Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Rise and Shine

Sunrise at Ten Mile Beach

Sunrise around here comes over the coastal range and through the second growth redwoods, bishop pines, alders and tan oaks. The eastern view here does not get high praise or invoke romantic notions.  Not many will drag out beach chairs to face east and in our case, Mt. Baldy, in the dark and wait in great anticipation for not so showy sunrise on a dewy morn. 

Pt. Cabrillo Lighthouse (taken from Mendocino Headlands)

Very few go down to the beach to witness the morning sun sneak its way overhead either. It is hard to turn your back on that wild and restless ocean to face east and the sparse view of coastal homes. The ocean can be a bit jealous anyway and send a sneaker wave to snap you out of your rising sun worship. 

eastern view of sea grasses

While musing about en plein air, I looked across the ocean to see the sun has blushed the clouds grapefruit pink. And all I could do with a 5" x 7" canvas board, one brush and a few tubes of paint, was quickly, without a care, without my hat, dabbed a picture and with great humbleness, turned and bowed to the morning sun. 

Morning has broken like the first morning...
...Mine is the sunlight,
Mine is the morning,
Born of the one light
Eden saw play;
Praise with elation,
Praise every morning,
God’s re-creation
Of the new day.

written by the poet Eleanor Farjeon (and famously sung by Cat Stevens)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ahh tumn...carving wood

autumn morning--collection of various things found on walks

All summer we have gone up the coast, down the coast, inland and back. We built sand castles, made sandy fishtails on our giggling grand-children's legs (yes, their legs were giggling :)   Eating candy cap mushroom ice cream at Cowlick's and watching the boys' eyebrows go up in amazement that mushrooms could taste so good.  We waded in a stream, once a river, showing kids how to patiently wait and simply look with no expectations.  Then to finally see little minnows swimming about--so magically appearing that the six year old gleefully whispered look!look, MoMo--the invisible fish are there and there and there...hello...hello.  Is that how mermaids look when they are first born?


Carving porcelain is so much easier than wood.  Still there is something about making a simple wood spoon.  Back in the B.C. (before clay) I carved in stone and wood.  Wood carving was mainly for woodblock printing and scroll work, never a thought to carve a spoon.  It was time, this summer, when half the studio was packed up and moved and stored. My hands needed to make something light, something that took time and quiet reflection.

walnut scrap
far left spoon first one carved (white alder)
I wanted to just carve with my own strength, no assistance from power tools.  I used a coping saw to cut out a free form shape.  Small chisels to take away chunks.  A hook blade and spoon gouge to form the bowl---scraping little curls---the sound---musical notes that tell me that the blade is sharp and true.  It takes time, stopping to strop the knives and stretching fingers.  After a bit of practice, it was time for larger spoon.  A piece of walnut, a gift from Herr (ah, he knows the way to this woman's heart!)  When the spoon was done, it needed a bit of sanding and finally some wood butter to make it satiny smooth.  It's big but light in weight.  Just like a mermaid's heart.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Getting down to work

Sometimes inspiration is hard work.  Sometimes it strikes in the most unlikely places.  Sometimes it seems elusive.  Other times it sneaks up behind you.  The one thing that is constant is that it's there, somewhere, right in front of you or inside you and at your fingertips.  Inspiration is the blue sky, the dense fog, shimmering heat, the breeze from the sea, laughter riding over the wind and birds chattering in the trees.  It is the sound of a jet going over head, the roaring of a crowd at a baseball game and the creaking of  playground swings going higher and higher with delight.  Inspiration comes in many guises and surprises.  It never fails.  It is love of making, the need to go on and see where it takes you.  I find more and more I can not chase it nor wish for it.  For me, inspiration comes with making when I feel the least inspired to do so.  It is in the work.

packing day

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