Monday, June 17, 2024

Welcome to Cactusland: In Praise of the Mighty Saguaro!

 June 17, 2024

   As a bonafide Desert Rat I can totally relate to cactus tenacity and their stubborn work ethic. And, I agree with Hope:

"A cactus doesn't live in the desert because it likes the desert; it lives there because the desert hasn't killed it yet."

—Hope Jahren

Saguaro Century Sentries

   The grand daddies of them all are the saguaros, considering it takes at least 35 years for them to grow one arm! So, when you see a big boy sentry, he—or she—has been standing there almost as long as our country has been standing. Also, I have been admiring them and sketching them for a very long time, like this bad boy down the hill from our house towards the creek.


Daily Whip Out: "Crazy Arms"


 Here's another sketch from 37 years ago.

Daily Whip Out:
"Big Daddy Saguaro Off Scottsdale Road"


   One of the things that shocked me when we first moved out to Cave Creek is how many artists fail to capture the basic structure of the saguaro. For one thing most artists emulate a tree especially as the arms take off from the main stalk. But the saguaros in my back yard have gnarly joints with a decisive rib departure, like this.

Daily Whip Out: "Saguaro Joint-ure"

"I'm not a cactus expert, but I know a prick when I see one."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Ratcliff Trailer House"

circa 1992

(yes, there is a jackalope hidden in the foreground)

Daily Contact Sheet, circa 1978:

"Saguaros Galore"

"A cactus is merely a very aggressive cucumber."

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Saguaros In Moonlight"

And, they proliferate in my border work.

Daily Whip Out: "Saguaro Ridge Rider"

   You might say, I have a thing about them and you'd be right.

"The desert works overtime to deny the cactus life, but still it blooms."

—Old Vaquero Saying

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