Studio Tour

Yesterday went on an artist studio tour in the nearby town of South Fork. I experienced some culture shock. The tour took us first to a strange little house and a few pieces of art work done by a mom and daughter, both nice people. There were kitties and dogs and some paintings and a batik or two. I remembered how much fun batik can be and momentarily thought of doing some, but then? I’d need to buy an iron. Shudder.

The house was a cedar-shingled modular on a dirt road. The art work was exhibited in what looked like a front porch DBA chicken coop. I was uncomfortable because? Well, I don’t know, the girl was very shy, her paintings were the beginning of her artist’s journey. I admired the gumption of the young girl and wondered who’d she’d be fifty years from now when she’s my age. I thought she would be interesting, and if she got real about painting and found a good teacher, that might end up good for her, too.

Next up, a palatial estate on top of the golf course with views, incredible views, impeccably furnished. My friend and I wandered around, totally uncomfortable. We ended up on a deck watching a slew of hummingbirds feeding, a very beautiful sight.

As I watched them, I thought of my Italian friend’s book and what he wrote about forests, how people go there to relax but the forest is never relaxed. It’s a relentless struggle for light, water, space. Same with the hummingbirds. The beautiful urgency of their hovering is extremely competitive. OH WELL.

My entire house would almost fit in the kitchen of that house. There was a bathroom with an immense walk-in shower — bigger than my bedroom — “paved” all the walls with river stones. Beautiful, but??? Why??? Two retired people live there. My friend and I turned away, I turned because I was disgusted. I don’t know why Elizabeth turned away, maybe the same reason.

I was disturbed by the ostentatious consumption. I suppose at heart I’m a communist (not to be confused with being a Stalinist) and think no one should live in a cedar shingled modular with a chicken coop front porch, and no one needs a house with a kitchen 800 square feet. I guess I think the big house people should have less house and help the cedar shack people have a better one. Winters are cold up there. The shack people seemed happier than the big house people. Maybe they could share some of that with the big house people and everyone would be better off.

“They’re showing their house as much as her paintings,” said Elizabeth. True. We went downstairs to the woman’s studio where she sat small and hunched as if she didn’t know what to do. The studio was impeccable and, honestly, the paintings she does are derivative, flat and soulless, but painted in vivid colors and successful at filling a wall. Others on the tour liked them and talked with the artist about prices.

We left for the final stop since our time was limited. It was a far more normal house (to me and Elizabeth, anyway) belonging to a talented fabric artist who weaves, dyes, beads, just pretty much does everything. Two years ago when we did this tour I bought one of the woman’s dishtowels which I use on my table here. I wanted more. She was an artist after my own heart — it seemed to me she loved what she did so much that she hated asking money for it. She apologized often for her prices — which weren’t high — saying, “I’m sorry. The cost of supplies has gone up so much I have to ask more,” she said as she ran my credit card. I bought some Christmas presents.

On the way out of town was a huge, home-painted sign listing all the nasty things the political left wants to do to the good people of South Fork, Colorado. Apparently the “left” wants to take their guns (South Fork is openly open-carry), force socialism upon them, compel them all to be PC and various other things like that, all truly unspeakable. With the next election approaching and the whole thing heating up thanks to the rhetoric from DC (which is another world, really) the silent resolve to get along with our neighbors is breaking down. It’s amazing to me that BOTH sides (why are there sides) are continuing to offer “information.” Sorry, folks but the “other side” doesn’t need more “information.” What we need is to walk away from the blistering rhetoric and go back to getting along with each other.

I know that most of the people I run into randomly and many of my friends have guns, use guns, practice with their guns and like their guns. That’s always been the truth in my life. I can shoot. Back when I practiced, I was a very good shot. I don’t care about people’s guns in a general sense, but the underpinning of all those guns was that they weren’t to be used on people. “Never point a gun at anyone,” first rule of guns. I don’t think anyone around here disagrees with that. And it’s TRUE that guns don’t kill people; people kill people. BUT there are guns that are not designed for anything other than killing people and that’s where the gray area (if there is one) appears. Beyond this, I have nothing to say except politicians should not be for sale to anyone anyway.

Anymore than two elderly retired people need a bathroom bigger than the house in which their neighbors live.

25 thoughts on “Studio Tour

  1. Artist tours can be so enlightening. The vast array of talents and personalities. We did a few visits on Salt Spring Island this summer. I went to one weaver’s studio and she shared some wonderful advice around colour, an area where I struggle, which causes me to weave less than I like. I find the conversation with the artist to be as much of the experience, that pulls my interest in the artwork, as the work itself…or turns me away…same with politicians.

  2. My house is too messy to allow anyone in to tour! Maybe I should post photos of the pictures in here. I agree with you about guns. If they didn’t exist people would maybe use bows and arrows, but you can’t have a machine crossbow that shoots several arrows a second.

      • Personally, I don’t believe a system should be necessary. It should be obvious. The man and his wife with the big house should look down the hill and say, “Wow, those guys are living in crumbling shacks while we have this mansion and we’re bored out of our minds with your bad paintings and trying to find stuff to spend money on like that cattle drive you went on. This is not to be borne!” Everyone should WANT their neighbors to have good healthcare and excellent education and EVERYONE should work if physically able. There shouldn’t NEED to be a system. Sadly, there does need to be a system. 😦

  3. I loved this post so much, and the wild left – or would that be right – turn it took 🙂
    The contrast between the artists’s homes, their art, and their personalities was interesting. I think I would be uncomfortable going into people’s homes to view their art. I would feel obliged to say something “nice”. I always look for something truthful I can say. I prefer to view art in galleries or at arts and crafts festivals.
    I totally agree that no one needs such a big bathroom. Many people have a lot of the “I need more” and “more is better” problem.
    I do not have a problem with guns in general, but no one needs assault weapons!
    Finally, no matter your religious or political views, I really do wish we, as a society, could find a way to get along. Taking sides, digging our feet in, being close-minded and uncompromising gets people no where. We do not have to agree with one another, but that doesn’t mean we have to spew hate at one another, either. Just because people see things differently does not mean that the “other side” is evil.

    • I agree. I don’t even think the “other side” is all the different in real life.

      Back during Vietnam the country was divided like this. It got very ugly, but I think this is worse and scarier.

      My political philosophy is that local and state governments are the most important. In CA (where I moved from Colorado in 1984) I saw how necessary a more involved government was and I didn’t mind the taxes I had to pay even though that ultimately drove me out of the state. Here I see small communities caring for themselves and each other independently and I’m not sure we need government at all, but I also think more government programs would help people out here — especially with health care, opioid addiction recovery, public transportation — and people don’t realize that the largest employer out here is the Federal government (parks, wildlife, etc.) I don’t know. I think it’s just easier for people to react than thoughtfully observe a larger picture.

      • I think our society has become a little scarier. I like your thoughts on government. And I used to live in California for a few years. Killer taxes! And the first earthquake I felt made me want to pack my bags and move back to the east coast.

      • Taxes were deadly… I rather be there than here (it’s taken me four years to accept that). I loved my house in the mountains outside San Diego and I wanted to spend the rest of my life there. BUT I couldn’t make ends meet on $75k/year. That’s insane. This is good and I can afford it without working (just about 😉 )

      • We lived in San Diego. We have talked about moving back there a few times, but our children and grandchildren are on the east coast. It’s crazy when you can’t live on $75k. When we moved back to Virginia to be near our daughter’s family, it took me about 2-3 years to get over it. I used to complain to my dogs because they didn’t mind listening to how much I hated it here. But why be miserable about something I couldn’t change? That’s when I started to practice gratitude.

      • I was happy to be back in Colorado and still am, but living where I had hiking trails 1/4 mile away in mountains I knew well was great, but for the last few years living there I was teaching at least 7 classes/semester to survive. No time to hike. Time only for grading papers and driving. It was awful. I also don’t miss the very hot summers I had in Descanso. You might know the town, just off the 8 on the 79 on the way to Julian.

      • We took the northern route through Ramona. We used to stop at a bakery there. I’m not sure if we ever drove through Descanso. When you have to work so much that you can’t enjoy life, it’s time to move. I doubt we’ll retire where we live now. Too expensive.

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