Art Criticism

Made it home from my journey to Colorado Springs with no problems. During the week I was gone, the beans thrived. The tomatoes were very wilted — all but the cherry tomato which is a drought resistant type — and the Aussie pumpkin seems no worse for the adventure. Time will tell. I ate a handful of Scarlet Emperor Beans for supper. There are two that are already too large to be tasty so they will hang on the vine to ripen for next year. My shoulder hurts, but it functions pretty well if I’m careful. I think it’s a matter of time, rest, and ice. I will call my doctor later on so that I can get hooked up with physical therapy.

Once I got home, and saw the painting of the rainbow I was so in love with, well, time and distance, right? It’s nothing special. I think I’m in need of a break or something.

My trip to Colorado Springs was partly to pick up the two paintings I had hanging in a gallery in Manitou Springs. I had packed them carefully when I sent them up with my friend Lois a couple months ago. I don’t know why, but I had the illusion that the gallery actually cared about the art entrusted to their care. I imagined the paintings would be back in their boxes waiting. Why did I think that? Because that’s what I would have done. I would have paid attention and seen that the paintings hadn’t come from a local artist and I’ve have taken the 15 minutes to repack them for the person. BUT…we got there. The people behind the desk said, “They’re over there on the wall. You can go get them.” As we were carrying them out they said, “Did you bring others to hang for this rotation?”

“No. It’s too far. I live in the San Luis Valley.” I looked at their blank faces and realized they didn’t — probably — know where that was. We walked out. I stuck the paintings behind Bella’s seat, and that was that. I thought about it some more. If those paintings had sold, that little gallery would have made money, basically money from NO EFFORT on their part.

I realize artists are a dime a dozen, and every second retiree thinks they’re a painter. The thing is, every business does better by cultivating good will.

I felt kind of crappy after that (of course I didn’t know how crappy I would feel in another two days, ha ha).

Back in Monte Vista, I went through all the mail that arrived while I was gone. There was a lot. Among them was a beautiful small painting of Bear done by Chris at There were two pads of paper for pastel drawing which I haven’t tried since childhood, but it seemed like a good way to turn this art journey back into play. There were some other things including the local newspaper.

In a place like this obituaries are big news and they are always on page 2. I always read them because I learn about the community by reading the history of people who live/d here. I immediately saw that Alex Colville, the husband of Louise who runs the museum in Del Norte, had died the day I went to the Springs (no cause and effect). He’s been ill for a long time with Alzheimer’s. In fact, I’ve only known him for the past few years and I’ve seen the rapid decline. Oddly, Alex always knew me when he saw me which was bizarre but a kind of honor (to me).

Last year he and Louise bought one of my paintings for each other for Christmas. It’s a painting of the San Luis Valley, the Refuge at sunset after a storm in summer. The painting “spoke” to both of them. When I talked to Louise yesterday, offering condolences and some small reminiscences, she mentioned that Alex loved the painting and enjoyed looking at it. Alex was born in the San Luis Valley. He was the kind of person who, had I met him years and years ago would have been my friend. He was an outdoorsman, a climber, a skier, a wanderer, teacher and an artist with wood. He was 20 years older than I. I could only imagine how interesting he must have been when all of his mind was in one place. He was interesting to listen to even with many of the pieces missing. I’m happy that, at least, I got to know him a little. I’m happy that the first time I met him — 2019? — he more-or-less told me his life story. At the time I felt the bittersweetness of that, as if he was telling me who he was.

I thought about that a long time. I’m honestly not done thinking about it. As far as I’ve gotten in the journey to comprehending that is the way I felt driving down the pass yesterday. My heart lifted when I saw the sign on the highway that said, “Entering the San Luis Valley.”

15 thoughts on “Art Criticism

  1. Happy you made it home and your plants were alive. Now recover! Sorry to hear about the passing of your acquaintance. Yes, I believe that we all want others to know “who we are,” so to speak.

  2. I always read the obituaries too. Some are a fascinating peek at a fascinating life and some are devoid of all but the statistics. I always feel sad for the second kind, since I know everyone has a story. Sorry about the loss of your friend – so interesting he recognized you despite the Alzheimer’s. Yes, that’s an honor.

    • Who knows. My connection to this place is mysterious. Maybe Alex knew me in another life. Godnose where he was in his head the last couple of years. When I first met him, he was still driving. He deteriorated very fast at the end. I’ve thought all day how important a random and apparently slight connection can be. I liked him.

  3. I’m glad you’re safe and back to your beautiful valley. 💚🤗I wonder how Alex would have reacted to the gallery gal’s dismissive attitude. So artists are a dime a dozen to them? But they’re not YOU. ❤️
    I connected with a friend today. Her husband is a yacht captain. She was never planning on marrying again until dating him for 5 years. They live full time in their RV when not on assignments. We spoke of our affinities ~like you with Alex. I know my past life had to be entwined with Native Americans and mountains. I pray your shoulder heals fast. 🤗❤️

      • Ok, keep us posted! My granddaughter is enjoying being upside down in Mommy’s belly. On Wednesday, if she doesn’t somersault before then, they’ll try to flip her. All ready if C-section needs to occur (they live in Fairbanks, AK). Dad will have another procedure to lower heart rate. I think I’ll be finished with book by end of next week. So many good things are going to happen. And I’ll speak it just as I will your shoulder,…and hip,…and my neck. 🙃💛🥰🤗🐶

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