Sunday, November 20, 2011

California the Beautiful

I am a third generation California native, which means that this incredibly luscious and diverse state has always been somewhat taken for granted by me, and the family I was raised with.  Camping, who wants to go camping?  Yuck.  Let's watch a movie instead.  But, as I have been paying more and more attention to the beauty of color arrangements, shapes, and form in nature to inform my own paintings, I have come to love my amazing state more and more.  I can change scenery drastically from hour to hour in the car, giving me amazing variety.  Also, now that I live in a city, there is only so much nature I can appreciate in people's yards, and it takes a field trip to really open my eyes to all the sublime stuff that surrounded me for my entire childhood in the foothills.  Not that I'm going to go all Back-to-the-Land on you, as I was forced to do from ages 9-14 by living off the grid, but when I go on vacation, I tend to take more reference material from the backyards I am in.  Here are some pics which might not be the greatest photographs in and of themselves, but I can use them for the color, form, and the perfect imperfections of nature for my artwork.

South Lake Tahoe
My family has a condo on the lake in Tahoe, which I spent many a family vacation visiting.  It wasn't until my dad took over the schedule from my grandparents that I was able to rent it out with my friends and really have fun exploring instead of playing cards with my cousins or something equally banal.

The first time I have ever been in a canoe!

We did a lot of lounging, too, (Julie, Mark, and Michelle).

Checking out tree textures
I love the color of this moss
We got some pedal boats and rode around on a breezy day

Julie, the forrest queen 
Hamming it up on my rock pedestal

Nevada City
On another mini-adventure, I went to visit my mom up in Nevada City, CA, where I spent my late teens and early 20's.  Here especially, I lived for years without ever exploring the lake up the road, and rarely visiting the magnificent Yuba River because I hated hiking up and down to the water and back.  I always thought all rivers looked like that, with giant boulders that look like the remnants of an alien planet.  I also thought that all air was that sweet, and the noise of crickets at night and the sights of millions of stars in the sky were, well, everywhere in the world.  Boy was I wrong.  Living in Oakland can make a girl crazy for winding trails, lost highways, and looking up into the night.

My mom's all-wood craftsman house.  I stayed in the room with the circular window and made my zines and dreamed of a city life.
I took one of the dogs on a trail.  It was the same trail we used to go down from the park to drink beer when we were all underage.  It sure looks different in the daytime!

More cool moss on big granite rocks
I love the texture of this fuzzy caterpillar with the shiny river rocks

Sundown at the lake by my mom's house

A man-made lake.  It looks like it's from another world.

A trail above the Yuba River, shot by my mom
I like this weird fungus on the trees
Look at the beautiful color of this acorn!  A dark blue-purple and a warm earthy yellow.  It's exactly this kind of natural dynamic color relationships I keep trying to drill into my watercolor classes.

The South Fork of the Yuba
My little bro, Greg, and his moppet dog, Willis walked on the trail with us
Some giant mushrooms and lush foliage
Lots of wooden bridges and the beginning of Fall colors
Down at the aqua-colored river
The beautiful shapes of the boulders, carved by glaciers so many years and years ago
I'll be back for Thanksgiving!

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