September 19, 2006
I just got off the phone with the San Carlos Apache Tribal Historian Dale Miles and he tells me that "Bi-jashn" is technically Apache for a widow or divorced woman, "One who already knows the intimacies of life," as Miles puts it. But, Miles went on, that through time, the term has gravitated to mean something more like a "shady lady." Interesting how some words wander ("gay" comes to mind) while others, like "cool" and "cloud canopy" are still going strong with their original connotation.
Speaking of cloud canopies, I did two loose landscapes last night and they turned out rather evocative. The first one is of Kansas clouds, which I call "Clouds Over Medicine Lodge." Here it is:
As Ed LeRoy, Rob and I motored from Caldwell to Medicine Lodge last June I was struck by the rolling hills and long roads in that strip country.
The second study is of old Route 66 at dusk, on a hot August night approaching Tucumcari. I have fond memories of coming home from Iowa every summer (1953-1966) with my mom and dad, and after spending the night somewhere in Kansas, we would usually hit New Mexico at dusk the next day, and as we approached those high desert towns (Santa Rosa, Moriarty, Albuquerque, Grants, Gallup, Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, don't forget Winona), there would be this pink glow in the distance of all the motel neon. It is one of my favorite memories and this little painting captures some of that magic. I especially like the rising dust from the busy highway in the foreground, a result perhaps of engine exhaust, leaking oil pans and DeSotos pulling off the two-lane to check out the local attractions:
—Two of my favorite words in the English language
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