Monday, February 20, 2012

A Happier Place

Morning at Manter Creek
12" X 16"

Our campsite by the creek sat in a pocket of trees that had escaped the terrible fire. After scrabbling over and under the broken bones of trees for a few miles, we came upon a broad glade drenched in cool, blue shade. There, the creek widened out, running mossy green and earthy black, a lullaby of sound between overhanging banks of grasses and mint.

It was the perfect spot, with logs encircling a campfire ring and plenty of stubby branches to hang our gear. As we started to set up camp, Clint sent me down to the creek, knowing I was itching try out my new fishing pole. It was one of those spots so lovely you could just sit and absorb it for hours. Ah, Domeland!

We did more fishing, than catching. The few little trout we caught were gently returned to the water and bid farewell until our next trip. It was heaven wandering along the bank, while taking in the glorious fragrance of the creek: mud and decaying vegetation—that rich, sweet smell of living things reuniting with the earth.

This idyllic creek soothed us to sleep and flowed through our dreams. When the sun came up, beams of color broke through below the canopy illuminating clumps of grass and casting fire upon the water. At the end of the day, the soft coral light of sunset kissed the creek good night.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Sycamore Saga

The original sketch
In November, we took our belated honeymoon. We spent time a lot of time between Flagstaff and Durango exploring pueblo ruins, desert mesas, and mountains that are very different than our San Gabriels. I can’t wait to go back. There were places with a spirit and vibration that was unlike anything I've experienced before.

As we worked our way homeward, we stopped south of Sedona to camp for a couple nights at Wet Beaver Creek (yes, that’s the real name). We had a lovely spot along an olive green creek framed by sycamores hung with glowing yellow, gold, and bronze leaves. Their trunks of creamy flesh curved upward like slender elfin creatures. These trees looked as though they were frozen mid-dance in a graceful tableau.

I’ve been struggling to capture this grace, starting first with a monoprint that was a miserable failure. It looked more like a Rorschach inkblot than any kind of recognizable image. 

I moved on to watercolor, but that came out too heavy-handed and didn't reflect the shapely form that initially attracted me. The leaves were nothing like the golden mantel draped over the limbs. Although the painting might be salvageable with a little more work, I decided it was time to move on to acrylic.

The watercolor...meh
 So, here I am, again sharing something unfinished. This is risky, because it may not turn out. It may end up being a do-over. It’s too early to tell. Yet pulling aside the curtain to share my adventures in art—even when things don't turn out as planned—allows you see that it’s not always as easy as it might appear to be. The “struggle” in struggling artist has many meanings.

The acrylic version. I'm not too far along yet, so it's too soon to tell if this will be a keeper.