Important Update...

Visit: Your Spirit Rocks! on Facebook . Our vendors booth at the local farmer's market is currently closed until further notice. We hope to be back soon ! Contact me about commission work. I'm the only Chris Sullivan in Calistoga, CA

Friday, October 9, 2020

Back to the Future

    I went to see "Back to the Future" starring Michael J. Fox a short time ago. Yes, I know what you are thinking... wait a minute, that flick was popular years ago. Well, it came back, and I saw it at Calistoga's first drive-in, at the Old Faithful Geyser on Tubbs Lane ( everyone stayed in their car, and observed social distancing and face masking ). 

    The movie was as predictable as it was over thirty years ago and figured that I must be too. Everything was okay until the battery in my car died. I called AAA and they said that they would come by after the movie and give me a jump. I wanted a new battery. No dice. No new batteries after 6pm. Whaaat? 

    Now without a functional battery, I could not follow the dialog with my car radio using the designated AM radio station. A movie usher came by and lent me a transistor radio to follow what was happening on the screen. Ah, such a useful technology then, and now one that harkens me back to a simpler time.

 The movie ended and having to pee like a racehorse, I asked someone where the restrooms were. I was told to walk over near the geyser and I'd find them. Nothing like a geyser going off every hour to inspire your bladder. Anyway, I was by the geyser, but could not locate the bathroom, so I went over by the bamboo trees in the dark. Then, no sooner had I completed the task when a voice boomed out.

    Hey ! the security guard shouted ( I found out later it was the owner of the place ) What are you doing !? I explained that I couldn't find the men's room and that he should be glad that I'm not going #2. Thankfully, he laughed and told me where it was to be found. I had passed them by. A little too late.

    When I came back to the car, a friend had arranged for a jump from a friend of his and so I popped the hood. Voila! another task completed. I called AAA and canceled their service and left the parking lot. I had a new battery installed the next day at Napa Auto Parts in St. Helena. Fully charged and now I'm in my Ford Focus and back to the future.

This week's rock had nothing to do with the previous story.

Friday, October 2, 2020

An exercise in futility?

  I’ve thought in the past that I would “Give away” my painted rocks if I thought that I could sustain myself by doing something of the sort. That idea now seems ludicrous. This has been a wonderful creative pursuit for me. I have been devoting myself to this craft for almost eleven years ( check and review the start of my blogposts below to the right ) and it has taken me beyond anything imagined .The idea of an “Art Career “ was showing some framed pieces in some art gallery in the hopes of finding a patron.

  This narrow vision was always rather conflicted , because it seemed to limit my ability to earn a living. I have had to give up plenty in terms of time and money in order to actually ENJOY a truly creative pursuit. Now, anyone with a sense of adventure can jump into an activity that is currently “All the rage” by grabbing a few supplies and getting started.

 I will never look back again with any sense of regret. Neither should you if you enjoy what you do. Life is too short to not express your idea of beauty

 Rock painting has been a gift whether these get sold or not. I will always be grateful to give them to people who will treasure them as an heirloom. This is my prerogative. I don’t put pearls before swine, thank you.

  Now with the world of 2020 in such a state of chaos, It is a godsend to find more time inside our personal space to do something we love.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Inspired Images

    People sometimes ask me where I get my inspiration. If I could pinpoint one time I would bottle it and sell it. Inspiration is like "The Zone" either you are in it or not, no in-between. Much like a basketball player who isn't thinking about the next move... it is certainly NOT about THINKING what the next move is going to be. The results are evidence enough in providing validation of what has been accomplished

    Many times, when I see a painting or drawing that doesn't quite reveal what was intended, there is a tendency to go back over it. Knowing when to stop is challenging. Finding pieces ( rocks, for instance ) which are half-done, often get scraped and started over. Blank canvases can be intimidating for this reason. Visualizing begins in the artist's mind and will get re-imagined on the surface. The best work can be when it gets made up as I go along. Lastly, a finished piece can appear outdated or tiresome if kept around.

    My sister, who is my mentor, one time admonished me to not hold on to those precious pieces for that very reason. Artists must move on and grow, or die on the vine so to speak. Below is an image of a white egret, which was drawn from a photo taken by known Marin county photographer Bob Kranzke who is the rightful owner in capturing this piece. Click on the picture to zoom in...

Friday, September 11, 2020

Fire in the heart

 So much is happening in our world. Fires, Smoke, Pandemics, Injustice. It is unlike anything that has happened before, and no one has any definitive answers as to why. Global warming? Carbon dioxide affecting the Ozone layer? Infected bats in the Chinese market? Systemic Racism? Fraudulent leadership? The proliferation of gun violence? Civil disobedience? Infiltrated elections? What's left? or more accurately... What's next? Okay, this blog has gotten off on the wrong foot. I'm trying to inspire hope here. So now I am spending the majority of my days inside creating some beautiful drawings. I will show you more as they become available, but for is a teaser.

This one is called "Diablo Wind"

Friday, September 4, 2020

...and the heat goes on

    If you thought that August couldn’t get any hotter welcome to record-breaking September. Thankfully most of the fires are contained but with all this “Sweltering in place “ my collection of raw rocks has been exhausted, and I have nothing left to paint, but plenty of back stock to sell. 

    So, if you are interested in purchasing one or more of these from what can be called, "The Fire Sale" just call or email me. If you don't have my number, leave me an email message in the guest book link to the right and I will be sure to get back to you.

    I have no doubt that what’s been produced lately are my best ever. The little video here shows one that has an invisible swirl that shows up nicely under a black light ( even though the video makes it look like it is swimming in purple. ) Fluorescent effects and activated glitter make this talisman a real “Bobby Dazzler” as an Aussie might say. Today I am going to try to get to the beach where I collect my rocks, so keep your fingers crossed that it is open. If it is not, I can always go by the Landscaping yard on my way back from my go to places.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Orange Sunsets and Still Smokey Days

     The fires from the lightning strikes last week have left their wreckage up and down the state of California. It is very heart-breaking to hear of people losing their homes, pets, cars, etc. I also think about those wild animals who also need homes, who don't have a clue where they will end up next. 

    Last night, on the rooftop of my apartment ( which has a flat roof by the way ) I could see the Klieg lights from the fairgrounds where all the firefighters are stationed. There are firefighters from as far away as New Mexico and Arizona. Large jumbo jets have flown over our area during the day dropping large loads of fire retardant over the still progressing fires and embers that have spread over the ridges in Pope Valley, right over the hill from where I live in Calistoga. Just when you think it's over, a news report of another fire and lightning storm has come upon us.

    The smoke has been bad here, but not as bad as other places like Fairfield and Solano county. Now, wearing a face mask has a dual purpose. Covid19 is not the only thing that is keeping us indoors, or on the verge of evacuation. I will continue to pray for the safety of all concerned. The latest is about Hurricanes on the Southeast coast of the United States. Again, what is mother nature trying to tell us ? or... have we just gone beyond the point of no return? I certainly hope not. The pictures below feature some of the views from my roof and of course, the rock of the week. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Hot August Days and Nights

The above photo was taken on Thursday 8/20/2020 from the rooftop of my apartment next to the Golden Haven Spa

No thanks to Neil Diamond, but that album always makes me think of the sweltering heat and the tragic, as well as the glorious days of summer. This week has been no exception.

 The fires have been an ongoing theme these past few years, whether being started by lightning or downed powerlines, dry vegetation is all around us just waiting to be ignited. Today, well over a third of the state is under the shadow of a mandatory evacuation because of this ominous trend. 

 Up and down the State of California, a very much-limited staff of dedicated firefighters are working tirelessly to contain a monstrous destructive power seeking to destroy communities throughout. Speaking of power, our own grid is hanging on by a thread.

Wearing masks to protect us now serves a dual purpose ( i.e. preventing smoke inhalation and deadly viruses ). Everyone I know seems to be making the most of a dire circumstance though. Some have taken to reading, writing, art, music, cooking, calling friends et al. These activities are vital to our peace of mind, both spiritually and psychologically. They are not meant to be distractions. Nuff said.

I realize that you are humoring me by reading this far, but hey... am I really all that boring? Now back to my present interest...

Rock Painting!   ( Below is a scene of a place I'd rather be )

Friday, August 14, 2020

Hot August Days and Nights

     The weather outside is frightfully hot and there is an eery silence throughout the hood. I'm playing Stevan Pasero's delightful guitar melodies as a background to this writing and as a gift to all the diverse music appreciators in the neighborhood. All of sudden R.L. Burnside is chiming in with his blues harmonica on a separate selection. Quite eclectic wouldn't you say? Next up are the Stones, "Memo to Turner" which was featured in one of the movies few movies that Mick Jagger took a leading role ( hmmm...was their one that wasn't? ) Much like Jack Nicholson, their persona at times will overpower the character they are playing. 

    Where was I going will this? Anyway, the heat is sweltering and the nylon tiger shirt I'm wearing is already beginning to dampen with sweat. Time to turn on the fan. Air conditioning is not an affordable luxury for this one. A swamp cooler was purchased last summer for the customers who came to visit the vendor's booth at the Farmer's Market. Unfortunately, it is massively large and a pain to drag and hook up, no matter how pleasing that may be. The damn thing is totally functional even if I did want to return it after it first arrived. It came as a recommendation from someone whose opinion I respected until he insisted it would be the best fit for the 5x5' walk-in canopy. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20 

    This behemoth now sits with it's back to a bedroom window, proudly hoisted on top of a barstool and plank board for height adjustment ( see below ). Now I sleep with my head at the foot of my bed to facilitate the position of the swamp cooler. Ahhhh... summer breezes throughout the night!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Perhaps a nibble of relevance

Today is the day after the first week in August and the days are running together like nothing I've ever witnessed. My gosh, wasn't it just St. Patrick's Day? The acceleration of time when the world was analog gave everyone a moment to digest their experience. Now, this sense of time urgency has propelled us forward at warp speed. Yet, this is 2020 and we are all walking around on a fragile planet, where a virus has everyone in check.

This all is leading up to some observations I've had looking back. Having grown up in San Francisco was like being at the center of a vortex. In 1959 when I arrived, there were the beatniks from North Beach. My teen years were spent during the sixties, which was the advent of the hippies. The seventies were the disco years and the beginning of the gay renaissance. The eighties were the "Me" generation, and all the est grads that came with that evolvement. The nineties ushered in the tech boom which really upset the apple cart. San Francisco became much larger than itself. If you took your vacation in Bali for instance, and someone asked where you were from (and your home residence was somewhere in Novato or Redwood city...) you could claim San Francisco with no clue that you were exploiting or modifying the authenticity of that statement. Hey, the Warriors and Forty-Niners can always be considered San Franciscans, despite their physical location or areas of origin. Keeping in mind that San Francisco is no longer a TOWN like it was back then, where you could easily walk from the bay to the breakers in around two and a half hours. Where people could look at one another in the eye as they passed each other on the street. Where you could ask directions and instead of pointing out a certain landmark, the likelihood would be that a person would "Walk you there" because it was easier than explaining it.

Then it became a showcase city and ultimately a spinning wheel, like the turntable at the old Funhouse at ocean beach. People who grew up here would try to hang on to the middle of that vortex of historical relevance, but eventually, spin out to the peninsula, Marin, or Napa ( which, at one point was known more for its state hospital than being a globally recognized wine region ). It's too easy to feel "known" in San Francisco, where looking or acting strange was your calling card. Now it's a designation for avoidance or even worse... disdain. My, how the pendulum of social adulation swings from one extreme to the other. All of this brings me to this idea that we are a network of populist thinkers who all consider themselves unique individuals parading around with a device that earmarks us as members of the status quo. It reminds me of a child star who is destined to lose their innocence before the age of five.

When I was ten, The movie "The Time Machine" with Rod Taylor came out. One part of the movie really sunk in. It was when, in the future, this peaceful community of people gathered by a river enjoying what looked to be a casual picnic holiday which was suddenly interrupted by what looked to them like a minor annoyance. Someone fell in the river and began to scream for help as she was drowning. These people on the grass nearby did nothing and blissfully ignored her cries. I remember asking myself, is this what the future will eventually become? The scene was not just frightening to me... It was terrifying. No one even paid attention to her! It looked like the ULTIMATE DISTRACTION was taking place, and no one was going to act upon it or even entertain a modicum of responsibility.

This is the fear I have about the Smartphone. It not only connects us anywhere at any time but disconnects us just as instantly as we are continually re-prioritizing the importance of each audio/visual element destined to bombard our conscious minds. I hate that I can multitask, and feel like so much is being accomplished. Truthfully though, the attention I purport to give you is not nearly as relevant as the time I am spending staring at a screen.

Below is a shot that I've wanted to share for a while now. This is Ray. He is an exclusive patron of the arts. Here he is relaxing as he is waiting for his dad to pack up the canopy so he can head home.