April 11th, 2021
Another silver state surprise. An artsy fireplace in the back of beyond. Evidence implies some of the later inhabitants of this ghost town were of unique character, inspired, or something else depending on interpretation. A variety of bricks, some concrete plus nearby stone, provided the canvas for a fireplace like no other.
The carefully fashioned walls are only of white sandstone gathered from a nearby bluff. But don’t stop there. Why not also paint every wall stone a different earth tone and then outline them with black where the motor holds them in place? Unfortunately, the characteristics of sandstone and of course weather caused much of the wall color to deteriorate. You can get a better idea of what the walls looked like under the fireplace mantel where it is more protected. It must have been quite a sight.
I suppose they might have considered it an experience to sit and watch a flickering fire glow bounce off multi-colored wall stones. Hmm, well, if given the opportunity, to me it would seem healthier to observe and not absorb. Maybe all the overly bright earth tones represented hues of the nearby cliffs or overall landscape. They are extensive, a fact I became more aware of after pondering this creation.
There’s more. They adorned the cabinet doors with perhaps a representation of the stars. It’s hard to say for sure based on the artwork, but with zero light pollution in such an isolated place, no doubt they took pleasure in the night sky as I did. Only two of the painted doors remain. I guess some (art fans) found the other doors theft-worthy. More of the work has fallen too senseless destruction. So much better if everything was just left alone for natural Wabi-sabi fading. Although the home/art project is now completely roofless, the fireplace is still in good working order, so it seemed an idea to build a fire for this image. I hope the spirits of artists’ past didn’t mind. Heat poured out with no smoke.
And in case you're thinking, I spent the night — no way. My camp nearby provided comfort without varmint infestation.
March 7th, 2021
We spend an astounding amount of corporate money creating structures in which people conduct business and pursue community goals. We expect human beings to be creative, to work, and to function at their best in the interior environments of these buildings. And yet, disturbingly often, little attention in maintaining a healthy, stimulating, and inspirational interior space results in their original purpose being dampened.
The simple, yet often overlooked reality, is that art and architecture have measurable effects. Any industry that relies on the productivity of human beings will benefit if we pay attention to this basic principle. Investments in wisely chosen artwork alone result in a more productive, healthy, competitive, and spirited group of individuals. There may even be fewer sick days, and people get along with each other better when surrounded by expressive and moving works of art.
An extensive business might spend millions on structures to house a workforce and then cover the walls with cheap or faded poster images under the guise of cost savings. This is standard practice, even in hospitals, where art could be of enormous benefit. It makes no sense, even in financial terms.
Organizations can reap the benefits of well-chosen art regardless of population size, regional culture, or business model.
Art is not something we live with, it’s something we can’t live without.
November 24th, 2019
Last July on the Continental Divide looking west into Idaho pre-sunrise, which means these light rays are anti-crepuscular — opposite of the sun. The convergence to a vanishing point is a visual illusion created by distance, same as looking down a railroad track where the lines seem to converge. Capturing them on a two-dimensional surface might spark some further pondering. Anyway, the anti version is almost always much dimmer than the counterpart but I’ve witnessed this a few times at high altitudes.
November 18th, 2019
Early 20th century truck in the ghost town of Berlin in central Nevada. Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park is called a hybrid park since it consists of the old town and some ancient fossil grounds in the nearby hills. Berlin is one of several towns that sprung up after a major ore vein called Union Ledge was discovered in the 1850s. A few residents remain in some of the other towns but history records Berlin as abandoned since 1911. It’s remarkable how much of it remains, this is largely due to some pretty heroic preservation efforts
October 2nd, 2019
I’m fortunate to have a first-hand history of this homestead written by Bernard L. Oberlander. It was his uncles, Miles and Karl Hollingshead that filed a claim for this 160-acre plot on the Idaho side of the Tetons in1910. Oberlander explained the details of everyday existence. Including their routines winter and summer while living in what must have seemed a remote and extraordinary place. In many ways, it is still remote and remains no less extraordinary. The earlier log cabins are nearby and I’m not sure when this cabin was built. The concrete foundation on the right is where an old-style windmill once stood. The Teton Land Trust and others have had a hand in preservation and artists need to get permission to paint or take photographs from the current landowner.
September 2nd, 2019
Many see fog, clouds, and mist as kind of depressing or cold. For me not only does it lend depth but also feelings of calm and quiet. There is a trail in the forest below where one can make silent steps on soft needles under huge old-growth trees. This is a true old-growth forest with an ecosystem all its own in the tip of Idaho near Canada.
August 25th, 2019
This is an area of historical significance in the Clearwater National Forest of northern Idaho. It’s a section of the Lewis and Clark route and the place were later 350 soldiers led by General Howard suffered from lack of experience in rugged mountain travel while chasing 750 Native Americans. Being much more accustomed to mountain travel, the Nez Perce outran Howard and his crew by 5 days, anyway, this is one historical timeline. What seems to be clear is Howard didn’t catch them in this country and the suffering of his group becomes apparent upon observing some of the older trees still showing the scars of stripped bark, the only thing they had to feed their horses. Unfortunately, after running for survival and making it through the mountains, the Nez Perce were slaughtered in the area now called Battle of the Bighorn by a different calvary group. This, in general, seems to be the course of events, details are sometimes debated similar to fine details regarding the Lewis and Clark expedition through this region. My work consisted of watching and trying to capture a sunrise over a vast dense forest, mountain layers, and steep canyons.
August 7th, 2019
In landscape art, hopefully, an image has something to say about an environment or maybe it reflects an emotional reaction to a scene. Regardless, the sensor (or film as the case may be) is the canvas and light is the brush.
August 5th, 2019
Some say Jarbidge Nevada is the most remote town in the lower 48 states however, this isn’t the only claim to fame. It might be where the last stagecoach robbery in the US took place. The speed limit is 10 MPH on the dirt road through the town which you might expect is called Main. Apparently, a few dozen year-round residents keep the place in check. There are some tiny art and gift shops and the people I encountered offered a friendly wave.
April 12th, 2018
Thousand Creek Gorge, northern Nevada. Hiking in the gorge requires some painful brush busting through head high rose bushes with needle-like thorns and some avoidance of poisonous plants. So overall a good experience with a few small wounds that will heal. Shorts and sandals are out of the question. Some narrow sections are boulder choked resulting in a few murky cascades and pools. Making this water drinkable would necessitate some serious settling and filtering — still questionable in my view so an overnight stay would be hard. Wildlife includes pigeons and raptors so it isn’t always silent as their utterances resonate off the cliffs. A shuttle could be arranged and it can be hiked from either direction. If raining, the roads to the canyon entrances are likely to be wicked mud.