“Scramble. Be flexible.” That’s Page 1, Rule 6 of the Philmont Ranger Handbook, c. 1983, and is perhaps the best lesson I ever learned those summers working on staff as a Ranger at Philmont.

That lesson has come into play in my art career recently: My art show toward which I’ve been working the past many months and which was to open on September 2nd had to be postposed at the last minute. That’s a great disappointment, but it was for a good — if profoundly sad — reason: the lovely owners of my gallery suffered a tragic loss in their family just days before Labor Day weekend.  

My show is now scheduled for October 7th — the Friday of Columbus Day weekend.

So, a shift of gears as I scramble and flex to go with the flow. Hurry up and…..pause.

My dear friend “Flora” — my first childhood friend who has known me perhaps better than anyone these past 45 years (!) — was here last week visiting me. Her plan was to be here for my art show. But with that event suddenly postponed and my paintings still hanging on the walls of my studio, we now had a chance to review the work in the quiet intimacy of my home.

Flora is a gifted artist herself, her talents manifested especially in home arts and decor. She has a keen eye for color and design.

Though I trust my own instinct when it comes to my art, sometimes after looking at, contemplating and being surrounded by my paintings for months and months, it’s hard to step back and view the work with clear eyes. Inevitably there are unresolved issues that I can’t quite settle. Getting a trusted opinion can make all the difference in resolution. Flora is one of the very few people whose opinion regarding my art I seek and trust. So having time to pause and reflect on these paintings with her was invaluable. Our conversations — and time together in general — was akin to pressing the “release” valve on a pressure tank; I feel a sense of clarity and satisfaction with this work that I hadn’t wholly felt prior to sharing it in trusted counsel.

What’s more is we now got to experience the “First Friday” art openings as revelers rather than hosts, and that was a real treat. I’m ashamed to admit that though I’ve been living in Santa Fe for a year and a half, I had yet to get down town to any art openings —— !!!. Criminal, I know. But I live just far enough outside of town that the effort of getting into town on a late Friday afternoon can seem near Herculean.  

Well, never again will that excuse pass muster. The experience of being among a joyful crowd viewing new art is just too much fun and invigorating to pass up again — not to mention it makes me feel much more connected to the larger “Art World”. And that’s a reassuring feeling, especially after the isolation of working in one’s studio for months.

Now, with renewed insight and enthusiasm, time to return to the studio to make a few adjustments to this body of paintings……and prepare them for October 7th.