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.
Umber sunset is painted from one of the most unusually colored skies I’ve ever seen. A dust storm created a dark brown swirling foreground, (rather than the usual beige-out we get when we get a haboob coming through), with creamy gold clouds poking through at the back. I also created a refractured watercolor from this scene. Sadly the 10′ tall creosote bush that stars in the bottom corner is no longer there, it was uprooted when George’s house was built.
A couple with a home in Borrego Springs had an interest in doing a round-the-Salton-Sea tour with a local, getting introduced to all those funky places the locals know about. I was their natural choice. (They’re also clients…)
The prior couple of days we’d had some rockin high temps – 122 and 1% humidity. But on the day – June 21st, we saw the expected drop in temperature and were blessed with clouds.
Lois enjoying the clouds at the ‘beach’ near my house. Some nice fat cumulus, a little virga and some crepuscular rays.
Doug at my ‘Reflecting Pool’. As it were…..
Compare it with the same scene 10 years ago.
Someone got stuck in Box Canyon. I’m sure this was a Monte Carlo, I used to drive one long ago.
The Albert Frey building that is the North Shore Yacht Club still has a beautiful backdrop.
Lois and Bob were comparing this grotto at Salvation Mountain with some shrines they’ve seen in South East Asia. The same feeling!
The ‘back alley’ at Salvation Mountain is a riot of color.
We found nice shade under the ‘bridge to nowhere’. We stepped out of that shade for the photo. It was about 100 F at this point.
Trailer at Salvation Mountain. Perhaps this was Leonard Knight’s former home.
Next stop was the East Jesus Sculpture Garden. Upcycling at it’s finest.
One of the stops you don’t get on your average tour – the green water lagoon. By now it was 106 F so we declined any further stops that involved getting out of the truck.
Those who don’t live in the desert southwest will throw eyebrows up in astonishment at the heat and how us desert rats can tolerate it. We always give the same answer: Oh, but it’s a dry heat.
Yesterday my indoor/outdoor weather sensor gave a perfect example of not only how hot, but also how dry – that’s the figure at the top right.
I’ve kinda stopped believing some of the things this sensor tells me – like the date is wrong again, I really don’t think it’s that humid indoors and it’s always* forecasting rain. Maybe it’s just hopeful. But the temperature was in agreement with the dollar-store thermometer that hangs outside the kitchen window.