After the IEA Retreat, I headed up North. I truly love California. From one rocky coast, to the next, this trip opened my eyes and heart. I traveled about 5 hours North of the Monterey/Big Sur coast to retreat to another coast where I reflected upon my IEA experience and my rambunctious journey as a painter. These last few weeks have been so inspiring in every little nook and cranny of my life.
So, Swimming in Inspiration huh? Yes, really. I had an amazing opportunity to go abalone diving for the first time in my life. Even though I grew up swimming on swim teams, playing water polo for my high school, and college and I live in one of the best places to surf, I have only been in the California ocean once, to learn to surf. So I was excited for this adventure to hop into the sea and snorkel away with the dancing kelp. I am a confident swimmer, my event in high school was the 500 yd Freestyle. O how I love distance swimming, which is why I wanted to be a goalie while I played water polo. I think those sprinters are crazy, but those sprinters told me I was crazy. Everyone has their passion, working in teams can be a great experience.
Well here we are. Go ahead, take a look around. Let me know when you are ready and we will go diving together.
...O...you are ready? Okay. Let's go, don't forget your weight belt you will need that and you diving license. I see you are wearing long pants, that's great, I know you just got over your poison oak from dancing in the Carmel Valley forest, so I will not have to tell you to be cautious of the leaves of three.
The Sun is setting so it is time to climb out of the water. I finally saw all those cool little creatures I see at the Monterey Bay Aquarium with in arms reach. My favorite part of the experience was being under the water, listening to movement as the tired Sun settles into the seas horizon. The way the Sun rays hit under the ocean, gosh, just so amazing, I felt like I was in a painting. It was a dream like quality that I had not felt before in reality. I have been snorkeling off the coast of Maui and Cozumel near Rivera Maya, but to have this experience in California, in my state, on my coast line, just amazing. All the animals I had studied in college I got to see, swimming with me! I was just so excited...SO excited in fact, I wanted to talk about it in the middle of the ocean but after I gulped a few cups of some sea water I thought it might be best for me to keep my mouth shut and enjoy the view before the sun goes to bed.
Alright, good catch. Diving for abalone is harder than I imaged, when you touch them, they suck on even harder to the rock, so you have to do a quick, one, two pop off, slide in your tool and 'pop.' Well have you ever had fresh sea urchin gonad straight from the sea? Well, here you go. If you want to try it at sushi next time you go, ask for Uni. Wow and Yum! Now that you have had your appetizer let's go cook up that abalone.
Just like the one, two, scoop and pop in the ocean, there is a little trick to keeping all the guts of the ab in one place, I believe this method will take a few times for me to get down. After all that is done it is a slice'em and dice'em extravaganza. Abalone steak anyone?
Abalone, very interesting and can be cooked in a variety of ways, I had it raw the first night and then fried some up the day after, and after that the third meal I had a fried ab sandwich. I didn't realize how much meat really an abalone has. This was an amazing experience to be with the earth and live off it too, just taking what you need and utilizing it in a variety of ways to eat.
I was able to go to the most western point of the States, Point Arena. It is amazing.
After this experience it was time to venture on. I don't know if you can imagine, but by this time, my brain feels so overly saturated with thoughts, ideas, color palettes, IEA and everyone I met, ideas that were introduced are still in my brain. Spending a few days with nature was perfect but as you can see so inspirational. The colors of the sea, the tasty gonads...ha...it is just so much for my brain to soak up. So, what next you ask, well, time for the City. I had an opening reception in the Mission District. SF is in the middle of an art extravaganza. So, to the CITY!
I am currently showing 16 new paintings in the Mission District in ActiveSpace at the Kathleen McMahon Fine Art Gallery. This new work was a lot of fun to create and brought me back to utilizing drawing in my work. I have a 'Letting Go' series which utilizes my line contour drawing skills in conjunction with my wax. If you are in SF the show is up through November. To check out the work, go here :: KMFA ::
Onward to Open Studios in the Mission. I was with two lively painting creatures :: David Molesky and Micheal Ross :: They are having their open studios on Market Street this weekend. If you are in the SF drop in, these two painters are such a delight and will no doubt have some stories to tell you that will slap a smile on your face and make you think. Arbor Studio is the name and it is filling up with great talent.
At the end of the night I found myself in a sticky little SF bar, dancing to 80's music, in my cowboy boots, never a dull moment.