away from clay and back again

It seems like a long time since I have touch any clay.  Usually in September there is a brief pause in this artist's life as though summer takes a final deep breath and sighs.  Then comes autumn's long thoughtful shadows and brilliant changing of hues.  It is a moment of anticipation, this cusp between the seasons, that sends me to the coast.  It is as though I need to prepare for what is coming, an  inner self  that still knows the rhythm of the earth.  So I go.

Walking across the headlands, tall grasses, dried in the colors of ochre and crimson, make striking vertical lines, knife-edged and full of sound, bobbing in the breeze.  Dying breaths of summer laden with seeds of promise.
I continue my walk and see that lacy white umbels of cow's slip have dried to a dense raw umber.  Their dark heads a stark contrast in the lifting fog.

Even the nearby gravel company, faded in the fog, seem painted in and mimicking  the craggy rocks along the shore. The buildings and machines dulled with age appear ghostly and abandoned.  A stoic testament against time's erosion.  Grain by grain, pea gravel by pea gravel, back to ocean it all goes!

After spending some time walking along the beach, watching sunsets and other visual delights, I had to go see the dahlias. Ah! the Dahlias!  Dahlias in the Mendocino County Botanical Gardens are perhaps unusual---considering all the odds against growing dahlias in coastal conditions:  salt, fog, cool evenings, snails and rodents.  It would seem foolhardy.  I think it takes courage and conviction.  And lots of volunteer enthusiasts.  It is fun to walk though the Bishop pines, gnarly from coast winds and graying salt sprays, to find this genteel grassy area with neatly tended dahlia beds.

Most fun of all was seeing some Naked Ladies encroaching this showcase of royalty.  Right in the back edge of the beds.  One thing to look forward to driving along the coast in late summer is the appearances of  these now naturalized non-native amaryllis.  They pop up everywhere in clumps. 

Amaryllis Belladonna


Now it is time to go back into the studio.
what I brought back with me is a desire to do some forms with great detail and uniformity
get out of my comfort zone for a little bit
 so I begin with drawing and painting
and playing attention

and see what happens....


  1. Great post -- it's hard to stay in rhythm with the seasons living among so much concrete. And I love how you say 'playing' attention!
    The dahlias are amazing!

  2. Hello Judy---Yes, the dahlias are amazing. I'm interested in the pincushion dahlias. So I may do a clay form/maquette to see where that goes. The fog burns off early in the autumn around here leaving it bright and warm all day. It makes it hard not to go out on long walks when I should work on glazing!


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