Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Results

It was a beautiful day in Grants Pass on Saturday. Just warm enough to feel like a real summer day, which is something that we who live in the foggy area of Humboldt County appreciate (Eureka/Trinidad are the coolest communities in the contiguous United Stated during the summer, averaging about 62 degrees). We had five runs for the day---three games and two standards. As you can see from these photos, both dogs did pretty well, qualifying in four runs each. Emma got three firsts and a second. Raleigh won a first, second and third. The thing that makes this quite remarkable is that I am not a very good handler. In fact, I am a terrible handler, and believe me this is not false modesty. There are numerous videos out there to back this up.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Teacup Dog Agility Trials

We traveled to Grants Pass this past weekend for our first runs in the TDAA trials. I heard about this organization from Sally Dunn, our Rally teacher (more on that later). This is an agility group that is limited to dogs that are less than 17" at the shoulders, which of course my dogs both are. (Yes, they may be a bit longer than some of the other dogs, but their legs are short, so they do qualify). The judges and organizers, Michelle Reehl and Joan Wieckowski, are terrific women who set the stage for a stress-free, enjoyable experience. We were only able to participate on Saturday, the day that Michelle judged. How great to have a judge that has such a good time and enjoys the dogs so much. It made it all so much fun, which is what the sport of agility should be.

The event was photographed by Terry Tuttle who was there with his camera, unobtrusively capturing some pretty wonderful moments. These two of Emma and Raleigh taking jumps are his work.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fish Festival and Vets

Yesterday was the annual Trinidad Fish Festival. It was a great day with all of the usual qualities-bustling activity, lots of visitors (with and without dogs), music and crafts. The whole community gets involved setting up, cooking, serving and yes, cleaning up (no small task). Lots and lots of activity for days, and a real flurry on the actual day of the event. Speaking of flurries, we can always count on that day being one of the windiest of the year. Perhaps it is just because we are out there on the main street that goes directly to the bay which is always windy but on this day we (hundreds of us) are out there long enough to really notice. We had an Honor Flight display, and our large sun umbrella lasted about 20 minutes before the wind blew it over. Within an hour the vendors had taken down their canopies which were pulling entire displays over. Unfortunately, one potter down the way had a real catastrophe.
On a brighter note, we had lots of vets turn out for our Honor Flight booth, and good interest and support from the folks who stopped by. It is always good to get together with theses terrific veterans. Many thanks to Hugh Paz, (in the blue shirt in the left above) for this photo. He is the photographer (yes I realize he didn't actually take this shot since he is in it, but it was his camera under his directions). Hugh was a photographer during the war, and I'll bet he will share some of his photos on this blog. Watch for that in future posts.
Many thanks to all of the people who stopped by to visit, and for your donations. Watch for us at the Humboldt County Fair. If you are interested in volunteering, or getting involved in Honor Flight, please contact me. Summer is a great time for fundraisers---have your friends over for a barbecue and make it a benefit for Honor Flight. I'll bet we can get a few vets to come as your guests of Honor. Our big flight is planned for early fall.
By the way, the veteran on the front left, Kay Hartley, is the senior Marine in Humboldt County.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The workshop was cut short due to some pressing needs at home, however, my time there was fruitful in unexpected ways. I learned and experienced different approaches to the model, and was reminded of how people respond in very different ways and how individual the creative process is. The emphasis was on action---active poses, rapid drawing, energetic responses. The teacher, Michael encouraged me to be more spontaneous, move my feet more and to start drawing with lots and lots of energy, which is just the opposite of my usual approach. As many of my students know, I come at it from a very different angle-----a contemplative approach of engagement. Quiet the mind, still the voice, engage, and then draw. So it was fun and challenging to try a very different strategy. I plan to give that a try in a bit and see what happens. I'll post the results in a few days.

Speaking of drawing, I plan to offer a series of drawing workshops this summer---probably one day events out here at Trinidad. I'll be sending an email out in a couple of days, but if any of you are interested please contact me and let me know what days might work best. My workshops have been on hold for quite a while and I am looking forward to teaching again.

It's a glorious day here on the coast.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mendocino Workshop

Open Studios was a great success and I thank you all for coming north to visit the studio. It's good to see old friends, and meet new people---many of whom I have "met through this blog.

I am now in Mendocino at a Life Drawing Workshop with Michael Markowitz. a San Francisco artist and instructor. This guy has some great energy and lots of information and even after one day I feel that I have been challenged and pushed. It looks to be an exciting and fruitful week.

When I travel, I use a list for my packing. There is the standard list that includes all of the basics, and the specific list that I usually make the night before I leave. I started doing this when I was a pilot many years ago in West Texas---the laminated checklist that you go over carefully each time you take off. I was even trained to touch each item with my finger so nothing was overlooked. I should have done that with my packing list as I walked off and forgot my camera. This means that posts of this experience will rely on words, rather than photos of people, places or drawings which is kind of interesting since the experience is all about leaving the verbal and concentrating on intuitive visuals. And keeping with that paradox, here are a couple of poems that I wrote this morning:

Day One---Get Your Hands Dirty

A new approach to drawing--

being present and open so that I might

capture the essence of the

divine in

each pose,


gauging proportions, I

have to go deep


just to

keep from


myself fall into the



pattern of


roughing out proportions.

Spirit is what this is about.

Treading in different,


venues of drawing

without being afraid to


your entry into another


Here's another:

Drawing from Life

Being in an intense life drawing workshop is an interesting experience.

Ten people have gathered with like intention for one week.

Most of us enrolled simply to improve our drawing--

to learn some new approaches, or get a kick start in what we do.

It’s a focused week of drawing from the model.

This is what I notice.

When we draw, we are pulled into one body,

not that of Isaac, our lithe and expressive model,

although he is certainly the catalyst.

No, in a very mysterious way,

we become a body ourselves,

united in the common goal of making marks to express our response to what we see,

which is Isaac in some very remarkable poses that only last a minute or so.

In those moments, we go away, and the sound of compressed charcoal dragging across smooth newsprint becomes

background music to this new entity born of seeing.

Between poses, our instructor, Michael, probes the experience by asking questions that frankly are a little cloudy and enigmatic.

I think he is trying to coax us into self-awareness,

in order to help us get to a deeper level of relationship—

with ourselves, the model, the marks.

Our responses are usually questions in return,

tentative attempts to describe what just happened,

or, more commonly, how we think we fell short.

This is not territory that lends itself to verbal acuity.

Words, when chosen carefully, can crack the shell that holds old patterns,

but the tap, tap, tap, however well intentioned,

can feel so invasive.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More preview

It is so good to be hearing back from so many of you regarding my Open Studios announcement! It is pretty remarkable that so far today I have heard from Maui, Jerusalem, Bulgaria, Greece, England, in addition to points all over this country. Needless to say, those from far away were regrets, but it was great to hear from all of you. And good to hear from the nearby folks who are planning to come by this weekend. Here is a bit more of what I will be showing. My trip to India a few years back inspired quite a few elephant (and other Indian animal) paintings, which were really the beginning of my current involvement with elephants and conservation. Since the trip to Africa followed shortly after that trip, I never exhibited that work, so this will be the first showing of the Indian elephant series.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Forward Day by Day

Many of you have mentioned (from as far away as Jerusalem!) that you have seen my paintings on the covers of Forward Movement, Day by Day, a quarterly devotional published by the Episcopal Church. This was a great honor and it has been fun to get feed-back from around the country (the world, really). This painting is Paraclete (Holy Spirit), and is the current cover, as it refers to Pentecost which is coming up on June 12. The painting was inspired by a medieval sculpture of the Trinity that I saw in the Legion of Honor in San Francisco a few years back. I confess that my parrot, Wyckham, was the model for the Holy Spirit.