Someone insinuated recently that 
I have too many rules.  

I replied that they are not my rules
(my favorite Mr. Monk-ism) 
but it got me thinking . . .

It might explain why I am so drawn to characters -- almost all of my closest friends could be classified that way --  people who operate a little outside most boxes, who seem to have their own code of rules for what's normal, or appropriate, or should be expected.

I've always blamed it on being raised by Aunt Lillie, who was a certified character, or the fact that I'm a writer and therefore always scouting for new material, but it could just be that I feel a little boxed in by all my rules and wish I could shed them.

Anyway, it all constitutes a fairly lengthy introduction to:


and have from the moment I first laid eyes on them.

Ed Larson is a Santa Fe artist who operates in absolutely no one's box but his own.  And his own box is little more than that -- a sort of shed located near the top of Canyon Road and literally bursting at the seams with Ed and his creativity.

Before I ever got to Ed's place, I saw a hand-painted sign that said, "See Ed Larson -- The Gaugin of Canyon Road" and I knew I had to investigate the claim.  When I actually set foot in his yard/studio/shed/gallery, I was hooked forever.  I was immediately drawn by his folk-art-like, quasi-outsider style, having been a student of folk and outsider artists for years.  But I was puzzled as to why he did not appear in any of the materials I had studied.

I guess it's because Ed is a trained artist, technically speaking, and so he is disqualified.  But Ed has managed to bury his art training under so much life-training, it informs his work only in the most subtle and perfect way.

People call him "Wonderful Ed" because, as he tells it, every time he finishes a piece someone will say, "That's wonderful, Ed."  And I would have to agree with them.

The sign above his door says, "Jesus said buy folk art."  If you ask Ed where he obtained that quote, he may explain to you that it is in Ephesians . . . "Not everybody knows that, but I've studied the bible."

Ed Larson's art explores the complete range of his life experience:  there are western themes, Navy service during the Korean war themes, small-town America themes (Ed hails from Joplin, MO), and a whole lot of political themes that leave little doubt as to which way Ed leans.

He seems to do everything, his paintings and sculpture flowing together in a way that sometimes makes it difficult to distinguish the two. He also has a large body (400!) of what he calls "picture quilts."  Ed came up with the idea to make quilts, but because he didn't sew, he approached a quilter with his pattern and color scheme. Many collaborations later, one of his quilts is in the Smithsonian, and another was chosen one of the 100 best quilts of the 20th century.  

We own 3 pieces of Ed's work.  One of my favorites was actually painted on a palette (very used) that belonged to a well-known Santa Fe painter, a friend of Ed's whose statue lives in a park northeast of the plaza.  The artist was gone before I ever discovered Santa Fe, but I am delighted that my collection includes a piece with a little bit of Ed's personal history attached.

It is one of my happy things, a portrait of Ed on horseback that, like all of his work, tells just a little piece of his story.  There are pieces of his story in all of his work, and he will gladly reveal the context to you if you are lucky enough to be looking at Ed's work with Ed sitting nearby.  (And he usually is, working away and listening to whatever happens to be on NPR.)

Here's a link to a video in which Ed tells all about his work
and the fascinating life that inspires it:

But I have long dreamed of owning a bigger piece of Ed's world, and I am more than happy to report that all I had to do was stay married for 30 years to have that dream realized . . . 

(Well, stay married to someone who loves Ed's work as much as I do, which already got us off on the right foot, making the 30 year goal much more readily attainable -- just sayin'.)

We first saw our piece hanging 
on the outside wall of Ed's place . . .

and were drawn to it immediately.  Because it featured 3 girls (so do we!) and was a campy take-off on a wild-west show poster (remember my Bonanza affair? she's a sucker for western camp!) and it was signed "wonderful Ed" with a little portrait of him, and carried a large 2011 (our 30th year!) as well as the title "Positively No Disappointment" . . . all resulting in the perfect commemorative piece.  Wouldn't you agree?

Best of all, it's scheduled to arrive in Hinckleyville . . . LATER TODAY! 

And I, for one, can't wait. 
A perfect souvenir from a perfect trip. 
Created by just the man for the job.  
It doesn't get much better than that.

Thanks, Ed.  
That's wonderful.

(and talk about timing -- there's the doorbell. Could it be? .......EEEEEK!)


luanne said...

Wow! It surely does seem like this piece was destined to have its home with you -- all those details fit you so perfectly! I can see why you hurried back to the gallery make sure no one else could claim it first. You'll get years & years of smiles from this one -- enjoy!

Leenie said...

You are probably too busy smiling over your new piece of art now so I'll try not to bother. Just saying that piece looks like an excellent choice to help you remember so many good things. Cool!

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