Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adios Santa Cruz

Fran's deck table "Delicious Nude"
,(6'x4') above

This post has turned out to be about my Naked Lady experiences. It wasn't planned, mostly I was just trying to finish a painting series I'd begun in 2006, then ever since I came back to caretake the mountain house for Patti I've been wanting to make a video called "How To Carve A Naked Lady", and for several months I've been painting my friend Fran's deck furniture and the last piece was the large slatted table and for some reason I just "saw" a naked lady in the middle of a salad. Fran liked my idea immediately. Below are five of the paintings and a video.

How to Carve a Naked Lady
Some day when I'm in a woodcarving situation again I want to do my How to carve a Naked Lady video all over. This was a quick and dirty.

Sym's beautiful glasswork

I received an email from a guy who had been to the Los Angeles Zen Center and had seen the large carving I'd done of Quan Yin for them. He tracked me down via the internet and long story short, Alex (artist name Sym) was driving back to Portland where he lives and wanted to meet me. On the day Sym was scheduled to drive through town, I invited him to a holiday potluck the Santa Cruz Vegan Group puts on every Thanksgiving at the Peace Center. We had a nice dinner - the food is always great - then Sym took me to his car to show me his beautiful glass work. Wow! Although he's a scientist, his "hobby" is making these beautiful pieces, of which he gave me three. We are hoping to collaborate on work when I get up that way in the spring. Below are two of the pieces he gave me, which I've made into necklaces. The first is his handmade glass octopus pendant, which I made with jade and amethyst beads and the second one I made with glass beads from India.

Moving on

I was literally going crazy living alone up in the mountains for a year. It allowed me to do a lot of mountain hiking, make art, write and design a new book, and edit my first documentary, but I was very lonely. I've decided to give up being a caretaker in lonely places. I'm finally getting Social Security - got my first payment this month - yahoo. I've been living by caretaking people's remote properties and selling my art for a long time and having a little bit of regular income (however small) is going to be a huge help. From now on I'm going to find work exchange deals where a nice living situation is included, but there will be other people around. Anyway, I gave notice to Fran and Patti and they have installed their friend Gregg in as the new caretaker. I'll miss the kitty cats but I don't miss the isolation and loneliness.

Actually I made some good friends on the mountain, in the end, but all are very busy people with little time. Laurie, my hiking buddy, inspiration, and a creative good soul. Phillips, a young genius, budding filmmaker, and spiritual friend who travels the world doing work exchanges and long documented hikes. Toni who edited my newest book and now owns some of my carvings. And especially Fran and Patti have been very supportive. I've been staying with them in their Santa Cruz house finishing up some painting projects. Below are just a few of the photos I've shot of Fran's house and gardens.

Fran's garden

Fran's Bee Hives

Some of the painted deck furniture

Camera Burp/Fart
I hadn't used my camera for a while and when I took the first shot of Fran's garden this is what I got. I loved it.

Backyard Goddess Yucca Tree

Sunrise in Santa Cruz

Fran and Patti's Chicken Shed
The story behind this is going to be the beginning of my documentary on Bartering and Work Exchanges. Fran wanted to get my truck fixed up to make sure it wouldn't break down on me during my journey. It's a Toyota and runs great, but it's getting older. So we made a deal. I painted her chicken shed and in exchange she got a mechanic to change my oil, give me a total tune up, new brakes, and a clutch. My truck drives like a dream now and in the spring Fran is buying three chickens who will be housed in this converted shed. What a great way to start my documentary. After visiting my sister Janice in Hermosa Beach (and shooting footage in Bel Air where I did a three year work exchange) I will be doing a work exchange at a community building alternative housing outside of Tucson, then slowly wend my way up the coast doing work exchanges that end in Eugene, Oregon. I'm finally getting that excited feeling I get when I begin these kind of journeys. I will be updating my travel blog as I go along.

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