Of Peacocks and Bovine Interlocutors

About this time last year my wife informed me that I was going to be joining two of my friends for a couple days in the wilds of Missouri for an early new year refreshing session.

Bobby and Billy, two of my surest friends of the last decade, put together a little jaunt to a secluded farm AirBnB location. In spite of my trepidation at forgoing my social media habit, I jumped in the car with them.

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It was a few days of quiet time in the brisk air, solo contemplation, good food, good beer, and serious conversation about the deep issues of life.

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It was life-giving. I’m thankful for these guys, and so many of my other friends. Even though we have families and responsibilities and stresses, there is a core of intentional care there.

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In many ways I’m not a great friend. I’m barely hanging on sometimes. I need to be a halfway decent teacher and dad. I wish I was better at both. I wish I was a better husband. But times like this, when I can be honest and straight with people I trust… they make a huge difference.

I’ve been fortunate to have had times like this with a few solid friends throughout the years, and I’m grateful. I’m thankful.

I look forward to the next time, when the peacocks roost in the trees and the asparagus spits on a midnight grill.

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And when the bull makes a visit, in more ways than one.

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Enigma

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Enigma (Teal Grill), Gouache on paper, 12 inches in diameter. 2013.

I’ve been looking at this teal grill for the last six months or so. It’s situated in a little courtyard common area for students who live in nearby residence towers here at the University of Missouri. A few months ago when I moved into my new office/studio space I became even more enamored with this thing. It’s awkward. It’s got a glorious, alchemical color that changes with the weather. I’ve never seen it being used, and yet it’s got a presence and sort of commands a section of the courtyard wall. Situated on an East-West axis, the sun gives the grill a dramatic polyhedral shadow that tracks out, under, and around its gangly legs. Vaguely alien, dingy and unused, and having physical proportions and angular relationships that allow for formal play, it was only a matter of time until I painted it. The exploration was worth it… I might have to dive right back in.