Why a Natural Artist
My mother always used to say two things to me about my qualities. She proclaimed that I had a good looking forehead and that I had a natural sense of design. Well, I discovered a few weeks ago that I had Neanderthal in me (hence the forehead thing) and I have always had a pretty good sense of balance. I have always believed in fairness and I have this interesting habit of making sure that, at the end of my meal; there is pretty much one bite of every category of food that was originally on the plate! So she was right, even though I would have preferred more specific praise, personally and I have worked pretty hard over the years to find my particular voice here on the planet. I have never lived in a city, really, other than a short time in Colorado Springs, Colorado downtown , Provo, Utah and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The rest of the time was either in small towns (Idyllwild, Oakhurst and La Jolla; where I grew up) or outside of town, Like Palmer Lake, Co; Tesuque, NM; or Site Point Camp, Nova Scotia. We were too poor to have a dad, so I hung with other families a lot and spent a lot of time trompsing around the hills and mountains and creeks and ponds of everywhere I lived. My mom ('Mother') had goats and occasional horses; my grandmother ('Laina'), who I lived with for many years, had a herd of Arabs and a smatterings of Mustang, Shetland and Welsch as well as a host of dogs and cats. I spend my early life breaking ice, hauling and making hay, avoiding getting stepped on and handling many different kinds of manure. All through this, there were Ponderosa Pine trees, oaks, Sugar Pine, Lodgepole Pine, berries of various sorts, fish, mud and scrubs of all sorts. I grew up learning what you could eat in terms of bark, leaves, pitch and other tidbits. I built my first house when I was in my early twenties around a trailer and using repurposed and recycled materials (even got in a book At Home In The Sun), and I was fixing fences and guarding against rodents very early and I was studying drafting when I took a job learning custom and Spanish Colonial furniture-making, a trade that I ply to this day, along with the added skills and tools to do just about 'anything'. I basically make something every day, pretty much and/or write, play music, dance, walk in nature or fix something. I bought a piece of property with Carolyn, my first wife that had 40 acres and 1/2 mile of Galisteo Creek in the rural area around Santa Fe and have 'homesteaded' here (I tell people I feel like I live in a beautiful oil painting) for nearly 40 years; raising 3 children (Tara, Dylan and Sophia), a step daughter (Corey) and re-marrying to the 'love of my life' and inspiration, Belle Ponder.
I somehow snagged onto my grandmother's sense of language along with education at St. John's College (classics, philosophy, Greek and math), University of Colorado (calculus and Emily Dickenson and history of math), Northern NM Community College (mechanical drawing and amazing bus rides from Santa Fe through Penasco, La Madera ....to El Rito), University of New Mexico (civil engineering, art, then the School of Architecture), Highlands University (foundry and art/sculpture) and then Santa Fe Community College (glass casting) to create a fairly strong voice and toolbox and philosophies (self-organizing chaos, fractal sensibilities, interest in multiverse and naturalism and natural aesthetics and truth and honesty as 'spirit'). I built a bronze foundry, expanding my 2,400 sq ft shop/studio (log shop I designed and built near my owner-built adobe home, windmill and assorted structures) into a 3,000 foot facility and 'boneyard'. I now regularly do cast iron artwork; travelling all over the country for 'iron pours' and belong to the 'Iron Tribe' and also making molds, waxes and complete processing for pouring bronze sculpture. I expanded from 'fine' furniture nd woodwork into more 'rustic' stick sculpture and weather character wood creations, adding iron work and welding along the way and so I have a rustic focus which I new term "Natural Art" and I now call myself aNatural Artist" as a term to better describe my bent. I have showed all over the State and other states and was, for some years,until recently, represented in a gallery on historic Canyon Road. What has happened is a life-long interest in natural shapes and textures and materials using the natural world around me as one source of inspiration, inventing concepts like "Love Tangles" that describe the amazing characteristics of shapes in the natural world. I am also a 'naturalist', which means that I am deeply involved in our natural and cultural landscapes and all of the elements to see and appreciate, resulting in many writings and photographs concentrating on that theme.I have travelled to many places to expand my world view, including China for 3 1/2 months before Nixon and after the ping pong diplomacy, living and working at the model agricultural commune of tachai and #17 textile mill in shanghai. I spent two summers in beautiful cape Breton island, nova scotia, many trips to mexico over the years and am conversant in Spanish. I have visited Norway, Sweden, Britain and new Zealand (just in time for the big Christchurch earthquake). Also Italy, where I was totally amazed at michaelangelo's 'david'.
I am hoping to branch into some more formal way to share this amazing ranch and area with others by way of walks and talks, stressing this escarptment, the natural and cultural history of the galisteo creek, the aesthetics and ecological values. into the mix goes my book in progress, Eat, a cookbook and platform for writings and musings.
I am also what is termed a bricoleur, which is a fancy name for a creative, capable trouble shooter and hire myself out as that. I have discovered more and more that I continue to enjoy not only making, but also fixing things..