Diving In

Wherein the artist throws caution to the wind and paints fast, before the frogmen come out of the sea…

Early morning gave us the gift of gray skies, yet again. The sun of yesterday gone, the thoughts of the rainy season, winter, looming. Yes, it is far from winter, and yet a gray day makes one think ahead, planning for wetter days. Perhaps a wet suit would be in order…

I went to the studio to try to make some sense of the disarray I had left it in, while, in the back of my mind, I thought I’d give the skies a chance to clear. Puttering around in the studio, listening to NPR, drinking a cup of coffee from the local cafe, all these are pleasant, meditative things. Spending a couple of hours thus meditative, I was happy enough. But I did prepare my plein air gear for the moment that I knew would come.

One moment the gray light diffused through the gauzy curtains of my studio windows and the next moment a sparkle of brightness crackled on the wooden floor and I was aroused from my meditative, puttering state of mind. Thrown in to action by the triumph of the sunlight over the cloudlight, I quickly hauled the gear downstairs and bungeed canvas bags of paint and medium, and my half-box French easel to the the bike, strapped on my helmet and headed toward the one place I knew the sun would be fullest, Monterey.

I ended up stopping along the way at the beach where scuba-diving schools train their frogmen to enter and exit the sea. Specifically, I set up near the cannery divers memorial statue, a nicely done bronze of an old-fashioned diving helmet of the early 20th century.

As it was getting to be around noon, I really painted fast, enjoying a certain freedom in mixing sloppily and slathering it on the board in a very free style. This has worked for me before, worked in the sense that it felt good; I can’t vouch for the quality of the paintings. But I had a sense of liberation and yet a feeling of being guided by an inner artist, someone or something beyond me, that took the brush, or rather, allowed me to use the brush to follow its urgings as if funneling the flow of my work down a free-running stream of happiness. In short, it felt pretty good. After all, the sun was shining, the bay was blue, the wind was minding itself for once, and I had a sense of control. “Control” isn’t the way to put it really. The truth is, I just dived in, like those crazy frogmen, not knowing what they might find in the murky waters of this crazy life. Here is what I found…

"The Divers' Beach"

"The Divers' Beach"


Here’s the video of the whole day…

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