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, 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 Lastly, a finished piece can appear outdated or tiresome if kept around.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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Staying in Place

Every day seems like every day before, except for a few little surprises. Inspiration comes in spurts. Starting one project and then before long a distraction will bring my attention to another that begs for completion. That's it. Completion seems to be the goal. Then what? You guessed it. Another project! Be it chopping vegetables, feeding bluejays, watering tomatoes, printing out stickers, or even painting a rock! ( such a novel idea, right? )

It can be said that we create from nothing. That statement is only partially true. We create when we are motivated and driven by a desire, of one form or another. Others find a muse to follow, which is usually a person or entity that can inspire, even motivate one to create. Muses can appear even while perusing a recent post on FaceBook for instance. Pretend that wasn't mentioned here.

Since it has become mandatory to protect oneself by becoming a practicing homebody, a lot of people have taken up hobbies, or have returned to a discipline that they have not made time for on a previous occasion. Playing music, cooking, reading or even watching a sunset becomes a way of suspending the urgency of time

Interesting concept, time. When we say we are busy, what exactly does that imply? Are we not making time for those periods which are essential to our livelihood? In all likelihood, it is the socially acceptable way of saying that we don't want to devote time to something that does not have relevance or priority. It is a wonder what that priority has become. These are things that occupy my mind... even as I write this.

Below is an updated version of the last picture I posted. This one has been modified. After returning from the printer, the 18"X24" print has become a template for a fluorescent upgrade. Soon to be a classic.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Poster Project

About this new direction... Posters are something I've attempted in the past to mixed reviews. As much as they are enjoyable to create, the size and expense have been a bit prohibitive. More than a year ago, a show of posters and specialty rocks was featured at the St. Helena Library. The work was varied and showcased some 3-D posters that were viewed under a UV light in a separate room. The overhead lights were out and the public could use special Chromadepth™ 3-D glasses to get a better viewing of the work. Without a doubt, the effect worked but logistically was a bit complicated. This has only spurred me on to produce more posters. Below is the latest attempt using an image editing program similar to Adobe Photoshop™.The program called Xfinity™ is not subscription-based, nor as expensive as the aforementioned. The Rocks were scanned and edited, digital photography of floral and butterflies were added to a highly textured and colorized background. The final printout will also be modified using fluorescent gel pens and interference acrylic.

Click on image for a larger view