"Lotus Aloe Walk" Pastel on Canson Paper, 25" x 29"
For me, art both heals and demands courage. It gives voice to that which is felt but unspoken, either out of choice or necessity. It gives one freedom to stretch beyond one’s own experience or condition. I am continuing to enjoy “painting” in chalk pastel. Lately, I gravitate to the Canson Papers in neutral tones; sand, oatmeal, stone, taupes, slates and charcoals. Living on the coast, so often blanketed in mist, I have a special appreciation for the stages of color revealing itself through the gradual burnoff of the fog. It feels like such a metaphor for my own life perhaps.
I was in the middle of a Lotusland Series when I went to Cambria. I am torn to want to rush passionately into painting my impressions of Cambria, from the many sketches and photos I took, but I want to finish this series. Then again, Lotusland isn’t going anywhere! I love this garden for it is uniquely beautiful, not in the delicate softness of an English garden, however. Lotusland extolls the beauty of strength and courage and agelessness, with its millenia-old cycads and broken aqua glass stones lining the pathways, its stiff, prickly aloe that climb one upon the other like a self-multiplying single-celled organism... and yet, from those grow the most glorious of flowers, standing tall and proud in their flame-colored plumage. Like phoenixes arising from the impossible.
I find affinity with this garden and the aloe in particular.
This photo is actually one taken in Cambria. Again, the Aloe flowers reach into the fog like bright beacons in a grey day. I love the paradox that the plant, while off-putting with its protective thorns serrating the edge of each “leaf,” within lies the healing juices of the aloe, long used medicinally by natives and our cultures alike. I love life’s ironies and paradoxes. They aren’t for the weak of heart, nor for those who only live upon the surface of life.
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