Monday, January 05, 2009

January 5, 2008
Still wet and soggy out. Great clouds everywhere. Back in office after five days off. I can finally post some of the art I have been noodling. As I quoted yesterday, Robert Henri makes the claim that all good art is "memory art" that is done from memory, not a model, and not from photo reference. Yesterday I gave that premise a try. Here is the first try:

The Devil's Greased Lightning

This is a loose interpretation of my Billy the Kid studies, which morphed into El Diablo puling iron so fast he set his poncho on fire. Ha. At least that's what it says to me.

But the real leap of imagination happened last night, after dinner when I went out and started pushing paint around. Slowly but surely a portrait emerged of someone I used to know:

Moon of The Mojaves

He is sullen, proud, defiant, maybe a little drunk. Who cares? He's Moon of the Mojaves. So, where did this memory image come from?

When I was a freshman in high school a certain coach thought I could be a quarterback. In practice one day, Coach Baca, became angry with a certain half-back named Bill Blake. Mr. Blake wasn't providing adequate protection for the quarterback. It seemed a certain 6' 3" defensive end was running right over Mr. Blake and nailing the quarterback (me) on every snap. So Boach Caca (Mr. Baca's nickname behind his back) told the quarterback to drop back into the pocket and wait, so the coach could determine just how long Mr. Blake could block out the defensive end. All of us had gold helmets but this defensive end's head was too large, so he had an off-yellow helmet. We repeated the drill over and over and every time, out of the corner of my eye I saw that yellow helmet crash over the top of Bill Blake and then flatten me to the dirt of the Mohave County Union High School practice field. Even today, when I close my eyes I can see that yellow helmeted warrior bearing down on me, with the intense black eyes locked on my scrawny neck.

His name was Moon Nish and although he lived with the Hualapais, he was a Mojave.

"Ya shoosh, Jelk Mama."
—Squibe Nish (Moon's cousin)

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