Old Coot’s Cabin
by Gay Pogue
Fiber with paper and acrylic paint
24 x 31 inches
In the quiet of Black Mountain, the Raven's call reached out to waken the Angel Snake Rachel from her beauty sleep. She was a long way from the echoing sounds of horns, screeching brakes, and roaring engines bouncing between the buildings of lower Manhattan where she had lived the first twenty-five years of her life. She was still not sure how she had wound up here and even less sure why she stayed; maybe because like Manhattan, up here the sun's rays rarely reached the ground and she had to fly a quarter mile to the top of the mountain to find a rock for a decent bask.
A distant train whistle signaled time to get up and get moving. Old Coot, her artist, had work to do. She had to encourage him. That was a muse's job. She had grown fond of him and had quickly seen through his grouchiness to understand it as his defense against being hurt again.
The only place his gentleness and kindness showed was in his work, in the faces of the figures he carved from wood harvested from the slopes of Black Mountain. So gentle was the old man that he harvested wood only from fallen trees or those clearly near death and beyond healing
With Old Coot, her job amounted to sitting with him, being present. He knew his craft and seemed driven to produce. Rachel's greatest challenge was to keep her tongue in her mouth. In her youth, she had trouble with that and so was often in conflict with her artists. Her suggestions and comments were seldom welcome. Out here on The Mountain, she felt no real need to comment.
Rachel might have thought that he did not like her except for the snacks he left on the ledge above his workbench. Several weeks ago she noticed that before placing the snacks on a china plate he cleaned off the ledge. A few days later, he added a crystal bowl of spring water. Then every so often he would add a rock or two, arranging them in an artful pattern.
Rachel herself was a painter. Her tail itched to get into some paint. She had no clear idea of what she wanted to paint, she just wanted to feel the creaminess and smear it around, watching the colors melt into new hues. She wanted that dreamy feeling of being at one with her medium. She wanted the rush of being surprised by what she had just created.
Finally, one day in early spring, she could stand it no longer and blurted out, "The next time you go to town, buy me some paint."
For a solid hour, he made no acknowledgement of her demand. Then miraculously asked, "What color?"
In for a penny, in for a pound. "Red, yellow, blue, white, and black." A week later, after a visit to his gallery in town, Old Coot returned after dark. She had not really expected him to remember the paint.
Mid-morning the next day, she went out onto the porch to survey the sky and the new green leaves budding out on the trees. It would be a nice day. As she turned to re-enter the workroom, she noticed that under the window against the wall were lined up five cans of paint, five one-gallon cans of paint.
#13 in the “Angel Snake Houses” series
Completed March 2012
Moonrise at Teepee House
by Gay Pogue
Fiber with paper, glitter, and acrylic paint
19 x 25 inches
The Angel Snake princess warmly greeted the three young visitors who approached her camp. She invited them into the shade of her human’s teepee. The early morning sun had already begun to heat up the desert sands.
Her human was away gathering supplies: canvas, stretchers, brushes, and pigments for new paintings to replace the ones he was delivering to his gallery. He also would purchase food and drink to last for several weeks. She usually went into town with him, but for some reason had decided to remain in camp. He could be trusted to bring her what she needed.
Although her human was a charming, talented, successful painter, she had recently discovered that she was lonely for the company of her own kind. Her body’s insistence that it was time to find a mate grew stronger every day.
Excursions into town always lasted until well after dark. Tonight her artist would have no trouble finding his way home in the bright full moon that would rise at dusk. He might stay away even longer. She would have plenty of time to execute her hastily hatched plan.
Before her stood not one, but three, viable candidates with whom to mate. She would choose in the time-honored tradition of all great females.
After providing ample food and drink, and seeing burning desire in the eyes of each of them, she made her announcement: “I am lonely out here in the desert, and you are all delightful company. I thank you for your smiles and diverting stories. I wish that I could ask all three of you to stay with me forever. Alas, that is not possible.
“Since any of you would make a suitable mate and father for my children, I will leave it to you to work out who will remain with me and which two will continue the journey this evening.
“In the meantime, I shall go into the tent to rest. At moonrise, I shall return to greet the champion.”
Perhaps, someday the champion would find enough solace in his mate and offspring to make up for the friends he had lost. And perhaps, someday the two who had to leave would as well be able to repair their shattered friendship.
#12 in the “Angel Snake Houses” series
Completed February 2011
The three Desperadoes (That is what they called themselves) approached the lone teepee, they slithered along exhibiting far more courage than they felt. The recent graduates from the Wisconsin Angel Snake Academy were taking the customary post-graduation trip to decide where they would settle down and begin making a contribution to society. They had reached Arizona and although they had had lots of fun, so far their heartstrings had not been plucked with anything even resembling excitement. After years of the cold winter warrens in that northern clime, they were indeed desperate for something to stir their imaginations.
Arizona’s barren landscape and strong sun colors showed promise. Amos, Andrew, and Arthur approached the teepee cautiously. Something stirred within the structure and inched its way out.
In unison, all three gasped sharply. Not only had they never seen such a lovely creature, until now, they had considered her existence mythological. Clearly an Angel Snake of royal lineage stood before them.
“Wings Up!!! Welcome to my home.” Her quiet hypnotic voice sliced the silence, leaving no doubt about her bloodline.
At once, the easy camaraderie of the trio vanished. In the strong light of the desert morning, desperation of another kind boiled their blood.
#11 in the “Angel Snake Houses” series
Completed February 2012
House of the Rising Moon
by Gay Pogue
Fiber with paper, glitter, and acrylic paint
22 x 31.5 inches
The Angel Snake Marcus sat on a hill across the road from the house where his artist “Wild Will” lived. On this night for some reason the moon took up most of the sky, dwarfing the cottage, the truck, and the things Will had failed to take from the clothesline earlier in the evening.
Will made art cloth—wild, one-of-a-kind lengths of fabric that his patrons turned into designer fashions and avant-garde upholstered furniture. Today’s productions fluttered in the breeze, catching the soft light of the moon. Marcus needed to go in and remind Will about the cloth before the evening damp took hold.
Marcus would wait just a moment while the moon hung so low to let two clouds drift by so he could burn the stark image into the back of his brain.
Ahh! Now he knew why he had waited. Angel Snakes from the area were out roaming the countryside. Marcus had been too long away from the company of others of his kind.
The art cloth was on its own.
#10 in the “Angel Snake Houses” series
Completed December 2011
We are finishing our packing this morning. Gay has put together a portable studio. Half of it is for our body paints. She is so generous with us.
Ron is going to be the interim rector at Calvary Episcopal Church in Ashland for the next six months or so--until they call a new full time rector. Gay could not handle the idea of a complete move so they are leaving most everything here and have rented a tiny apartment at the Henry Clay House in Ashland. We will spend several days and nights a week there and then come back to Lexington for some R&R.
We are just betting that there are other Angel Snakes in Ashland and Huntington, WV. We will keep you updated.
Wings Up (ready to fly)!!!
PS: Ashland is only a 1 hour and 45 minute drive from here through the Daniel Boone National Forest, lovely scenery.
PPS: Ashland used to be called Pogue's Landing. Imagine that.
PPPS: There is a Hobby Lobby only two miles from the church. All will be well.
Yesterday Gay received notification that she was acceptec as an exhibiting member of the Kentucy Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.
Now back to work. We have much to do. We all need to redo our body paint and get ready for all the publicity photos that are sure to be taken of us. We could hardly sleep last night. Even Ace was up considering new shirt designs.
PS: We are attending a gala tonight. More later.
by Gay Pogue
Fiber with paper, beads, and acrylic paint
20 x 25 inches
Ever the optimist, the Angel Snake Roland was not in the least daunted by the sight of Clarisse and Kyle’s new home in the woods. They were artists with powerful imaginations. In their minds’ eyes, they did not see it as it was but as they would make it. Roland would ensure that they did not lose their vision.
Clarisse’s parents owned, but seldom visited, that 37 acres in Central Texas—a tick-infested, weed-overgrown, vine-entangled, steep sloping jungle at the end of a seven-mile one-lane road. A rusty rig still pumped crude out of the ground on one corner of the property. Of course, Clarisse’s parents did not own the mineral rights. A neglected old house trailer sat smack in the middle of it all. They would live there.
The only thing right about the whole deal was the price---the cost of the taxes and utilities. They had to make it work because they intended to survive by creating and selling their art.
Clarisse made art quilts; Kyle made fine furniture and household items from lovely local wood.
The naïve couple begged and bartered for paint and supplies necessary to turn the trailer into their dream home. Perhaps its dire condition gave Clarisse the courage to paint it to resemble her quilts. Nonetheless, it soon became the talk of the region and attracted visitors and buyers from all around.
Roland liked to think that he had a great deal to do with the outcome.
#8 in the “Angel Snake Houses” series
Completed October 2011
The Moving Van
by Gay Pogue
Fiber with paper, beads, and metal
18.5 x 25.5 inches
Melinda loved going to new places, meeting new people, seeing new things, making new friends; she did not like stuffing her life into boxes to be carted down the road.
The screech of the strapping tape ripping out of the dispenser always sent chills up Melinda’s arms. She felt as though her true home was the moving van itself. How could she not? The boxes were never set out on the street for someone else to pick up and reuse, but instead, carefully cut down, sorted, and stored for the next move which always seemed to come just when she was getting settled. For that matter, some boxes were never even emptied, just dragged from storage facility to storage facility.
Mostly though, she hated never having a studio, a real home for her creative pursuits.
Overhearing her whining, the cashier at the local art supply store recommended the Angel Snake Moving Company. She said those guys, while taking a little getting used to, understood artists and their unique needs. The Angel Snakes would set up the studio first and then stuff the rest of the household around it.
Melinda hoped her movers could, indeed, accomplish this mission impossible.
#9 in the “Angel Snake Houses” series
Completed November 2011