Wednesday

Frugal Lessons From The Past: Carl Faber


History can provide some of the best lessons to help us figure out solutions to today’s problems.

Concerning finances, thrift, frugality and simple living there are tried and true bedrock principals that we should never forget.

This post is part of a series that focuses on some of those principals by going to source materials for inspiration.

Recently while looking at some books I had decided to get rid of I picked up one titled “America’s Hidden Wilderness, Lands of Seclusion.” It was published by National Geographic in 1988 and while flipping through it I stopped at a chapter titled “Desert Splendor” by Suzanne Venino. She wrote about exploring the Mojave Desert and at one point she meets Carl Faber, a “desert rat” and artist who had been living in a little house in the desert for 16 years.

“I don’t have a gallery or an agent. I sell my paintings right from my door,” said Carl, a tall, lanky man of 50 with curly hair and a mustache. Working in acrylics, pen and ink, and colored pencil, he produces near photographic renderings of desert landscapes. “I’ve become a part of the landscape myself,” he says. “I’ve had had coyotes walk up to me when I’m painting, and I’ve had birds land on my head. I know the intimacies of light and dark, the shadings of the seasons. I know the postures of plants and how they grow in relation to one another. It’s subtle, but I see it because I’ve spent so much time sitting quietly in the desert painting.”

Carl paints when he feels like it or when he needs money. “By giving up the need for money,” he says, “I’ve simplified my life. And what I’ve gained is time, time that allows me to do the things that I want to do. There are no schedules to follow here, no deadlines to meet. I read. I hike. Right now I’m teaching myself Gershwin and Fats Waller on the guitar. I can just enjoy the heck out of a day.”

Related Reading:

Frugal Lessons From The Past: Old Mike

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