Monday, December 18, 2006

Life and Death of the Pacific Northwest Salmon

Each year hundreds and thousands of salmon swim from the ocean into freshwater streams in search of their birthplace. Nobody really knows how they find their way back. It is truly one of life's great mysteries. As the salmon begin the long tiring journey upstream leaping over rapids and waterfalls, the process of dying begins. By the time the salmon reach their breeding area several hundred feet about sea level, they are nearly wiped out....and just before dying, a male and female spawn and leave eggs which will hopefully become fry. The baby salmon will eventually make their way down to the sea, and start the whole process over again. There is something about life and death these fish understand, and perhaps we will never know. For us humans, death is something we are mostly afraid of, not something we head toward to bring new life. The salmon of the Pacific Northwest take center stage in my Seastack Chronicles project, maximizing all their efforts to bring a loved one back from the afterlife for one last goodbye. Stay tuned for more updates on Seastack Chronicles...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Waking to Seastack Chronicles

Sometimes for me the best time to paint is the morning. The ideas seem to be fresh and clear, many images coming directly from my dreams. Before going to sleep at night I will make sure the studio is ready to go with a fresh piece of watercolor paper taped down, or a canvas on the easel. It's just about being prepared, like packing the night before a long trip. I start painting right away if I can, then when I'm on the right track I allow myself to make coffee. Many of the ideas for the "Seastack Chronicles" project I am working on come from dreams. This is a panel from S.C. and it pictures an artist in bed, soon to awake and begin painting. I use myself as the main character for this story, but the narrative that is developing is fictional. I do draw on my experiences and fears to build the story but it is not even close to being a biography in any sense. Continue to check back for more posts on Seastack Chronicles, including updates on the music which is being written by Blind Albert, a good friend of mine. The finished project will be available on DVD...eventually. Perhaps in the next year, but we'll just have to take it at the speed the story goes.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Painting in the Dark

Here in the Seattle area we have many large beautiful trees. Add 15 inches of rain and some brisk 80 mph winds and you've got a recipe for some delightful holiday power outages. The loss of the electricity we depend on so much gives us challenges we aren't ready to face, such as cooking and eating all the frozen salmon in the freezer before it goes bad. that challenge is often very enjoyable... When the power goes down it can produce boredom, but I have found it a great time to paint in the studio. With enough candles, you really can see what you are doing (well, we'll see what the painting looks like when the lights come on). I find that painting through these cold dark events, which seem to be happening twice a week here lately, takes my mind away from the boredom and the cold. It's a good way to stay warm (14 candles in a small room can work wonders for heat), and the paint dries pretty quick too.