Friday, May 22, 2009

Sunset on Mudflats

pastel on archival sanded paper, 9x12 in.

Lately, I've been busy trying to reclaim my neglected garden and ready it for planting, deal with a broken sump pump hose (flooding said garden), and other domestic pursuits. Evenings, I've begun sorting through boxes of old photos in an attempt to organize and label. My love of landscape began long ago, so there are lots of photos of places I spent time at. Some were of a place I used to take my kids to camp, on the Oregon Coast, near Cannon Beach.

Daytime, mudflats at full ebb can look pretty drab. But there are times that bring out the astonishing beauty that mudflats have: days with light mist, sunsets, moonlit evenings. In the summer, the Pacific Northwest coast often has stupefyingly brilliant sunsets. I found several photos I'd taken of one particularly stunning sunset, and began to visualize a pastel painting. Yesterday was too hot to work outside, so I got out my pastels for the first time in nearly a year. I wanted to try to express both the brilliance and the serenity of this place at that particular time. I think I came close.

Esoterica: for the last two weeks, little bitty black ants have been trying to establish a nest in my mailbox (an old-fashioned rural box on a post). Leaving the door open worried them enough that they would scurry to remove all the eggs and larvae, but then the next morning, or the next rainy day, they would be back.

Day before yesterday, after they had finished evacuating, I sprinkled geranium oil inside (it works to deflect skeetos). This morning the box is empty. I don't know if it was the oil, or if it was because yesterday was 90 degrees and the mailbox is a black oven. Hope it is the oil, as it is cooling down, and, frankly, it is guilt inducing to realize I have assumed the role of natural disaster in the ant universe.

This is not something I am likely to paint. Or maybe...