OK, here’s the deal. I’ve been talking for years about making a book. Heck, I’ve been talking for years about making a whole series of books.*
Because I have a group of Kachina paintings showing at Sorrel Sky Gallery in Santa Fe during August, and because that is the time when Indian Market brings people to town who are interested in such things, I decided this would be a good time to do a book of Kachina paintings. I have a ton of daily paintings from my blog, and that seemed like a good place to start. So I started. Thought I could whip one out in a day or two. Wrong.
I’ve been sweating bullets for a couple of weeks, now. Maybe three. Four? First, I had to get all the images rounded up off the blog. Then I had to resize them. Tweak a few. Then, I had to find the best way to build the book. Blurb looked like my best bet. I liked the pricing, and the many ways of distributing the book. Blurb, Amazon, Kindle, e-books as part of the deal. Sold.
Clicked on download Bookwright, the software for building a Blurb book. Sorry, not available on mobile devices. Not available on iPad? I just, finally, got myself totally weaned from computers and able to do everything on my iPad. Well, not everything, apparently.
So I went out and bought a Macbook Pro laptop, after a ton of research. Seemed like the best idea. Almost. Trouble is, I had a devil of a time dealing with the small screen. I know, it was larger than the screen on my iPad. But the type darn sure wasn’t. After almost two weeks of squinting, and just before the deadline, I returned it to Best Buy, and bought a 27″ iMac. That’s more like it. Also, it will make video editing easier. But I’m going to have to turn out a lot of books and videos to pay for the thing.
FROM PC TO MAC
Anyway, there went a couple more days spent learning how to use a Mac after all these years on a PC. I’m coming around. I’ve had so many problems with PCs lately, and Windows 8? Don’t ask. I’m finally getting comfortable with the Mac; doubt I’ll ever go back to PC land. But I still prefer working on my iPad. This hurts, but I will have to admit, iPad and Mac are a winning combination at home, and iPad alone when traveling. The only time I might need a Macbook Pro again, is if I do extended travel, say, for instance, renting an apartment in Montevideo or Seville for three months and need to do some heavy lifting. We’ll see how that goes.
BACK TO BUILDING
Now, back to the book building. Got the computer, got Bookwright. Started in. Oops, learning curve. Not bad, but another couple of days gone. Lovin’ the learnin’, but time’s a wastin’. I want to get a book out. Then, on July 25, I get an email from Blurb. 20% discount on orders of 20 or more. Deadline July 28, 11:59 pm. OK, pour on the steam! Beat the deadline! Bleary eyed, middle of the night, five minutes to go, just finished carefully and thoroughly proofing one more time. Looks good. Hit upload. Window pops up, says book should be in multiples of four pages, or they will add two blank pages to back of book. Well, I already had two blank pages I’d forgotten to remove. Some proofing, eh? So I added a short suggested reading list I had wanted to include but thought I didn’t have enough time. Hit upload again. Same message. What? Oh, of course, I had added the list, but still had the same number of pages. Dummy! Looked at the time. Turned into a pumpkin. Oh, well. Probably best I re-proof, take some time to think, and maybe even wait for the next discount offer.
Added two more pages of Kachinas. Took a couple of days off to give a talk at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo, Colorado. Sent first draft to Rosa for proofing. She did a much better job than I had done, by the way. Fixed problems. Made several other changes that I’d had time to consider. Back to Rosa. Fixed problems. Went back through and checked and fixed all image resolutions, other technical bits and pieces
Indian Market has come and gone. So I’m a day late and a dollar short, but, finally, here’s the
I have now created a book. It’s not a big deal. It’s not a big book. Six by nine inches, thirty eight pages. Twenty Four Kachina paintings. A few words. But it’s mine, and it’s done. The ice is broken, and I now know how to do it again. I don’t know about you, but I’m THRILLED!
Now that I have a hard copy in my hands, I will go through it one more time, make any necessary fixes, and publish it to Blurb Books, Amazon, Kindle, iBooks, and anywhere else I can. I will also make an eBook version available.
Which of the book ideas listed below would you most like to see? Which one would you like to see first?
It's on the way. My shipment has shipped. Not due here until the eighth, but it could show up any time, now,
What is it? Top Secret. But I will let you know as soon as it's in my hands.
I will say this much; it's something I've been working on for weeks, and I'm really pretty proud of it. Besides, it's the beginning of something much bigger.
So. Be patient. I'm trying to be.
Meanwhile, here are some iPhone sketches I've been having a lot of fun with…
It's been so long since I last combined a grouping like this, rather than scrolling them, that I've forgotten which App I used. So I just did a screenshot of my iPhone, Airdropped it to my IPad, and here you have it. Not as fine, but quicker. Now, back to my next big project that I'm working on, in addition to the one we're waiting for that's due any day now.
Thea has asked me to let you all know how much she appreciates all of your expressions of concern. She recently had surgery on her left eye for cataracts, followed a few days later by a more serious surgery to hopefully stop or at least slow down a rapidly advancing Glaucoma in her right eye. She's recovering well, but it should take six to eight weeks.
That's pretty rough on a person as active and full of go as Thea! She has worn glasses for near-sightedness since the third grade. Now, she is suddenly faced with being somewhat far-sighted and unable to wear glasses for the duration. She can't see to read emails or respond to them, can't even text, and has strict instructions not to physically strain her eye, like by bending over. In the garden that's rough. She loves her garden!
I can't remember the last time we watched a movie.
But the good news is that the pain has diminished appreciably, and her right eye is no longer the color of a candy apple red hot rod. Just a bit red in the corner.
Check out the August issue of Western Art Collector. And be sure to drop by Sorrel Sky Gallery in Santa Fe if you're in the area during August.
Also, you can expect more news sometime during August having to do with, you guessed it, Kachinas!
I left Flagstaff on June 27, heading out the old highway, “Historic Route 66”, past the Santa Fe Railroad's giant cinder pit at Winona,
and stopped for a nostalgic shot of the old bridge that was such a thrill to me as a five or six year old boy, standing in the front seat of Grampa's two-tone 1941 Oldsmobile coupe on the way back to Flagstaff following our many trips to visit family in Winslow.
I stopped at Canyon Diablo for a quick “selfie” among the ruins of the old roadside attraction “zoo”.
But my main interest was rocks for a series of paintings I'm considering. Rocks like these just north of Meteor Crater.
I made my way through Winslow and Holbrook, then turned north to Ganado and over to Window Rock and Fort Defiance to photograph the rock formations there.
After sundown, I went on into Gallup for dinner and made camp in Fordacho.
The next morning I started out old “66”, and took every opportunity to cross the railroad tracks, followIng dirt roads out among the red rocks, gathering more research for that series of paintings I’m thinking of starting.
I continued like this all the way to Grants, then, after taking a brief detour into the pueblo at Laguna, for more photographs, of course, I made my way to Albuquerque and on to Santa Fe where I camped for the night. Oh, and I met an interesting young man, on my way to Grants, that I will tell you about the first chance I get.
A lot has happened since then. We just returned late Friday night, July 24th, from a second trip to Phoenix. Thea has undergone two eye surgeries. One for cataracts and one for glaucoma. She's doing fine, and her recovery is progressing better than expected.
We've been burning up the roads between Taos and Phoenix, and I've been working on a “secret” project hat I hope to tell you all about soon. So please be patient and do stay tuned.
To be Continued…
After the Kachina Dance at Moenkopi, I drove south to Cameron for dinner, photographing the golden light of evening on the sandstone cliffs south of Tuba City on the way. The hotel at Cameron was full, so I camped again in Fordacho.
Back in the late 60s, my friend Dewain Maney took this photograph of Earl Carpenter and yours truly with Stella and Della Peshlakai. That’s Stella pretending to paint us.
I first met Stella when I was working as Preparator at the Museum of Northern Arizona and she was there demonstrating Navajo rug weaving. We became friends and I spent many happy days in her hogan, painting her and her father, Clyde Peshlakai and visiting with the family, her sister Della, brother Clark, daughter Helen, and others.
In 1969, I had my first one-man exhibition at the Stable Galleries in Scottsdale, Arizona. The gallery owner rented a flat bed wagon, team of horses and drivers. Stella came down and set her loom up on the back of the wagon. I set up my french easel and stood there, painting her, as a trophy winning entry in the world famous Scottsdale Parada del Sol Rodeo parade
Dewain called recently to say he had visited Stella at her home at Wupatki, that she is now ninety two, and that she sure would like to see me. So. That was the main reason for my trip to Flagstaff.
The next day, I went out to Dewain’s where he showed me his setup. Unlike many darkroom photographers, Dewain had taken to digital photography with a vengeance. He has mastered the software Corel Painter, and now creates beautifully rendered photographs like this one of Stella.
By Dewain Maney
After lunch in town, at La Fonda Cafe, my parents’ favorite for many years, and where I announced that I was returning to Greasewood Trading Post on the sponsorship that would launch my career, we drove out to visit Stella and Helen’s husband Anthony. We had hoped to join up with Earl and to recreate the old wagon photo, but neither of us had any luck finding Earl. Also, Stella no longer lives in the old family hogan, but in a lovely new house with running water and solar power, and wagons have been replaced by pickup trucks.
We had a great visit, though, sitting on the porch, talking over the old times and of the traditional native herbs that the government will no longer allow the medicine men to gather.
Clyde had lived at Wupatki and worked all his life for the Park. Untold generations before him had lived on that site. The National Park Service, though, in its bureaucratic wisdom, has decided that Stella will be the last of her family allowed to live there. Clyde once told me of the time he went with a delegation to “Washindon-di” and met “that man…what was his name? John, John Kennedy”.
I have to wonder what the Kennedy brothers, Jack and Bobby, would have to say about this National Monument no longer having room enough on its 35,000 plus acres for a single Navajo family that was there since before it was a National Monument.
I camped at Dewain’s that night and we continued our catching up and plans for future endeavors.
Then I went to visit Rosa and John and on to Williams. Next, Gallup and the slow road back to Taos.