"Cholla," mixed media on canvas, 6" x 6"

Think of a burr, but ten times the size and light enough to blow in the wind. Think inch-long thorns that don't need fabric or hair or even much contact to grab on, but are content with any brushing smooth surface, an ankle or the tip of a finger. Glass?

Best of all, it looks cute and cuddly, like a teddy bear. Yup, the teddy bear cactus—or the cholla—and I got one lodged on a shin last weekend in Joshua Tree wandering off of a path, right past the sign that said don't wander off the path.

Could only get the evil little monster off by using two rocks and pulling, pulling while wincing, tearing my skin. And afterwards it throbbed so bad I had to look up on the internet that I wasn't injected with venom.

Fortunately, I was far from the worst case. Limping, on the way out, a couple was standing by our car on the verge of tears. He had a big one stuck to his thigh and it was deep in his skin, through his jeans. Trying to help, she got one stuck to her foot, and in her fingertips, like sewing needles. We did what we could to help but this time the rock trick didn't work (at least not without a lot of yelling at us). Nor did a welder's glove which happened to be hanging on a fence. It took an All-American type with a jackknife and a set of pliers, ready for the apocalypse.

Lesson learned? Respect the desert, it's real, not for tourists. And someone's always got it worse than you.


I do my best to use environmentally responsible pigments, varnishes, and other materials, all while upholding the strictest archival conventions and not losing anything in the way of color or vibrancy.

$125 + free shipping in North America

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