eat in shifts, asking the heavens for a sign as to who should be first to dine, before drawing straws.  Those coming up with the short straw may sit on the ground, on the sidelines, salivating.  Babies shall rest comfortably in hollowed out logs.

 Yes, Native Americans will be in attendance.  They’re a very big part of the tradition.

Whatever your own traditions this year...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Out of Jail

Have I really not been here since June 14? That's what happens when you're arrested for vandalism to public property and have to wait for the Man on the Ladder to post bail. This is the sad sequence of events:

I was visited at the gallery by two bloggers:

C. M. Jackson, of
States of Mine

Kate, of
Visual St. Paul

It was a fun time, until those two, inspired by my previous post, decided to paint the town red. Literally. As she was being handcuffed, Kate broke down, sobbing. She shared with me she hadn't quite gotten that post. She hadn't seen I was joking, poor thing. Apparently neither did C.M. My heart went out. I took the rap. I did the jail-time.

Here I am, almost five months later, a free woman, hardened a bit. I smoke Marlboros. I've lost my patience with the little niceties in life. I guzzle milk straight from the jug. I wipe my white mustache on my sleeve. I'm tough as nails.

So here's a recap of what's been happening since June 14 (aside from the rotting in jail):

The Man on the Ladder, who appears to be applying graffiti, actually patched and painted the entire exterior of our house. We now live in a house painted the color known as "La Luz," one of the seventeen shades of brown allowed by our neighborhood covenants. Every house in the neighborhood is an adobe or a pretend adobe, and the houses nestle into the high desert landscape quite nicely. Our new trim color is sage and I realize I don't have a picture of the new, improved exterior. One of these days.

Climbing down from the ladder, the man was joined by his cousin Paul, visiting from Chicago, in the very ambitious project of installing a cherry floor in our bedroom. Here they are, basking in the satisfaction of a job well done...

Notice they're standing near a wall they can collapse against. It was a big project.

I took this painting, well past the expiration date, from the gallery to hang in the new bedroom...

Gazing at it first thing in the morning lifts my spirits if I do say so.

We enjoyed our share of magnificent high-desert sunsets...

Paul snapped this one from our bedroom balcony. To see more of his photographs, go here.

I published a story in the summer issue of Dream Network Journal, an eclectic quarterly focusing on somewhat scholarly pieces about, yup, dreaming, as well as personal accounts of interesting dreams. Mine was the latter. A one-page reproduction of my painting "Wanderer" appears in that issue too. They're open to anyone's dream musing, particularly that of prisoners, so my work was accepted almost immediately.

Turned 57 last month. Shudder. Received some interesting gifts, among them a life-size replica of a severed human foot. I was told it came from the state medical examiner's office. No, I am NOT kidding. Don't have a picture of it. Yet. Snapping one's on my to-do list, and posting it too.

Here's my beautiful cake, created by Flan...

Chocolate buttermilk cake.
Chocolate ganache frosting.
Raspberry filling.
Crowned by sculptures of praline brittle riddled with cacao nibs.

Found good homes for a few paintings, among them this one, which was a bit of a departure for me, depicting semi-recognizable objects from the natural world...

Disappearing Beasts
acrylic on canvas, 36" x 24"

private collection, Tallahassee

Summer was good. Fall is too. It's good to be back in blogland.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Kindred Spirit(s) in Belgrade

Graffiti Reflected in a Window in Belgrade
graffiti artist: unknown?

my painting Claim the Moment
acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40"
private collection, Fort Worth

Daryl of Out and about in New York City noticed the stylistic similarity between the work of the Belgrade graffiti artist(s) and my own work. She brought it to the attention of Bibi, who had taken the photograph and posted it on her blog A Yankee in Belgrade. Bibi wandered over here and said, yes, Daryl's right. You have an artful cousin scaling the walls in Belgrade. I went to check out things for myself.

For the record, this is no coincidence. When a wannabe graffiti virtuoso, a tourist from Santa Fe, with more than a little fear of heights, who is clumsy and skittish when it comes to scaffolding, when that tourist visits Belgrade and is introduced to the national drink...

...well, how you say it? Magic happens. Inhibitions and phobias are quickly shed and artistic courage heightens exponentially.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gathering the Fragments, Beautifully

Blue Ruins, acrylic on canvas, 48" x 24"
private collection, Arvada, Colorado

...Let’s buy some toy soldiers
and melt them with glass.

Let’s burn up the armies
that have never loved us. Let’s

give the sun all our money
and pay it never to return.

Let’s sing to the moon
All day and the stars all night

so that they never go dark. Let’s
laugh at the clouds until they rain

gray with anger and thunder
from gray embarrassment.

Let’s paint the hospitals with milk

and the funeral homes with tears

and the sky some color

other than blood.

Let’s place candles
in the bullet holes of the Earth

and snuff the flames out

only when we have finished
writing our poetry....

--from "Lorca in Fragments" by Oakley C. Merideth

A lyrical to-do list, Oakley, one in which the priorities make so much sense. First things first. Poetry before the political, always. Then again, the two do not have to contradict each other, when performed with grace. And this is such a graceful homage to Lorca. I always take pleasure in the way your poems move from one image into the next, a blossom of meaning opening, subtly, almost imperceptibly, the way a flower opens to the sun.

As I'm sure many of you know, last month was National Poetry Month in the United States. And, at the end of that month my son learned that his poem "Vulgar Latin" received Honorable Mention in the undergraduate Academy of American Poets Prize competition at The University of New Mexico. Two undergraduates were recognized--Oakley, and Katlyn McKinney, who took first prize honors (and a cash prize) for her poem "Water Passing." Both poets will receive an official acknowledgment from the Academy of American Poets this summer.

This news of Oakley's latest literary honor satisfies me. Even the fact that such a competition exists, one which encourages young people to develop their gifts, satisfies me. Our lives are often bereft of poetry. We hunger for it. And it is my pleasure to offer up this tasty morsel, Oakley's honored poem:

Vulgar Latin

Some days your mouth
is a birth canal,
stories spilling out
of a child you hardly remember, how
she came out of you
like a full moon
emerging from a broken window,
her face imbuing the drafty room
with a pale light.

She was a January Capricorn
born just an hour or two before
the first papers were whispering
their headlines onto the dark porches
where they had just fallen.

That was the morning
you began to speak a dead language,
your eyes sliding backwards
to peer curiously into your skull
and your tongue free

To form a word you had never encountered:

Two syllables that fell
onto the hospital floor
and spread outward across the linoleum
like ashes touching a checkerboard
of white and black water.

Some days you clutch
the nearest pieces of furniture
and whisper to yourself
while the rest of the house
is stifled by your voice.

some days you say the word vaguely
as if you were recalling the name of a ghost,
and then you stop speaking,
the utterance yielding to silence
like a piano drifting out of tune.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pulled by the Red Thread

Deja vu, acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40"
private collection, Dallas

"An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break." - Ancient Chinese Proverb

I believe this proverb is accurate, at least partially so. I'm not sure the thread is red. After all, it is invisible. And I'm not sure that the thread never breaks. If, for example, in a pinch you grabbed your invisible red thread and used it to floss your teeth, who knows what might happen? Would you meet the periodontist of your dreams? Or would you break your invisible thread, leaving your destiny dangling between your second and third molars? Despite my digression, I'm a believer in this thread. Aren't there people in our lives, people who entered under unlikely circumstances, people whom we can't imagine having never met? People whose lives have become so enmeshed in our own, it's as though their lives help us create our own lives.

Anyone who has known me for any time at all has heard the story of how I won a round-trip plane trip to San Francisco in 1982. That was twenty-eight years ago and I was twenty-eight years old. Imagine that. I was miserable where I was--Tuscaloosa, Alabama--and I read in the paper that Republic Airlines would be giving away round-trip plane tickets--I can't remember the number (50?) to the city chosen by each winner. All you had to do was show up at the airport on the appointed day--Sunday, March 7--fill in a little piece of paper, and drop it in a slot. Winners would be drawn from a box by a Republic employee. As I read the notice, I experienced a little tingle. You're going to win a ticket, a little voice whispered. Then another voice said, Dream on.

The anticipated Sunday arrived. I drove my Ford Pinto (that was the vehicle whose gas tank was prone to exploding in rear-end collisions) to Tuscaloosa Regional Airport. My spirits were high. The dogwood was blossoming. The kudzu was prolific. I rolled down all the windows and turned onto Airport Road. My heart sank. The road was lined with cars. I realized the unsettling truth: I would be vying with half the county's population for a handful of plane tickets. The odds were daunting. I kept driving past car after parked car lining the road. There were several Pintos, one with a crumpled rear end but no signs (thank goodness) of having burst into flames. I just kept driving past all of these cars, in a trance. A sensible person would have parked behind the last car on the highway and run straight to the airport so as not to be late. But I was in a trance. The little voice told me to drive. It told me I was going to win a ticket!

I turned left at the airport and pulled into the tiny lot, wondering how early the fate-kissed occupants of those parking spaces had arrived. Had they camped out overnight? As I approached the entrance, a car parked in the space nearest the entrance began, unbelievably, pulling out. You're going to win a ticket! the little voice said. Dream on, the other voice said.

I pulled into the magically vacated space, walked into the airport, shaking a little, and elbowed my way through the delirious throng to get my name in the box.

I was a little surprised to find my good friend Glenda standing a few feet away, and even more surprised to find her mother Louise standing beside her. Their faces were flushed with hope. I decided to stand with them. After all, it would be fun to be among friends when my name was pulled from the box. You're going to win a ticket!

A guy from the airlines stood at a podium and made a little speech (while everyone's gaze was fixed on the box), then he began drawing names. He pulled 45 names. My name wasn't one of them. Unbelievable.

Dream on, the hateful little voice said.

Name 46 was "LOUISE JONES." Louise Jones?

Glenda and I looked at each other with this shameful little look that said, How DARE she?

Louise made her way to the podium to claim her voucher. She was elated. How DARE she? Four more names were pulled. Glenda's and mine weren't among them. UnBElievable.

The general mood was grim. The crowd began pleading with the Republic guy in unison--"DRAW SOME MORE NAMES. PLEASE. WE WANT MORE NAMES. PLEEEEASE. PLEEEEEEASE. PLEEEEEEEEEEASE."

He relented and waved his palms at us, kind of preacherly, as though he had in his power to bestow blessings on the multitude. (He did.)

"OK, folks! We didn't expect this kind of turnout. FIVE more."

Everyone applauded. I inhaled deeply.

The Republic official began drawing names.

"LEROY SCOGGINS." Redneck clown.

"TANYA CULPEPPER." White trash bitch.

"BETTY SUE CULPEPPER." For God's sake, who rigged this anyway?

"REVEREND CECIL GRIMES." You have GOT to be kidding.

"GLENDA JONES." Glenda Jones??? How DARE she?

Glenda beamed and elbowed her way to the podium, an athletic little spring in her step. HOW? DARE? SHE?

The crowd moaned. There were tears in people's eyes. There were tears in my eyes.

"OK! OK!" shouted the Republic official. "ONE MORE. But NO MORE after that. Do we all understand??"

The crowd cheered.

The Republic official's hand moved very slowly over the box. He let it hover in a holding pattern. He felt like he was at the Academy Awards. I inhaled deeply. I closed my eyes. I felt like I was at the Academy Awards.


You've won a ticket! the little voice shouted.

A month later Glenda and Louise and I boarded a plane to San Francisco. Technically we boarded a plane in Tuscaloosa, which headed a few miles west, touched down at The Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Mississippi, then turned around to fly east to Atlanta, where another plane took us to Denver, where we boarded another one for Las Vegas, where we had an overnight layover, complete with free accommodations and a complimentary meal in a casino, and a few quarters for the slots, before we caught a flight to San Francisco. The tickets were free, not efficient.

Me, Glenda, and Louise. April 1982.

Just outside the edge of the photo is the invisible red thread. I felt it tugging at my ankle as I climbed the stairs to the plane. In San Francisco the tug was more insistent. Although my friends and I had only a week to explore that city, I knew I would return. Less than three months later I packed my bags and returned for good. I brought no furniture. (I'd sold that to finance my move.) Just some clothing and a few linens, what I could squash into two large suitcases. My mother drove me to the airport. She was wistful and probably a little frightened, but she knew about the red thread somehow, and I knew she knew. The thread pulled me with urgency and I knew that somehow all would work out. It did.

My destiny wasn't in my hands alone. There were other people too, who held the other end of the thread, sitting on the top of a hill in San Francisco, as I boarded the plane. Soon I would be climbing into the air, looking down as the red clay fields of Alabama disappeared beneath the clouds, and an invisible red thread pulled me higher, 31,000 feet into the air, across miles of crops and forests and desert, across the Mississippi River and the Rocky San Francisco...where those who held my destiny's thread had been waiting for me...

How they knew to pull the thread at that exact moment, especially given they were yet to be born, is a mystery, an exquisite mystery...but I believe it had something to do with this one, who held a thread too...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Honest Scrap

Jingle has proffered me the Honest Scrap award. I'm now supposed to offer up 7 scraps of riveting information about myself. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Let me see. Long-time readers of this blog know my shoe size, the distance from my wrist to the tip of my index finger, the fact that I once worked in the home improvements section of a discount department store, and my favorite color--all of them. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Oh yeah, you also know I grew up in the circus and was born breech. I'm an open book. What else can I reveal?

  1. When I was a kid I had a trick knee. If I knelt, it would lock. This meant that for the pivotal kneeling scene in my role as an angel in the Christmas play, I had a stunt angel.
  2. I have won three prizes in my lifetime: a blue bedspread when I was in the fourth grade, a round-trip plane ticket to San Francisco when I was 28, and just recently, $1.00 at the grocery store in the Lucky Dollars event. Scratch that last prize. Everyone who purchased $10,000.00 in groceries during a six-week period was guaranteed a minimum prize of $1.00. What can I say? I may not be the luckiest knife in the drawer, but I recognize a deal.
  3. Every time I purchase 28 pounds of bird feed at Sam's Club, I feel all warm and fuzzy. Not because of the hungry birds lining up at the feeders in my backyard, but because the CEO of Sam's owns one of my paintings.
  4. I have a dark, deep, irrational, devastatingly embarrassing fear--please don't tell anyone--that one of my paintings is hanging in the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Bentonville, Arkansas.
  5. The price tag on the painting is less than that on the 28-pound box of birdfeed displayed artistically beside it.
  6. The birdfeed is snapped up by a savvy bargain hunter. "Hey, this beats Sam's Club! But get a load of the tab on that painting--$29.99! Who are they kidding? My parakeet could do that. Hell, my parakeet could do better than that!!
  7. I have a proclivity to twisted, paranoid fantasies.

Now I'm to pass this award on to seven bloggers who are to reveal 7 scraps of truths about themselves. Do the math. That makes for 49 juicy tidbits. Let's go for broke. Anybody reading this who wants this award on their blog and is prepared to dish up the truths, just comment here, expressing your intentions. We're all ears.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Sun Is Out

Brilliant Corners, 36" x 24", acrylic on canvas
private collection, Albuquerque

The New Mexico sun is gracing us today and my spirits are lifted. We've been having a snowier than average winter thanks to El Nino--great news for the anticipated spring runoff of the mountain snowpack into the rivers and reservoirs. This magical springtime flow replenishes our desert water supply. And, yes, the fallen snow in downtown Santa Fe is stunning...

St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral
photo courtesy Henry Lopez, The Santa Fe New Mexican

One of the reasons I live in Santa Fe, however, is our 325 days of sunshine per year. I need those brilliant shafts to shine into the darker corners of my house and soul. When those corners are warm, I have a place to go. I can lean against the wall, close my eyes, feel the sunshine on my eyelids, and know that underneath all this... unseen light is forming this...

There are brilliant corners in the dead of winter. When I close my eyes, I see them.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Awaken me from this nightmare....please.

Dreamer, acrylic on canvas, 24" x 48"
private collection, Albuquerque

I must have exceeded my allowable technology celebration quotient (TCQ). Just as I was getting used to this dazzling new i-Mac with the 27-inch screen, the gallery i-Mac (with only 17 inches) began wearing its heart on its sleeve. Jealousy no doubt. Bennie called to tell me an odd arrangement of bars had begun stalking the cursor and icons. Turns out our video card is on its death bed and heroic efforts to revive would not be cost-effective. SO now we're making final arrangements--in lieu of flowers please send flash drives-- and shopping for another computer.

There's more. I went for coffee and came back to find my itty bitty i-Book, my oh-so-lovable hand-me-down from Flannery, was making asthmatic wheezing sounds, the cool-down fan whirring frantically. Turning it on its belly, popping out the battery and re-inserting it, calmed it temporarily--a kind of reverse shock treatment. The operative word in the last sentence is temporarily. The teeny-tiny laptop has now gone beyond the veil and reincarnated as a Dell. Shudder.

There's nothing like a technological setback, the frenzied backing-up of data, the ensuing selection of new software--decisions, decisions--to sap my urge to create. Or breathe.

Good news is: Despite downtown Santa Fe being its typically wintertime lackluster self, I have sold a couple of paintings--"Dreamer," pictured above, and this one, which you've seen...

A Good Omen, 24" x 36"
private collection, Arlington, Virginia

Here's hoping that's a good omen. Couldn't we all use one of those?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thank You for Your Concern...As You Can See, We're Fine.

Dropped out of blogging again and I appreciate your inquiries regarding the state of things here. As you can see, we remain sound in body and mind...

Friday will be Oakley's 21st birthday. He has matured into an upstanding young man. With the hair to prove it.

David is getting ready to apply for graduate school in neuroscience. His primary interest is in the burgeoning field of inverse relationship between shirt collar/frontal lobe dimensions.

Flannery continues to build her med school application while performing experiments of a highly classified nature at the Mind Research Network. She is looking for volunteers. Can I see a show of hands?

Aside from David's thyroid condition, we'd give life two thumbs up. WAY up.

If I only had a thumb. And I'm glad that someone finds this condition so amusing.

(The funhouse photos are the result of playing with the Photo Booth application on my new iMac, courtesy Santa Bennie.)