Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bodega bay

Face buffed red by wind and sun, I just wrapped up day 2 at the Davis
marine research lab in bodega bay. The class I am Ta-ing in landscape
painting has two 3 day sessions out here. UC owns many acres (80?) of
this coastal land, where they monitor water activity, study invasive
plant species, and come up with various other reasons to place PVC
pipe and little yellow flags in the dirt, water, and rock. Standard
uniform is camouflage pants and waist-high rubber wading boots. .
Everyone looks like a slightly older version of my bio friends from
undergrad - sunbleached, tousled and happy.
Like many other california coastal retreats, bodega bay is actually a
teeny fishing town, dotted with crab shacks, rv parks, and modest
cottages. Its dubious that good coffee may be found. Up and down
highway one, there are places to blow cash on food and drink. On the
ocean, houses fronted with the large plate glass windows face the
stellar coastline. It's east to wonder who can afford to pay rent on
this view.
During daylight, we paint. Today I was lucky to have a couple hours to
get messy as well.
After the ritual of shlepping gear and setting up, Plein air is
veryfun. Health benefits include the perfect ventilation afforded by
outside air. Painting benefits are the full experience of the place-
sun, wind, jetlike pulse of the ocean, changes in view and color..
This immersion in a changing place informs me throught the day. I try
to keep making corrections- not necessarily to recreate the image, but
the feeling of it.
Ive had such a hiatus from painting due to the baby-protection
impulse, that just getting out there is exciting.
The instructor has steered students away from doing "tourist
paintings". I am starting to wonder if the pretty painting is an ok
place to start. What would it look like to do a set of tourist
paintings, and then a set that are not?

1 comment:

janabouc said...

Robin I am totally blown away by your paintings! I followed the link from your generous comments on mine (or was it Flickr?) I really love your work and your writing. The description of plein air painting was so poetic.

I'm excited for you about your upcoming motherhood but sad knowing it will slow your production of paintings for a while. I was a potter before my son was born and was sure I'd keep throwing pots with my baby strapped to my back. Hah! No such luck. It's pretty tough being up to your elbows in sloppy clay with a baby. Do you happen to have a bay area relative named Muffy with the same last name?