April 15, 2008
My God, my God....what a glorious and ridiculously wonderful privilege to live in Laguna Beach, where I can take a morning walk to the ocean, and let the wind blow in my face, watch the shorebirds stay just ahead of the rough surf crashing in, and smell the salty air. Morzie takes a moment from his nose-sniffing joy to come lay his head against my arm, panting, and smile....the biggest doggie smile I have ever seen. I try to pray with words but I can only succumb to the magnificence of the sea and the comfort of feeling so very small and drink it all in and hope that this is prayer enough. And I see the birds (black-bellied plovers?--like black necked and spotted sandpipers) stay nonchalantly just ahead of the encroaching and wild and unpredictable surf. I see a message in that for my own work....the economy, the mortgage crisis, gas prices--no shortage of doom and gloom which could spell disaster and I could be washed asea. But I will keep my eyes looking forward, pecking away at small bits—paint stroke by paint stroke, contact by contact-- to sustain this calling and not take my eye off the goal.Comment on or Share this Article →
March 31, 2008
I love living in Laguna. I walk....afternoon...about 5:25. Warm....breezy...I see Iris on Monterey St. I dive down Myrtle and decide to walk the alley. I like alleys, and well, I like Iris too, but I just don't feel like having a conversation with her at the moment. I can tell from behind that she is all made up in full regalia....eye shadow, lip stick, and foundation....to go with her dyed hair (blond). She is quite attractive...probably late 70s. Anyway, as I make my way down Myrtle, the air is fragrant with jasmine. And the alley feels so real...and homespun....joggers, a few cars returning home...I see a box of frozen pizza snacks on someone's tiny counter and I wonder and ponder that most people are simple and ordinary...even in Laguna. When I arrive on Broadway, I cross at the light, go straight and then head right on Ocean Avenue. I briefly ponder going to the bookstore to look at Ann Rice's book about Jesus, but decide that I wouldn't buy it anyway, as I have other books on order that'll be here soon, and perhaps I can check it out at the library. When I arrive at Laguna Drug, I intend to poke around and see if I can find a birthday gift for mom. And, it's been a long time since I've been there and I just want to see what's new. Two clerks, one stocking shelves just inside the door, and another having a cigarette break outside both indicate that the store is dog friendly. I have misgivings...afterall, Morzie's sweeping tail could cause problems. I decide to bring him in, proclaiming as I look at him, “This is a big day for a dog!” I don't see anything I can't live without (the neatest thing was a wine favor disk...like colored glass..somehow it makes the wine taste better...only $190!! Seems like a gimmick to me). I leave the store and make my way over to main beach. Dogs, people, one homeless man, sleeping and oblivious, a group of guys having a (play?) fight on the beach. I decide to walk the beach to the steps below Las Brisas....a couple laying on the beach kissing, a jogger, some older kids playing/swimming in the waves. It's just beautiful.
Up the steps, along the walkway I go. I pass the “homeless camp” in Heisler and discover that a group is there having a party. A few of the homeless are walking through and seem befuddled and displaced. I round the corner and see a middle age woman in a yellow-gold dress. She is walking slowly, leaning to look at things on the ground. I want to take her photo to paint her!! It's poetry! The hem of her dress blows in the breeze. I turn and pull out my camera with the intention of trying to capture her surreptitiously, while getting some photos of the offshore rocks. Finally, I ask her if I can take her picture, as she looks so pretty and poetic in her dress. I explain that I am an artist. She smiles with surprise and then looks at the camera (as you would expect but not what I want). I ask her to look toward the ocean...no, the sun is in her eyes now and directly on her face...then I ask her to look at the ocean over my shoulder. She does and I get one photo before my battery gives out. She explains that her mother told her collect 7 stones and throw them in the water to rid herself of her troubles. For a moment, I feel the 7-stone weight of her troubles and I want to ask her about them and reassure her somehow. Of course I don't, as I want to respect her privacy. I thank her and tell her that I hope she find her stones, and as I walk away (with reluctance), I am struck by the title of my next painting...”Seven stones” or, or....my mind ponders. I am interrupted by a man who asks the closest access to the beach. I point over to the apartment building and explain that you take the sidewalk over. I also explain that there is another access near Las Brisas and that the park is buggered up with the construction. He thanks me and I later see him pile out of his Suburban with three little girls. I believe I saw his wife in the passenger seat. As I make my way up the steps toward PCH, I see a banner—the cheap colorful kind you can buy at Michael's—on the architectural wonder of a home with the beautiful lighting, the wrap-around decks, the curved, stamped driveway, and the Bently in the garage. The banner says, “Happy Easter”. I am moved by this. Like I'm moved by Iris with her dyed blond hair and nice velour jogging suit, and the pizza snack box on a vintage tile counter, and a woman who, smiling with melancholy, looks for just the right stones, the best 7, to imbue with her life's troubles and cast them a-sea. And, I am moved because as a solitary artist, I can leave my studio, and find, and see, and touch, and hear humanity, good clean simple humanity, right in my own backyard.