STUCK

I’m stuck in so many places in my life. It’s crazy gift-buying time, but I am not prepared. My job is to market my books, which you see in the column at the right, several of them narrative history magazines set in a few Arizona towns. They contain personal, often funny stories about people and places.

The latest, and I haven’t put a photo of “Artists of Sedona, 1930—1999” up in that column yet, is the first narrative art history written about this red-rock-rimmed haven of well-known artists, some internationally famous. I brought their personalities to the pages, even those who are no longer living. There are 107 photos in the book, most in full color. What would art be without color? What is history without stories?

If you own a Kindle or and iPad with a Kindle app you are in luck. You
know what those prices are like. You can order from your favorite bookstore or online.

I have a few book signings lined up locally: The Sedona Arts Center at
5 to 8 p.m. at the First Friday Art Walk on December 5, 2014, and from
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sedona Heritage Museum on December 13th.

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An Artist’s Review by James Bishop, Jr. Revisited

To say that I’m busy is an understatement.  I produced my husband’s Celebration of Life service, and am inundated with paper work.  Today would have been his birthday.  It’s simply coincidence that it is also the day that his headstone is to be set, and my car is in the shop. I hope that this is not the “new normal.”

I need to get the word out about my narrative art history book, “Artists of Sedona.”  I was so impressed with well-known James Bishop, Jr.’s review that I re-read it.  Here it is for your perusal.

— — — —

Once upon a time not so long ago Sedona was a dusty little community of folk encircled by awe-inspiring expanses of national and state lands and blessed with sunsets that often dissolve the hardest of hearts. No wonder that artists beginning in the 1930′s arrived from far and wide to create their dreams whether in paint, bronze, wood, music or dance. By 1980 it was widely regarded as a cultural mecca.

Today, the land still thrills and while it is no longer a little town, and tourist buses crowd the streets, many of those artists are here: Joella Jean Mahoney, Susan Kliewer and many others remain to dream dreams that enrich the culture. Gene K. Garrison’s Artists of Sedona 1930-1999, is a long-awaited comprehensive compendium of interesting artists, many still alive, others such as Bob and Mary Kittredge and Nassan Gobran, departed for good.

Says Garrison. “The moment I heard that no one had done a book like this a light went off in my brain.” All habitués of the arts have reason to applaud what that light in her brain created.

Being a veteran researcher myself, I find her research to be classy, packed with good details and anecdotes aplenty. Who put Sedona on the map as an arts village? Roam back to 1958 when Nassan Gobran, an Egyptian teacher was in Mr. Cecil Lockhart-Smith’s jewelry store in what is now uptown. Nearby heard some business men chatting, “we need something new in Sedona, something different.” Gobran broke in. “I have what Sedona needs, the most important industry for Sedona, and that’s art. We should start an art center here.” By 1961 they did, showing the works of legendary Max Ernst and his artist wife, Dorothy Tanning.” It stands today in uptown, a beacon of creativity.

If stories are the adhesive that keeps communities together, this book demonstrates that whatever has occurred as mayors and politicians and city managers have come and gone, artists’ work provides memories of days gone by, whether they have passed on like Joe Beeler, Zoe Mozert and the Kittredges, or loom like Muir and Soderberg and Rowe, and a dozen more. This book is for aspiring artists, as well as the cognoscenti. “If you want to be an artist, do it,” Ruth Waddell told author Garrison.
James Bishop, Jr.
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A GREAT REVIEW BY JAMES BISHOP, JR.

Life has been a little crazy lately. My husband is dying of cancer, and I have launched an important book, Artists of Sedona, 1930—1999. He comes first, of course.

I’m sharing an outstanding review by James Bishop, Jr., an award-winning writer, about my most recent book.
_ _ _ _ _

Once upon a time not so long ago  Sedona was a dusty little community of folk encircled by awe-inspiring  expanses of national and state lands and blessed with sunsets that often dissolve the hardest of hearts. No wonder that artists beginning in the 1930′s arrived from far and wide to create their dreams whether in paint, bronze, wood, music or dance. By 1980 it was widely regarded as a cultural mecca.

Today, the land still thrills and while it is no longer a little town, and tourist buses crowd the streets, many of those artists are here:  Joella Jean Mahoney, Susan Kliewer and many others remain to dream dreams that enrich the culture. Gene K. Garrison’s Artists of Sedona 1930-1999, is a long-awaited comprehensive compendium of interesting artists, many still alive, others such as Bob and Mary Kittredge and Nassan Gobran, departed for good.

Says Garrison. “The moment I heard that no one had done a book like this a light went off in my brain.” All habitués of the arts have reason to applaud what that light in her brain created.

Being a veteran researcher myself, I find her research to be classy, packed with good details and anecdotes aplenty. Who put Sedona on the map as an arts village? Roam back to 1958 when Nassan Gobran, an Egyptian teacher was in Mr. Cecil Lockhart-Smith’s jewelry store in what is now uptown. Nearby heard some business men chatting, “we need something new in Sedona, something different.” Gobran broke in. “I have what Sedona needs, the most important industry for Sedona, and that’s art. We should start an art center here.” By 1961 they did, showing the works of legendary Max Ernst and his artist wife, Dorothy Tanning.” It stands today in uptown, a beacon of creativity.

If stories are the adhesive that keeps communities together, this book demonstrates that whatever has occurred as mayors and politicians and city managers have come and gone, artists’ work provides memories of days gone by, whether they have passed on like Joe Beeler, Zoe Mozert and the Kittredges,  or loom like Muir and Soderberg and Rowe, and a dozen more.  This book is for aspiring artists, as well as the cognoscenti. “If you want to be an artist, do it,” Ruth Waddell told author Garrison.
James Bishop, Jr.
_ _ _ __ __ _

About

IT’S HERE AND IT’S OFFICIAL

ARTISTS OF SEDONA by Gene K. Garrison arrived by UPS this week. It’s my fifth book. I have the honor of writing the first narrative art history book (1930—1999) about well-known artists who moved to Sedona, Arizona and surrounding communities because of the beauty of the area. Only one, bronze sculptor Joyce Killebrew, was born in nearby Jerome.

And surprise, surprise, the book is fun to read.

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It’s first public appearance will be for an Alzheimer’s fundraiser at Sedona Winds, in the Village of Oak Creek near Sedona. After the dinner and fashion show there will be a raffle of donated items. That’s where my book will be, proudly propped up so the dressed up attendees may see the white background with a partial photo of world-famous John Waddell’s studio.

The book is online at amazon.com.

Our local award-winning bookstore,The Well Red Coyote, at Dry CreekRoad and 89A carries it.

A NEW BOOK by Gene K. Garrison

I’m going to have a new book out soon. By soon, I mean maybe a month. It’s a first for Sedona, Arizona, a narrative art history book about artists who actually live, or lived, in this beautiful little burg starting in the 1930s and ending at the turn of the century. It IS a place that draws artists to it. What I hoped to accomplish was an introduction of each artist’s personality, accomplishments and adventures. You’ll see them as individuals who have varied talents. I knew some of them before I started writing the book——Joella Jean Mahoney, a Contemporary American Artist; Jan Sitts, a mixed-media artist who still conducts workshops everywhere from the Sedona Arts Center to Tuscany; and Nancy Dunst, Installation Artist. I had never met most of them —— internationally known bronze sculptors John Waddell, John Soderberg, PhD, and James Muir, all of whom do monumental works. Cowboy Artists Joe Beeler, Charlie Dye and Frank McCarthy were all members of the Cowboy Artists of America and changed the status of cowboy art to fine art. Ken Rowe, a very successful wildlife bronze sculptor, was a taxidermist before he became an artist. There was the very important artist from Egypt, Nassan Gobran, who in 1958 lit up the sky by founding the Sedona Arts Center. M.L.Coleman made the strange leap from being an accountant to becoming a landscape painter of note. I wrote about twenty-five of these interesting people in a manner that makes readers want to turn the pages. It’s very different from most history books.

The book: ARTISTS OF SEDONA by Gene K. Garrison.

THE STRANGEST WEDDING

While reading the morning paper today a smile turned up the corners of my mouth as I read that yesterday was Nudists Day. It reminded me of a chapter I wrote for the book, From Thunder to Breakfast. Hube Yates was the storyteller. The setting was Cave Creek, Arizona. The time: 1977. After Hube retired from the Phoenix Fire Department, he started a riding stable in Cave Creek, and he’d always been a part-time preacher.

* * * * *
Hube was just hanging around the house when the phone rang. Someone wanted him to officiate at a wedding. He licked his thumb and shuffled the pages of his appointment book. He could fit it into his schedule, but there was one cause for concern: “I don’t have to travel too far, do I?” He had broken some ribs on a trail-ride and it hurt to turn the steering wheel on the pickup truck.

When the day of the wedding arrived, his caring wife, Patsy, said she’d go with him in order to save the wear and tear on his sore ribs. He said, “I wish you would.”

It was chilly when they drove up to a place that looked like a ranch with two or three houses, but this one also had an office. Patsy parked while Hube went inside. He found a fellow there wearing old Levis and a shirt. “I thought he was
dressed kind of casually for a weddin’, but we were early and maybe he hadn’t had time to get dressed yet.

“Patsy and I drove around for about twenty-five minutes until it was time for the ceremony. People had begin to gather, but they were dressed kind of haphazard. The man from the office came around to Patsy’s side of the truck to invite her into the house. The truck was kind of high and Patsy could see from the chest up that this guy didn’t have a shirt on. She thought that was kind of strange. He was the one who was goin’ to give the bride away.

“Patsy got out and walked right into him. She caught her breath. He was stark naked. There was no use to turn around and duck and go back. Oh, dear John, it’s hard to say just what her reaction was. Later she told him she thought, ‘Oh, my soul, we’re into this thing and the only thing to do is do the best you can.’”

Hube summed up his thoughts: “It’s hard to describe just exactly what goes through your mind when you discover you’re in a nudist colony. It’s like, ‘I don’t want to be here, but I’m here. Somebody’s got to marry these people.’”

The bride and groom wanted to be married out in the open. “What I should have done was carry the ceremony on and froze them to pieces, but I didn’t. They began to shiver a little bit so we went in the house.

When they got inside Hube noticed that Patsy looked at the ceiling and the fireplace. She found everything in there to look at but these people.

“They were not good-lookin’. The groom was all hollow-chested, and he was sick. The bride was a poor, thin, skinny little woman. I’ll tell you one thing, there was never a person who ever lived that looked half as good to me stark naked
as they do with clothes on.

“I’ve been a fireman for so long, and I’ve had to pick up hurt people and people committin’ suicide, and injured people in every kind of way. I’m not the kind who gets excited about everything. I have quieted down quite a bit over the years.
I pretended that the bridal party was fully dressed.

“The ceremony wasn’t any different from any other. It’s a man and a woman who are going to live together, and I think that any promise that they make to each other before their friends and loved ones is important.

“Before we left, the bride took her garter off and threw it. It landed at my feet and I reached down and picked it up.I handed it back to her, but she said to keep it. I stuck it in my pocket, and I still have the silly thing.

“I don’t know where he got it, but the best man handed me an envelope with money in it. He sure didn’t have any pockets.”

Hube was anxious to get Patsy out of there because he knew how embarrassed she was. He said that she shook her head all the way home.”

Several months later while he was loading groceries into his pickup outside the supermarket a couple walked up to him and Patsy and said, “Why, hello there.”

Of course Hube spoke to them. “So many people have ridden with me that I have to be around them a little bit before I remember their names. I was very cordial, but after they left, Patsy said, ‘You don’t remember them, do you?’”

Hube admitted, “No, I sure don’t.”

She reminded him. “That’s the couple you married at the nudist colony.”

Realization suddenly changed his expression to one of surprise. “Holy smoke! I didn’t recognize them with their clothes on.”