Sunday, July 20, 2008

Painter's Block

I got a good comment on my last blog, saying I should just make up my mind and do it--get to painting that is. I think that's true, but for me the snag seems to be that I make up my mind at night that I will do art the next day, and when the day arrives, I can't seem to think of how to proceed. So odd.

I've decided I need to give myself a specific project to do, and a time frame in which to do it. The blank feeling that assails me when I want to do art must be a lack of specificity of purpose. I'll do something small, something that will feel like a "first step", with the hope that it will take me on a long journey. I have been wanting to do a painting of California Poppies blooming by the water at Laguna Lake here in San Luis Obispo, where I live. It will be a small canvas, something I can do in a short time.

My friend and I used to walk at Laguna Lake Park until we switched to Bob Jones Trail, because it was so much easier underfoot. At Laguna Lake we saw so much beauty: growing things, flowers, mountains in the distance, all sorts of birds and little animals, and of course, the lake itself.
I saw my first Great Blue Heron there. He was standing in the rushes in shallow water hoping to snag a fish. I marveled at his size as he waited, utterly still. Suddenly something spooked him, and I watched in awe as he took off, rising above the water on those enormous blue wings. What a beautiful sight!

There were ducks of several kinds, cormorants, all sorts of geese, including Canada Geese, sometimes even domestic fowl, such as chickens and guinea hens, and of course the ubiquitous gulls. There are always gulls. These birds all coexisted amicably, as far as we could tell, but sat about on the grass, went into the water, or searched for insects in homogeneous groups, which led me to wonder how birds tell themselves apart. I don't know. Sometimes there were doves, and we were enchanted one day when a dove flew down and stopped right at our feet. It didn't seem to be at all afraid, and just waited there for a few minutes in a companionable way before it finally flew off.

On one walk, we saw a ground squirrel by the path up on his haunches eating something off the top of a plant. As we watched, he suddenly fell backwards, and then picked himself up looking very surprised and rather embarrassed. But, not having finished his feast, he got back up on his haunches again and started nibbling. Apparently his enthusiasm got the best of him, and again he lost his balance and fell backwards. This time he looked mystified and even more embarrassed, but after a little shake of his head, got up and tried again. He was a very persistent ground squirrel, and we were impressed by his pluck. The last we saw of him, as we went on our way, he was happily, and this time successfully, munching the top of the plant.

One of the sights I loved each year was the California Poppies blooming at the edge of the grass by the Lake, silhouetted against the blue water. So I will make this my first project, the thing I will do this week, and will commit to posting on my blog by next Saturday, July 26. I hope that anyone who reads this blog will be sure to stop by and check on me to see if I succeed in carrying out my good intentions.

No comments:

Post a Comment