I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Friday, March 1, 2013

Gold is where you find it.

This is my spot.
And nobody better touch it.

Except, of course, the Prospector, who helps me dig, as we try to find the illusive Mother Lode.
It's here somewhere. We just have to move some rocks, classify and pan our little hearts out.

Yea, it was a busy day yesterday.


OK. We didn't move this much rock. It was already there. Dug out for a pond on private property.  But we would have if we could have.Where's a dredge when you need one? Ask a lawyer in the city. Ask the state of California who put a stop to dredging operations... big or small.
 Don't argue with me on this one. We are fighting the good fight.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Call of the River

Yesterday the Prospector and I took the dogs and drove to the Mokelumne River.
It was a perfect early spring day. The dry winter is deceptively enchanting with its green carpet spreading under the leafless trees, along the banks of the river and over all the hills nearby. We need rain badly. It's going to be a hard summer if the next 6 to 8 weeks doesn't bring us some moisture.
I think about the water situation when I look at this beautiful river.
The river seems to have an endless supply, but is already being held back by the "powers that be", to conserve water for the "drought" year that is expected if it doesn't rain next month. There seems to be so much water but there is such a demand for this precious commodity that every year there is more worry about not having enough.
Cutter is still not use to this huge river and the noise it makes. He pulls away from it and looks to Carl for reassurance.
Then the call of the wild makes them forget the huge, noisy river when they get a scent and start wondering what other animals have been here before them.

I left the dogs with the Prospector and walked out onto the bedrock.
I love being "in" the river, on these huge rocks.
It's like standing on the bones of the earth.
 Bedrock is the layer of solid rock formations below the soil or underneath glacial drift in a particular area. 

 The rock comprising bedrock can be sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic.

Bedrock is the native rock underlying the surface of the Earth. It's solid and goes nowhere. It's the solid, foundation of the earth's crust.
It feels elemental and secure. When I'm on this huge consolidated rock I feel safe, as if I'm standing on the only ground that will never be moved out from under me.
We walked down to another beach area, called Box Beach, where the water gets deeper and slows down. In the summer this beach is packed with people. Now, it is quiet and serene. 
You can see that people have been here. A small toddler's wading area was built in the water.
And a rope swing is suspended from an oak tree.

There it hangs waiting for the hot days of summer.
Can't you just feel, or remember what it felt like, jumping from a rope swing on a hot summer day?

We walked back to the car, on the road, and past a couple of signs. One warned about the change in flow of the river which can happen quickly and needs to have some forewarning.
It says CAUTION: Flow of river subject to sudden rises. All persons enter channel at their own risk. They are not kidding. I've seen the river go from "You could almost walk across it" to "OMG! What a torrent." It's scary how fast this happens.

The other sign is kind of funny. I guess I have a weird sense of humor. Just drive right in...
The dogs had a great time. We should do this more often. We ALL need the exercise.
Until next time.... goodbye wonderful old tree roots.

Goodbye reflections in glassy water.

Goodbye mud that makes its own art.

And sparkles under melted snow water.
Goodbye old river... until we meet again.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Taste of the Arts

Saturday I spent the day helping the Art Council with their yearly "Taste of the Arts" workshops. This is my third year being a part of this creative day.
We always have a good time but it's a lot of work for our fearless leader Christie.  She is the "teacher" and Mary Jane (who is a gourd artist and who I pick blackberries with in the summer) and I are her humble assistants.This year we taught three classes with 15 adults and high school students in each class.

We started with a lot of clean dry gourds.
The students pick one that they like. Christie introduces us and  talks about where gourds come from, how they grow and what we will do with them.
Then the fun begins...
They take a look at the finished gourds we bring (our own) to show what can be done with practice and many different kinds of techniques.

We show them the paint, glue, scissors, beads, feathers, glue guns, and all the embellishments that they will have available to decorate the gourd.
Then we let them be as creative as they want to be. It's so fun to see what they do. I'm convinced that everyone has a creative streak in them.
Some begin cautiously, start slowly and then get into it.

And some jump right into it.
Eventually we find that each person creates their own unique piece of art.
We guide, answer questions, help with the glue guns or hold a gourd steady while they glue something in place. It's so interesting to see how amazingly creative all of these folks can be.

These are some of the finished gourds.
 The beautiful gift from the sea.

 The charming beaded bird house.

This gourd basket, bought at a thrift store, was brought to the class to be "repurposed" and decorated for this lady's collection of crystals and stones.

One person wanted to make a gourd instrument or facsimile with a long gourd, shells and string. It was beautiful when she finished.

We set out some rabbit skins... which were more popular than we had imagined. By the final class, the supply was almost depleted and it looked like a bear attack on the sink..
This man, who came with his whole family, created a wonderful creature using the fur for its hair and a white mustache as well. He and his son had a great time working together on these gourd heads. The fur was flying.

This gourd was my personal favorite. I love a more natural look using nature's embellishments.  It also happen to be a gourd that I had in my living room for a long time. I had a personal attachment to it. The artist did it proud. I was so happy to see what the gourd finally decided to "become." In all the time that it sat in my house, it never told me what it wanted to be but, obviously, it told this lady everything.
There is an old adage in gourd art. It says that the gourd will tell you what it wants to be. This one waited, found the right person and look what happen.
 I'm a little sad that it didn't do this for me, but this woman was so happy with what she created that I felt it was meant to be for her... and the fulfilled gourd.
I think I better start listening more closely to some of the gourds that I have laying around the house.


We thought that all of the gourds were creative and wonderful, but this was our Best of Show...
It went, in our opinion, to a 16 year old with a flair for the Gothic, lord of the darkside ... "with a twist".  He said that the birds were for balance within the split personality. After he was finished, he decided this small gourd "being" needed a hat so he created "Le chapeau" out of two shells. He had a vision and wasn't afraid to express it.
When do we loose this ability to express ourselves so uniquely? When do we lose the ability to be unchecked and free with ideas and creativity? Society and our upbringing tend to put constraints on liberal, (I'm talking about being creative in thought here, not politics.) and original inventiveness. What an injustice we do to creative youngsters. Maybe children (and the resulting adult) would be happier if they were allowed more freedom of observation and creative expression and less of being given established, "safe" choices. Enough Farmlady?
 This young man was so happy about his "creation". Others might not understand his concept, but he did. It was his expression of his ideas.
Someone gave this boy a gift from the start. A gift of being creativity without   "a reason" or "a purpose"... or an in depth explanation of its value. I admire that kind of parenting in some ways. It's a fine line between giving a child some freedom of thought and expression and still maintaining some boundaries.
His gourd art is different... creative... inventive and his own.The ears are buttons. The fur is dyed  rabbit. We thought that this was the most creative gourd art for the day. This young man was really pleased with his work.



I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.
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Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)


We had a very creative time.