- Hide menu

Friday Feature: The Persistence of Late Petals and Soldier Pines

The remnant spirits of summer are fading fast now, chilled by sharp autumn winds and plunging nighttime lows. It’s a beautiful irony that as the sun’s arc grows short and the leaves and petals wither, our small world here grows brighter by the day, earth and sky alike awash in golden fire.

It’s all temporary, of course. The winter grays will be here before we know it. And of course, the gray is also here today, in the form not of clouds but of a shimmery particulate haze, a new pall of smoke veiling the horizon on all sides.

For this morning, though, the temperatures are warm and comfortable, the world bright, and it’s a day for enjoying such gifts while we still can.

It’s the kind of atmosphere that puts me in mind of today’s featured work, an acrylic painting by one of Wings’s oldest friends and fellow artists. Wings and Frank grew up together, only a few years apart in age; they learned their traditional ways together, and they both were artists from the earliest of ages, eventually branching out into differing media: Wings in silver and stone, and eventually photography, too; Frank in the graphic arts, putting his incredible talent with pens and paints to work memorializing his home and culture and ways in beautifully representational fashion. We have what is, to be perfectly honest, an inordinate number of his works; Wings has been collecting them for many years now, and I also have a couple all my own, given to me by the artist himself.

And then we have a few still in inventory among what was once a much larger group of them that were intentionally offered for sale.

Today’s featured work falls into that category. It’s a sizeable painting, not giant but also not especially small, that dates back some dozen or so years, if memory serves. It’s Frank’s tribute to the land and his people and traditional ways, to those moments of summer, so often captured near its end, when people know they need to take a few moments just to appreciate the great gifts of this place and its spirits and seasons. From its description in the Other Artists:  Wall Art gallery here on the site:

Frank Rain Leaf (Taos Pueblo) evokes an entire culturescape in this painting of the the Pueblo’s people and lands. It’s a timeless image, one that summons spirits long past yet thoroughly alive today. Frank’s meticulousness shows in his attention to historical detail, as seen in the men’s old-style braids and their blankets in classic striped patterns. It’s also manifest in his portrayal of the land itself: the lifelike colors and shadows of the limestone rock outcroppings, the gradients of color in the stripped bark of the old pines. Full view shown at top.

Acrylic on canvas; wood frame
$425 + shipping, handling, and insurance
Requires special handling; extra shipping charges apply


There is so much work required of us now, and so much danger close at hand; it’s hard to find the time to appreciate all the gifts this world grants us. But we are obligated to notice them, to appreciate and celebrate them — most of all, to be thankful for them.

And then we obligated to get back to it, to the work of stewarding the earth and protecting the peaks, of defending water and sky and all the spirits that call them home. This painting reminds me of the work of those spirits, unflinching, eternal, the persistence of late petals and soldier pines: trunks listing but unwilling to fall, blossoms dried but not conceding space to the winds just yet, both secure in the knowledge that their gifts go on to feed the land and those who call it home.

It’s a persistence we need to adopt now. Our whole world will be better for it.

~ Aji








All content, including photos and text, are copyright Wings and Aji, 2021; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owner.

Comments are closed.

error: All content copyright Wings & Aji; all rights reserved. Copying or any other use prohibited without the express written consent of the owners.