Now, with one week under my belt, I am starting to understand the magnitude of what I have taken on. I have asked something of myself which I cannot fully envision. This is not unusual for me when starting a painting. But, the longer I am here, the more I realize the sheer number of permutations that exist on this magnificent Pacific Coast. Every direction is teaming with possibilities.
Take the jagged cliffs, for example. The sun moving across the facets makes new patterns continually. They read like hieroglyphics. At one point the rocks on the edge are a huge bird; later, they are a woman, looking out to sea. I understand that years of contemplation might only afford me a glimmer of their truth. But I love trying. I grasp at the shapes with pencil, pen or charcoal. I flush them in with watercolor or pastel.
The ocean has its own vocabulary as well, far beyond what one can pick up in a two-week stay. She growls as she slaps and digs at the rock walls with a heavy thump, thump. Or, she whispers while gliding in softly, little bubbles popping, a gentle whoosh as she wraps her arms around each boulder.
No question that I am enjoying myself immensely. The challenge of capturing a quintessential portrait of this area only fires up my (already continuous) desire to make art. But the luxury of abundant time, without other commitments, allows me to experience this place slowly, using every sense. I am calmed by the ocean's song and happy to suck in big lungfuls of her salty scent. I am honored by the resident eagle, who deigns to land in the tree out my window, surveying his vast territory. As the daylight fades, I am content to snuggle into a soft blanket on the couch with a good book and a cup of hot tea. And, I am hopeful that the answers to my mission will come to me, unbidden, as I work.