Early this morning on this late April day, our mayor domo stopped by, closed my gate, and I officially got the water!! A marker day each spring, I spent an hour clearing the lateral ditch all the way back to the old orchard of apple, apricot and pear trees, planted who knows when (our acequia madre, Acequia del Barranca de Jacona, is a “young” ditch, dating to 1846). The old orchard now really just a sanctuary for birds, fruit grown there by the early landholders was shipped out through the fifties at least, though not every year, as late frost intervened sometimes. The acequias (irrigation ditches) endemic to Northern New Mexico, the system gradually expanded as the early Spanish settlers who had come here in the 1600s spread, farming land that could be flooded by the system, which tapped into the established flows of spring snowmelt and summer monsoons from the Sangre de Christo and other mountains nearby.
|the lateral ditch to the back orchard|
Digging and raking being an opportunity for metaphorizing, I began to connect this grounding and liberating yearly activity with recent paintings in the series “Offerings…”, in particular “In the Flow”, and “Surrender”. Painting for me is an in-the-moment response, requiring shifting attention to to what’s happening (no real plan), and away from the plan one had. Water moves debris along the little ditches, debris to be caught and removed, just as life moves us along our path, shifting, running over in areas until the little dams are unblocked, carrying us on our way to an unknown destination. Simple tools are needed, to be adjusted according to our capacity. My old gas-powered Husqvarna had been downgraded by breakage, theft and respect for my own capabilities to a rechargeable Sawsall, all I need to clear the impediments to the flow along the little ditch - I just need to pay attention, and respond in the moment with appropriate tools.
|In the Flow. 16x16 ac/board c MHornbuckle 2017|
“In the Flow"earned its title late in its process, the submersion of the orb and the angle of the flowing paint suggesting moment of water downhill. Third or fourth in the series, it perfectly reflected what I was feeling about the shift in attitude that propelled me out of the doldrums of negativity in late December, and back into the final chapter of my art-life. Enlarge the piece and you'll see the linear verticals from the original painting in the underpainting.The greens and pinks are so joyful and spring-like, renewal at its best!
“Surrender”, painted over a painting from 2008 called “Spring Meditation” (surprise!), I started by reserving via taping an interesting area as the orb to be the focal point. Only in removing the tape later in the process did I realize the area I had reserved resembled a face, a soft, but yet rigid ego-like form. In my life-view, I see the ego as impediment to love, growth and understanding, a big dam in the river, and so work to diminish its power. Thankfully I don’t need that chainsaw as I once thought I did! “Surrender” is a wonderful reminder that I am not in charge!
|Surrender, 24x24" ac/board c MHornbuckle 2017|