December 10,2019
#17 THE CENTURY PLANT

             

             #17  The Century Plant

  

Each morning, following behind a pick-up loaded with rock doodlers, London and I hiked up the road to the quarry where I kept my canvas, paint and a water supply in a rock doodler’s empty old cabin.

            As I worked I scraped bees and no-see-ems out of my paint and listened to wild stories told to me by a grizzled old reprobate.

            Every time my four foot by eight foot, masonite canvas was caught up by the wind, it was sent soaring and wafting in flight down to the floor of the quarry. I would scramble from my ledge to rescue it before a second gust could lift it over the edge, float it into the canyon below and dash it into pieces. On days when the wind would not give me peace, I tested painting on flagstone. Although the flagstone did not blow away, the wind blew the paint from my brush.

             At noon as I walked down the steep rocky road to my camp-site drinking in the beauty of the open land below and clear blue sky above, I stopped and checked on the progress of a Century Plant. It had finally received God’s consent to bloom.

            To my delight, and to the delight of hummingbirds in the area, the ceremony took many weeks to complete. As the flowers grew, their colour changed from magenta to scarlet to orange to yellow.

            When at last the flowers and the towering stock were dry and brown, with the dramatic flair of a Shakespearian actor, the Century Plant flung itself to the ground, uprooting its yucca-like base.

            Men can live much longer lives than the Century Plant, but few men die with ritual as beautiful.


Posted by Charlotte Madison at 12:09
Add your own comments.
Archives
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?