The Forces of Nature

There is no denying the forces of nature! She doesn't have the capacity to care. All nature can do is be. Animals tend to live within their limits naturally. Humans, instead, have the capacity to challenge her. We have evolved from a time when our work and lives required us to survive to a time, now, where we compete in and challenge every facet of nature.

These are the thoughts that well up in me from "Forces of Nature." This age old oak tree, who, long ago, ceased to be alive and thriving. It speaks to me deeply. We are left with only its' magnificent skeleton. I'm betting there are old timers along this road who remember when it was alive. I imagine them having picnics in the shade she provided in the Summers. I found the tree on one of those Sundays when I would ask my mother if she wanted to go for a drive in the country... much the way she would pack us all up when I was young to take us somewhere we always loved to visit or new places we never knew before. She was now past the age of walks as the pain from sciatica wracked her body but not her disposition. Her lack of mobility did not change her interest in life. When she passed away recently, in her 90's, I was caught in the dichotomy of knowing she was no longer in pain with my own pain of loss. This tree image reminds me of all of that and more. In an instant it is both a sad and an invigorating scene.

The circle of life is more pronounced when death is close by. The seasons pass with minutia, small, medium, large and immense moments comprising our time on earth. Time is funny too. When you are young it seems like you will never be old. When you are old it all seems to have gone by so fast! It's all relative though, isn't it? I heard this week, that the new telescope satellite just found 6 of the largest galaxies which are also some of the oldest but never seen before!

Take, for instance, my 6TB external hard drive that held what is known as my "catalog" of original photos. I have 4 total externals that run, store and backup my digital life. The one that decided to stop working is, of course, this catalog program. I had backups of everything else on separate drives. But for some reason the catalog backed up on the same drive... doh. This was not noticed until it was needed. The only good news so far is that the dead drive did not crash. It was a mechanical failure (hello solid state?) and has a good chance of being recovered. It got me to thinking ALOT about how I store and save digital files. After the shock of the loss passed, I was sort of like a deer in the headlights. I didn't want to take photos because I don't have anywhere to store them or work on them. This has gone on for a little more than a month now as I wait in queue for my drive to be worked on. Meanwhile, I've made the decision to start with a new catalog and to start a new catalog every year going forward and not just a folder in a catalog. This thought process, though, causes a domino effect; the iMac I work photos on is nearing ten years old. I may want to become more mobile in my photo work environment in the future. It will suffice for some time though. Because I run the catalog on an external and store everything on an external it is not overburdened. So, currently the plan is to invest in a, you guessed it, a solid state drive for my new catalog. As this research has progressed, I realize the drive that failed is actually my newest drive... Yikes! That means all the other drives are probably in the 5-8 year range which means they probably are living on borrowed time. Thusly, I am going to replace them all.

Does it never fail that I ramble off into some sort of tech babble? I've always known just enough about tech to be dangerous, as they say. I know many people far more talented in tech that is for sure! Computers arrived for me in my late 20's. So, I was just old enough to be miffed by them. My younger brother on the other hand had them since he was in his early 20's. I think that little bit of age difference allowed him to be more open to it. My son was born and raised with technology and nothing is too hard for him to figure out. In the mid-80's i was tasked with creating a promotional brochure for our travel business. It appeared it would be cheaper for me to layout the brochure on a computer of my own instead of paying someone to do that. We really couldn't afford either. But brother Dave was in the other room with a Tandy TRS80 and was busy building us reservation software. So I got a Mac II and a fresh copy of Pagemaker and we were off! I created the "Resort Report" which we used in direct mail and shows. A Winter and Summer edition for 5 years!  We sold that business before the internet, thankfully. After that, I didn't get to design much any more. I had other duties and had to delegate the "fun stuff" to someone else.

Don't think I've been sitting on my hands during this technology kerfuffle. I've been working as much on my encaustic art as work permits and, alas, weather permits. My art studio is the garage and it is not heated. This would normally not be a problem at all except that this has been the longest, coldest winter I've spent since I first moved to Southern California. 

This month, after 5 "failed" attempts, I got what I had been dreaming of with my "The Crossing" encaustic photography image. No bubbles. No wrinkles. No loss of the image at all! I'd like to think i've gained a skill and not just got lucky! I love how the boats just seem to be floating in the depths of the wax. We shall see if it is fluke as I hope to make many of these. The next one, I am hoping to create a very faint blue tint to the wax background. This one is going to a local juried gallery show to find out what other people think of it. I'm having a hard time pricing it because it is only 12" x 12" but took, perhaps, 8 hours of effort. I don't think I could do it any faster. Ive thought about $10 per square inch; $145 which feels low for an original. But $30 an hour x 8 = $240. Maybe something in between is just right? Like $189? What do you think?

It was a late Spring afternoon in 1967; my last year of being a pre-teen. I had just gotten home from school and mom said, "The Beatles new album was released today. Do you want to go to the store and get it?" She loved The Beatles and so do I. We got Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and came home to listen. To say it was monumental would be an understatement. We had never heard anything like it before. But the lads had been building up to it; "Rubber Soul" two years earlier and the remarkable, "Revolver," the year before. So, they had literally been working up to it. It is arguably the first rock "concept album," ie. an album with a theme throughout. For whatever reason, this song is my mothers song. Rita was a nickname my dad had given her but i can't tell you if it was before or after this :-) And when I search for what attachment Barbara has to Rita, I do find reference to "Barbara Rita" which is a popular Italian name but i think this is something that just came about like a pet name. She was always my greatest champion and into everything I do. Heck, she was even my bookkeeper for over 20 years. Her grace and courage taught me how to be a "modern man." I dont know if you have sat down and listened to SPLHCB from start to finish but I can tell you we did until the grooves were deep in the LP. That was my background for writing this intro to the new photo today!