Monthly Archives: November 2007

Background on: Cotton Humid

First off, it’s true! I really don’t like humidity. And I’ve worked at hard, backbreaking labor in hot, sticky humid weather. So, when I speak of a ‘dislike’ for humidity… I did not need to ‘get into character’ to write about it!

Secondly, I really enjoyed this print and the story that flowed from it’s imaginary wordsmithing machine. Cotton Humid, by Les Booth; eLithographic print

Most of my eLithographs come from multiple photographic sources. But no so with Cotton Humid. I took the original photo not 2 miles from my brother’s house near Adel, Georgia, in September 2007. My wife and I were driving back to their horse farm when I saw the flock of cattle egrets in the odd stand of grass. The massive thunderheads leering over the cotton patch and those white birds gleaning for bugs and critters in the grass made a compelling image. I took several shots hoping one or a composite would make a nice photograph.

When I rendered the RAW image files into JPEG format, I was – at first – disappointed in them. The seemed just too busy and lack luster; too ‘plain-jane’.  So, I put them aside.

Then one day in early November 2007 I took a look at them again as I was sorting through images from that trip.  I looked a several of them – wondering what I could do with them – when suddenly I saw it.  I zoomed into the image to see how ‘sharp’ the egrets were in the photo. They weren’t of the quality I’d hoped, but what I did fine was a wonderous scene. In fact – almost entirely what you see in the print, Cotton Humid.

A few cloud rearrangements and an occassional errant weed covering a desired image reworked … and it was ready for the special ODG eLithographic treatment. When the image was fully rendered I was amazed at how all the dynamics of it was retained and emphasized. This was especially amazing considering just how small a part of the photograph it really represents!

Then when I began to write the story … well, let’s just way the words flowed quickly. I had a good time in it. And I really enjoyed ‘getting into’ the character who is the ‘voice’ of the story. I could stay there for a while… and I just might do it !!

Yes, rattlesnakes and water moccasins really do take shade in cotton patches… and they do provide a bit of a challegne at times for the field worker; though now, most cotton in the south is harvested by machines. So, the amount of actual human-snake encounter has really been reduced.

Cattle egret and herons are called, pond skoggins, too. Where that name comes from … well, I can’t really find anyone who lives in the Wiregrass Territory that knows the definitive answer to that question, but I have heard a number of iterations on the theme, “Well, peers to me I remember my grandpa sayin’ somethin’ ’bout ….” .   A mystery within a mystery shrouded by a colloquial pathwork of oral tradition.  I love it!  And like I said, it’s not a term of indearment for the bird – or the occasional reference to a human – either!

And that’s the scoop on the print, Cotton Humid and short-story, Humid in Cotton Country.

akilologos

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Cotton Humid

he air of thick humidity is like the air of impending doom. Persistent, dreadful and overpowering. It makes your nerves scream for solace. Yet all you get is the sensation of a fresh line of sweat beginning to role, in a tortuously slow bead, down the middle of your back.

No mercy.

Humidity hangs like the clumps of Spanish-moss draped over and smothering the whole plot of live oak trees in the back yard.

Stringy, clingy, sticky, itchy… and thick. I can hear it, feel it, taste it, smell it… and by the sweat dripping from my armpit – hate it.

And to think it’s not even daylight yet.

Oh, what a way to begin a day.

Well, that’s how they’ve begun in the deep south for … I guess since the dawn of time. It’s not changing now, ’cause it’s not changed in all those eons of time. It’s just one more thing about this area you just learn to deal with.

Glorious.

One more reason to dislike living in the south.

Hmm, that sure sounds a might ‘Yankee like‘, now don’t it!

I gather fixings for coffee and listen to hear the clear voice of the mockingbird as it mimics through it’s repertoire of songs. From one solitary bird, I hear the voice and chatter of every bird sound it has heard during it’s short but melodious lifetime.

I don’t need a couple of dozen birds flittering around the yard, I have them all in one: my mockingbird. With a half-dozen mockingbirds I’d be enjoying a whole forest of song birds and not have to deal with the sparrow crap that covers my car each morning: no matter where I park it.

I hate sparrows.

The incredulous fool who brought those filthy little waste buckets over here from England -’cause they missed their melodious little songs. Yeah right! I’d like to stake him over big ‘ol fire ant mound; sure ’nuff!

What a stupid act of imbecilic short-sightedness that was.

On the same par as the ‘too smart’ conservation folks back up my way, in the mid-west, who promoted the planting of an Asian prickly bush called the multiflora rose all over the place. In the name of conservation, touted to be grand ground cover; for anti-wind erosion and extra places for the critters to live. Only problem, the stuff took over!

Seems the ‘too smart folks’ forgot to tell the birds not the fly around and shit the seeds all over the place. Where it grows – and that’s just about anywhere – nothing else can grow or go! Now the ‘too smart folks’ have to pay other ‘less smart folks’ to dig it up and threaten to fine and jail ‘other folks’ if they dare plant it again!

The birds still eat the berries and shit the seeds, so the problem still exists. Why didn’t they just plant the native blackberry bushes? Sure both plants are prickly as all get out. But at least with blackberries there’d have been berries both man and bird would have enjoyed!

Short-sighted for sure.

It seems no matter what we humans decide to bequeath this land we take for granted, we end up doing it more harm than good. The meddling mess-ups, we so nobly refer to as natural resource management, are painfully well documented. It just doesn’t seem anyone in charge ever bothers to read the results. Doesn’t anyone see a connection? Well, don’t they?

I guess not.

But of course why should those poor bastards start using their heads now? What could they possibly accomplish if their actions were actually accompanied by a dash of common sense? Not likely they’ll begin to think to change their current patterns of failure. As it will not likely add one more stitch to the lining of their already over-stuffed, greedy pockets.

Not likely.

Breakfast is over and I just can’t stall the inevitable of the day: cleaning out that cotton patch.

Backbreaking work. It’s hot. It’s dirty. And it’s a bit dangerous in ways people not from the country, nor used to workin’ cotton would think of.

The shade of the cotton plants offer the local rattlesnakes and cottonmouth, in those areas near the river bottom, a cool, shady place to wear off the afternoon heat. A reptilian encounter is not what I need today. I don’t need it any day, but I really don’t need it today. I’m in a mood. A mood where I’d likely kill something and I don’t really like killing snakes.

Not that I mind killing something that needs or deserves a good killing, but snakes tend to do a lot more good for the land- and in turn me- than most folks given them credit. So, I’d just rather let them be and go on my way.

But blast-it! anyhow! Those fool-headed varmints won’t just let me pass, regardless of my intentions. They coil up, ready to strike and just dare me to blast their little pea-size brains all over the cotton stems. And sometimes I accommodate them.

But I still don’t like it.

Well it’s almost time to hit the field. I’ll give it a bit more time; no sense in being too, pushy with the time now.

I like that about the south.

Folks here move to a much slower clock than those who live north of the ‘humidity line’. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I grew up with humidity in the Midwest, so it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with humidity – ’cause I am, familiar! But humidity in the south, well- now… we do it with a whole new vigor toward torture. I just don’t like it… humidity that is.

I really don’t!!!

I don’t like being hot. I like even less being sticky and hot in a dusty, dirty place. ‘Cause when you work in stuff like cotton, you end up feeling like half the junk from the field is stuck to you before you get home. That’s what makes the humidity so bad. You just can’t escape it. And you can’t escape the dirt, either. Humidity sucks. No two ways about it. But cotton humidity? Well, that stuff’s just plain nasty.

I’ve been covered in all kinds of hard work humidity, but cotton humidity is about the nastiest of all. ‘Course I can’t say that with complete authority. I never worked anywhere farther south than these cotton fields of the 31st parallel. As hard as it is to imagine, humidity in the real tropics has got to be worse than it is here.

It just plain hurts to imagine that much humidity.

But I reckon, in all fairness, I got to.

Looking out across the pasture I see those crazy cattle egrets are dowsing for ‘hoppers, crickets and whatever bugs and critters they can gobble up as they sachet across the pasture.

Now, there’s one funny critter: the cattle egret.

Down here, most folks call them and their taller relatives, the white egret, great blue heron and it’s white-color phase, pond skoggins. I don’t really know where that name came from, but it’s not a term-of-endearment. Of that, I am very sure.

Those things make a wretched sound. Sorta like a feller chokin’ on his own blood, as if he’d just had his gullet slit. Nasty! An awful sound. Scares the daylights out of most normal folk.

But… they do keep the ‘hoppers, crickets and critters cleaned out of the fields. Odd, they don’t seem to have a fancy for the boll weevil. Now that’s a shame. Cotton could use a friend in that category.

I’d better get-to- gittin’ on down into that field, ’cause on the horizon, just above that cotton patch, I see the build-up of a huge ‘ol thunderhead. Looks like we might get some rain after all.

It’s been a dry season; dryer than normal. Maybe this high humidity will be worth it’s torture if we get a good rain.

Maybe. However, I’m not totally sold on that notion yet. Reckon I’ll let it on the table.

Think on it.

Judge it later.

It’s time now to go clean that cotton patch, sweat a river, dodge the snakes and watch those pond-scoggins chase the critters in the pasture.

I’d best not forget to watch out for that new electric fence line, neither.
Cotton Humid
Cotton Humid by Les Booth. eLithograph giclee print on archival 90# watercolor paper. Print run of 100 only. Short-story, printed on matching paper, accompanies prints 5-20. Available as extra item.
Available through the OOAK Gallery.
Thanks for visiting.

How 1000 Words Works

The blog, A Thousand Words, is a unique blend of visual and literary art. It has also been a long time in coming; at least to this point.  I’ve had a few false starts, under different names and formats.  But the style and content has remained the same.

I do hope you take the time to look at the art and read the story that accompanies it. It is my hope and pleasure that the work will be appreciated to the point that enough readers will support my efforts so I can continue to create and produce OOAK art.

THE IMAGE

I create images, through a process I have developed over the past 15 years. I have called the process eLithography and the products of the process, eLithographs.

The eLithograph is a computer graphic that is constructed from photographic elements. An eLithograph can be from a single photograph, or more likely from multiple photographs. Some contain traditional forms of illustration in them. The end result is an image which looks more like a watercolor, pen & ink, oil, pastel or serigraphic work of art.

The eLithograph is displayed either as an electronic image, via projection: flastscreen or digital viewer (ie, LCD or Plasma screens); or as in the traditional manner of a printed image on fine, archival, substrate. The stand process for printing the eLithograph is the ‘giclee’ printing; generally from wide-format inkjet printers.

PLACE IN ART WORLD

I do not declare the eLithograph to be a workd of ‘fine art’… at least not at this point in time. There is a vast difference in what I do to produce a piece of artwork and what a traditional artist will do. I consider the traditional artist – the ‘fine artist’: of immense talent. A talent I can perform, but in more limited and painful process that I am able to accomplish via the eLithograph. Hence the reason for its creation.

Only time and the judgement of theviewing/buying public will determine whether the eLithograph is a work of ‘fine art’. But I will not declare such. I make that distinction up front. Now that such revelation is out of the way, let’s get on to enjoying the works produced by the OOAK Digital Gallery.

THE STORY

The short-stories, essays and poems are another unique element of an OOAK Gallery prsentation. The idea is not completely unique now as I finally begin to introduce it through the blog, A Thousand Words. However, if I was not the originator of this idea, I was certainly very close to the genesis. I do not know of anyone else who was doing this when I begin thinking of the process needed to accomplish it, in early 1984, when I created OOAK Designs. And today I know of only two other artists who do similar ‘story-with-an-image’ concepts … and both of them had those ideas seeded through conversation with me. I’ve seen a couple of ‘photo-journalists’ who use the similiar technique of writing from a photo – instead of using the photo to illustrate and event.

So… the short-story, essay or poem you will read that goes along with a given image is written directly as an influence of that image. This makes it a unique part of that visual as well.
OOAK DIGITAL GALLERY

The images and prints of the prose are available through the OOAK Digital Gallery store. Each OOAK print is available as an ‘original’ print and will have 100 prints pulled, through the giclee process, to complete the printing of that image. No more prints – of that exact image will ever be produced again. The print is closed. Prints 5 through 20 will be accompanied by a copy of the prose on matching 90# archival watercolor paper. Suitable for mounting. Giclee printed and illustrated.

Do enjoy.
… akilologos