[Thanks to Nola Barnick for providing cell phone video.]
Make an offering of ourselves, like you said, to the life force.
This business you mention of artists giving, it’s true, that impulse. Somewhere in my very youth when I was starting to know I was heading into a life of doing artwork and was standing in a museum, I recognized in myself the heart throbbing connection to beautiful paintings, the artists who meant so much to me. It didn’t cow me that I could never equal what the great ones painted, I don’t think I spent much time on that. What I decided very clearly was that I could do that for others like me. Make paintings and drawings that would do as much for strangers as these fine strangers did for me, and by doing so, reciprocate some part of what I was taking in because of them. I thought, look at what I’m being given.
I was still very young, early 20’s and had started a portrait business. Some gallery owner I can barely remember had a couple of my paintings and actually sold them. And came one day with a photograph of a young man, a policeman, who’d died in the line of duty. His wife, from Germany, was heading back home and had stopped in and asked for her husband’s portrait to be painted. Well, so I did, and delivered, and went home with whatever was earned. He called a few days later and said the wife had picked it up. She had, he said, cried when she saw it.
That was pretty much life altering for me. I even asked him why she’d cried. I had no idea I could do work that would move other people and elicit that reaction, tears! And I hadn’t consciously been heading for it, I hadn’t planned it, I hadn’t remembered as a chosen path the insight in the museum long before that, but here I was on it, and it’s been important to me ever since.
I will get to a point with painting about anything when my eyes start to water. It’s not quite crying but it is I suppose, is. And it’s become a kind of signal to me that I’m reaching something crucial in myself, and that it will transmit to strangers.
“My work is focused on inspiring individualism, personal responsibility, and an independent spirit.”
Expressionist artist and published author Barbara Sparhawk passed away unexpectedly on September 4, 2018.
The public is invited to a Memorial Art Show being held in her honor at The Wild Goose Bakery & Cafe, 18 E. Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley, CA.
The exhibit will be open throughout the month of August, 2019. Cafe hours are 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, although they sometimes close early on slow days.
We would like to invite you to submit pictures as well as video of your visit to email@example.com, who will attempt to edit them into a short documentary that can be viewed here on The Hawks Perch.
My name is John Hayes, and I recently received the following sad news which I would like to post for those who have noticed Barbara’s absence from these pages:
“Alas, your fears are justified. Barbara died in early September (2018) from complications of surgery. . . She had survived radiation for tumors behind her eyes, and her sight had improved. She was in the middle of chemotherapy. Evidently, however, her cognition and balance led to a fall and immediate hip surgery for the break. She aspirated during surgery.”
I “met” Barbara online in 2012 while reading her book, The Gandy Dancer & Other Short Stories. We shared a love of art and writing, and over the next half-dozen years our email correspondence would grow to ¾’s of a million words.
From the beginning it was obvious that Barbara was special. Her observations and insights, her paintings and drawings, her bohemian life as an artist – in so many ways Barbara defied the norm and approached greatness.
In 2013 I described Barbara’s life in a blog as:
- A life lived on the edge where the risks are greater but the rewards are priceless
- A life spent saying ‘no’ to compromise and ‘yes’ to distant horizons
- A life bristling with the ‘courage to be’ and practiced in the art of joyful engagement
“If ever there were a biography as yet unwritten I would love to read,” I noted in that same blog, “it would be Barbara’s.” And toward that end I urged her many times to sketch her life in words, as well as to let me photograph and document her canvases. An artist of her caliber should not be forgotten.
“The only impulse I’ve had is to try and organize and solidify my papers and work, to make it easier on historians to keep alive, and still have some control over what gets selected out. Whoosh. I want some legacy, I think about it.”
– Barbara Sparhawk
And yet, two months after Barbara died her body still lay unclaimed in a morgue in Carmel, California. I do not know if the situation has since been resolved.
If anyone has more information or thoughts they would like to share, please do.
“So we shall have at it and write for the sake of, and see where it leadeth and be happy and full in our souls from the splendours of the language, shall we not.”
– Barbara Sparhawk
I AM SEARCHING FOR the former WCBS TV ANCHORMAN FROM NYC, WHEE I CAN FIND HIS FAMILY?\
WE WORKED TOGETHER AT THE CBG HEADQUARTERS IN NYC IN THE 70.S ABD 80’S. GREAT GUY, AN ATHLETE (SOFTBALL, SAILING) CHARMING HANDSOME MAN. I’VE CARRIED THE PAINTING OF JIM IN MY BIG SUR GALLERY, AND CARMEL VALEY GALLLERY, EVERYONE HAS LOVED IT SO MCH.
I PAINTED AN OIL PORTRAIT OF MR JENSENS INTENDING TO SEND IT TO HIM IT;S A VERY LIVELY, WONDERFUL OIL PORTRAIT I, FULL OF STRONG COLOR AND EMOTION.
IPAINTED JIM JENSEN
I’VE BEEN UNABLE TO FIND A FAMILY MEMEMBER BUT WOULD SO MUCH LIKE TO CONNECTHE PAINTING WITH HIS FAMILY.
ANYONE KOWING A GOOD ADDRESS, PLESE LET ME KNOW. OR PUT THEM IN TOUCH WITH ME.
HOW COULD YOU HAVE MISSED THAT!!
and St PETER SAID :“HOW COULD YOU HAVE MISSED THAT?”
When I get up to the Pearly Gates, if that indeed might be where I’m headed, I will walk briskly (with a sinner’s confidence) to the Saintly vision of Peter, my arms extended in my fresh unearthly joy, and the Saint, who will know me, rising, flushed of face (and seriously annoyed) will, in exasperation, ask:
“How could you have missed THAT?”
I will be stopped in my tracks.
“The other day…with your friend… I heard you, and I find you did not know. You did not know? We pointed!” he will continue.
“We placed you in front of it, we moved you there, we poked and prodded! Why, we even cast sunbeams and danced moonbeams on it. ” Saint Peter turns for corroboration, hands spread wide palms up for emphasis to a cherub at his side–who nods emphatically, excitedly– “We had you live beside them. See them daily. Sleep by them nightly. We had you feed the horses there, right where they were, miles of them!”. He will stop just short of shouting: “In a line!”
“And here again just this brief while ago, bringing you into a new place to live so you could look down your hill into your valley below and see all the beauty, all the color…..HOW can you have missed that!”
All this inspired by one of my last conversations, being told by an observant girl whose young heart swells at the sight of the woody places, streams and trees….
“I love the Sycamore for that,” she’d said to me, “you can always trace a river or streams hidden in a forest by the Sycamores growing alongside it. Look down there, see? Now the leaves all orange and gold; you will find the river at its roots, you will always find water….beside the Sycamore.”
It was mid December, we’d had two frosts, we’d passed the shortest day.
Honestly I was shocked. With these truths Saint Peter addressed to me, that everything at heaven’s command had been done to put me in the path of woodland habits, and it had all indeed overwhelmed me, an emotional feast I’d never finish, and sure I’d seen every particle…. yet I had missed this most ordinary truth.
“Oh! Of course. You’re right, you’re right!” Hot tears leapt from my eyes. “HOW did I miss that?”
And left me wondering how much else I’ve missed. Would the heavens be an endless scold from here through eternity. Well no, no that’s not very nice, and improbable. But what ELSE have I missed. I thought I’d seen so much. I’d boasted to myself of all I’d seen in my long years.
But if I failed to know the Sycamore and what they mark, and I had lived among, then…..
…..What colors have I failed to observe. What minute’s turning to me of a friendly face, a smile I abandoned too soon. What bright light from a baby’s eyes sent to me like a piercing message I must never forget — yet did not let register. What music, what delight, what pain, what love. What gentle brush of a wagging tail. What barely felt breezes stirring from the crow’s wings. The kindness of the bus driver who stopped at the patter of my running feet. The twice-warmed coffee, the special dish, the hearty greeting. The rising sun’s heroics….. from which I had driven west.
How could I have missed that.
I think we can experience everything, you know, have it all. We have so many receptors, unused, untried, even unknown. So that walking forward with assurance that every nuance be seized, filtered in by hair and smell and dangerously opportunistic raw flesh…..open to all of it, because knowing is living.
I mean to say, the thought itself must be a poke from heaven, must it not?
Wouldn’t it be marvelous to surprise the Saints and ourselves simply by paying attention a bit more.
Happy New Year. Here comes 2018.
ANDY KAUFMAN’S ELVIS
This could never be done today, the risk of too many offended in a world that forbids laughter.
But from long ago and far away Andy Kaufman, here in his prime, on Johnny Carson’s TV show, returns to clear our minds of short fat dictators, the latest drug and porn saturated celebrity popping up naked on the news, or Stalinist show trials in DC.
Sit back, do your heart good.