Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Unknown Marta Becket Created Audience, and a Work of Art

©Bert Gildart: When Janie and I departed the Amargosa Opera House in late February I was happy with the photographic opportunities that had presented themselves. I’d met a group of Vietnam Veterans who had come to know Marta Becket well. One of the men introduced me to Ms. Becket, and she allowed me to photograph her. (Click to see that posting, and also close-ups of her work.)


When we left, my only disappointment was that I had not been able to take a picture of the immense art work Marta created in the early 1960s when she began her one-woman performance. Because she was unknown at the time, she wanted to pretend the auditorium was full, and so she began painting in an audience on the surrounding walls and on the ceiling. To create the work on the walls required four years; the work on the ceiling, two.

Unknown Becket Painted Her Audience

Unknown Becket Painted Her Audience

To dramatize the setting, I thought that if I could only get into the auditorium when it was empty (See, the auditorium often fills to capacity now!) I might duplicate the times, which was, of course, an auditorium filled primarily with the art work she had created.

Yesterday, luck was with me, for our route to Oregon passed adjacent to the Opera House, and so I called ahead; said I had an assignment (which I do), and asked if I might have a few moments in the auditorium. Permission was granted, and because it required some special techniques, I provide the following:

I took many photographs, all from a tripod and all were long time exposure, ranging from 3 to 12 seconds. I used a super-wide angle 12mm lens–and I bracketed my exposures.


Because digital images exposed for several seconds sometimes produces “noise,” or unwanted light points, I went to the camera’s shooting menu and choose “On” to eliminate such possibilities. (Caution if you use this technique, you must have fully charged batteries.)

Over the years, Marta’s work as an artist has been recognized internationally. Currently she spends winters giving her live stage performances and summers creating works of art. Recent clients include the movie actor Martin Sheen. Certainly, Ms. Becket is a talented woman, and I hope my images in this visually reduced format do justice to her immense talent.

One Response to “Unknown Marta Becket Created Audience, and a Work of Art”

  1. Kevin Avery Says:


    I enjoyed your post about Marta Becket–and especially your photos of the Amargosa Opera House.

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her on two occasions, and wrote about her over at my blog MERE WORDS:





Leave a Reply