Playa: September 23 & 24, the last days

Monday, Sept 23, last days….

A busy day in the compound. The full set of fall residents is to arrive next Sunday, so lots of staff members are here, working to make sure the cabins are ready and the Compound immaculate. I’m unaccustomed, even after this short period, to having so many people around (at least five workers, in and out). I chuckled to  see myself, a city creature, get befuddled after a mere week alone by “so many” people.

CompoundYardThe Compound yard in front of my cabin

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Playa, September 20 & 21, 2013

Saturday, September 20, 2013

I’m feeling that winding down sensation. The last weekend, then Monday, and then Jer arrives on Tuesday, we pack, and head out early on Wednesday, back to the land of trees and low hovering clouds.

At Summer Lake it rained, stormed, stopped, and rained again. I snuck in a trip up the hill which was awesome, windy, and didn’t feel like it got me much further along in my painting project. However, I took more photos of the wood rat’s nest and some of the juniper trees in the cluster that feels so sheltering. Wood rats’ nests (they are a kind of pack rat) can go back as far as 50,000 years because of their habits and the dry climates and shelters that they inhabit. They are treasures to paleobotanists. This tree has been recently trimmed, but the nest was carefully preserved. Most likely the animals had moved on, hopefully not to any human habitats, like the airstream trailer nearby.

TreeAndNestWLNestCloseUpWLCedarBranchesWL Continue reading

Playa Residency, September 18. 2013

Wed Sept 19

Got up at 6 this morning, after rolling around in bed for half an hour or so.  I woke up in a kind of panic over my large, and seemingly impossible, project. My brain kept swirling about the problems of painting on the cedar (which really needs a lot of experimentation and then quantities of sanding and prep before it will be ready for pigment). Furthermore, the difficulty of getting it up the hill, of getting my art materials up to it, of having enough art materials, including a clear gel medium laid down, and then waiting for that medium to to dry before I painted on it, trying to stow my stuff in the mouse-ridden airstream, and working long hard hours for 7 days in a row – well, it all seemed too hard.

Sometimes. if I work on a painting after a night of panic, it dissipates the tension and clears the way for reasonable decisions.

NorthPondSunrise2wlThis north pond is what I see best from my big playa-oriented windows and from my table in the kitchen. It requires being painted, if only as a memento. So, at 6:30 I was out on the deck, laying in the shapes of the mountain and pond on a big (30 x 40”) canvas.

After I laid in the shapes on the very dark canvas (what was I thinking when I prepared this canvas with black acrylic?), I started painting. Frost covered the gold and rust grasses on the side of the pond, and it seemed to be a very still (very early) morning. What I forgot is that frost generally signifies a certain amount of cold. Or perhaps a lot of cold. Even more cold on a shaded deck, around the corner from the warm sun, where there was a bit of breeze. Dealing with my self-inflicted dilemma of the panorama and my intense concentration on the painting made me forget to feel how cold my fingers were getting. Continue reading