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Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Walk on the Wild Side


I’ve never been to Africa. Wilderness parks and my own neighborhood provide a glimpse of wildlife. All I have to do is put on my walking shoes, grab my camera and head out the door.

On my journey, I’m also looking for palm masks which eventually drop from the Queen palm tree. My hope is that it won’t be damaged by the fall or partially rotting from too much moisture. The possibilities expressed in the unique shape and markings of these masks lead me into the far realms of imagination.


I may see a golden panther waiting there or a grizzly baboon with a blue nose. Sometimes a chunky contemporary face beckons my brush to let go and have fun.

I’m also surrounded by ideas and the creatures I may pass on my morning walks: an armadillo, a coyote, or even a black bear. There are herons, egrets, ibis, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, Sandhill cranes, eagles, hawks, ospreys and feral pigs just to name a few. They all become inspiration for paintings, illustrations or masks.

With Halloween coming up, one of them may even end up in black and orange. The woody masks must be treated with care. As they dry out, hairline cracks may form in the wood. The grain is so porous that it soaks up layers of paint. The hairy dry strands that fringe the edges sometimes get bumped off as I work.
(This is odd shaped and contemporary)
(Could make a funny face?)














People love to wear masks. Children enjoy the game, too. We like to become something we’re not or pretend that we’re a celebrity or a monster. Our real feelings are usually hidden behind a frozen face that refuses to give any clues as to what we’re thinking. But during this one time of year, we put on a new face and “let it all hang out.”

Politicians wear a mask while campaigning; but once the election is won, they forget their promises and become just another “Washington Insider.”

Lovers may wear a mask in the beginning of a new relationship. Looking our best, showing only those traits that we feel might be acceptable. If the bond is solemnized too soon, the “coming out party” may be a shock or at least a jolt of reality.

     
 
Caught up in the glitter and dazzle of romance, the nitty-gritty everyday struggles are masked. Once the make-up is off and the real you comes forth in all its fury plus a boat load of attitude, the feel-good veneer of the honeymoon period is gone. Some couples come crashing down only a few weeks or months after the marriage.


For those unwitting spouses, the fall is long and deep. For couples with children, the entanglement may take longer. Often in the bloom of initial romance, the red flags are ignored or not revealed. Dishonesty becomes a giant hurdle that can’t be overcome.

(This very large mask could end up a fish or . . . )
(a funny-faced baboon or water bird?)
What do you think?
  

It’s great fun to wear a mask when a mask is called for on Halloween, at Mardi Gras time or during other annual celebrations. But all bets are off when the masks come off. An old saying comes to mind: “Lasting love is not about finding the right person, it’s about being the right person.”