Monday, July 30, 2012


Black Dog by Nedic


His owner spoke
Leave my boots alone
The dog paid rapt attention
For this moment
the man was boss.

But he would sleep
abandon him to work
his boots out for the picking
and as evermore
the dog would grab one for company.

J. Binford-Bell
July 2012

See The Mag for more Magpie Tales for the reading.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Out of Focus

Apologies to Franz Kline


Out of focus

Life interrupted by madness.


Spent upon the floor

Too out of rhythm to be silenced.

J. Binford-Bell
Aurora, Colorado
July 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Get your Kicks

Get Your Kicks on Route 66 by J. Binford-Bell

So there I was in the midst of some of the most beautiful country in the United States - poise between the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest and I am taking lots of pictures of an old rusty car erected as a monument for the bygone era of Route 66.

Route 66 Monument in Arizona

Nobody can really predict what it is that turns an artist on that is for sure. But by the time I took a picture of this dated and much stripped automobile I had already demonstrated a love for photography old cars. And the first thing I did with these images was to win a 1st place in the 2012 Ralph Solano exhibit at Old Pass Gallery.

Route 66

The woman that bought this photograph asked if I ever considered painting old cars instead of just photographing them. And the answer was actually no. But boy did I enjoy playing with post processing of photos of old cars.

The Wreck

It was the above photograph that actually made me reconsider the painting possibilities. I hated the grass, disliked the concrete block, missed the wheels so much I never printed it up. The winning photograph had been at an angle these aspects were not so glaring. And the auto had no context outside of title. Yes, I probably could have photoshopped to my heart's content and deleted and added but I am more a painter I think.

Get Your Kicks on Route 66 may not be a faithful rendering of the automobile even if I added back wheels and side panels but it has context. It sits in the painted desert (also not a faithful depiction) beside a mirage road and a 66 sign. The Raven atop the sign was a late addition. The painting has been in the works for some time. It is because of the enameled look of the last photograph that to complete the painting I just had to try oil sticks. And in this process I found myself tending toward an impressionist view. As if road and landscape and car are melting in the desert sun.

Going west was not easy then. Maybe only the Raven wins.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Held Hostage

Jack Vettriano - Yesterday's Dreams

Held Hostage

Nailed to the window
by a broken promise
she waits
for the date 
that never comes.

He promised her something special
A night on the town
an unspoken surprise.
She has waited
for this day.

Now in a new dress
she waits some more
unwilling to admit
he is more than late.
He isn't coming.

He broke the date
his promise
her hopes
the dream
of a life together.

J. Binford-Bell
July 2012

See Magpie Tales for more links to more takes on this image provided by Tess Kincaid

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Spirit Ladder

Spirit Ladder by J. Binford-Bell
18 x 18 mixed media on canvas

My first major painting of 2012. Yes, it is July. Painting block? Possible. Bunches of other things going on like gardening and photography. Far more likely. The first quarter of 2012 I worked extensively on photography and putting on an a two month exhibit of my photographs and those of my sister, Deborah Binford Baker. The show consisted of almost 30 matted and framed photographs many of which had won prizes in juried exhibitions including the Ralph Solano Photography exhibit at the Old Pass Gallery in Raton.

Once that show was installed I devoted my time to gardening, which this year was major. I moved raised beds and developed a poly tunnel system to compensate for the fickle weather at almost 9000 feet altitude. Painting, and the art fairs I did for years, always got in the way of gardening, a hobby I very much enjoy. Yes, artists have other interests. Perhaps too many. A creative mind is hard to corral. Rather like herding cats. And the muse seems to get spooked at the least little thing.

But I have been painting in my mind. I can mentally work on a drawing and then the colors I want for the painting for quite some time. And I will sit and do little sketches in my sketch book on the details. I will go through art collector magazines and clip out and paste in works that inspire me. And I will play around with mediums on lessor works.

Poppies in Blue by J. Binford-Bell
11 x14 on cradled artist panel

For instance my Poppies in Blue painting was my first to use oil sticks. After laying down my basic colors in my usual watercolor I heightened certain areas of the poppy with oil sticks. I liked the look and so the mental paintings I was working on moved forward with the knowledge that I would use this combination of media - watercolor, ink and oil - on them. I am currently working on Route 66 and Poppies in Green.

 I think I am going through a metamorphosis not unlike a caterpillar to a butterfly. And if that is the case then this winter of no painting was my chrysalis. Every artist needs from time to time step back and contemplate what is on the easel. I think mine was overdue because my fair schedule kept me too busy.

Note on Spirit Ladder: The people of Acoma Pueblo were forced by the Spanish occupation of their mesa to "hide" their Kivas, or spiritual houses, from the Catholic priests that built the mission San Esteban del Rey. They made them square and put the entrances on the top and built ladders to allow entry. The ladders are painted white, and the four major kivas have ladders with three upright poles and what is called a cloud bar at the top.

In my painting I put the bell towers of San Esteban del Rey in the background and enlarged the chief spirit ladder which seems to reach into the hole in the sun caused by the moon during the recent annular eclipse.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Farmer's Fantasy

Chilmark Hay 1951 - Thomas Hart-Benton
Photograph courtesy Tess Kinkaid, Magpie Tales

A Farmer's Fantasy

Every spring
with the ground still muddy
from the winter snow melt
the farmer dreams
of a rich fall harvest.

Every summer
when the rains don't come
a farmer prays to the goddess
of the clouds
to send a gentle rain.

And every day
he holds in his heart
that early spring fantasy
of a fall harvest
to get him through the winter.

J. Binford-Bell
July 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Oh, poor Ophelia

Watery Dreams by J. Binford-Bell

Oh, poor Ophelia

Led down the primrose path
Awash in another's world
Of promises made
And not kept
Overwhelmed by what might have been.

Poor Ophelia
Afloat in a tide of lies
Driven to choose by a mind gone mad
The lure of watery grave
Over a nunnery.

J. Binford-Bell
July 2012