Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “art”

I Wasn’t Always Like This

A group of people, a family I supposed, emerged from the restaurant next door to where I was sitting outside the art gallery wherein my wife was hosting an exhibit of western art.  She had recruited some excellent artwork by local artists.  I was outside the gallery as a decoration in my cowboy hat.  I was playing a character — me.  As people passed by me on the sidewalk, I would invite them in to see the western art exhibit.  I solicited the group mentioned above.

A young man, college age, was pushing an older gentleman in a wheelchair.  There was a middle-aged couple, an older lady, and a younger woman.  The man in the wheelchair stared blankly ahead and did not participate in the conversations of his companions.

I smiled my award-winning smile and initiated eye contact with some of them.  The man in the wheel chair did not smile back.  Nevertheless, the group went inside the gallery.  Sugar took over the public relations.  I went in too, to see her in action.

The young man pushing the wheelchair kindly placed it in front of one of the walls adorned with paintings of Old West scenes, such as Remington or Russell created, scenes with cowboys, buffalo, cattle, Indians, locomotives, mountain scenes, running horses.  He waited patiently for the man in the wheelchair to take it in before moving to another wall.  The man in the wheelchair was not staring blankly.  He was intent, studying the images.

As I watched him, a lady came up behind me and explained that she and the man in the wheelchair had been professors at the university.  She added that he, Dr. _____, used to teach a course on The Philosophy of Art.  No wonder he seemed to be enjoying the art exhibit.

I introduced the doctor to Sugar.  She had a table of treats and beverages.  She asked whether he would like lemonade, coffee or wine.  He spoke.  He told Sugar he would prefer wine, using one word — “Wine.”  So Sugar brought the professor a little bit.  The young man, who we learned was his caregiver, pointed out to his charge, “This is not juice like you drink at home.”  The young man seemed surprised that the professor was partying at the gallery.  The professor smiled at Sugar and indicated that he would like more wine.  She gave him a little bit more.  He smiled again.  He was enjoying the gallery scene.

I am glad that the professor visited us.  I watched him studying the art and saw him in a new light.  At first, I just saw him as a person who seemed very limited in his abilities.  Now I saw him in the light of his history and accomplishments.  I could imagine him back when he was teaching college students.  He must have been knowledgeable and  bright to engage them.  He must have been respected.

He was not always like this.  And his present condition was not exactly as it appeared.  He still could enjoy a night out on the town.  He still could enjoy art.  And he still could choose whether to have lemonade, coffee, or wine.

And he can still be respected, and loved.  And he is.

Buffaloed

Yesterday I wrote about our trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota last weekend.  Actually, that post was more about our misadventures with the trailer we rented.  This one will be more positive and well illustrated with American Bison, also known as Buffaloes, so if you are not enthused about such critters, back off immediately.

Buffaloes were central to the culture of Plains Indians, including the Lakota Sioux people, many of whom still live in South Dakota.  I have previously written about the Pine Ridge Reservation.  Tomorrow, I intend to write about a famous Lakota leader, Crazy Horse.

There is a large buffalo herd in Custer State Park.  Yesterday was the annual buffalo round-up there.  During the weekend prior to that event, when we were visiting, the town of Custer celebrated the importance of buffalo to the area in many ways.  On street corners throughout downtown Custer were life-size model buffaloes that had been painted creatively by artists.  On Friday evening was a reception at a bank at which the public could meet the artists and get a preview of their artwork, which was auctioned off the next day.  Not only were the full sized buffaloes auctioned, but also smaller sculptures of buffaloes and paintings of buffaloes.  Lots of buffalo art!   Since our home is decorated with western art, and since Miss Sugar is an artist and art teacher, the art auction was of great interest to us.   I’d like to say that we picked this weekend so that we could attend, but it was simply good luck that we happened to be there.

Now you are probably wondering what art we purchased.  The answer is that the bidders were out of our league.  However, we did buy a buffalo skull from a booth of such items.  It was not part of the auction but it was part of the buffalo festival. 

We’d like to go back to Custer, South Dakota next September for the buffalo weekend.

Fine Art and the Pig

Those of us who know Miss Sugar, my trophy wife, know that she is what she calls an “art advocate.”  That means she plans events where local artists can get exposure and even sell their art.  Those of us who know me know that I am not an artist, exactly, but I showed great potential in junior high, before middle schools were invented.  Since then, I have cut back on my creative endeavors into the visual arts, unless you count building our courtyard, which is a thing of beauty, including a wall made of empty wine bottles.  The wall is not portable, so I did not display my works at the art show and silent auction yesterday.

Some really good artists did participate, as well as some non-artists, including a pig named Sausage.  Sausage was there with some friends, each in the role of  marketing assistant.

Miss Sugar, you see, had organized the event yesterday as a fundraiser for the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department.  Remember the bad wildfire called the High Park Fire here in Larimer County, Colorado?  Well, the Rist Canyon fire department even lost one of its fire stations in that bad fire.  So Miss Sugar, who is nicer than me, thought of the fundraiser and spent many hours recruiting artists to donate to the silent auction as well as artists and artisans to pay booth fees to sell stuff.  And she recruited me to set up tables and carry pictures and pottery and the like.  Which is very important.  I don’t know what she would do without me.

Although I suspect many women in the community attended in hopes of taking a gander at me, none actually stated that out loud, probably because Miss Sugar was there.  Besides me and the art, another draw was Sausage.  Here is how it was explained to me by his owner — when he walks a pig or llama or goat, all of which were there taking turns, people notice and ask, “Why are you walking that pig (or llama or goat) down the street?”  Then he can say, “Since you asked, I am getting attention for folks here in Old Town Fort Collins to ask that question so I can tell you about the Rist Canyon Art Show and Silent Auction.”  That is an effective marketing technique.

So, in addition to the power of my personal presence as an advertising method, Sausage, the llama and two goats attracted some attention as well.  It was a fun art show.

Another fun thing Miss Sugar did was offer face-painting and cotton candy.  I, personally, am not allowed to paint faces, preferring to leave that up to my trophy wife.  However, with respect to cotton candy, who do you think carries the cotton candy machine?

Now, let us turn our attention to yet another interesting aspect of the afternoon.  I have hauled livestock in horse trailers and stock trailers pulled by a pickup truck.  You have seen me and people like me doing that.  What you may not have seen, nor had I until yesterday, is a Jeep Cherokee containing a llama, pig, and two goats.  It is an amazing sight.  I can show you a photo below.  You will have to use your imagination concerning the odors within that particular SUV.  I remain unconvinced about the advantages of hauling livestock without a trailer.

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