Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Angel of Bodie: A Pioneer Story

GhostTowns have always drawn me in.  Frozen in time - even the decay seems to have stopped - they are lonely and full of the debris of lives past.  Who lived here?  What happened to them?  When did the last person leave this place?  The Southwest is dotted with them if you look carefully.  Its vast expanses hide them around this mountain, down this pitted dirt road, out across that prarie.  They are there, waiting. 

This is Bodie, California near the Nevada border.  It's a State Park now so the looting has stopped and the decay has been 'arrested', but it's not flooded with visitors.  Its too far down a dirt road ( nine miles, I think) for many, and the weather is often uninviting.  My Bodie scene is rearranged, but all the pieces I included are there waiting in the quiet, covered in dust in the windy hot summers and blanketed in snow in the bitter winters.  The Angel actually faces the town rather than away from it, and the town is a bit bigger than this too.  I've left out the mine building that dominates the scene.  But this is Bodie as I think of it.  And the Angel tells the story of Bodie as it must have been.  Hard, unforgiving, empty.

Oil on 30"x40" Canvas.

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