Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Day of the Dead

I have observed and read about this Hispanic type of Memorial Day for a few years now. It's usually celebrated on the 1st or 2nd day of November. The first time I was asked to enter an art show with this theme I was shocked to find many paintings of skeletons, painted in a festive manner.

Today I have spent reflective time in my studio drawing and painting something I feel worthy of entering into the Day of the Dead show here in Solvang. My theme started out reminiscent of Davinci's Vitruvian Man, but as I was drawing the skeleton with outstretched arms I felt as if some other person or soul was observing or present in the background - hence my rendition.

I couldn't help but think of deceased members of my own family as I painted this piece. It was a somber, but warm day in my studio.

Why did the Tarantula cross the road?

Well, it's been awhile. Thought I would start off with a recent story: 2 evenings ago I was driving down the road near my home here in Solvang, California. A gorgeous, slightly cool evening for this neck of the woods...and I mean woods! Our house is on a hilltop located in Santa Ynez Valley with coyotes, mountain lions (OK, I have never seen one, just heard stories), horses, wild chickens, and Max (my black lab friend who lives nearby).  As I was driving down our canyon road I saw something dark (the size of my fist) 20 feet in front of my car. I slowed down as I saw this 'thing' creeping along. I STOPPED when I saw what would be the largest spider I have seen in the states. I pulled over, hopped out and stood in the middle of the road dumbfounded as this Tarantula made it's 8-legged way across the road. Uh, where were it's eyes? I couldn't quite see them and I wanted to know just WHICH way was forward as I stood ready to make a quick dash.
Anyway, another car was rounding the curve and I put out my hand for them to stop. The driver looked down in front of her car, smiled, shook her head and pulled around the crazy lady and her new friend in the middle of the road.
To make this story shorter, my new friend ambled across the road and that was that. After a Google search I found that this area of California is hopping with Tarantulas. The ones we see crossing the road are males, not too aggressive, evening time is the prime time to view them, and (of course) it is mating season. So, I wonder if I took a pole how many people got the answer to my subject line before I even typed this?