Wherein the artist becomes the featured dish in the convection oven of life.
As you know, or as you may have gathered from my constant whining about overcast skies, Pacific Grove suffers from a lack of sun in the summer months. So what a surprise when one day we have a heat wave* featuring all the ingredients of a heat wave, some good, some bad. Regrets for having worn jeans and a dark shirt is bad. Beautiful women and children on the beach is good. But first, the first painting of the day, at Lovers Point. Lovers Point? It is not known for sure whether the name was originally Lovers of Jesus, since Pacific Grove was originally a church summer camp, or lovers in the sense of…lovers. I am okay with both combined into one. In any case, I went to Lovers Point and was drawn to a lovely cypress, not the looming kind. This one towers.
Despite the fact that it was getting hotter and hotter, and the fact that I was, as usual, facing right into the sun, the cooling grass and the shade of another tree that I was hiding in made the experience reasonably pleasant. I was getting warm but nothing compared to what was going to happen in another couple of hours. In the meantime, I was badgered by a persistent man on a riding mower who was mowing that green expanse and insisted on coming closer and closer to me without regard. I finished just in time to avoid getting my toes mowed.
I packed up and moved on, riding my bike away, but not going far at all as the cove at Lovers Point caught my eye. It was full of color, children, buckets, umbrellas, young mothers, and beach blankets. This was just too much life to pass up and, not having gone 200 feet, I pulled over and unloaded my painting gear and made my way down the steps to the cove.
Just behind the sun bathers, the children and young mothers in this joyous scene, is a stone platform backed by stone walls. All of this stone work is ancient work, decades of formalizing the cove at Lovers Point into a workable place to swim and sun bathe. I picked the platform to set up and was in the middle of setting up when I realized that I’d chosen basically the vortex of a convection oven. The combination of stone walls, platform, brilliant white sand before me, and beyond that, the sparkling sun on the water, created a focal point of solar energy. You could boil water where I was standing.
For a moment I regretted and fretted. Then, I thought, what if I paint very fast? AND, I will have to wear my dark glasses. If I paint fast and wear my dark glasses, not my reading glasses which I normally wear when painting, the worst that could happen is that I will get a pretty decent sunburn just before I pass out from the heat. Deciding to take a chance, and realizing that it really was a possibility that I could pass out from being the main dish in a microwave oven of love, Jesus or not, I set to work painting blind, only guided by the color and the fear of heat stroke.
I’m happy to say that when I finished, packed up, and climbed up out of that oven of art, I ran into some friends and, at the beach grill, ordered a very tall orange soda that revived my parched person. Here is the 14″x11″ that I painted called “Mothers and Children at the Cove”…
*Yes, I admit, it only got up to 81 degrees but, when you are used to 50s month after month, this is a heat wave.