Tuesday, May 29, 2007

First I carved a sign (above) in trade for a nice redwood log (below) so that I could carve a mermaid and trade it with a carpenter for a big tool box for my truck.

I worked on the mermaid for an hour every day for a week - in between packing, carving and painting the sign, cat hospital emergencies, and helping Fran move.

Dirk building the tool box.

Every day when I sit outside these little deer come to check me out and stay to graze. So tame.

Now that I'm able to stow all my tools and equipment away safely in the back of my truck, I leave tomorrow morning for Arcata in Northern California. I'm getting a tour of the town's mosaics by Laurel Skye, an amazing mosaic artist. I will take lots of photos (as well as video) and will post them shortly thereafter.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Southern California Roaming

I'm back from my 10 day trial run at traveling in my truck and visiting friends in Southern California and have decided to get rid of most of the stuff I took with me so I don't have to worry about it. Above are my friends Cindy and Paul who live in Big Bear Lake. Cindy is a wonderful reflexologist. I had a session with her and for several days afterwards I could feel every thread in my socks when I walked. I was blissed out by the experience - to me it's the most healing thing there is. I'd been having trouble with a sore heal when hiking and it helped. Paul makes amazing furniture and I shot lots of video footage of him describing it for a future documentary project. Check out his work on his web site: www.pmcmillanwood.com

Next, I headed down to Los Angeles and stayed at my friend Suzy's beautiful place in Echo Park for the week. Suzy and I went hiking in Elysian Park every morning, I got to visit with several old friends I hadn't seen in ages, sold two sculptures to Debrah, Suzy's next door neighbor (below) and spent my last day editing together a shortened version of a video I made on how to carve a horse because Debrah bought that piece too and I wanted to make sure I had everything before I parted with it. There was a big fire in Griffith Park - usually fires start in the fall but things are already too dry. I left my truck's sunroof open the first night and in the morning when I opened the door a big pile of white ashes whooshed out all over me. Constant sirens, helicopters, smoke, 90 degree+ heat, killer traffic. Luckily Suzi's place was very cool and serene. I would run around seeing people in the mornings and come back to siesta in the afternoons or sit outside in her garden (once they got the fire under control). Suzy and her housemate Donna both are digital artists, working for the big studios creating strange effects on screen. Suzy is also a very good painter. Check out her work at www.suzybrown.com - Donna creates digital astrological work you can see at: www.omnicosm.com

I was just going to drive through Ojai on my way up the coast but my old roommate Debbie's name popped into my head - we shared an apartment in 1987 in Los Angeles when she was just starting out as a chiropractor. So, when I stopped there for lunch I called her and ended up having a great weekend. That evening I joined her and her musical brother Sreve and friend Allen when they jammed together (two violins, a flute and me humming along). The next day I spent time with her delightful son Jesse photographing their property which her husband Rick has turned into something very special, then Debbie and I went to a remote canyon and went on a hike. Before we went on the hike she insisted I get an adjustment for my foot - and the pain I'd had in two toes onto which I'd dropped a log years ago went away - it itched like mad the whole next day - but the pain is still gone. That really impressed me. Evidently I'd had scar tissue or something causing the pain and she loosened it up. Now my feet are really ready for walking again. That night we went to a party where a local band (Myridian) showed us their stuff. A great weekend and a very successful trip. Below are some photos: Debbie on the hike, dandelion fluff, a moth on a thistle, Debbie's garden, son Jesse with dog Brody, and their garage with guest house on top. Flowers were everywhere I looked.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Finally Moving On

I originally came to Santa Cruz to carve a tree for someone but it turned out to be totally rotten. Instead I ended up finishing a huge amount of my own work. Fran and Patty have been wonderful during my extended visit to Santa Cruz. By having me caretake their properties I had the time to paint, sculpt, finish my book, make a new hand carved book and finally learn how to use my new digital video camera and editor. Below is a series I've been painting. A new one seems to pop out after something goes down in my life. They are two by four feet, acrylic on masonite. The first one is the only one done so far. The rest, below that, are in various stages of undone. I have to leave them behind while I travel - so far there are nine of them.

I've also been carving what I call my naked ladies so I can get better at doing them. They now take me only a few hours to do. The horse is the result of the first "How To Carve" video I made. I will upload this and some of my other video projects on my new Vlog site soon.

Below is my Torso Table and the Lotus Bench - deck furniture for the new Hen House. I've been helping my friend Fran build her new guest shed, with the help of several consecutive guys (David, Tom and Dirk). We've learned how to build a small building from the piers to the shingles. I now know that I can do it. Now I just have to manifest some land.

We were only able to work on it one day a week - it's a slow process. Below is how it was when I last saw it - ready to have the last of the siding put on and the windows and doors framed in.

This is the book I made for Naomi Rose who did a great job of editing the book I wrote last winter. She was gracious enough to accept part of her fee in barter. The covers are white oak, and the front is carved with the symbol Naomi Rose has on her web site. While helping my friend Fran clean out her garage I found a box of semi-precious stones which I learned had come from India many years ago. Fran gave them to me to use on my books and here is the first one. Carnelians, some faceted like gem stones, others made into cabuchons, along with carved aventurine stars, have been epoxied to the cover. The book is bound with blank, acid free paper.

I went with a friend to the Monterey Aquariam again and this was my favorite shot of the day. I feel that he was trying to tell me something. Well, I'm off to spend the next four or five months traveling around California and the Northwest. I've arranged a few work exchanges in Oregon, Vancouver Island and Washington so I can check out some communities. I will be updating my blog as I travel around.