October 19,2019

excerpt from

Ash Fork Madness©️

written by

Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison

copyright 2019 Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison


                               Roses in the Desert

G.B. turned off the lights inside the camper, we stepped down to dry, gritty, still hot ground, then settled close to each other in camp chairs. Surrounded by soft yet threatening, low desert heat of night, we silently leaned back in our chairs, reached for each other’s hand and gazed up at the blue-black night, the rising moon and the net full of stars flung across the great dark dome above us.

We had come south to this desolate spot south of Phoenix, in order that G.B. could show me a garden in the desert. The only flowers in these hectares of garden were roses – desert roses- dainty white flowers, tinged with the faintest pink – flowers that would never, never wilt or fade away and yet we were able to pick those translucent quartz desert roses scattered across the ground as far as one could see

G.B stared at a falling star following it to the horizon then his gaze trailed across the desert to the nearby fire pit he had dug and surrounded with rocks .

"This ’minds me of pink quartz a man ordered for his big fireplace in Texas. When a fire was burnin’ light came through that pink quartz as beautiful as anythang could be.
Reluctantly he pried himself out of his chair , WALKED over to the camper to fetch matches, newspaper and small cut rounds of juniper woodl “I’m a-gonna make y’all a fire Charle so y’all can smell y’all’s juniper wood a-burnin’”
Moments later with the hypnotic aroma of sweet juniper wood smoke encircling us, G.B. jogged his chair even nearer and pulled me close into embrace.

While the arm of my chair dented my body he said “Y’all look Sweetheart . Them roses a-layin’ an’ a-glowin’ in the moon’s light, look like stars from the sky, reflectin’ an’ a-glowin’ in a mirror

G.B. reached into the cooler he had placed by his chair and pulled out chilled Pepsis and Grasshopper cookies. While we nibbled and sipped, I wondered if there might be a tarantula approaching my bare feet – or maybe a rattlesnake winding it’s way up the tubing of my chair.

I was about to spoil a magic moment with my concern when G.B. asked, “Charle, do y’all remember the day y’all decided to have a garden an’ plant them God Damned Strawberries?”

Instantly I recalled the recent painful birth of our garden . . .

Posted by Charlotte Madison at 06:23
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April, 2020
March, 2020
February, 2020
January, 2020
For over forty years, painting related totally to the American Southwest. It was people of the dry hot desert, solid mesas, cacti, stone and canyons that made my heart leap.

When I realized I would never see the desert again, I began a search for something to paint. Nana suggested, B.C, vineyards and took me to Penticton where I did one painting. Nana and Gary then began to take me on Mystery tours of the island and always included a vineyard. But they all were so green! So many leaves so many trees - I don't do trees and I rarely use green - dont really like looking at green, but I got started on a duty series not an inspired series.

I guess it was July or early August when we were driving home from a winery visit. I was grousing about painting the Festive Flying Grape series when Gary said "Start another series, you can work on more than one at a time."

For some reason those words triggered the words "I could paint the Island artists!" Nana and Gary agreed and it was the topic of conversation all the way home

For a while I was afraid I wouldn't get volunteers to pose but it is rolling and each one offers something special to inspire me. And it is lovely to feel all I am doing was sparked by Gary and like all I do, supported by Nana.

April Update 2012 Sixteen fine artists, many of national repute, have posed for Artists of Vancouver Island and many are booked or promised. There will be no poses after June 30,2012. When I have painted all twenty-five I will turn my thought to . . . what next?