”Kathy’s Garden” Sonoma, California
22” x 30” 2006 signed bottom middle by Kathleen Elsey, artist
Golden Award 2007 International Society of Acrylic Painters Exhibition
2012 Kathleen Elsey Solo Exhibition at Thos. Moser in San Francisco
I love to visit my old home, Sonoma Mountain. I had a bountiful vegetable and flower garden on the side of the mountain. It was a wonderful, peaceful bit of Sonoma County. There was an incredible old, twisty, gnarly oak tree there, which I painted many times. Here is a picture of Mom sitting in the chair by the old oak tree. After working in the garden, I enjoyed relaxing in the wooden chair in the shade of the oak tree and looking over the countryside. I grew poppies and chard and lettuce at the time this was painted. The air was hot, dry, fresh and the sky so blue. All I could hear was the sound of the insects and animals that owned the mountain. The grass was parched and straw colored from the long dry summer.
At the time I had forty acres of Indian land which was the home to me and one cow, two horses, two dogs, one cat and a husband. Within a year, the cow was shot by someone, one horse laid down in my gully and peacefully died. The other horse stood there staring for a whole day until his owner came to take him away at which time he raised up and fell down on his own head when they tried to bridal him and take him away from his mountain. He lived in my barn for a month while the local vet nursed him back to health and off he went. I don't know where. I just know he didn't want to go. One dog was the owner's dog, and the dog and I walked the land at night on full moon and went up to the sunset chairs and I would begin howling at the moon and he joined in. It was magical. His name was Ablaza. I don't know what it means but he was a wonderful spirit and the owner eventually came back from Oregon and took him with her. The other dog was my own dog, Shane. I ran over her looking for her on my forty acres when she jumped out of the weeds, herding my car. She died two days later. My cat snuck out of the house at night, and had an encounter with the wild turkeys during mating season. She slowly became paralyzed and died three months later. Husband drove away. It was at that time I was told by a neighbor mountain friend that I was living on an Indian burial ground and the land accepts some and rejects others. Well, that's great I thought. Am I supposed to live alone? Slowly over the next three years, good things came to me one by one and I rebuilt a peaceful and spiritual life on the mountain that still claims my heart and is constantly calling me back.