I awoke in the dark, head filled with dreams of A-frame cabins becoming mansions and missing my mission for the morning, watching the sunrise! Warming up some tea, donning my head torch and fleece I trudge across camp to the ridge trail. At 6:15 a.m. the dawn air feels like a freshly unwrapped popsicle and the soft greyish-blue light is already filtering over the distant hills. I find a stump as my spectator seat and admire the lights shift from grey to pale pinkish-yellow. My excitement for the actual sunrise wells up in me~ excited for the day, one of my last to spend fully making art in this inspiring place. As the world turns light falls on the mountains behind me and a piercing spark alights on the horizon as the sun welcomes us to another gorgeous day.
The last two days have been filled with marathon art-making. Yesterday the weather finally cleared giving me the full day to do print-making in the field. I had my paper prepped, my charcoal and pencils ready and clear ideas of where I would find the prime beetle trails to use as inspiration. Soon my arms where aching, sweat beading on my forehead and the act of making was surprisingly much more physical and exhausting than I expected. A break to dip my toes in shockingly cold Blue Lake refreshed me for another round to experiment beyond the beetle trails and into the textures of bark, tree rings and charred wood. Unexpected designs, forms and marks filled my paper – some successful others a disaster. It is hard not to judge, but I have been trying my best to let go of outcome and really focus on this opportunity to explore process. To allow myself ourselves to make ‘ugly’ art, as one of the other artists called it, is somewhat liberating and, I think, necessary. Curiosity drives an artist and the only way to feed that and push the limits is to try. Try things that fail, look terrible and then in one instant a discovery is made by accident. A gem in the stack of dull rocks that inspires our souls to keep on creating and making mistakes.
I was reminded I’ve been here over a week with our weekly community dinner last night. I felt much more comfortable in the space, with the people, with myself in this environment. Watching the brilliant stars from the dock after with a fellow artist is beyond rewarding to make that human as well as environmental connection.
Before I go to bed I look at my permanently blackened hands and laugh, remembering the camp name I gave myself at dinner ‘charcoal fingers’. I hope Elizabeth introduces me as that at open studios… tomorrow!