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Mea Culpa


24 x 30"

acrylic on canvas

Art Encounter, Las Vegas, NV


We enter California through Death Valley National Park. At 282 feet below sea level, this desert is home to the lowest point in the continental U.S. Ironically; the highest point in the lower 48 is less than 100 miles away. Death Valley is an American desert. Upon first glance, everything appears dead and brown, but closer examination reveals that what you see isn’t always what you get. 

This land is not brown, nor dead. Life, texture, and stimulating colors flourish here. Unfortunately, it is easy to miss these delicate beauties when failing to look with a sensitive eye. For example: piles of stone look brown from afar, when the small but vivid colors blur together. However, within these mounds are pebbles of: deep ebony, fossilized white-sand, and a vast array of rich purples and reds. Stimulating gold and fluorescent green pop up in the form of daisies. The arms of each Joshua tree leads the way to safety, and salt encrusted ground appears as a fresh blanket of blinding snow.

This is not a valley of death, but a living masterpiece.

While further inspecting California, we happen to come across the filming of a TV series, called The O.C. One of the assistants takes us on set to watch each scene through a group of small monitors. I am amazed to learn that the entire day of setting up, and four hours of filming, only results in five minutes of airtime. Once again, I am reminded how quickly my perspective can change when I take the time to glance “behind the scenes.”  

It doesn’t take long before our starry-eyed excitement is lost. Midway through this California experience, I am forced to come face to face with a deeply rooted pain that haunts me from afar. I am 3,000 miles away, and have been betrayed by those I love. Despite physical distance, their actions create a pain deep within my heart. To my surprise, the California sky cries with me for five straight days. 

While I attempt to ignore strong feelings of anger and resentment, soggy San Francisco introduces us to our next gallery. We then wander off to discover 200-foot waterfalls and 200-foot trees. When the skies suddenly clear, roadsides bloom like royal gardens. Hills are speckled with jutting stone and grazing sheep, reminding me of the instability that lies within this west-coast-earth. I begin to see parallels evolve within my own life. Layers of beauty and success are built upon volatile ground. Despite appearance, it is only a matter of time before underlying issues overcome it all, and sorrow

ensues. Salty water shifts upon fractured foundations and I continue to fall victim to my own faulted psyche. How long can I keep up this façade? Upon first glance, everything appears strong and alive, but closer examination reveals that what you see isn’t always what you get.