Especially crows.

Lots of crows.

…Mainly red crows.

What gives?

The answer is, I really don’t know. They just arrived and moved themselves into scenarios that I have been treating in paint and graphite for years…nature in her many manifestations.

I had painted the night sky for several years to better understand the cosmos. I had drawn icebergs against the night sky to better understand the relationship between ice, sky and sea. I drew a large series of lightning strikes in graphite to better understand that phenomena and its effect on the atmosphere and light. I did a series of paintings in 2009-2010 about fire. These were all efforts in my continuing examination of natural phenomena.

Some of the fire paintings included images of crows in very difficult situations- burning atmosphere and falling black rain. That’s how the birds first emerged…as a metaphor for what was happening to life on earth.  I became interested in the birds as life forms in the natural environments that I had been depicting for years. The crows presented themselves as the next thing to examine.

In that process, something magical happened. Something akin to Magical Realism; an enhanced sense of being for these birds and their world. They needed trees. The trees presented an altered reality. What was going on?

I find birds fascinating. I observe and photograph birds. I am intrigued by crows especially. I have read extensively about them and I just dig them as subjects. I have observed crows in their daily rituals for years. While living in Santa Monica I watched large groups of crows migrate past my home on a daily basis. They went southeast in the evening in a very clear flight path, and they flew back northwest in the morning. Their migrations moved laterally with the movement of the sun seasonally.  Fascinated by the pattern, I followed them to see what they were doing, and where they were going. Crows are so smart, so intriguing

In addition to crows, I paint herons, because they are in my world here in Colorado and they too, are spectacular.

So, here they are, and they have me mystified.  I wish I could tell you more of what it’s all about, but alas, no.  I guess they have done their job after all.




Dick Carter

08/ 2013


Stone: Stunning moments: gobsmacked and speechless

Sometimes you get gobsmacked by art.

Yes, I said “gobsmacked” and I use that bit of British slang on purpose, because it isn’t an ordinary word and I’m talking about non-ordinary experiences: moments when you are caught by surprise, stunned, astonished, knocked sideways, forced to stop and think and re-evaluate.


By art.

That happened to me several times this summer.

The most recent was a few weeks ago at a party where, we had been informed (or, to my way of thinking, forewarned) that there would be a performance by an opera singer.

Now, as an uncultured boor, I know what I like … and opera ain’t on the list.

But I really love the people who were throwing the party and the food’s always great at their place — so if they wanted to subject me to a little opera, well, I was willing to make the sacrifice. (I’m really one hell of a guy.)
Then the young woman standing at the front of the room began to sing.And so, when we were all herded into the living room for the performance, I sat down, ready to do my bit with as little squirming as I could manage.

And I was … well, gobsmacked.

Blythe Gaissert looked like an ordinary human being — a beautiful young woman, which is one of my favorite kinds of human beings, but still there was nothing in her appearance to hint at the astonishing, relaxed power and beauty of her voice.

She sang for perhaps half an hour and I was entranced. No squirming. Not the least little bit — though I did turn and look out the window for a while at the sunlight playing on aspen leaves tossed by the breeze: the beauty of music and the beauty of the mountains.

I realize all the hard work and dedication that go into achieving something as effortlessly superb as her voice — but still it seemed like one of nature’s simple miracles.

No, I won’t be sprinting off to


the opera on a regular basis. But my eyes have been opened. My horizons expanded.

The second stunning moment ca
I’ve known and admired Carter forme when I went to Dick Carter’s art opening at his pop-up gallery on Midland Avenue in Basalt.

years, as a person and an artist. And when I say “artist,” I mean “painter,” because that’s what he does. He paints.

But this show was photography — and, frankly, I expected Carter might be a little lost in this new medium.

I doubled down on that expectation because the show was entirely photos taken out the window of his car on trips between Aspen and L.A. Shot with his iPhone. Without stopping the car.

I mean, come on.

So I showed up to offer a little support to an old friend as he stumbled into a new arena.

And I was prepared to do that very graciously because — ahem! — I have long considered myself a bit of a photographer. Carter was marching into my territory, so I was ready to offer encouragement to the new kid.

Then, damn it, I was gobsmacked again.

Because Dick Carter is an artist not in the sense of “painter.” He is an artist in the truest and largest sense: someone who has a mind and an eye and a heart that recognizes and synthesizes and creates and communicates with whatever materials come to hand.

I can’t tell you how his pictures were different from the pictures I would have taken out that same windshield with that same iPhone on that same drive — but they were.

His are art. Mine would have been a waste of time.

And, as with Blythe Gaissert’s singing, Dick Carter’s photographs left me enlightened and humbled.

My third gobsmacking experience happened months ago, but it remains so alive in my memory that when I started thinking about the other two events, this third one came immediately to mind.

It was reading Joe Henry’s book, “Lime Creek.”

Now, just as I went into Carter’s photo show thinking I was a bit of a photographer, so I dug into “Lime Creek” thinking I was a bit of a writer. And, just as looking at Dick Carter’s photos taught me a lot about photography, so reading Joe Henry’s book taught me a lot about writing.

I churn out these columns in a couple of hours, slapdash and stuck together with a bit of spit and a few cheap jokes.

Joe writes with care, dedication and determination — and just as the spit and slapdash show in my columns, Joe’s hard work shows in his book.

“Lime Creek” is about the American West. It takes that eternal myth of the cowboy and carries it from almost a century ago into just about right now — and along the way, it shakes the dust off the myth and turns it into something more than just mythical. Something real. Real and yet so immense and strong and exact that it moves beyond reality.

It’s a story of men and women and horses (and I really don’t give a damn about horses) and — looming above all, embracing all — the fierce Wyoming mountains.

I said it’s a story, but “story” isn’t quite the word. “Lime Creek” is a slim handful of episodes connected intimately and exquisitely by emotion and family and life — so much life they don’t need a “story.”

The people and their lives are both astonishing and ordinary in equal measure. No, not equal measure: entirely. Entirely ordinary and entirely astonishing.

Joe Henry starts from bone-deep knowledge of what he is writing about. And then, word by word, moment by moment, thought by thought, he assembles a world. Summer and bitter winter. Life, death, harvest, love.

I don’t know how he does it. I can’t even do a good job writing about it.

But that’s the nature of art.

To create something so extraordinary that it is exactly and only what it is.

I can no more write about Joe Henry’s writing than I can take a picture about Blythe Gaissert’s singing or sing about Dick Carter’s photographs.

I can only stand in awe and admiration.


Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His email address is andy@aspentimes.com.

ASPEN TIMES,  8/28/13



The Road Works show opened on July 24th and the opening drew a very large crowd to the temporary ART WORKS Gallery in Basalt.  I had 18 images framed and hanging with another 10 prints in a portfolio for additional viewing.  Around 200 art heads showed up and the response to the ROAD SHOW was overwhelmingly positive.

The Images capture the essence of the drive from the Roaring Fork Valley  here in Colorado to Santa Monica in Southern California. I have been making this trip for over 30 some years by car and over the past three years have been documentingthe trip on the iPhone. Never stopping to take a postcard shot but rather shooting from the moving vehicle. I wanted to use a simple camera and take advantage of the element of surprise.


Being a Painter, I wanted to capture the images from the “painters eye” and to shoot with as much spontanaity as possible. I was not concerned with fine grain or sharp focus although the current iPhone camera is such an amazing instument that the resolution and detail in many of the photographs is truely amazing.

The application I use on the iPhone is the Hipstamatic camera and I use two filters..the John-s “Lens” and the Kodot “film” filter. That combonation gives the ragged  darkroom  edge and a cool greenish tone with enhanced contrast.

We printed a limited edition book cataloging the show and there is a link here that will allow you to view all the images in the book format.

The show will hang until the 19th of August and on the 20th I will open a show of new paintings …Art Works Part 2…also done over the past three years. Once again the focus of this next show will be an aspect of nature that has fascinated me for a long time and thet is Birds and they’re habitat. I have taken certain liberties with the subject matter and the environment and so the color of these paintings is somewhat more fantastic than my real experience with the subjects. There is also a continuing concentration on the night sky that has been pretty consistant thru my paintings for the past decade or so.

That show will run into September and then we will do a final Art Works Part 3

That will involve  a few local artists from Colorado. More on that later.

Have a look at the book….


Go this site and click on  PREVIEW THE BOOK

Then click the FULL SCREEN icon at the lower right.

You can then scan the full book….

And here is the Review of the opening night from the Aspen Times 7/26


The Aspen Times | Friday, July 26, 2013 | B3


Dick Carter’s  Pop-UP    Happening

There they were. All back together, once again.

There was Andy Stone standing by the back door, looking trim and slightly European after a month in Siena for the Palio. Harry Teague towered, as always, above the crowd. That white head of hair could only belong to former Aspen Mayor Bill Stirling who ar- rived with Barbara Bussell who has brought him joy and happiness low these last few years. The always lovely Elizabeth Boyles stood smiling, encouraging everyone and anyone who wandered past while her husband Edgar searched the room for some Lebanese wine.

In front, illuminated by the bright light in the front window, was Burnie Arndt with a face tinged as al- ways by the sun. Burnie always looks like he just came back from a 14er after a day hike. Tim Hagman was there in a crisply ironed Patagonia fishing shirt. Who’s ironing Tim’s clothes these days? The Kitchen-Ko- vacs represented and sculptor Sam Harvey revealed he was halfway through Walter Isaacson’s “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.” Then there was John Colson who always seems so much lighter than his frequently outraged column would suggest. And Mi- chael Lipkin chatted up the art as he gazed at a photo of the western landscape that was just over Dee Dee Brinkman’s forever soft shoulder.

This was an Aspen crowd if there ever was one with names and faces that have been a part of the com- munity, some for forty years or more. And yet, this gathering of the tribe took place last night downval- ley in the Pop-Up Art Gallery that Richard Carter

has opened on Midland Avenue in Basalt. In fact, the majority of these folks now live downvalley, having left the place they came to, Aspen, when they first left the place they came from.

Richard Carter, like so many of these wonderful and creative folks, came to Aspen when the streets were still dirt, you could find an open hardware store and Dick Kienest was the law.

The irony of the scene was that Dick’s work is a photo series called “Road Works.” It is an extraordi- nary collection of pictures that Dick took using an iPhone camera on his road trips between Los Angeles and Aspen over the last few years. The photos, taken with the eye of the painter that he is, were shot as he drove by the landmarks of the interstate at high rates of speed.

I frequently, I’ll guess a hundred or so times, have made the drive and as I looked at the photos I not only recognized the scenery, I felt the air and the dim grogginess that comes with the eighteen-hour drive. I remember my excitement when leaving LA. at dawn and rushing to get to Aspen. And I remember the let- down when leaving.

The opening of the show was a great gathering of many great friends who have influenced this valley. But the point is that these were new works by Dick that exuded new ideas and creativity. Everyone in the room is forever young and you could tell that the choices they made, all of them, to come here were good ones.

Stop by the gallery for a look at “Road Works.

“Road Works,” until Aug.28, at Art Works, 174 Mid- land Ave. in Basalt.