My Problem/Not My Problem … To Fix

In this two minute video, an MFA student makes a very wry observation about problems. You can watch it here. This statement is fraught with meaning — meaning about art, about life, about how you go about defining your place in this world.

Palette Scrapings

This post is part of a series on the current 2015 MFA Thesis Exhibition. Each post is authored by a graduate of Washington University’s Graduate School of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. An interview with Addoley Dzegede is also featured in Class Acts.

Foundations

founˈdāSH(ə)n/

noun
plural noun: foundations

  1. the lowest load-bearing part of a building, typically below ground level.
  1. an underlying basis or principle for something.

foundations_door.jpgI start with the beginning because it is the basis. I start with a foundation because of all that it may mean to you, and all that it means to me. It is something to build on, and something worth building. And then I pluralize it because there is no single source. There are multiple ways to tell the story. Foundations is meant to engage you in a process of discovery, but if you look behind…

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Charcoal Sachet — What is This?!

 

3b

I am continuing to teach myself to work with inks. This is just a doodle from my 2015 sketchbook. The paper, though of good quality, doesn’t allow me to completely capture the quiet energy of the piece. Still, it comes close, considering that this is just a doodle. Later on I will expand and expound on the subject matter on cold press paper (from either Strathmore or Arches). As of now the work is untitled but the three elements are a rosebud, an owl and several destroying angels (mushrooms) that I came across on a hike up on Russian Ridge, over by Skyline Boulevard and Alpine Road.

3I was thinking that maybe I could do the owl in charcoal, but am not sure yet. I may stick to using  inks only for this piece. Still, if you want to learn about the latest innovations in charcoal, watch this five-minute video about the charcoal sachet. I had no idea this thing existed, or that there were innovations in charcoal use! Thank you Rosemary & Company for introducing EdgePro and its products in your last newsletter.

 

Some Kind of Adventure This

UntitledSeal Adventures draws many visitors to Ano Nuevo State Park but there is a lot more to this park than the carrying-ons of elephant seals. Just the other morning as I walked towards the Cove Beach area of the park I came across the following scene:

2-oh boy, somebody's dinner

Oh boy, I’d say somebody had a lovely meal. Who? My guess is the bob cat who lives near the pond above Cove Beach, Here he is below. I wonder if he thinks he is camouflaged and we can’t see him? Nice try you; we see you.

AnoNuevo-BobCat-DCruz
Ano Nuevo bob cat, photo credit: D. Cruz

1/31/2015 – Update

Here is another photo of our Ano Nuevo bob cat. I think he’s saying, “What are you looking at?” And then, with real New York City attitude he is saying, “You lookin’ at me? Huh? You lookin’ at me, punk?”Untitled

Bob cat on Cove Beach trail, December 2014. Photo credit: Joan Teitler, Ano Nuevo Docent Naturalist

If you’d like to see some seal adventures online, visit Ano Nuevo’s Facebook page and watch this one minute video of an elephant seal in “the wallows.” Awww, look at his flippers!

Down By the Bay, East Palo Alto Way

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From bay to landfill to garbage dump, to boatworks and now, back to bay.

Efforts are afoot to restore the area in front of Cooley Landing in East Palo Alto. Cooley Landing was once a wharf in the now defunct town of Ravenswood. The entire landing is made of landfill and is owned by the City of East Palo Alto. It was opened/reopened in 2012.

The area directly in front of Cooley Landing, was held for quite some time by POST (the Peninsula Open Space Trust); it has now been entrusted to the MROSD (Mid-Peninsula Open Space District). Only recently opened, this section of Ravenswood Preserve is also a part of the Bay Trail. Restoration continues on this area and will continue for years to come. In the meanwhile, the Bay slowly heals itself: marshes, tidal flats and wildlife are returning to the area.

To enter this section of Ravenswood Preserve and Cooley Landing, take Bay Road in East Palo Alto. Drive past an industrialized zone. The road here becomes riddled with potholes but once you enter the preserve, the roads are paved and in excellent condition suitable even for wheelchair access.

These open spaces, Ravenswood and Cooley Landing, include portions of the Bay Trail. The view here is incredible. Signs of wildlife, especially birds, are evident. So too, are remnants of garbage, including discarded tires. Still, revitalization of the space continues. This is not just a boon for flora and fauna. It also provides more open space for the residents of East Palo Alto and beyond.

Additional Information:

Sunrise, Sea Caves, and Low Tide

photo 2 (1)EXPLORING WHAT WE PROTECT AT ANO NUEVO
South Point & Cove Beach on 5/18/2014 (tide, -1)

The things you see when the tide is at minus one is simply amazing: life in tide pools; life, shells and fossils on rocks and in caves; a fossilized whale vertebrae atop a rocky promontory; and huge rocks and logs pushed up against the back of walls inside of caves (that you know will some day undermine the foundation of the cave and then the whole thing will come crashing down!). Simply amazing.

The first four photographs are mine. The slideshow set is courtesy of fellow docent, Cindy Rocha. She uses a professional camera; my photos are from my trusty iPod 4. Enjoy!

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Crazy Weekend at Ano Nuevo

Image
Elephant Seals at Ano Nuevo (photo credit: Tom Mangan)

Oh boy! This weekend at Ano Nuevo State Park was super crazy. Yesterday I led two hikes and today I led two more. Each hike is four miles round trip. I hiked 16 miles over mostly sand and dunes. That is normal for me — I lead hikes (as a volunteer naturalist) at the park. This is Ano Nuevo’s busiest season: The adult elephant seals are ashore birthing, breeding and mating.

Who’s in Charge?

The elephant seals delighted us with their antics as they moved around, inadvertently penning us in. One group of hikers got trapped for a while atop what we call High Willow, a prime elephant seal viewing area. Oh, don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. The park rangers gave the go ahead for the group before mine to enter the High Willow viewing area. Then when I arrived with my group about 15-minutes later, the elephant seals had blocked the path. Federal law mandates that we not be within 25 feet of the animals. I couldn’t, therefore, take my group up to High Willow and the group that was already there couldn’t get back down. The seals were in charge.25 feet back warning

Equal Access Boardwalk
Then there was the business with the equal access boardwalk that some of us slaved over this summer as we got it ready for this current season. Yesterday I was able to lead hikes out to that viewing spot. But today? Not at all. The rangers had to close off entry to the boardwalk because the animals had taken it over! I guess they’re saying to themselves, “Silly humans! It’s accessible to us but not to you!” I am sure happy to see the seals doing so well and taking charge of their habitat. Too bad though, that the wheelchair visitors couldn’t really get to see much of the seals’ carrying-ons.

If you are interested in learning more about the elephant seal hikes, click this link for a short overview: Ano Nuevo by Every Trail. I do not agree with the writer that the seals “aren’t pretty.” I say, I say, they are just as gorgeous as my sea cows that roamed the sea on the south coast of Jamaica. Soooo cute!

***** ***** *****

Some previous posts on elephant seals and Ano Nuevo State Park are listed below:

https://wewerenothing.org/2013/01/06/ode-to-a-northern-elephant-seal/

https://wewerenothing.org/tag/elephant-seals/

pre-Hike: Long Ridge Open Space Preserve

poppy up close
last of the summer blooms (California poppy)

If you are going to lead a good hike, it’s best to scope out the terrain a little before the actual hike. Today I did just that, in preparation for an upcoming group hike, and noted the following:

Construction going on along Peters Creek Trail. It should end tomorrow. The creek is nearly one hundred percent dry. In the air, there is the pervasive smell of coyote bush and bay trees.

Some things seen and heard:

  • red berries hanging from vines (photo attached)
  • fall leaves, colors of yellow and red
  • I didn’t see any apples on trees (too early???)
  • lots of bird calls/songs
  • healthy ferns but moss on trees all dried up, and like the creek, in need of water
  • fish (gold??) and turtles in Jikoji’s pond
  • lots of freshly dropped acorns on ground
  • about four rather large deer grazing under huge oak tree, a little before Stegner’s bench (photo of oak attached — how big is this?!!!)
  • around mile four, I finally saw some flowers (a total of about 3 lilac colored ones) and one lone golden California poppy in the grass in front of Stegner’s bench
  • trails are all dusty, but no tracks except for those of dirt bikes and horses
  • no newts or salamanders seen (because creek is mostly dry — hope they migrated to the pond)
  • wild rose bushes, yellow in color (is this their fall clothes?) but nary a rose! (not the time of year for flowers?? (Photo of roseless rose bushes attached).

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