December 02,2019
#6 THE SOUTHERN CAMPSITE - SIGNS

#6   SIGNS

40 ODD MILES NORTH OF PHOENIX

London and I followed G.B. and Wayne, the carpenter, south to the Sun Valley Pink quarry near Phoenix. When we reached the temporarily inactive quarry G.B. turned left and towed the pink trailer up onto a butte, overlooking the stone company’s holdings.

After a brief debate with him, I reluctantly agreed to a propane hook-up to the stove and to the fridge, but I refused propane to the lights and the hot water. I told G.B. if he foisted them onto me I would move back into Ludwig.
“G.B., I have the niceties of life at home. I’m here so I can get away from them.”

He looked at me with flashes of pride, anger and confusion, then turned to Wayne and asked, “Isn’t she strange?”

Filled with concern for my comfort and well being, G.B. heaved a deep sigh, and then he and Wayne headed north to Ash Fork, the Flagstone Capitol of the U.S.A., hopefully having left London and me safe in the little pink trailer.

London and I camped on the butte at the Sun Valley Pink quarry for six months. While we roamed and I painted amid towering saguaro and evil, jumping cholla cactus, I kept finding weathered old signs bleached by the sun.

The roughly painted words on them were barely legible, and I wondered whether they dated back to Territorial days — and outlaws. The words held a strange combination of Bible-thumping, Hell and damnation quotes, Wild West phrases and evil threats. My curiosity was sparked. If it was wit, it was the blackest of humor. If it was anger — the author was raging!

On one of G.B.’s trips south to the head office of Western States Stone Company in Phoenix, he checked in with me, and I asked him who made the signs.

“Oh that would a’ been Glen, one a’ the quarry guards. Signs can save ‘em the trouble a’ shootin’ people who trespass, but most would as soon shoot y’all as bother talkin’ to ye, especially that one. I worry ‘bout leavin’ y’all here right now — all alone without a guard on duty.”

“Oh G.B., I like this place because I am alone.” I said, all the while grateful some gun toting madman was not guarding the rocks and watching me!

Obviously confused by that idea, he tried to carry on, “Charle, y’all take my pick-handle — to be safe.”

“Oh G.B. there isn’t room to swing it in the trailer, and I have too many other things to carry on my walks.”

With a snort he continued, “That ol’ cabin yonder, that’s where the quarry guards stay. Some are drifters, some are ol’ rock-doodlers an’ some are just hermits. Some like their dawgs better’n people — like y’all.” He looked thoughtfully at me and added, “Y’all’re a strange Canadian painter lady Charle.”

 

 


Posted by Charlotte Madison at 12:25
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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?