I’m back in SoCal after a four month sojourn at my spiritual home, feeling refreshed, healthier and happier. The time out from the craziness of the States was a blessing. I got caught up on sleep, learned to bake bread and experienced wild winter storms with trees chucking down sharp, heavy branches like spears from the sky. There is such tremendous and immense natural beauty there. I touched base with my friends a little, but mostly stuck close to home…suffered through power outages, slow internet and got used to the slow pace of sitting in one place. Now I’m in a holding pattern until I can secure a vaccine. I’m looking forward to being back in my studio and regrouping.It’ll be interesting to see if my watercolor/oil pastel experiments can translate to larger pieces. It’s exciting to be part of the world again. Hope you’re all well.
The first month I was here, I didn’t make any art. Instead, I delighted in being outside again and was a shutterbug- constantly clicking my phone during hikes, documenting the many marvels, large and small, of this gorgeous island. When I don’t work in the studio, I get a slightly restless feeling after a while, and so dug up some of my old art supplies. Being a product of a patriarchal society, I inherited a snobbish idea about watercolor being less serious somehow- perhaps I’d inherited a misogynistic idea about it being a “ladies” art? That was dumb- because it’s really fun and I love it! Plus, I’ve been astounded by my grad school classmate, Griselda Rosas, who has been making some absolutely epic pieces using watercolor and embroidery and has received a ton of press for her pieces, even winning the San Diego Art Prize, and getting a show at the downtown modern art museum in San Diego. (I’m so proud of her). I’ve been playing with oil pastel, watercolor, a space heater and salt and trying to figure out what they can do. And of course, Trump will provide. I’ve been working on a series about the attack on Capitol Hill. Here’s one of my latest pieces. The orange Cheeto dicks are for both genders, since the women attackers acted like dicks too. Now let's see if I can get some eyeballs on it. #attackoncapitolhill #capitolhill #dicksforTrumps #schmucksforTrump #violenceontheHill #capitolhillviolence #mobviolence
I have so enjoyed this time. Being here with my family in the forest, in the trees, walking along the beach, has been so amazing. Given that the pandemic epicenter is currently in Los Angeles, I have extended my visit here a second time. I haven’t been with my parents this long since I was a child. I love them so much and am helping out as best I can. When you live in the woods and have animals, the critters bring the outside inside, so cleaning always seems to be an issue. But- what is a bigger priority, is to go hiking on the mountain, exploring wonderfully mossy, verdant trails, rainy streams, discovering new paths and getting lost and not being worried about it. My mother introduced to one of the neighbors below us and he looked at me and said, “This is a wonderful place for healing. It’s a good place to examine your life and reevaluate things.” And I thought…how does he know about me needing to be healed? (Which of course I do). So I’ve been using this time as a precious gift- soaking in the forest bathing and thankful that I can be away from the oppressive situation in the States. And… probably an overshare, but as this blog is more like a diary than anything and I’m not exactly overrun with readers (lol), I shall indulge my one reader and indulge you in knowing that I’m slowly tapering off anti-depressants, which I’ve been on for about twenty years or so now. It’s a good thing- so far so good. Let’s see how this goes. No more pills. The world can be a sad place and I tend towards the melancholic- but let’s see if I can channel it towards a creative endeavor.
Covid is blowing up in SoCal and consequently, there is another lockdown. Things will be bad until the vaccine starts putting a dent in infection rates. Given that I’m relatively safe on this idyllic and serene island- I’ve extended my visit into the New Year. I’m continuing to take a plethora of pictures, which will percolate in my mind and possibly reappear in paintings. I’m also working in the garden and have enjoyed detaching from the news cycle. In the meantime, I’m thinking about my future in this gorgeous place and wondering where one could build a studio. Positive things are on their way.
Time on the island is quiet and peaceful. Methodically working in the forest and garden is a satisfying change from the grind of LA- though when I’m away from my studio for long spells, I become slightly anxious about losing the painter’s touch. However, this time here is invaluable and I soak up every opportunity to fill my camera with images I can refer to later. In the meantime, I was delighted to have my work written about in the article below. https://artandcakela.com/2020/11/23/brewery-artwalk-goes-virtual/ And if you missed the virtual tour of the Brewery Artwalk, you can see me talk about my work in my studio here: 3pm Tour B. I start at 1:55:22 and end at 2:04:50 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh60K3r1syo&feature=youtu.be
After a two-week quarantine, I’m back home taking a break from multiple dramas unfolding in the States. It’s been healing to decompress in the verdant, wet and mossy forests of a rainy island. My days have been quiet as I pitch in, providing manual labor on the wooded land and in the house. I’m getting reacquainted with the calls of eagles and grunts of sea lions, playing with the family animals and doing lots of “forest bathing” on mountain hikes. The internet here is head-bangingly slow, so I’m not glued to updates of the latest news. To keep my artist’s eye alive, I’m taking lots of pictures on my walks. I don’t know if I’ll use any of them as resource material for paintings, but I enjoy observing and documenting. I keep waiting for “Mr. and Mrs. Ruckus”, two ravens I’ve heard about, to appear, but so far, they’ve been shy. Today there’s supposed to be heavy rain in the afternoon. I’m going to take my breakfast at the beach, then work out and see how my help is needed. I’ve been unloading and hauling gravel the past couple days. The crunch of shovel into gravel is satisfying, meditative work and my spirit has appreciated the calmness of these days.
This painting looks like how I feel right now: trepidation waiting for the election tomorrow. This is “Nostromos”, oil paint on upholstery fabric. The scene takes place in a dark, windy and wild seascape. Toy-like boats, and ruined houses -perhaps off their foundations, bounce around on waves. Even pre-Covid, I had a penchant for depicting disasters of various sorts. The thing that makes this piece different is that there’s a secret in it. I painted it on expensive embroidered fabric. I had intended to incorporate the lovely embroidered birds on the fabric but the design was ultimately painted over. (I find it almost impossible to stick to a plan when I paint). The birds are perceptible on the front if you know what you’re looking for. On the backside of the piece however, the birds are unharmed. Perhaps not just one, but a flock of birds will come to inspire hope- much like the dove to Noah on the Arc- to rescue us from this current state of affairs. We shall see…
The virtual Brewery Artwalk is this weekend. One more zoom presentation to go and then I can put my studio back together. We've gotten some positive feedback. Maybe they'll keep doing this even after Covid. We'll see. I hope you were able to join us. :)