Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Every spring I get completely wrapped up in the buds on the trees. My favorite are the ones that haven't opened yet. So much potential just waiting to explode.

One of my big challenges as an artist is saying "yes" to ideas that my logical side wants to knock down. For the past few Springs, I've been dying to paint delicate little paintings of fresh branches and buds, but I've shied away because it seems boring - like something old ladies would do. This year I'm saying "Yes" and "Fuck It" and painting them. Above is a work-in-progress of cherry blossoms from the front yard. I'm having fun. I like where it's going, but it's not delicate enough. I have plenty of reference photos of other buds, so there's more to come. It's kind of like a documentation - a nature study, more than anything else.

I've never noticed the explosions of Spring like I have this year. Some things, like the changing air, are subtle, but the animal kindgom emerges in an awesome roar. In the past few weeks I've witnessed some fantastic things:

- At least one hundred dolphins massing around a ferry, surfing in the wake, gorging themselves on the herring that move up the Salish Sea at this time of year.

- Tens of thousands of gulls at Qualicum Beach, also feasting on the herring. The beach was a blanket of whiteness. Mingled in were all kinds of fluffy little baby gulls.

- After months of silent nights, an explosion of sound from the forest - hundreds of frogs all singing at once. I went for a bike ride and they were all over the road. Water from my front tire kicked up into my bike light like a constant trail of white sparks.

- Mouse shit all over the basement, again after months of no mouseshit. It was everywhere. I've already killed six mice - one per night for the last six nights. Sorry guys.

- Yesterday, a sudden explosion of starfish at the low tide line! The day before there was nothing, now the entire tide line is dotted with pale orange blobs. Their legs are only partially grown.

- Five or six lambs in the sheep pasture down the road. There was only about a dozen sheep there before - that's a lot of lambs per year!

Life is powerful. I can just imagine the blooms of plankton and insects and other stuff lower on the food chain that these animals match their migrations and births with.

It makes me wish I was more synched up with that global cycle of life. Us humans pat each other on the backs for our farms and cold storage and preserved foods - but, in doing so, we've distanced ourselves from that seasonal connection to the land.

But I don't think we've lost the connection. It's inside us just like it's in every animal. We just need to give ourselves the time (and place) to listen.

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