• Damian Kinsella

Haunting the High Desert

Thanksgiving weekend kicked off as I shook off the tryptophan haze and headed for the desert with my buddy Leif. Our first stop was what's left of a place called Garlock, see the gouache on paper called "A Going Concern" below. I don't want to disparage it, but it's less than prime real estate. Next up we headed to Ballarat, which even in it's heyday wasn't exactly jumping, now it's got a general store and the crumbling ruins of exactly two structures. In other words it's God knows where and only God knows why anyone would go... so you can see how I couldn't resist a visit in the full moon.

The first thing we came across at the end of a 2 mile washboard road was the ruin of a schoolhouse jailhouse courthouse that isn't decent habitation for the jackasses that were lumbering around in the dark on the perimeter of where we were... actual hee haw jackasses, you know, big ears and whatnot.


Following that we backtracked to the turnoff for the Trona Pinnacles, which I think everyone should experience at least once, and in the full moonlight if you can. It's a weird world, mysterious and interesting. Besides, you're not likely doing much for a while and it's anything but crowded out there.


Trona Pinnacles by moonlight

Randsburg / Johannesburg Cemetary on a very cold night

As we were out there freezing and lining up shots for me to paint later, Leif spotted something darting around in the dark on the edge of the shadows of the pinnacles. First one, then another. Turns out kit foxes were running around out in the gloom. For one thing I'm impressed anything could survive out there, event the residents of the town of Trona nearby.

Midnight came and went and we hit up the graveyard above Randsburg, which was quite peaceful. I was reminded of Ireland, where every town has at it's core a church surrounded by graves of citizens long since passed. There the reminder that life is short and that we have a mark to make while we're here is ever present, and it's a gift to take times like this to venture out and see what's around us. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. I'll be out painting. Damian

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