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plants which easily winter kills
Campanula medium
Digitalis purpurea
Early-flowered Chrysanthemums
Salvia patens
Shasta Daisy.


"Cool-ass Crib," 2021. Watercolor on Arches, 22.5 x 30 inches.

Welcome to 2022!

Happy New Year and all that. I hope your holidays were fantastically superb. I also try to assume that everyone is happy, healthy, and safe. Let's hope. That's important stuff.

I generally like to get my newsletters out earlier in the season, but I've been a little busy with my New Years' resolutions. Making resolutions is not something I normally do. I think they're kind of silly, or something like that. Or maybe I'm just afraid I won't ever live up to them.

But this year was different. A dear friend of mine fell ill and his situation put a lot of things into perspective for me. He ended up losing a good deal of memories, which might sound sad, yet he now feels immensely grateful for his life and what he has left. The impact and impression his life leaves on me is huge, as it usually does. All it did was made me want to enjoy my life more.

So I decided to invest more of my time into my physical wellbeing—something I've never done before, or even cared two shits about in the past. And you should see the changes I've been making lately. The unhealthy habits I've been breaking are surprising, to me anyway. It hasn't been the easiest thing I've ever done, but I'm making lots of progress. I'm eating (and actually cooking!) healthy foods. I'm also losing some weight and making better choices. Good for me, I tell you. I'm impressed with myself, especially since I'm learning that these things need to come before art.

Did I actually just type that? Woah.

"Belly," 2020. Oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches.

Welcome New Subscribers!

During the Open Studios Tour I did back in October, I gained a number of new people through my guestbook and some delightful sales. I want to give all of you a warm welcome to my mailing list and let you know how much I appreciate your marvelous support. Thank you for hopping into the fold! I hope you enjoy these seasonal newsletters, as they don't come too often. The seasons change only four times a year after all. Unless you know something I don't! 

Hard at Work

Besides getting healthy, I've been hard at work getting paintings completed toward my upcoming solo show this fall.  I'm hard at work, hardly working, as they say. Who said that anyway? No idea. Because even when I'm not physically working on my art, my brain is going. It's going and going, and that counts too. I'm just slow, like a turtle in molasses, and I'm working on more than one painting at a time. It feels like everything is taking forever. But I always feel like that. Some artists know how to crank out the work, but everyone is different I suppose. 

Right now I'm creating some aerial-type pieces of the desert that my going-and-going brain is starting to like. I started with a smaller one. I'm fixin' to keep going with the whole idea and do a few more.

"Above Sunburst," 2021. Oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches.

I'm in the process of getting the biggest one completed. It's a 60 x 40-inch (vertical format) that I have to work on horizontally since I don't have the ceiling height in my studio to do it any other way. This is the biggest size I can do. Nothing bigger fits in my car! Ha. 

"North of 62," (in progress) 2022. Oil on canvas, 60 x 40 inches.

And speaking of my going-and-going brain, I did finally come up with a title for my show, as well as the concept. It wasn't exactly easy, as it never is. My ideas are for singular paintings—one, or a few at a time. Once they start accumulating, I'm sorta vexed with finding a way to tie them all together. It all makes sense somewhere in my subconscious, but it takes me a while to articulate it into words. I will spend a month or more writing gobbledegooky thoughts out until it eventually comes to fruition. The title comes to me first.

I always knew the work would be desert-based since it's been my main muse since 2014 or so. The title of the show is This Land, which is somewhat inspired by the Woody Guthrie song, This Land is Your Land. My show is going to address land ownership on a somewhat deeper level. Living in Joshua Tree for these last years has been interesting, and honestly shocking. The monetary value of land has more than doubled in just a few years. It's nothing short of incredible. As someone who doesn't own a piece of paper (like a deed) that would dictate a "right" of claim on a particular lot, I keep asking myself, how does one really "possess" this land of enchantment in any way? I tend to theorize that it must be held in one's heart and psyche instead. So in a sense, my show is going to be both whimsical (from my heart) and existential at the same time. A lot of new work mixed with some past stuff.

"Peyote's Walk," 2014. Oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches.

This Land will also include a small drawing installation of preliminary sketches, survey drawings, and location photographs. These will all be tacked directly to the wall in a kind of nilly-willy way. 

Preliminary drawing for untitled watercolor, 2022. 


In the midst of stuffing my busy studio with oversized canvases, I had to take a little break to rearrange everything to do a video shoot for an artists-in-classrooms project. GroundworkARTS is an important organization that delivers innovative programs to K-6 public schools in the Morongo Basin. What really sucks is that these students don't otherwise have art funding at all. It's just not right! Thank goodness for GroundworkARTS! So I'll be part of a short documentary series of local artists that demonstrate specific aspects of their artistic practice in their studios. In my case, I'll be introducing them to mixed media paintings from my Rock and Refuge series. In turn, another instructional video is created for the students to make their own unique artwork based on viewing the artist's doc. It's a pretty cool project.

You can see some of the previous ones on the GroundworkArtS website here. Mine will be released sometime in the spring. 

"Mt. Candy," 2015. Oil, paper, and fabric on birch panel, 14 x 14 inches.

Invasion: Joshua Tree

Recently, I was commissioned to create a couple of unique illustrations for an up-and-coming game about Joshua Tree from Wild Heart Ranch. It’s a fun and quick group card game where people compete for the best Joshua Tree adventures before a big alien invasion takes place. The game will be debuting in the spring. It will be available online and at local shops in the Joshua Tree area. I'll be sure to give you all the details as they come to my attention. These things will most likely make great gifts.

"Shooting Star," 2021. Watercolor and ink on Arches, 5 x 5 inches.

Outlander at Bainbridge Island Museum

My latest handmade Artist's book, Outlander was purchased by the Bainbridge Island Museum in Washington state for their special collections. Since I only made five of these in the edition (all of them unique), I now only have one left for sale with Vamp & Tramp booksellers if you're interested. Here are a few pictures of the book. There was also a cool TicTok video made of it by Vamp & Tramp. 

"Outlander," Artist book (cased inside a recycled cigar box with lino block printed label).

"Outlander," Artist book opened to display the book with a hand-embroidered cover and little black feet along the bottom. Also showing interior items: a military-style compass, hand-carved bow kit, and pocket first aid kit.

"Outlander," Artist book opened to an original watercolor page and hand-drawn, topographical fold-out map of a made-up park.

Outcast Press Anthology 

On the writing front, one of my short stories, Picket Line, was accepted for a fiction anthology called Slut Vomit, published by Outcast Press—a small operation working out of the US and the UK. This will be a collection of sex worker-themed stories and come out sometime in the spring. It will certainly be an interesting read. And it will be the first published work under my new name.

That's it. There's Nothing More

Not much else is new here. I'm still running my artist's forum: Creative Spark, looking for a new desk chair, and have been considering creating an instructional book on a drawing technique called the Eye-book. But that has been on the back burner until I can catch up on my work schedule. Right now I'm slightly behind schedule, which is a bit alarming. I'm hoping to catch up soon. Wish me luck.

Until next time, stay well, and try not to forget about me.

"I'm Here for the Party," 2021. Oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches.
Copyright © 2022 Ayin Es, All rights reserved.


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