Fall Newsletter 2021 – First Person to Ever See It

Pocket XVII: Treasured Seep – 7.75” x 22.75” x 1.5”, 2021, $1200
Liesegang banded sandstone; malachite crystals, azurite crystals, azurite and malachite concretions

In The Studio

Last month I finished reading Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane.  Given its subtitle I thought it would be more geological, but Macfarlane explored the Earth’s underground mythologically, anthropologically, literarily, as well as scientifically.  I especially enjoyed his exploration of karst topography. He quoted caver and microbiologist Hazel Barton as saying, ‘When you’re in a cave, you’re the first person ever to see it. There are very few things that give you that sense of exploration anymore.’

You do not have to discover an unknown land to be the first person ever to see something new on this earth.  When I was working in rare-earth exploration we were core drilling in northeastern Wyoming. It was the first time I had sat a core rig, and when the driller slid the core into the core boxes, it was a moment of extreme excitement.  I remember saying to the driller, “We are the first people ever to see this rock!”  He just looked at me incredulously, shook his head, and dismissed me with a flick of his hand.  There was no sense of the awe that an explorationist feels.

As an underground mine geologist, going into a stope after a blast was equally thrilling.  I was the first person ever to see the rock face, to examine it in depth, and I knew I was the most fortunate of people.

Recently we cut open a geode for an 8th grade neighbor and there was huge anticipation. The diamonds in the drop saw blade ground on and on, which certainly must have seemed as interminable torture to her.  Finally, finally, the rock split apart and she was the first person ever to see the inside. It was an electrifying moment and she was beaming!

In the studio I get a similar feeling when I saw a rock for the first time.  Each slice is a book-match to the next and I am the first person ever to see them. But that is not where the fun ends.  When I lay some mariposite from central California, next to some sodalite syenite from the coast of Brazil, I am the first person ever to see those slices in that combination.  It is not just seeing a new slices but combining these disparate elements that get me going. This is the type of exploration in which I revel.

Never stop exploring!!    (Despite how this may appear, this is not an ad for North Face – ha!)

               Earth Sampler Series XXVI: Pyrite & Ocean Jasper – 13”x 13”, 2021, $600
Limestone; pyrite concretion, botryoidal jasper; jasper spheres; fossil shark’s tooth

Pocket XVIII: Opuntia Violacea – 7.88” x 14.5” x 1.5”, 2021, $900
Liesegang banded sandstone;
botryoidal amethystine chalcedony spherules, amethyst stalactite, amethyst sphere

In The Field
For our fall camping trip we went on an abbreviated Underland adventure: Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Utah; Lava tubes at Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho; and Sinks Canyon State Park, Wyoming.

Timpanogos Cave is exceedingly colorful because of the accessory minerals in the limestone. It is known for its abundance of helictites, sort of like curly fries protruding from the walls. Wouldn’t I love to make a sculpture like that!

Crater of the Moon’s, “weird and scenic landscape peculiar to itself” (Calvin Coolidge, 1924) was very inspiring.  It goes without saying that it has even been used by astronauts training to go to the moon. My favorite part was the pahoehoe – I have never met pahoehoe that I didn’t love – and it has been the inspiration for some of my earlier artwork.

The stop at Sinks Canyon State Park near Lander, Wyoming was an unexpected surprise.  It has a river that disappears underground, much like the “Starless Rivers” that flow from the upper world into the underland in ancient Greek mythology.  The water in the Popo Agie River sinks into the karst topography and then reappears ¼ mile down canyon. What is fascinating is that the volume of water flowing out is greater than what flows in, and it takes 2 hours to make this seemingly short journey.

Craters of the Moon National Monument


I am going to have a private showing of artwork at a collector’s home in Tucson February 4th – 7th.  The opening reception will be Thursday evening the 4th, and the following three days the work will be available for viewing and purchase.  Because of the planning required for a catered reception, I would love to know how many of you will be able to attend? If you plan to come to Tucson, just reply with a Y and I’ll put you on the list! More locational details will be forthcoming.

Earth Sampler Series XXVII: Petrified Wood & Grape Agate – 13”x 13”, 2021, $600
Marble; Petrified wood; spheres of: charoite, brecciated jasper, serpentinite, calcite, gabbro, ruby in matrix, jasper; botryoidal amethystine chalcedony spherules

In The Gallery
After our Evergreen Open Door Studios, the Evergreen National Bank very kindly offered to show some of our work.  I have two pieces on exhibition there through the end of the year.  Please enjoy having a look around if you are in downtown Evergreen!

Evergreen National Bank
28145 Highway 74
Evergreen, CO  80437

Color Study 14 – 6.25″ x 6.5″, 2021, $175
Color Study 15 – 6.75″ x 6.75″, 2021, $175

                                                         Triangles II – 12″ x 11″ , 2021, $175 

All the best,



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