Lost Treasure From 2017

Every Which Way 2500

“More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has ever been taken from the earth” ~ Napoleon Hill

When I’m out and about exploring interesting and beautiful places with my camera in hand it is not unusual for me to slip into a kind of hypnotic trance and the subjects of my photographs seem to choose me rather than the other way around.  Over the course of a year I can acquire thousands and thousands of Raw images.  As you might imagine I spend hours upon hours scouring through digital files, looking for and developing the creme of the crop while the ones that aren’t quite so obviously great fall through the cracks become forgotten.

oregon textures

Being the creature of habit that I am, as I become introspective about the year that was each December, I pull that imaginary shoe box full of “negatives” from the top shelf of my imaginary closet and I look through them one more time in hopes of discovering lost treasure.  The images in this post are just a few emerging stars from 2017, all taken in late summer at the Oregon coast.

There is always a specific reason that I click the shutter release when I do but sometimes it takes a second or third cutting to remember why.

Hidden Treasure 2500

Magic Momemt 2500

Gravity 2500

Alexander Supertramp And The Great Northwest – Part 3 ~Vancouver Island

Hugging the Shoreline blog

“Hugging Shore”

Something about driving your vehicle onto a ship to cross an international border is intriguing and so we had altered our plans once again to do just that. We arrived in Port Angeles, Washington about two hours prior to departure and had no problem getting a place in line for the popular Black Ball Ferry to Victoria, British Columbia. We even had time for a sit down breakfast at a busy main street diner, an authentic gathering place for working locals who apparently had hearty appetites. The portions were huge and the people watching and eavesdropping was enlightening. We had such a great experience while in coastal Washington that we would have delayed our departure had it not been for the anticipation of what was yet to come.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hello Canada

Nanaimo collage blog

Nanaimo

The 23 mile crossing of the Straight went quickly. After going through customs “drive through” style, we found ourselves being pushed and pulled right through downtown Victoria in the congestion of traffic coming off the ship. It was late in the day and a two hour drive to Nanaimo was ahead of us. We would come back to Victoria another day when we were fresh we thought and we pushed on up the coast highway. Vancouver Island is not small. The main north and south road is over 300 miles long and the highest point is over 7000 feet. The majority of the island is not reachable by road so there is a ton of wilderness. Some doomsayers say that Vancouver Island is not a safe place to live in the event of earthquakes. After seeing how beautiful it is, I say “who cares?”. I’d live there in a heartbeat if circumstances allowed.

On the way to our reserved camp site in Nanaimo, we stopped at a farmers market to replenish our food supply. A small metal building was stocked to the ceiling with locally grown fruits and vegetables, we learned that almost everything grows on the island. In its offerings, this place made Whole Foods look like a small town convenience store. We arrived at our wooded seaside campsite in the late afternoon and we popped up Alexander Supertramp, ate produce for Dinner and turned in for the night. Fires were not permitted due to dry conditions on the island so we laid in bed and read as we discovered that our campground was anything but peaceful. I kid you not, dozens of french speaking children were shouting and screaming at the top of their cute little lungs. They were apparently having the time of their lives at some sort of youth camp nearby. Plans are meant to be changed, right?

We did end up staying in the campground one more night, enduring not only the Mickey Mouse Club but the addition of family reunion next door and one particular woman who never stopped talking. We needed a day of rest anyway and we rode our bikes into town and ate dinner. Nanaimo is a port town, pretty rough around the edges and very industrial. The harbor is a hub of activity with people coming and going by private vessels, ferries and float planes. As the day progressed, we decided that we would leave our reserved campsite and drive to the remote west side of the island in the morning.

Cathederal Grove blog

cathederal quiet blog

Cathedral Grove

I still had warm coffee in my cup as we arrived at Cathedral Grove, an old growth Cedar forest in the interior of the island. We spent an hour or so walking among the giants and snapping pictures, before continuing up route 4 to Port Alberni and the next 60 miles through the wilderness to the coast. The fog was thick when we arrived at a seaside village called Ucluelet and contrary to the rumors we heard, there were campsites available. We pushed on up the coast past Long Beach to the end of the road at Tofino. All of the bonafide campsites in Tofino were taken, reserved months in advance. Fortunately for us, there is a campground there that is something like a hostel for tents and R.V.’s. The rule seems to be that if you can find a place to put yourself, we will gladly accept your $60 and “no we don’t do windows..or bathrooms”. Oddly, it turned out to be the quietest night yet..go figure.

Tofino Dock blog

Tofino Marina

a walk before sunset blog

A Walk Before Sunset

Tofino Green blog

Tofino Sunset

In the afternoon, we rode a couple of Kilometers into the village of Tofino and had sushi on the patio of an Inn. We watched seaplanes coming and going and eavesdropped on a table of four Vancouver “Valley Girls” talking about how they “Soooo had to do this again”. Yea we do a lot of people observing, please don’t judge us for that. After dinner we photographed and pedaled our way back to camp just in time for sunset. The beach at Tofino has dozens of tiny timbered islands just off shore which adds up to fertile subject matter for the photographer. When the golden hour hits and there is that much to photograph, I can take my tripod and become entranced, losing all sense of time. As darkness fell, a crescent moon appeared over the horizon and people huddled around bon fires to stay warm.

"In The Bag"

“In The Bag”

Not crazy about staying another night in a parking lot and having to get up very early in the morning to make the long drive back to Nanaimo, we opted to head back across the island and we found ourselves that night in Qualicum Beach. We had now spent seven nights in a row in Alexander Supertramp and we longed for a hot shower and a running toilet and needed to do laundry, we rented a room for a night. It felt ok to have all the luxury but we both admitted that we missed sleeping in the camper. Early the next morning we headed for the port at Nanaimo to catch our reserved spot on the ferry to Horseshoe Bay on the Canadian mainland. We never did make it back into Victoria but no worries, we know we will go back some day, perhaps we will also go back to Tofino to watch the monster surf during a winter storm.

Moon Island blog

“Crescent Moon Over Tofino”

Alexander Supertramp And The Great Northwest – Part 2 ~ Washington

“Cutting Chase”

When Tammy and I began the process of plotting out the course of this journey back in mid-July, our plan went something like this. Take the fastest route possible from Denver to Portland, spend a day or two exploring the Columbia River Country before zipping on to the Seattle area for two nights to visit a long lost Cousin and an old college friend, two visits that were long overdue. From Seattle we would go to Vancouver Island for three or four nights, then proceed up the Adventure Coast of British Columbia to the end of the road at Bella Coola.  Grizzly Bears eating Salmon or Bust!  Our route back to Colorado would likely be through Jasper and Banff, Alberta. All in all, we had ambitious plans for our 20 day sojourn.

You already know that the wild fires diverted us straight to the coast of Oregon. The best laid plans oft go awry don’t they? After breaking camp at the Kathy Bates rabbit sanctuary, we headed north on 101, anticipating a leisurely coastal drive with lots of stopping. As we progressed however, we began to realize that we had become a little too numb in our coastal euphoria. Dinner had been planned and prepared at the home of our host in Kingston, Wa., and we were anxious to get there. We were trying to fit a seven hour drive into six hours and we kept moving at full pace across the Astoria Bridge into Washington State and then on up the wooded Olympic Peninsula.

good conversation blog copy

“Good Conversation”

gamble bay sunset blog

Gamble Bay Sunset

We arrived at the home of Bruce and Laura at dusk and right away we felt welcomed by their Family and Friends. We ate, drank and visited around a warm fire in the back yard until well after midnight on that perfect late August evening. We were mesmerized by the tranquility of their waterfront property on Gamble Bay and we had our own private campsite in paradise, a level spot for Alexander Supertramp, our tiny condo on wheels. Not surprisingly, we decided we wanted to stay forever but would be lucky enough just to spend one more night there.  As the voice on the GPS says, we found ourselves “recalculating”.

stars over gamble bay blog

Stars Over Gamble Bay

The next morning, Tammy and I walked on to the Shelton to Bremerton Ferry for the 30 minute trip the mainland.  We would meet my Cousin Danny for lunch.  Born less than a month apart, Dan and I were very close growing up. It had been roughly 25 years since we last met and there was a lot to catch up on. I think we were both a bit shocked how much our lives have changed since we last were together, and it felt awkward to say goodbye again so quickly. Somehow, the visit with Dan, just as with my old college friend Laura was a wake up call. It comes with the realization that we aren’t close to a lot of people in this life and we can’t afford to delay the re-connects that really matter.

gamble bay touch and go

Gamble Bay Touch ‘N Go

After catching the afternoon ferry back to Shelton, Bruce handed us life jackets and rowed us out to the “Aksala” (Alaska spelled backward). He paddled vigorously I might add, as the transfer boat was leaking at a fairly steady pace. Bruce and Laura have had many adventures aboard the Aksala, up and down the coast from Alaska to Mexico.  Aboard the Aksala we set out on a private evening sail up Gamble Bay to the edge of the Straight Of Juan De Fuca. It was really special to vicariously experience the life of marine navigation, watching Bruce play the role of the Captain, and Laura the Skipper. That short evening cruise was a bucket list moment for me and I still smile inside when I re-live it in my minds eye.

aksala blog

“Alaska Backward”

Visit Laura and Bruce, Check! Visit Danny, Check! The next morning, we drove to the north tip of the Peninsula, where we were first in line for the Ferry to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Goodbye Washington State copy

Leaving Washington State

Alexander Supertramp And The Great Northwest – Part 1 ~ Colorado to Oregon

Pacific Beach, Oregon

Pacific Beach, Oregon

The concept of the sabbatical is intriguing to me. I suppose in its truest form, every seventh year would be a year of rest and rejuvenation. If you ponder the roots of the notion you will find that they sprout from the Sabbath of the Bible. Imagine what it would be like to let go of our dominant concerns for an entire year in the interest of having new experiences, in the interest of finding a new and better way to approach life. Unfortunately, most of us have been conditioned by our culture to be pacified by occasional vacations, short slots of time that must earn their way onto our busy calendars. Too often, the vacation becomes nothing more than a temporary diversion from the status quo, mere entertainment which is quickly forgotten once we return to our old routines.

Fly By

Fly By

The modern classic “Into the Wild” by John Krakauer tells the story of a young man named Chris Mccandless who’s short life was filled with adventure. Chris lived as though life was one long Sabbatical, even taking a leave of absence from his own identity as he adopted the alias and persona of Alexander Supertramp. His story has long resonated in my own lust for adventure. Recently, my wife and I purchased a truck and pop up camper with the intention of using it to venture into our own metaphorical wilderness. We began planning what would become a 20 day odyssey through the Pacific Northwest. We just returned from a 5000 mile journey that included eight states plus British Columbia and Alberta. Along the way, we dubbed our new rig “Alexander Supertramp”.

hey good lookin blog

Hey Good Lookin’

We left Colorado on August 12th, symbolic I suppose in that it was the one year anniversary of my Father’s death. I wore his wrist watch every mile of the way if to somehow take him with us. For those who might be completely oblivious, much of the Northwest is on fire this summer as the result of extreme draught. On our second day out, the interstate highway was closed from Boise, Idaho to the Washington State line. Our planned route through Portland was dashed and we detoured directly to the Oregon Coast with the intentions of being able to breath again, it worked.

pacific beach cliffs blog

Pacific Beach Cliff

gul 3 blog

Soaring

pacific beach wave play blog

Time To Play

gulls on beach blog

People Watching

bringing in the dory blog

Bringing In The Dory

We were almost giddy upon our arrival at Pacific Beach, Oregon. The Air was fresh and cool and humid and we spent the afternoon exploring the dunes and cliffs along the spectacular shoreline. The campground was filled with hundreds of wild rabbits and the hostess oddly reminded me of the actress Kathy Bates. Our closest neighbors talked long into the night about somewhat personal family matters, making Tammy and I flies on the wall as we tried not to listen from our bunk, just a few short feet away. We awoke to the sounds of the Dory boats revving their engines as they prepared to embark for a day of fishing and we smiled as we learned how to set up and break down camp, something we would be doing a lot of in the coming days.

Namaste

Wishing You A Warm Holiday Season From Our Little Island To Yours! (9"x12") acrylic on canvas

Warm Holiday Wishes  From Our Little Island To Yours!
(9″x12″) acrylic on canvas

Just over three and a half years have passed since I pressed the publish button for ArtSpiritVillage.com for the very first time. In May of 2011, I was a youthful 50 year old man who was deliberately turning the page to a new chapter, coming out of the closet to announce to the world “I Am An Artist”. At that time (youth is so innocent), I likely had visions of Virality Dancing In My Head. Perhaps the Blogosphere would quickly embrace me, thus paving the road to success with cobbles of gold. When I rewind my memory to that time I can almost see myself clicking on publish, then glancing at the second hands on my watch to see if I got noticed yet. I can still remember the anticipation. When would things begin to change? I remember feeling vulnerable as a person who gravitates toward introversion. “How would I cope with all of the fame”? We all know where this story is going, “The best-laid plans of mice and men, often go awry” (Robert Burns). To Date my blog boast a mere 208 followers and at times it amazes me that I have that many. Do the math and you’ll see that 66 posts in 3.5 years equals roughly 1.65 posts per month, I haven’t exactly been relentless in my output.

Today, I’m much more realistic about my blogging ambitions. I now realize that a blog is not an end but the means to an end. A blog is not a destination, it’s a journey. A blog is about reaching-out and making contact with other people who are also striving for personal improvement but it is also very much about reaching-in and discovering what it is that excites me and makes me want to create. A blog is as much about listening and learning as it is about showing and telling. For me, Art Spirit Village is what keeps me from being isolated on my own little island of ambition and somehow it keeps me connected to the power of the universe. If you have your own blog, what have you learned and how have you benefitted from it.

To my 208 followers and to all who visit I say Namaste (I bow to the divine in you).   Have a Joyous Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year.

Summer Interrupted

Denver's Washington Park on 12/14/14

Yesterday’s Snow at Denver’s Washington Park

Life is full of disruptions and at times its difficult to find the peace that I need to focus on the work at hand. I’m not referring to minor distractions like the phone ringing or having to walk the dog. I’m referring to the major detours that must be negotiated before we find our way back to our intended path. At the risk of sounding cliche, Shit Happens. It seems that we are constantly dealing with our own issues or those of others who are close to us. Illness, Injury, Death…Relationships, Heartbreak, Worry, Grief…these are all just part of life. When faced with the debilitation of his final year or so of life, my Dad coined the phrase “this is no place for wimps”, how right he was. So just as the Winter interrupts Summer, our path to fulfillment will undoubtedly wind through fields of thorns. It’s our job to over overcome.

Lately I’ve established a pattern of painting each subject in series of three. Hey, if its worth painting once its worth painting again, and again and again. I have been using my own video clips to transport my consciousness from the cold Colorado winter to the endless summer of Hawaii. This is how I’m finding the inspiration for new compositions. Virtual Plein-Air Painting if you will, pardon the oxymoron. In this series I’m trying to portray the constant motion of the sea and the personality of this stilt legged shore bird as he pursues his next meal in the tide pools.

I’ll leave this post with two quick questions. Are there any bird lovers out there who might help me identify the species of this agile little guy? How do you shake off life’s interruptions to re-gain your focus on your work?

Shore Dance II (9"x12") acrylic on canvas

Shore Dance II (9″x12″) acrylic on canvas

Shore Dance (9"x12") acrylic on canvas

Shore Dance (9″x12″) acrylic on canvas

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Shore Dance III – Coming Soon

Little Fish – Big Pond

"Winter Waves At Shark's Cove" (12x24) acrylic on canvas

“Winter Waves At Shark’s Cove” (12×24) acrylic on canvas

How big is the Pacific Ocean you ask? A quick google search will remind you of some of the interesting facts that you likely learned in Elementary School. The Pacific Ocean is Freaking Huge! It is the largest body of water on Earth, twice as big as the distant second place Atlantic. One third of the Globe’s surface is covered by it and at its deepest point, the Mariana Trench reaches as far below the surface as commercial jets fly above it.  Mankind first explored these depths a mere nine years prior to setting foot on the Moon! Twenty-four men have been on or very close to the moon. In contrast only three humans have ever experienced the deepest valley on the Earth’s surface. In 1960, the Swiss Oceanographer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh became the first men to accomplish the feat yet there names don’t sit at the tip of our tongues as does Neil Armstrong’s. Quite interestingly, only two years ago the third man to literally bump into the sand at the bottom of the trench was filmmaker James Cameron , producer and director of The Abyss, Titanic and Avatar. News of Cameron’s endeavor was unfortunately trumped by comparatively trivial political and socioeconomic headlines in 2012.

Yes, The Pacific Ocean is big and so is the contrast between painting my expressions of Hawaii as opposed to the small mountain lakes and streams of Colorado. One thing I know for sure is that I am compelled to paint how water looks and feels to me. Thanks to those who gave suggestions and comments on my last blog post. My painting “Winter Waves at Shark’s Cove” is as complete as it will be. There are things that I like about it and things that I don’t but it is what it is and it is time to move on.   The painting below was my second attempt to capture the scene. Which one do you like better and why? What are you compelled to create or express?  I’d love to hear from you.

"Winter Waves At Shark's Cove II" (10"x20") acrylic on canvas

“Winter Waves At Shark’s Cove II” (10″x20″) acrylic on canvas

Trials And Errors In My Quest For Light and Life

sharkswavebuild 10x20

Waves crash into the reef at Sharks Cove on the North Shore of Oahu. Captured on video in 2011.

In all of my contemplations thus far as a painter, I have come to understand that the introduction of light is the most important element. Light is the top coat, the finisher, and ever so integrated in the story being told. Composition of the large shapes, the establishment of tonality and a focus on the essence of the subject matter are all important, but without light a painting will never be complete.

So how do I go about transforming my results to add light and life to my work? Fortunately, I am enrolled as a student at HKU (hard knock university). At 54, I don’t have time to waste with a more formal education so I scour the world of art through observation and I soak up inspiration like a sponge. I owe so much to the internet and as long as Kim Jong Un doesn’t “take it out” (and I don’t mean to dinner), I will continue to do so.   Currently, I’m learning about under paintings and glazings and I’m doing a lot of experimentation in hopes of achieving more vibrant results.

Have a gander at this unfinished work and give my your honest feedback if you will. The foam in the foreground in particular is what I’m struggling with. Do you like the hint of cotton candy? should I transform the hue one way or another?

Work In Progress - Winter Waves at Sharks Cove

Work In Progress – Winter Waves at Sharks Cove






Random Notions of Art and Life

Makeup's Beach Oahu (12 x 24) acrylic on canvas

Makapu’u Beach Oahu (12 x 24) acrylic on canvas

We live in a world that is constantly changing. At times, we take comfort in the knowledge that everything is temporary. It helps us look around and beyond the unpleasant obstacles in life and gives us hope that we will find something better. On the flip side however, the evolving nature of the universe makes us feel small, insecure and fearful of losing that which now gives us a feeling of joy, comfort and safety. The longer we live, the more we come to understand how quickly and dramatically the tide can shift. We must learn to ebb and flow with the rhythms of fortune, lest we live in fear of the nature of life.

How unpredictable is life? Did you ever think that Bill Cosby had…questionable morals? How could Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams leave this world so soon? When we were children, did we dream that skyscrapers would reach so high?  Did we anticipate that one day we would watch them fall to the ground on a beautiful September morning?  We have to take the bad with the good, no matter who we are, no exceptions.

I think a lot people in my age group have given themselves permission to become students once again.  At 54 years old, I am immersed in the process of learning about art and thus about the ways that I might express myself through it. I am compelled to create something less temporary than myself. I am compelled to create something that will help the viewer hope more and fear less. If my work outlives me by even a day it will have been worth all the effort.

Makapu'u Cloudburst (12x24) acrylic on canvas

Makapu’u Cloudburst (12×24) acrylic on canvas

I Survived The Autumnal Shift

scottstudio

Saying goodbye to Summer has always been hard for me and this year was no exception. Actually, I start slipping toward the inevitable melancholia of the Autumnal Shift as early as July 4th some years, Why? Perhaps that is when I am reminded that the exhilaration of Spring will soon give way to the mortality of another seasonal cycle. Hey, it’s not as though I’m in a continual state of depression, so please read on and don’t write me off prematurely as a downer! Fortunately, …Oddly, the Autumnal shift always ends around the first of November. As though a loud snapping of the fingers or perhaps or a proverbial slapping of the face awakens me into a more positive consciousness. I let go of what was and I embrace what is, and what will be. I welcome what is for me, the time of year that my creative spirit is most alive.

Lately, I have become immersed in the warmth and beauty of Hawaii, even though I’m in Colorado. Rather than painting mountain streams and waterfalls, rather than bringing to life snowy scenes I find myself compelled to capture the essence of the beach, the ocean and the waves. Transporting myself to this alternate reality is made somewhat easier with the aid of the extensive photo and video library that I have accumulated in recent years. The walls of my new spacious studio are beginning to fill up with compositional studies of the Mid-Pacific. As an artist, it feels good to be growing once again.