SACRED TOOLS & BEING IN THE FLOW

Sacred Tools 6-2014 WATERMARK

“Drawing makes you see things clearer, and clearer, and clearer still. The image is passing through you in a physiological way, into your brain, into your memory – where it stays – it’s transmitted by your hands.” 

― Martin GayfordA Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney

 As an artist looking at something is not enough to “know” it, I have to take the time to draw it so that I really “know” it inside my soul.  Drawing a subject also gives me drawing “muscle memory”.  The subject becomes part of me and I become part of the subject.  I have learned from this process that this is really what creates an artist being able to draw without reference materials.  The artist knows the subject so well that it just has to be called up not just from the mind, but from a physical place, too.  It made me realize that this is why I need to paint what I know, to paint what I live with in my everyday life. 

These last 5 years of drawing & painting what I know has also helped me to hone my identity as an “artist by-the-sea” because I am now only painting what I love where I live.  This clarity of who I am as an artist means that I cannot paint or draw fast enough anymore because there is a “flow” that has been created from inside me. It’s like a wellspring of creativity has opened up & sometimes I sort of feel a kind of energy coming out of my fingertips.  My brush & pen literally dance now.  I also have a feeling that I am exactly at the right place in my life doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing in this life of mine.  It’s a flow of art & a flow of faith, too.  I feel that I am comfortable with who I am as an artist & as a person.  Perhaps this is really what the journey of painting from the heart is.  I have a confidence in my own artistic voice & it’s okay to admire other artists work, but that it’s really important to remember to stay true to my own artistic style because that is my voice & no one else’s.  I’m forging ahead believing that  I am good enough & trusting that my way of creating art is unique and valuable and that I just need to keep doing it without question to see where this takes me.  I love this journey of being an artist by-the-sea.

NOTE:  This painting will be on exhibit at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla.  I am pleased to share that I am one of forty-three artists who have been selected for the Athenaeum’s 23rd Annual Juried Exhibition, on view in the Joseph Clayes III and Rotunda galleries, August 2 through 30, 2014. 

 

SEA GULL CHICK FACES BY-THE-SEA

Sea gull chick faces with mom on nest 7-28-2014 WATERMARK

When the sea gull chicks have molted most of their down feathers, but don’t quite have all of their regular feathers in yet, the bone structure of their skull clearly shows.  The chicks go from being adorable baby birds with polka-dotted heads to being sort of sinister looking until their flight feathers completely grow in.

Sea gull chicks molting 7-22-2014 - 5 WATERMARK

I think this molting process makes them look sort of vulture like, which is very interesting to me because sea gulls are scavenger birds.  I used to think of sea gulls only as pretty birds on the wing overhead emitting the classic sea gull sound, which is the quintessential hallmark of being by-the-sea. 

Since I started hanging out with the harbor seals during the pupping season, I have seen the seagulls savaging the afterbirth from the harbor seals after a pup is born.  The seagulls are the clean-up crew in the seal pup birth process.  Here’s a photo of a harbor seal mother with her newborn pup just a few minutes old.  The sea gulls immediately show up to clean-up the afterbirth.  Sometimes the sea gulls even show up when the harbor seal mother is in labor & wait for the birth.  When I’m observing the pregnant seals & gulls start showing up, it can be a sign that a seal is in labor.  The seagulls know before I do.  It is an amazing example of the symbiosis in nature.

When the pup is born, the mother turns around to touch her nose to her pup’s nose.  She smells her pup because that is how she will recognize her pup from other pups.  It is a bonding behavior that is also affectionate, too.

Bonding 2-20-2014 WATERMARK Happy Mom & Brand New Pup 2-20-2014 WATERMARK

Sea gull chick faces with feathers growing in.  There’s still a bit of down, but they are getting close to where they will be able to fly soon.

The sea gull chicks are growing very fast now & are getting closer to being the same size as their parents.

It’s hard to believe that just a short time ago, these sea gull chicks were still in their eggs waiting for mom to incubate them into life. 

I am an environmentalist because of spending so much time observing nature.  My life as an artist by-the-sea observing the sea gulls has taught me that the sea gulls deserve our respect & protection, too.  The lesson for me is that I need to protect every single creature because that is the way nature works.  If one species is considered a pest because of their odor or ugliness or is hunted for their meat, fur or fins or tusks and that species ceases to exist, then the chain is broken.  Something fragile is gone & nature will never be the same.  Each creature on this planet is here for a sacred purpose in their life.  Even me.

SEA GULL CHICKS GROWING UP BY-THE-SEA

Sea gull mom & chicks 7-28-2014 WATERMARK

I love how the sea gulls make their nests all along the edge of the bluffs, which are high up above the waves.  When the chicks hatch, the first thing they see, hear & smell is the sea.  Shore birds learning from their first breath how to live their lives by-the-sea.    

Seagull chicks growing up 7-21-2014 - 12

Often the parents & sea gull chicks all sit together looking out at the ocean.  Is the parent teaching her chick how to “read” the sea to know where the fish are?  While the little sea gulls are losing their downy feathers & their flight feathers are growing in, are they watching the adult gulls flying & learning where the updrafts are before they take their first flight? 

Both the male & females raise their chicks together.  They must protect their chicks from predators and sometimes even from other gulls if their nest is too close to another sea gull’s nest.  They bring their chicks tasty morsels of fish & the chicks clamor for more, more.  Already the chicks bird song by-the-sea is “Peep, peep, peep, peep, peep” & the parents cannot keep up with their appetites.  They feed their chicks & then turn their heads away.  I can almost hear the parent saying “That’s enough, find something else to do.”

Seagull chicks growing up 7-21-2014 - 6 WATERMARK

The parents chatter, cackle & laugh to each other.  Gull laughter always makes me smile even though I don’t know what the joke is.

Seagull chicks growing up 7-21-2014 - 7 WATERMARK

The sun sparkles like crystals on the ocean.  The little sea gull chicks with the polka-dotted heads all sit in a row with their parent looking out to sea.  Are they watching for whales & dolphins, too?  Or are they just taking a moment to enjoy the sea because they love their lives by-the-sea just like I do.

NATURE & BOTANICAL ART JOURNAL 2014