A Meeting While Painting

 

A Meeting While Painting

 

 

The knarled Bishop Pine pulls me,

To challenge skill and learn,

How to grow, paint, endure and hang on

To precarious life.

 

The lickened branches defy the brush,

Yet drape and curl on the blue bark,

In hushed forest, stately and stark,

Few come to see the beauty,

 

good!

 

Trees people the landscape,

Olive greens, paynes grey and ochra.

Can I capture the hue?

For enough time to escape?

 

Or is it a true exchange?

Me gives attention and love.

The pine gives its presence and challenge,

Together there is more, much more.

Than being alone or just being alive.

 

A reach for more across eons,

Across the species barrier,

Through space time and thought,

To touch another sentient being.

 

 

8.31.85

 

UPDATE 11.29-12.1.13 Pope, Triclosan, Saturday Night Live, Laundry Gases

UPDATE 11.29-12.1.13
Contents
The Pope Speaks Some Sense
Triclosan finally gone after 35 years
OLD SATURDAY NIGHT SKITS
Watch out for Laundry Gases
—————
The Pope Speaks Some Sense
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF SOMEONE IN POWER PROCLAIMING A TRUTH AND A WAY FOR ACTION BASED ON THAT TRUTH, but alas its from the head of an organization that teaches fear where there is no fear, and hope where there is no hope. The fear that it teaches is fear of god, when there is no god. The hope that it teaches is life after death, when there is no such life. Still I welcome anyone who can say a bit of truth to a world gone crazy with greed, violence, stupidity, and religiosity. God will not get us out of our mess, we must do it ourselves.

Continue Reading →

The Bathhouse at Tassajara.

Bathhouse at Tassajara

by William Olkowski, posted 9.14

Tassajara is a Buddhist monastery southeast of Carmelin the Santa Lucia Mountains, CA.  In the Japanese tradition, many monasteries were/are open to the public as a way to generate funds to support the monastery.  The last time we were there, during the first Jerry Brown administration, they had rebuilt the bath house which this W/C picture depicts.  The bath house has no nails but is put together with just wooden carved joints which is also traditional.  If you can visit the monastery for the weekend do it as the surrounding area is wild and beautiful.  The monks treat you with grace and the food is terrific and famous, although vegetarian, which we could tolerate for a few days.

A Meeting While Painting

A Meeting While Painting

The knarled Bishop Pine pulls me,

To challenge skill and learn,

How to grow, paint, endure and hang on

To precarious life.

 

The lickened branches defy the brush,

Yet drape and curl on the blue bark,

In hushed forest, stately and stark,

Few come to see the beauty,

 

good!

Trees people the landscape,

Olive greens, paynes grey and ochra.

Can I capture the hue?

For enough time to escape?

 

Or is it a true exchange?

Me gives attention and love.

The pine gives its presence and challenge,

Together there is more, much more.

Than being alone or just being alive.

 

A reach for more across eons,

Across the species barrier,

Through space time and thought,

To touch another sentient being.

 

8.31.85

KOFA, King of Arizona Mines, A Painting Explained

 

This drawing was made in the King of Arizona Mines Preserve in Arizona (KOFA) about 10 miles south on hiway 95 from Quartzite, AZ.  Quartzite is the area where RV people come from all over the West to overwinter in a warm climate.  As you enter the “KOFA” area you will see on the map a road going east.  Drive in about 5 miles and you will come to a former parking area amidst the sujaroe cactus, mesquites and palo verdes (with their green trunks).  The parking area is just off the main road to the north.  Crystal Hill is on the map.  And it is the small mountain on the north side of the parking area across a wash.

The parking areas are delineated with rocks and concrete curbs but it is no longer used regularly for parking, so there are few if any people there.  A place with no people that has some great features for sketching was the best for us in those days.  We loved being away from so-called civilization.  Those that come there don’t bother you and so we were there by ourselves for many days.  There was an occasional vehicle going east but mostly nobody came there with some exceptions.

And as we explored forCrystalson Crystal Hill we became aware that the diggings we saw were either abandoned former mines now filled in or just exploratory holes which did not yield crystals.  I wonder if people who buy crystals know what kind of devastation is caused for their fleeting view of a glittering rock.

This colored pencil-ink drawing was done by climbing the hill above the Crystal Hill Parking Area to the right below.  The view is looking south east.  The hills in the far distance are the rim of a ancient caldera.

We learned about this caldera when we ran into a group of geologists having their annual family excursion.  They were touring the main entrance of KOFA further south towardYuma.  We got a little chummy and found out that some giant meteor had landed there and created the caldera many millions of years ago.  One could see large rocks, a foot or so across scattered outward from where the meteor probably fell.  The heavier rocks were closer and they got smaller and smaller as the distance grew outward from where we were viewing.  On a topo map of the area you can see that the mountains were in a ring but the center had been filled in.

The group of geologists with family passed along a interesting perspective on Geology.  My wife and I were amateur geologists and Helga almost became a geologist in college but was told that they did not take women.  We told them our story and they passed along theirs.  Their story was that they were all students together in graduate school and then all got jobs in different areas after graduation.  They were all teaching geology.  They would get together once per year for an expedition to some great geological area and then they would argue about what was the proper interpretation.

One of the guys confined the story of when they were on the Colorado River rafting they had started out scattered in different boats.  Then as their arguments got more and more heated they started moving into one boat while all the family members were left in their respective boats.  He considered this a commentary on geology in general, pointing out that with the same evidence there were often conflicting interpretations. And these guys liked to argue so much that it became impossible for the family members to tolerate their shouting from boat to boat.  So they were all forced into one boat so the families could have some peace and quiet to enjoy the places.  We thought this was funny, but could understand the situation as we were at  one time part of an academic institution with its intense undercurrents.

Colored pencil takes time and this one took an afternoon.  The color of the rocks never satisfied me.  You can see the slate like nature of the rocks in the foreground. The mineral iron makes the reddish color.

 end

Paintings Explained: The Island

The Island

 

The Island, at Fort Bragg, Mendocino, County, CA

Fort Bragg, Mendocino Co.

By William Olkowski, 8/2011

I remember this day as one of those I spent with the Mendocino Plain Aire Group in 2007.  That’s what I will call the group as we did not formalize it with a title.  Each Thursday morning, usually in the fog, we would assemble at the Jewish Community Center in Caspar, a small village south of Ft. Bragg just off highway 1, at about 9:00 am.

After a bunch assembled, decision time came and we had to choose a place to paint.  Hope Stevenson used to come out sometimes but since she moved north I missed seeing her distinctive knife work.  The knife seems the most useful tool to get the texture of the clifts. 

I joined the group to learn about: places to paint.  The Jewish Community Center is nearby off Ocean Rd going North out of Mendocino so the closest places are all used up. But someone knows an unusual spot which she has scouted.

That’s the spot above and I call the painting The Island.  I like it because it does seem to fall off from the nearby cliffs, a difficult illusion to paint. 

There’s small group of houses in view of the Pacific just behind us as we all staked out a place from which to paint something beautiful with oil paints (some used water colors, some acrylics).  Oh, that’s my quest, make something beautiful with oils as they last and don’t need glass like a watercolor, or at least practice, practice, or paint, paint as John Robinson said.

Getting something really beautiful comes along only once in a while, so as long as you keep trying, you get closer and closer to something beautiful.  Anyway, that’s the hope that drives my boat.  Many of these artists were really good, many selling paintings in nearby art galleries.  I learned from them – first of all a good community spirit of sharing knowledge and skills.

After starring at a landscape for 4 plus hours (with adequate sun protection) one thinks one knows a place.  But I have been surprised many times and this was another.  So after awhile I get around to the right side and tackle the tree in detail.  As I do this I notice something – a bird going into my picture and then out to the sea.  Then I see it carry a big fish back and he/she proceeds to tear it apart on the limb which is just hidden below the base of the tree.  That limb was actually going perpendicular to the trunk and made a great perch for an Osprey, the largest fish hawk in North America.

I wonder how much I miss during my usual scamper around.  Here it took 3 plus hours to detect the bird, who must have been there all along.  Nature always surprises me.

In 2009 there was no fog.  I liked to see the trees appear in dark relief as one got closer and closer.  But the fog and the birds knew the world had changed.