Dios de los Jalapenos / sculpture

Lets talk about art, food and multiculturalism.

Lets talk about art, food and multiculturalism.

My inspiration came from my book “The Maya” by Michael D. Coe. I learned so much from that book and the art is great.

Sometimes artists say they don’t know what to do next and their friends tell them to do what you like, do what you know. I’d say it’s more fun to do something foreign to you. Look outside your own life for inspiration.

You don’t have to be Mexican to like tacos and make your own tacos. You don’t have to be PA. Dutch to draw hex signs. If I saw an artist of another race drawing hex signs would I say “You can’t do that because you’re not PA. Dutch.”? NO! I’d be hoping their next project would be a Shoo Fly Pie. It’s true the best steak sandwiches are in Southeast PA. But they make some here that aren’t bad.

Artists, you don’t have to be 100% true to the style you want to use. Take the elements you like and make them your own. Experimentation and exploration are much more rewarding than doing the same thing over and over again. Don’t fear the multicultural community. Use it.

I’m entering this sculpture at the Henry St. Gallery in Richmond VA. in July. The theme is Gods and Goddesses. Opening night is the 1st Fri. in July. Come on down and see the new god in person.


Hex Sign Pillow

A hex sign keeps bad spirits out of your barn.

A hex sign keeps bad spirits out of your barn.

It’s not easy to write about the PA. Dutch because it’s a complicated mix of religion and superstition. I’m from a PA. Dutch family but my childhood experiences might not be typical. I don’t know for sure, I left Ephrata long ago. I’m not religious or superstitious. I always liked to draw hex signs because it’s fun to spin a compass around and make a perfect circle and divide it up into a nice star then decorate it. I’ll tell you a little story I remember and if I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me as I’m not a fact checking person.

Pennsylvania was the most free of the 13 colonies because William Penn was a Quaker. William Penn’s family had a high rank in the Church Of England and they were embarrassed because they thought the Quakers were a cult. So they put William Penn in charge of this huge chunk of woods they named Pennsylvania to get him out of England. Penn said there would be ABSOLUTE freedom of religion in PA.

No witches got killed in PA until 1968. A guy living out in the country in York County accused his neighbor of hexing him and shot him. I think the Wiccan who got killed was named Rehmeyer.

A hex sign on a barn is a good thing but a witch hexing someone is bad. A witch hexed me here in VA. and I didn’t find out about it till years later. I had a good laugh about it. It’s a long story.

PA. is a little peculiar in that the PA. Dutch are non confrontational. If they don’t approve of your lifestyle they will shun you. Shunning is ignoring. If you’re from N.Y. or N.J. you might have to listen to some verbal abuse if you don’t fit in, but in PA. they just want you to go away. Shunning might sound harsh but being persecuted would be much worse. And there are so many witches there that it’s easy for them to find each other.

Now the times they are a changing. People move into Lancaster Co. from far away, and people who grew up there move out. The PA. Dutch are finding it more difficult to avoid the modern world.

Snow Geese at Middle Creek Today !!

natural beauty in Lancaster County PA

I’m so happy when I pick the right week to go to Ephrata ,and see the Snow Geese at Middle Creek. It can cause a traffic jam on that little country road. This is only a small fraction of the flock. I wanted some of the photographers in the shot so you can see how close you can get to them, and give some scale to the scene. When they take off it’s amazing. Think of a noisy white cloud floating back and forth across the lake. You could stand around for hours waiting for the perfect picture.But these birds are eating something, they could stay on the ground for a long time. Middle Creek is my favorite place in PA to draw and hike.

Tundra Swans at Middle Creek

  • pastel by Chris Ludke

Because I can’t keep up with the demand for my work around here, I pulled this drawing out of my flat files. I did this years ago and never framed it.  So this is the first time it’s seen in public. I haven’t looked at it for a long time. I still like it, and ordered a frame.

 When I started drawing in plein air, I went up to “the project” which is what the local people call Middle Creek wildlife preserve. In the 1970s the govt. took a lot of farm land attached to the state game lands. They dammed a stream and made a lake. They plant fields with grain for the migrating birds. And they limit your access to it. It’s really beautiful up there in the PA. foothills close to my home town Ephrata. Now they get huge flocks of migrating birds.  When the snow geese are there, they look like snow on the ground because there’s thousands of them. When they take flight, they are as loud as a tractor. Bird watchers come from all states.