The Artwork of Michael Divine

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Posts from February, 2009

Attempting to Thwart a Better Future

February 28th, 2009

The conservative outcry against Obama has been getting to me a bit. While I don’t necessarily agree with the massive bailouts of banks and mortgages – afterall, bad investments are bad investments and markets fluctuate regularly, such is life – what I do agree with is the need to build and repair this nations infrastructure and invest in clean renewable energy sources. This is the path of progress. Some of this "infrastructure" includes repairing roads, providing money to schools and education, updating and building internet and broadband systems, and creating a public healthcare system.

Terrible ideas, say the conservatives. A Republican senator claimed that this is the path towards socialism and that, if Obama doesn’t watch out there will be conservatives marching in the street. What does that look like anyways? A bunch of stodgy white folks waving signs that read "No New Roads!" and "No Money for Schools!" and "We don’t want healthcare!".

RIght.

Maybe it was a bumper sticker that read "National healthcare in Iraq is good foreign policy. National healthcare in the USA is socialism."

Another senator was quoted some years back before Bush went forward with a decidedly messy invasion of iraq as saying: the price of invading Iraq and bringing the freedom to the Iraqis, while a costly and expensive burden for future generations to shoulder, is necessary and those future generations will understand. The same senator was quoted recently, speaking about an item in the stimulus bill regarding money for national parks – we can’t put the burden of paying for our national parks on future generations! How dare us!

Gosh, I almost feel selfish thinking that my children’s children will be pissed that I preserved some mountains
WTF?! So it’s ok to destroy a country to propagate our capitalist democracy (and because we are envious of their oil) but not ok to preserve our own natural treasures? I really don’t understand people. Sure, on a broader basis I can distill it down to basic human ailments like Greed, Jealousy, Lust, etc… But the sheer lack of logic here – the mind that thinks it better to spend billions of dollars and waste countless lives on invading another country instead of, say, repairing our own broken systems… is just mind-bogglingly unbalanced.

But that is how fucked up our world has become. People would rather strip the wide swatchs of Alberta, Canada, forest for sand laden that contains oil than invest money in renewable resources. If the stimulus bill included more coal plants, more money for the military and money for telecommunication companies to create a non-neutral internet, then the conservatives would be leaping with joy. Instead they piss and moan that we’re going to fix their schools, provide them with cleaner energy sources and bail out the institutions that FAILED because of their own short-sighted small-minded regulations, or lack thereof.

Sigh…

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

February 16th, 2009

Late last night we returned from perusing the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. I’d never been there, tho I’ve heard plenty about it, and at first had a difficult time taking it in. Such a diverse and interesting sub-culture! Part old grizzled sort of miner guys, part Middle Eastern L.A-Fabric-District type salesmen and nationalities, part hippie-Grateful-Dead-Shakedown-Street, part new age cahkra-auric-healer-type, part just-some-folks-who-like-shiny-baubles… And dozens of other sorts spread out all over the place. Giant stones and ginormous crystals and semi-precious pieces of all kinds – huge quartz crystals and massive amethyst geodes twice as tall as Violet, gorgeously green polished chunks of malachite and deeply lustrous slices of labradorite. It all seemed sort of never-ending.

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We went for a few reasons. It was nice to get out and we both like crystals. It seemed a good way to spend a long Valentine’s. Primarily, though, we went to pick up some pieces to make jewelry with as we’ve been getting ready to start adding one-of-a-kind pieces to the website as well as sell in a few really unique locations; and to pick up some rocks for some friends. it’s amazing walking around and seeing all these different pieces of the planet in all of it’s stunning color and reflections, Of course, it was nice finding the occasionally amazing deal like the one dollar a pound chunks of rose quartz, that, for under $20, let us walk away with a couple of serious pieces of it. Then, a little bit later, we stumble on another fellow selling rose quartz and it’s $10/lb. He’s probably buying it from the first guy. What a mark-up! What a racket!

At Burning Man last year we’d been talking to the dude who ran the jewelry camp (which, I hear, is no more). They would acquire several thousand dollars worth of gemstones from Tucson and let people make necklaces, bracelets, etc, with them in their tent. There was always a long line to get in and, tho it was hot in there, it was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Anyhow, he remarked to us that, though he’s traveled the world and been to the actual mines, frequently he found the same pieces to be cheaper in Tucson than anywhere else. This was proven to us when we bought a sweet piece of amber for $5/lb versus the $7/lb we paid in Mexico where it is found.

We met some sweet people – a guy selling amber gave Violet some good tips on how to shape it and drill it. The girl selling coffee whom we talked with for a bit probably did better – investment vs. ROI – than most people did there. Many folks said it was the slowest season in all the years they’d been. When people are having trouble paying the mortgage, buying a giant rock seems sort of a distant thought. But the girl selling coffee and tea: everyone wants their fix and, when the economy is tanking, it seems like the people who sell vices sometimes do pretty well. Our culture breeds a type of mentality that would rather drown it’s sorrows than pull itself together. But that is another story.

After Rain

February 7th, 2009

Sitting, painting while window is open letting in cool breeze and the sounds of a dozen bird songs all singing about the rain last night; the sound of drip drip dripping off the roof onto leaves of plants and the tarp covering the pots. The sunlight, busting through an opening in the clouds shines at a direct angle, through the hanging and dangling purple leaves of the wandering jew and the faded creeping charlie, into my studio window. The waxy leaves have been dappled in drops of water, each one refracting the sunlight like a gemstone. The leaves of the sapote, now five feet tall in it’s pot, sway a little and, next to the purple of the wandering jew, and with the sunlight radiating through it’s leaves, it is a rich golden green. The nasturtiums along the edge of the yard all glow with the life of fresh rain coursing through their leaves. Everything sighs and expands. The birds twitter and swoop to a nearby telephone line gaining a better view of the fresh post-rain day. I return to my canvas letting these rhythms be my soundtrack.

The Artwork of Michael Divine

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