13″ x 13″
There was a man who was so disturbed by the sight of his own shadow and so displeased with his own footsteps that he determined to get rid of both. The method he hit upon was to run away from them. So he got up and ran. But every time he put his foot down there was another step, while his shadow kept up with him without the slightest difficulty. He attributed his failure to the fact that he was not running fast enough. So he ran faster and faster without stopping until he finally dropped dead. He failed to realize that if he merely stepped into the shade, his shadow would vanish, and if he sat down and stayed still, there would be no more footsteps.
(Chuang Tzu, 4th c. BCE)
The snake is saying, “For me, drawing is a source of energy, while painting is the expenditure of energy.” I really have to say that’s my experience as well. As much as they have over-lapping concerns, the stylus and the brush are very different instruments and when I go looking for how an artist thinks, I look at their drawings. It’s like looking at their drawings gets you closer to the source of what motivates their ideas.
22″ x 24″
Whenever I drive from Miami to New Mexico I count the dead armadillos along the way. One time, seven. Another, eighteen. I’ve never seen an armadillo alive and sporting armor, so I was relieved to see this golden one snuggled up against a man in Natchez, Mississippi, which is not on my normal cross-country route but now holds a definite appeal. Plus, what a great word: Natchez. The man has his arm around the armadillo and reclines in the middle of Main Street in a proprietary way, a protective way, as if he knows armadillos are rarely alive after they’ve tried to cross a street somewhere. Or a super highway. I can’t imagine what it must be like to touch an armadillo’s back, which, they say, is leathery and rough with plates and grooves across it, preventing it from rolling up in a ball when threatened, as some might have heard. In fact, I can’t believe that The North American Nine-banded Armadillo tends to jump straight in the air when surprised, and consequently often collides with the undercarriage or fenders of passing vehicles. Crap. I’m glad this gold one has a friend. Plus, there’s a big eye looking down on Natchez now. That should definitely help.
–Maureen Seaton, June 15, 2011, Chimayó, NM (for Noah)