Tuesday, October 26, 2010

All Bull-No Beach Girls

I did this for Janey who is tired of pretty women and children on the beach.

Guardian of the Vinyards

I just finished this for the lobby of the Yountville Inn.  It will hang behind the check in desk for all to see.  This was more fun and easier than figures.  I may paint a bunch of landscapes since they are so easy.  But you have to arrange all of the values in order or you will suck.  I think figures in landscape is on the horizon.  But I will have to find a studio first.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Now What?--Become and Apostle!

The Don Hatfield method of relating to the world has always been to volunteer tons of intensity.  This fact arises from an early obtained sense of missionary zeal.  I figgered that since I got serious about Jesus early on--the whole damned (literally) world should get serious about Jesus.  I got "saved" at 8 years of age in the Redondo Beach, California Church of God Independent Holiness in 1955.  My mom and dad were not big on this event, but they did not stand in the way of little Donnie.  My parents had watched my brother Dick sail off to fight the Japs in the Pacific in 1943 and had seen my other brother, Harold, make touchdowns for USC in front of 100,000 screaming fans in the LA Coliseum.  If 8 year old Donnie wanted to hang out with a few weird church people--hell, that was no big deal.

It was April of 1959 when my sweet Dad dropped dead at his job on the corner of Rindge and Artesia in North Redondo, CA.  It was like yesterday.  The phone rang at 7:00 AM and Dad's co-worker Sandy told me that dad had a heart attack and that it was not good.  I dropped the the phone, screamed at mom to get up, and ran down the street in my pajamas to Kenny Goodreau's house.  Mom didn't drive, but Kenny's mother did.  When we pulled into the gas station where dad worked--his lifeless body had been placed into the back of a cop car,  and I began a process of grief that lasts to the present day.  I was introduced to the notion of conditionally at that moment.  That catastrophic change can sweep into your life at any moment became a constant bed  fellow for Don Hatfield.

Only recently has "sweeping change" become a kind of dear friend.  In the last 4 years both of my brothers have left the planet along with my nephew Steve, my aunt Ruth, my cousin Larry and a bunch of friends and acquaintances.  Two of my closest art buddies have just said goodbye to their prostates while a few others have had the big zipper (open heart surgery).  Change is happening aint' it?  Its fun to know that I am in the cue.  My last words to my brother Harold were, "...I'll see you in a little while....I'll be right behind ya..."

I like the ending of Cameron's Titanic where all the passengers who froze to death in the North Atlantic  meet again on the ball room steps to welcome the young lovers to glory.  Even Cameron had to throw in something nice and warm to offset the misery.  Maybe we are all Avatars who will open our eyes someday and be 11 feet tall and have tails and blue feline faces.

Maybe you are a tough guy who knows that when you croak--its lights out.  I think I believe that what you think about something does not necessarily make that something true.  Anyway,  the point is,  I choose to believe that there is something more going on in our lives than getting high,  getting laid,  getting rich, getting smart, passing it all on,  and then kicking the bucket.

The shifting around in our lives, the changes, the interruptions that come at us from within or from without, are confusing as hell.  Change makes you hate God, makes you want to kill people, makes you want to kill yourself sometimes.  You don't have to travel very far from where you sit to see that this is true.

The reason that God is so anxious to bless America, and since I speak for God,--is that our system is designed to mollify change, to ease change, to deny change, and to crap on change in general.  Its hard to picture somebody crapping on change, but Od Nurdrum has done it in paint.

So instead of kissing up to Jesus whose style of absolute love and unique claims got him murdered by the church and state--we suck up to the collective (Jung) and create our own totem of values based roughly on our immediate environment and and fight like crazy to convince ourselves that everything will be alright.  Good luck!

Listen--there are no unbelievers in the world.  Even the most God hating SOB has cut deals with existence and believes that they are smart deals--at least as good as the next guys.  "....I didn't ask to be put on this planet,  so why am I now being fed this line that I had no say in creating.."  What line?--that there is meaning, hope, a future, a saviour.  I hear this all the time--at the gym, coffee shop--everywhere.  Everybody has their own belief system, has cut their own deals, and is working it out in their own way in the brief span called a life time.

Call it getting old, getting sick, getting successful, getting something--its all change.  You can give up, fight back, bitch, take a cruise, or go to Weekend With the Masters--it doesn't matter.  We seem to be stuck here on this spinning ball bumping into one another and saying: "....excuse me, but I am in a hurry, and have things to do...I am on my way to embrace change..."  Yeah right!

What some are doing is creating a legacy that they hope to pass on--noble indeed, but usually confined to the rich.  What are they passing on?--a big fat repository of effort concretized in a will designed to give the next generation a shot at permanence.   Although we all pass on something--some get to hire trustees to get it right--others, myself included, hope to pass on nothing--may it all evaporate when I die.   In other words--may the misery, suffering, treachery, hate, abuse, violence, and indifference that I have let loose in the world disappear when I die.  God, I hope so.  I don't give a rip about the paintings I have done.  I plan to give away most of the art I do from now on, which can be disposed of in anyway collectors see fit.

I know that many of you are "concerned" about Don Hatfield--I have lost my house, studio, credit rating, credibility, honor, mojo, authority, and a few pounds--maybe even my mind.  I am smiling big as I write this--I love all of ya.  So......?   Please be relieved to know that I am dying and only have a little while to live, and so is everybody that I love so dearly--including you.  I have no terminal ailment--I am talking about what is going on in me--not to me.   I have cut my own deal with existence like everybody else.  Here is a description of my deal:  The  thing that was planted in me when I got saved back in Redondo was dead right--the pressure cooker of change is the pressure of love absolute.  Suffering, confusion--misery in general is temporary--comfort and joy are real--and the Steelers will win the Super Bowl.  I have lived 64 years and have experienced a thing or two,  and I have this hugh  CONSTANT in my world--my television.  Not really. Let me start over in a new paragraph.

 I am so happy that I have gone crazy--to say nothing about all of the blessings that are being heaped on me--zero debt, zero commissions, zero whatever.  Free at last to practice putting endlessly.  I have  all of my art supplies locked up along with everything else in storage.  I am thinking seriously about quitting painting for a year or so.  I am going to write a how to oil paint book on my new Power Mac and ride my $5000.00 bicycle until I drop my weight to between 164 and 173 lbs--down from 250. 

The above is another way of saying  that I am going to STOP until I get clear direction.   I know that I have the ability to screw everything up,  and I may continue my great enterprise of going to hell in a hand basket--but I doubt it.  I have never been allowed to flop around aimlessly for long.  Whatever or whoever has grabbed me in the past will probably do the same this time.  This is fun.  I am not as filled with as much fear and anxiety as in days past.  My read on life is being confirmed on the left and on the right--yet I feel that I know nothing.  I am seeing Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost under every rock and stone.  I am even toying with the profound notion of terminating tobacco since it dulls my ability to be  clear headed.

In short I am going to become an Apostle like Robert Duval in his movie by the same title.  He walked around asking  God what to do all day long.  I don't plan to go to jail for murder, however.  There are some old farts down at Peets Coffee who have consented to ordain me--so I am not dodging any religious bureaucracy. 

So there you have it--more pithy  aphorisms, more profundities, and some love for good measure--Don

Friday, October 8, 2010

Snakes Shed Their Skin Don't They?

This moving out of the old Hatfield place is massively demanding--emotionally, psychically, spiritually, socially,  economically and in a few other weird ways---plus,  I will never again be able to pee off my second story deck toward the big redwood tree twenty feet away.  When I moved here in 1988 I could reach it with ease,  but my prostate has given me the old "f...you",  and now I have to really push--life's a bitch!

Janey and I are already fighting  about what to keep and where it should go.  We are going from 4000 sq/ft to 900 sq/ft.  If she has her way,  and she will,  the tiny upstairs bedroom in our "darling" little cottage next to the French Laundry in beautiful downtown Yountville will have the character of a walk in closet--not the spacious bedroom we now occupy.  She will not give up one stitch of her precious clothing.  It will be like Narnia where those kids slide around the fur coats and stuff as they move to the new world.  My new world is going to include a TemperPedic California King with the electric gizmo to raise one end and a 30 inch HD TV suspended from the ceiling so I can fulfill my commitment to NFL Ticket and Dr. Phil.  This is all I get--but it is enough.  O yes, and new batteries for the damn channel changer.

Our Lord and God--the lending company--is giving us $8000.00 to get our asses out of here by Nov.1.  I could have done the "loan modification"--but I would have had to harvest our  200 redwood trees for $25,000.00 and make a $7500.00 monthly nut to boot.  After PGE, propane, upkeep, taxes, insurance, mouse traps,  and dog food (Janey over feeds the dogs)--the monthly nut is up to $10,000.00.  I am nearly 65 and have had enough of this shit.  I am a walking dead man now and am asking God what He wants to do with what is left.  So far He has said clearly, "...my son, continue to hit fairways, greens, and putts..and never stop watching 7 hours of TV daily,  and don't stop using my wonderful new gift to you--Scoal Winteregreen chew!" This new Long Gut Wintergreen is so much better than Copenhagen which used to make my feet and hands numb.  Wintergreen just shuts down your brain, gives you gum cancer, creates addiction, and makes you stink--but nothing else of harm.  It is the perfect antidote for over-excitement about painting.

I thought I was over  all of this moving stuff until yesterday when I broke down and cried like a baby.  The thought of leaving our pet cemetary under the 300 year oak made me weep.  The population there is five--three cats and two dogs--and I had planned to be sprinkled there among my only true friends--maybe somebody can sneak up here and get the job done when the time comes--any volunteers?

I have rented a storage space in a Vallejo ghetto.  The homies--Crips, Bloods, Nortenos, Surdenos, and Al Queda will watch over all of my crap with great love I am sure.  I will have to hire the Navy Seals and Swat Team to escort me to my new toy bin if I want to use my chain saw or recover an art book.  Let's see--what will I be doing with a chain saw at the new digs?  I know--I can trim the wisteria!

We are taking Sarah,  our 19 year old cat,  to the new place.  Molly,  our big fat golden female lab,  is being returned to her original owner from whom Janey stole her.  Molly thought prime rib scraps were better than Kibbles and Bits and migrated from our south forty neighbor to our place 5 years ago--blame Janey!  Janey is currently angry at Sarah who squirted all over the bedding the other day as a statement for Janey's terminating the tuna diet.  Wow!  I just saw Sarah take off after a mouse outside on the deck!  Something I thought she quit doing  years ago.  Is this a sign?

Where were we?  O yes--moving is massive.  My old friend and art student, Bill Dyer,  graciously showed up yesterday to help me move--a complete surprise.  Bill has become a wonderful artist--visit wdowneydyer.com This is his thank you to me for giving him an art life.  Actually, Bill and I go way back.  He was my first collector.  In 1980 he bought some Remington knock offs I had done during my cowboy phase.  He then owned a thriving frame shop in Long Beach, CA and was a source of constant encouragement to me.  He now lives nearby so....

I thought I had a studio rented yesterday,  but the rent was a little stiff.  I don't want to feel any economic pressure again for as long as I live.  I am thinking about terminating my gym membership and cell phone contract to save a few pennies.  I have fantasized about quitting painting altogether to save money.  After this last commission I have no one to please with paint.  I can then live off Social Security and Janey's paycheck.  She is a big shot at a 5 star resort in Yountville--walking distance from the new house,  and has a 25 year following of clients that she has guided through wine country, and their needs literally fill her life with love--why does she need me anyway?  I guess it's my good looks and great sex!  If you believe  that--God help ya.

Back to the move.  The bank wants this place "broom clean" before they issue the $8000.00.  I initially thought that clean up around here was a piece of cake--wrong!  I have two out buildings filled with a 25 year accumulation of tools, toys, gadgets, supplies, and God knows what.  I now see where the 1.5 mil I sucked out of this place went.  I have 7 sets of golf clubs, 5 road bikes, a $10,000.00 ride along mower (any takers?), electrical gear, plumbing gear, 1500 classic magazines from the 40's, garden and farm supplies, and stuff I don't remember buying.  Bill and I are organizing this junk for a mega Craig's List sale this weekend.  There is also a classic Willies Jeep, A Jeep Wrangler, and a boat for sale if anybody is interested.

We will make about 15 dump runs.  Janey wants to donate all of my old cloths to the Salvation Army.  I have lost 30 lbs. and could fit back into the old rags, but since I now wear sweats and a tee shirt only--this will never happen.  Yes--tee shirts and sweats only--neutral colors and functional draw strings.  I sleep, work, exercise, and take communion in this attire and change once a week...so...get a life!  I would go bare footed, but those California goat head stickers create horrible puncture wounds.  I am indeed a cloths horse now--a six piece wardrobe--two sweat pants, three tee shirts, and two shoes--that makes 7 pieces I guess.  And don't tell Janey, but all of those old cloths are going to the dump in trash bags--if I don't get caught!

Anyway that's about it for now.  On a final little note.  I see this move as a paradigm for my final big move--my personal passage out of my body to Jesus when I die--the Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and the Virgin Mary notwithstanding--is that selfish enough for ya?  I see all change as an education in what is really going on at the Spiritual level--on second thought--I don't really think there is a "spiritual level"--I believe that our whole life swims in the love of God and that there is only one level--a kingdom, an economy, and existence, that provides the possibility of constant communion with our Creator who sent His only Little Boy to die the death of a criminal so we would get the point.  The move of the ages is not from one kennel to another, it is not getting married, having grand kids, giving away 60 billion for the greater good of humanity,  or becoming an artist or following your bliss, or least of all achieving "higher consciousness"--it is moving from a death to life in Christ at the point of faith.  Everything else is paradigmatic, symbolic, or indicative, or instructional of this great move.  So....."have a nice day" as my foreclosure officer said.

Snakes shed their skin don't they?

Who loves ya?--see ya down the road--Don

Friday, October 1, 2010

Couldn't Sleep So......

As you may know by now, the famous artist, Don Hatfield, has gone bankrupt and foreclosed on about two million dollars of debt.   In 1988 I payed $200,000 for my beautiful 15 acre estate in the hills above Napa Valley and leveraged the thing to 1.5 mil over 22 years.  When the economy went in the dumper I got caught in the California real estate collapse,  and  my house went upside down.  The art market began to slide as well, and the snow ball effect was in play.  I began paying house payments with my credit cards hoping I could stay even long enough to catch up--well, as you smart ones know--that doesn't work.    I thought bankruptcy was immoral, and that the Christian thing to do was fight the wolf to the death.  I began to reflect on my age, energy, mojo, spirit and all that,  and concluded that dying for my debt was not as noble as dying for my dog and cat.

Its all behind me now,  and I am debt free--except for a car payment and gym fees.  Once I got over the stigma, the guilt,  and the name calling (looser)--I settled into the bliss of debt freeness.  I could have kept fighting, but I said, what to hell--literally.  I am an old guy now with one foot in the grave and the other on a tube of paint, and I decided it was time to be available to something else besides my creditors.  Can you understand and forgive me?  If you can't now--you may later.  If you go through this crap--remember that your Big Brother Don went before and said that it was OK--deal?

One thing you must promise--don't call me for financial advice!  I just sold all of my gold at $1275 thinking I had kicked butt only to watch it soar to $1310.  I even began tithing my income to the Episcopalian Church where I sneak in for communion each Sunday hoping for a miracle.  I did get my miracle--the Big Okey Dokey from Jesus to just go ahead and admit that the big nut was too much, and that it was OK to fail--so I went into financial chemo therapy.  I have lost all of my hair, and I am thin now, but I am still ambulatory--I think.  My leg just went to sleep,  and I need a hair cut. 

Had enough? There is more.

I have been decompressing from Weekend With The Masters.  A kind of depression has set it.  I did not find any secret formulas or world shaking insights that might make my oil painting easier.  There were no masters--only a weekend.   I just find myself sitting in my old studio--the whole upstairs of my forest home--trying to figure out the design of the next big commission--a 36by48 oak three/vineyard request for a hotel lobby in beautiful Yountville.  The house/studio has gone back to the bank and we are waiting to be kicked out.  We have a beautiful rental that is being prepared, but I need a studio space for all of my stuff.  We could squat here for months or for days--who knows?  A few trips to the dump, and I can avoid storage fees.  But back to my funk.

I kept Janey, my sweet wife, awake with my chain saw snoring, so I decided to sleep in the downstairs bedroom where we found a rattle snake two weeks ago--the thing ran off and is still around here somewhere--he is probably watching me right now waiting for his big chance!  The fantasy of having a rattler crawl into bed with you  can tweak with your sleep.  What do you do if you take a strike in the eyeball?--see what I mean?  After crawling around on my knees checking under all of the furniture--I laid down on my Thermapeutic and stared at the ceiling in the dark.

Things can become very clear alone in the dark.  I heard bird noises, cattle mooing, the dogs moving around--but no snakes--only the stuff slithering in my head.

What do I do with the little remaining time I have left on the planet?  My world class bike riding buddy, Richard, just died of lung cancer.  This guy was in perfect shape and only 53.  He was a real sweet heart, and I am such a turd--why not me?

I told you I was in a funk.  I did what I always do when I feel like I am being swallowed in darkness.  I began to pray.  I know--some of you think that its just auto-suggestion,  or self-hypnosis, or some form of verbal ejaculation.  I am not making recommendations here or preaching or even advocating religion--I am just telling you what's been happening, dammit!  So calm down.  No--you calm down, Hatfield!

Where was I ?  Anyway--things get clear in the wee hours.  The search for values, color, edges, design, narrative, expression seem dim right now.  My mind turns to the persons in my sphere of influence, beginning with my wife, children, grand children, and all the rest.

So here sits Mr. Artist.  And since I just dipped some chew, I may be sitting here til sunrise.  Maybe I should go to a 24 hour Denny's for an early breakfast--the kind I used to eat before weight loss mania--bacon, pancakes, hash browns, juice, coffee, and milk.  So wad do ya do?  My old brother Dick used to say...."just do the next right thing."  Its more fun to do the next wrong thing, but since I have done that for years, I think I will give it a rest for a minute.

Yeah Bath