Saturday, September 13, 2008


Well, every so often, I might call a painting I've finished a "disaster." All artists produce works that just don't work for whatever reason.

But in this case, I'm referring to natural disasters. Hurricane Ike brought frightening ruin to the Texas coast, and it reminds me how fragile our lives and our material things are.

Here in the California desert, it's unlikely we'll ever have to be overly concerned about hurricanes. Sometimes we get tornados, but they're rare.

The problem here: earthquakes. The state is riddled with fault lines. Some are active, some haven't been but could become active. We live less than 100 yards/100m from a relatively inactive fault -- a state highway lies right on top of it. And we're about 20 miles/32.2km (as the crow flies) from the San Andreas fault, which is guaranteed to cause a major disaster, 'tho' no one knows when. Someday, this area is going to get nailed. Whether we'll still be alive to see it is the issue. Or it could happen a minute from now.

The painting I've shown includes a small portion of one branch of the San Andreas fault. The fault runs along the front of the palm trees, which tend to grow along faults since underground water is able to seep close to the surface. From this viewpoint, you are standing on the Pacific plate, moving slowly towards the left. The palms and the hills behind them are on the North American plate, moving slowly to the right. Someday, the city of San Francisco will be where the palms are now, IF all that movement enables the city to survive.

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