November 03,2019

excerpt from

Ash Fork Madness©️

written by

Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison

copyright 2019 Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison



                       THE TORTOISE 


According to Chinese lore a tortoise carries the world around on his back. Occasionally he gives a shake to remind Earth’s people of their precarious position and his absolute power.

G.B often reminded me of that tortoise as he carried Ash Fork on his back, choosing to give it a shake at extremely inappropriate moments.

G.B. could not have discovered Madness on a worse day. I had spent hours going over details with cast and crew and I was worn out.

He stood like a rumbling volcano and stared at me. I felt the vibration of magma rising as his eyes began to bulge and his bald dome flushed from internal flames.

“I did it for you Hon,” I blurted out, “It’s for your town’s centennial. I wanted it to be a surprise for you!” My response did not have the calming effect I had hoped for so I continued very carefully, “You weren’t inconvenienced by it Sweetheart — were you?” And then he blew! I will spare you the details except to say he finished with, “HAYLL! I’M SO GOD DAMNED MAD I COULD SHIP Y’ALL BACK TO THAT GOD FORSAKEN ROCK Y’ALL CALL HOME! GOD DAMMIT CHARLE!”

“Honey, all I need is another twelve weeks. If you allow me to supervise the people I’ve put in charge just until they understand what they’re doing, and then let me paint the sets, you’ll have a Centennial show you can be proud of. We can invite all our kids and have a lovely time. I promise I won’t bore you with gab about it.” I pleaded. “And if you find my minimal involvement disruptive I’ll drop it all the moment you tell me to. I promise G.B.”

Speechless, G.B. sat down to digest the situation and to ponder what I had just proposed. He removed his old straw hat, and then he dragged his left hand across his mouth, up over his nose and around his chin before it came to rest on the left arm of his sofa. He followed this with his right hand which he lifted to rub around and around his bald head. Within moments a gleam of satisfaction appeared in his eyes. The Tortoise having sensed the genesis of my puissance was about to remind me of my precarious position.

“Keep yer’ promises to the town Charle — but pack the camper. First thang tomorrow mornin’ we’re a-goin’ to Oklahoma to visit some of our kin on my side of the house. We’ll stay a week or ten days.”

Without intending to G.B. was handing me the break I had needed for months. As we left his small world, the Tortoise and I were each well satisfied.


Posted by Charlotte Madison at 12:36
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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?