Playa: September 19 & 20, 2013

Thursday Sept 19

As I walked back from the Commons last night, I saw the moon rising in the east over the playa. It was not a huge moon like one sometimes sees but it illuminated the entire lake bed. More stunningly, it was golden, so bright that I didn’t need a flashlight. I was awe-struck, but grabbed my camera to attempt photos. The photos can only approximate what I was seeing. But they do give some sense of it.

MoonGold1The rising moon reflected in the pond, about 8 p.m.

MoonReflectionWLReflection in the south pond

MoongoldVerticalwlAs the moon rose higher, the playa came more clearly into view.

Then early this morning, on the way over to the Commons, I saw the moon setting over Winter Ridge to the west.  The color was much cooler this morning, which, I suspect, has to do with the dust in the atmosphere that settles during the night.

MoonAMwlThe moon over Winter Ridge in the morning; the windows in the cabin are facing east, where the hint of the rising sun can be found.

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Playa: September 15 & 16, 2013

Sunday morning, Sept. 15

I am outside on the Commons deck, where the lawn and ponds and playa are quite beautiful and the laptop is almost readable in the sun.

It’s only 11 AM but I’ve already worked on a large painting on-site up by cabin 1.Cabin1BacktowardplayaWL

Cabin 1 from the front. The back looks out on the playa, and that’s where I painted, of course. There’s a wrap-around porch.

I got up about 6, heated up yesterday’s coffee, put on my boots, gathered my painting stuff and put it into the cart that Rachel found for me, the one that pushes like a dream. Rachel says it was made especially for her (along with all the others around the property) by a guy in Eugene. It can be converted into a bike cart just by unscrewing a couple of wing nuts and adding a bicycle widget. Continue reading

Playa September 14, 2013

(This residency recollection was interrupted by a 50th wedding anniversary orgy of photographs, which I shall post on Flicker as soon as I get a bit caught up here. My apologies to my faithful fans who have been waiting for the next installment.)

Saturday, September 14:

Yesterday I climbed up the hill across the road. It’s actually a kind of “front range” to Winter Ridge ( a set of small hills in front of the basalt of the Ridge) where I found a good wide view. I might have to paint from it. But it was hot and by the time I got back, I was sweating, dehydrated, and tired. Ah well, what did I expect at 4000 feet above sea level for an aging out-of-shape body.  But it’s always good to have possibilities for further exploration. I told myself that Saturday (today) would be a lazy day,  to make up for the exertion and excitements of yesterday. (So much for promises).

Here’s one photo of Playa-from-the-Hill:

PlayafromHillWL

The big excitement of today, however, really was neat. A huge white bird came into the north pond (the one Cabin 10 looks out on). It looked like a swan, but with an enormous beak like a pelican. It was bigger than any pelican I’d ever seen.

PelicanStandingWL

And when it raised its wings to lord over some ducks, I saw stark black undersides to them.

PelicanTakingOffReflected

PelicanGroomingI sneaked outside to take photos, although it didn’t seem to take any notice of my presence. I saw it eat a couple of fish with its tremendous beak, sliding them into its beak and down its gullet which was long and elegant.

It came right up to the edge of the pond where I was photographing:

PelicanSwimmingClose2wl

When it flew off I saw the black underwings again. Stark black against stark white. And not thin like a heron.

PelicanFlyingWL

This guy was substantial. So when Rachel came back from her work with the neighbor I asked her about it. She got all excited, found it in a book, and said they had never been seen on these ponds before. It was an American White Pelican, which is very scarce because of pesticides and human invasions. It can have a 10 foot wing span. The flight was stunning.

I think I’m very lucky to be in Cabin 10.

Afterward everything else was a kind of anti-climax. I laid in the shapes for a couple of paintings. I want to try to paint the morning mist that seems to rise in the south playa (there might still be some water down there). I saw it today, but couldn’t bear to take my stuff out at that unhealthy early hour.

Other than that, I finished off a painting or two and worked a couple more to see what would happen. And laid in the shapes for the ones I’d like to get at soon. I’m not exactly an early riser — Rachel volunteered, with a guffaw, to come and get me up. I have been waking up early, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to roll. And I’m still a bit sore from my hike yesterday (my little walk, actually) so I don’t know if tomorrow is the day I’ll get up at an hour that some people (you know who you are) deem acceptable. I also have an idea about what I can do with the very long view up on the hill but I’ll have to explore that some more.

PlayafromHillMorningMistwl

Rachel gave me three kinds of mosquito repellant so I don’t need to go to Paisley to get any. And my beer is holding out well, as is the food:-) Maybe spaghetti for dinner tonight. Haven’t decided yet. I’m starting to wear down, so it might be tuna fish instead. I had guacamole for lunch, with tomato and lots of onions and lemon juice. It was wonderful. The avocado was just at its best stage — perfection. I’ve been drinking cold ginger tea and liking that a lot. I see that there’s plenty of herbal teas for the taking in the Commons so if I run out I’ll have plenty of substitutes. –June