December 07,2019



“Merry Christmas London!”

            In the warmth of the rising sun and in the freshness of a morning breeze, London and I strolled down from the top of my butte toward the desert floor.

            We came to an owl sitting atop a young saguaro. He ignored us and continued to stare intently at a cottontail quivering in terror under a rusted, decrepit old truck body. As the owl tensed to attack I shouted and waved my arms, London bounced and yapped, all to startle and distract the raptor.

             With resignation the owl reluctantly abandoned his prey, lurched into the air and swept down the hillside. The cottontail took the opportunity, bolted and vanished into a nearby hole, thankful to be free of the owl, the dog and the wild woman.

            “Merry Christmas Cottontail,” I called to the rabbit, and to the “hooty-owl”, “Owl . . . I’m sorry.” I had ruined his Christmas dinner.

            At the quarry we approached the tiny, old quarry guard cabin, so wind-blown and weathered. I had saved the exploration of the old cabin as a Christmas treat. A few yards from the door I looked down and saw a stained crumpled paper wedged between two small rocks. I bent down and picked up a typewritten poem — La Patrona.

            Inside the cabin stood a desk made of orange crates and a mattress ravaged by pack rats. The floor was littered with rodent-chewed pages of poetry, stained and almost buried in the huge pack rat nests of cholla and fluffed mattress packing. I gingerly picked out a few sheets and took them outside to read, each one so strange and appealing.

            I would never have read a letter, but the poetry seemed like literature, written to be read by all who enjoy the arrangement of words. Spellbound I read on until one poem, tender and personal, flooded me with shame for having read any.

            Quickly I replaced all but La Patrona. If I left it inside the cabin, touched with new odours, rats would be drawn to it and add it to their poetic nests. If I put it outside buried in the rocks, with time it would surely be destroyed by rain, an animal’s hoof or a rodent’s teeth. I could not and did not want to leave it.

            That Christmas morning I had been enchanted by La Patrona and her Christmas gift to the shepherd, “. . . three oranges and the nice apple.”

Posted by Charlotte Madison at 12:27
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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?