Category Archives: Athenaeum Music & Arts Library

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. 

 

SAN DIEGO SUMMER CHALLENGES WITH TOURISTS & GIANT ANCHOVY SCHOOL OF FISH – ART JOURNAL 2014

July 2014 Art Journal - Page 89 WATERMARK

This first week in July started out with a giant school of anchovy fish off of the coast of La Jolla!  This is the biggest anchovy school seen in more than 30 years.  The video on the news was so wondrous to see as the school of fish swam away from the people in the water and you could see the school of fish change shape.  It reminded me of the murmuration of Starling birds which is another similar movement, but of birds instead of fish.

You can watch the Scripps Institution of Oceanography video of this wonder of nature here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvxIdkhsoqU

If you would like to see the murmuration of Starlings, you can view it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eakKfY5aHmY

Don’t you think they have similar movements?  Performance art by nature.

I noticed that there were a lot of Cormorants on Seal Rock this week, which is a bit unusual.  It took me a few days to realize that the birds are moving there to get away from where they used to be, which is now swarming with people.  It brings me joy to know that the Cormorants have gone to where they feel safer and cannot be harassed by people.  They cannot live on this rock as high tides wash over it, but still it’s nice to know they have a place to sit in peace for some of the day.

La Jolla Cove is where the Cormorants used to spend their day (along with the pelicans and sea lions), but the City of San Diego has encouraged people to walk down there now.  The people have chased away all the birds and instead of hundreds of sea lions, there are only about 30 of them left.  The City of San Diego was sued by some La Jolla restaurants and hotels regarding the odor of the wild life there so they opened a gate to allow the ignorant and uncaring tourists to chase away the wild life, which they have done.  This used to be my “happy place” now all I see is lifeguard tower construction and people harassing the sea lions.  Really sad.

These photos show the La Jolla Cove after public access was opened.  As you can see it’s an ugly and dead area now, which is filled with people instead of wild life.  Look at the photos before & you can see that it was a little piece of paradise.  (By the way people could still go to the beach at the Cove just not walk out onto the bluffs.)

It was unbelievable to me that on the 4th of July, the fireworks were shot right off the bluff.  What little wildlife is left there had to endure fireworks being shot almost right over them.  People were laughing and bbq’ing all the while that wild life was suffering.  Some 4th of July celebration.  By the way, this area is part of a protected marine area so I cannot understand why fireworks were even allowed there at all because fireworks cause environmental pollution too.

Beach trash 7-6-2014 - 1

Speaking of tourists impacting my “happy place”, one of the problems we have here is a tremendous trail of tons of garbage left behind by visitors.  The photo below is trash picked up off of one tiny beach left one by the tourists.  Thankfully the high tide had not come in to sweep the garbage out to sea.  Do the tourists really not care that the beautiful area they are coming to see is being ruined by them?  Ugh.  A friend and I carried 16 hotel beach towels, an umbrella, 2 beach mats, a 4 foot wide green inner tube and all of these beach toys up a flight of stairs and loaded it all up into the trunk of my car.  I took the towels to the Laundromat and washed them, hosed off all of the kids toys and took all of it to a thrift shop so they could sell the stuff.  Apparently a lot of the tourists are going home somewhere with no ocean and think it’s just okay to abandon the stuff they have on the beach.  One friend of mine belongs to a group of residents who walk the beach at 6 a.m. every morning and she carries 2 trash bags with her – one for stuff that can be cleaned and donated to thrift shops and one bag for all the trash – drink cups, soda & beer cans, condoms, cigarette butts, etc.  It is ironic to me that humans want to drive off the “smelly and filthy” wild life, when it is clear to me who the smelly and filthy creatures really are.

Oh one more thing, when the City of San Diego workers pick up this massive amount of garbage left by the tourists on our beaches, it all goes to the landfill.  It simply is not feasible for the City of San Diego to do otherwise as the amount of trash left by tourists is tons.  Yes, literally tons.

Someone left this message on the construction fence at the Cove.

Sign on Lifeguard fence 7-13-2014

 

As an artist by-the-sea, it is a constant challenge to try to protect the wild life & environment here.  Living by-the-sea is what inspires my art.  The sea brings me balance and peace, but not when the tourists have invaded the area.  It makes me acutely aware that when people go on vacation somewhere that we are visiting someone else’s home and that they love their home as much as I love San Diego.  I just wish that the people who came here realized that this is our home, too.  I also wish that the residents of San Diego would step up and protect what they love about San Diego before the tourists destroy what we love so much and it is gone.  Once this wild life leaves, it won’t come back.  Once our oceans are filled with plastics and garbage, it will be terribly hard to undo.  Once the bluffs are covered with graffiti, the beauty of them will not be seen. 

Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve 7-20-2012

There is a protected beach in Laguna Beach that has a beautiful sign to remind visitors that they are visiting a protected area.  If it were up to me, the City of San Diego would have these signs all along our beach front and every single beach would be a protected area.  Did you know that the American Indians thought that the La Jolla Cove was sacred ground?  It is.  I feel it when I am there.  It is such a tragedy that the people who come and visit here don’t feel that and that even the residents that live here don’t understand that we need to protect our environment here before it’s too late.  I will never, ever agree with those who say to me that beaches belong to people and that people trump wild life.  Beaches don’t belong to anybody.  Beaches belong to all of us who live on this planet, which includes the sea lions, harbor seals, pelicans, sea gulls, cormorants, snowy egrets, hermit crabs, starfish, sea anemones, and fish and yes, people, too, but people don’t trump wild life.  Ever.   Obviously, I know that not all tourists and not all residents hate the wild life.  I frequently speak to visitors here who want to know where all the seals are and have come specifically to enjoy the wild life.  I also have friends who will no longer come to the La Jolla Cove because of the harassment of wild life.  In the height of the tourist season in San Diego, when the Cove is over run by hundreds of thousands of people, it is hard to remember that there are people who appreciate and love this place as much as I do.  We all impact our environment and we each must take responsibility for our personal footprint on this planet.  I hesitated to publish this article, but I have to hope that education will eventually lead to protection and respect for the wild life in this place I love.

One more thing for this week, a piece of art I created called “Sacred Tools” was accepted for an important art show.  A small joy in a week of emotional challenges that come from living in a much too popular tourist destination.  I’m writing this towards the end of July and I’m counting the days to Labor Day when most of the tourists will go home and kids of all ages go back to school.  In the middle of summer, I’m longing for a San Diego winter.

2014 ART JOURNAL – 1ST WEEK OF JULY

SHORTBREAD COOKIES BY GIRARD GOURMET – ATHENAEUM MUSIC & ARTS LIBRARY PARTY

I went to a Holiday Party at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library last night.  In the atrium there was Christmas music being played on the grand piano, in the music room there was a wonderful jazz singer with a pianst & cello player and lovely tables of food throughout.  & of course, there was wine & eggnog, too!  The highlight of the party though was the hundreds & hundreds of shortbread cookies that the Chefs at Girard Gourmet made for this event.  Angels, each one different, lined the shelves above the books.  Angels with musical instruments greeted us at the door.  Nutcracker cookies decorated the Music room.  & one huge table showed the Girard family farm with chickens and other farm animals in the East County.  Then the tabletop scene showed all the little houses and businesses moving to the Village of La Jolla all the way to the wild life at the Cove!  I was so delighted to see Pelican, seal, sea lion & fish cookies!