Last night I guided a small group through a paint and wine class at Vanguard Gallery in Moreno Valley. One of my students had already taken classes with me, including the Absolute Beginners class and was happy to work through this painting of winter solstice sunrise across the Salton Sea to hone some of the skills.
We’re doing an underpainting to get rid of the white so in the final painting we’re not strugging with that aspect
We’re painting the sky part of the top coat
It’s easier to paint the bottom of the panel when it’s upside down.
I spent some time in early August hoping we would get rained on, without joy. I was hopeful yesterday too, with a wind coming up from the gulf, but the dessicating desert air all mopped it up and we just got haze.
I watch the nimbus build across the west
a great gray blanket blotting out the sun,
the gathering of storm has just begun –
we need the rain! The cumulus start to crest
off to the south, into great thunderheads.
The tension builds in the electric air.
I bring the lawn chairs in and thus prepare
for wind that might just tear such things to shreds
with its intensity. I know the drill;
stratus accumulate and start to bear down
as if to smother this belittled town –
they’ll rumble, crack and then they’ll start to spill.
The coulds build up as if to promise rain,
but in the afternoon’s heat dissipate again.
I have to say that this was one painting (or pair of paintings) executed under the most hostile of weathers. No, not so much heat, but the desiccating wind. I had to stop on the second morning and go back for a short session closer to dawn on the third day, and then it was a struggle. The good news is that once I’d drawn up the letters, I could quickly go from one side to the other, painting layers, knowing full well that that my start point would be completely dry by the time I returned to it in about 25 minutes. At the end of the second day I had to quit because the paint was drying on the brush. The east side of the boat was too hot to work, and the west side, in the shade and wind, I was shivering. And I still had to figure out how to spray with an acrylic glaze with the UV component – in a stiff breeze.
Nevertheless ‘Poseidon’ has its name on its sides and today will be test launched. Eventually this boat will carry a solar powered pump which will pump water from the Salton Sea into the marina ‘fingers’ in Desert Shores, to maintain the water level and mitigate red agae. Launch day is on Sunday.
I thought for some time that the hole that was dug under the fence at the south corner of my yard was a jack-rabbit construction. The cottontails can get through the chain fence, but not the jack-rabbits, so they would need a way of getting in if they wanted to get some water from the bottom half of the birdbath. But I did begin to suspect that hole was rather larger than jack-rabbits needed. I was right.
This morning I saw a coyote walking down the street outside my window. He glanced over at the birdbath and looked at the water level, then continued along the fence out of sight behind the plants. A moment later indeed he reappeared but did not initially go for a drink.
Maybe he’s curious about the movement of the blinds…
He turned and walked round the house to the west and I lost sight of him – there’s no window on that side of the house. The pigeons, feeding at the back suddenly scattered so I knew he was close. Went back hopefully to the bedroom window and was rewarded. Looks like android movies upload seamlessly to Windows10, so I hope this works for you! I wasn’t able to upload it into my post, but I was able to put it on my website: CoyoteInYard
“The reflecting pool”, probably 2005. The posts seen below are entirely under water.
Supporting the restoration of the Salton Sea and making it stable and renewable is not just for the Sea, it’s not just for me and the sunrises that I paint, it’s for anyone in the US who eats vegetables. Allowing the Salton Sea to dry up will destroy the most fertile farmland in the country.
“The reflection pool”, January 2015
I have not met the star in the movie, but I know some of the production crew! Please support their goal to make a longer movie about Randy’s journey, in order to publicize the need to act now.
“The Reflecting Pool”, January 2016. The posts seen above are to my left.
You can donate on Kickstarter to this project. Please do so.