December 05,2019

             # 9   The Outhouse

During the light of day an outhouse in Arizona gives one pause for thought — especially if it is old, cobwebby and pack rat nested. But in the hot, dark night, one cannot help but dread what might be crawling about . . .

            Each night I set off for my outhouse armed with a flashlight, London and a roll of toilet paper. If I left the roll hanging on its holder a curious updraft would gently send it spinning and eventually floating out the doorway, and the next time I went to the little house I would find it necessary to pull reams of t.p. streamers from the surrounding cholla, barrel and saguaro cacti. If I left the roll of paper sitting by the hole and the wind blew, the paper disappeared into the abyss altogether, buffeted along by gusts coming through the wind-blown slamming door.

            One morning I scrambled halfway down my butte to the outhouse and found the door had come off its hinges and taken flight in a wild windstorm. After cautious exploration I found it nestled amongst a bed of cholla. I dragged it back to the outhouse, but I could not make it stay in place.

            Modesty demanded a solution: just in case a cowboy rode closely by, I stepped into the outhouse holding the door sideways,  then I pulled and leaned it against the doorway of the little building. Delightful! With only my head above the door I could gaze out over an early morning vista, and watch London herding cattle he found at the base of the butte.

            During the day while people stared at porcelain bathrooms, I gazed at cactus and cottontails, coyotes, and whatever else chose to walk, crawl or slither by.

            At night while people stared at light bulbs in their porcelain bathrooms, I watched the rising moon and falling stars, while I listened to owl hoots and coyote calls.

Posted by Charlotte Madison at 12:28
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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?