Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Archive for September, 2012

Goldsworthy’s Clay Works for Runnymede

These are my photos of the Andy Goldsworthy piece at Runnymede. I kept them separate from the last post in part because I didn’t want a single post with 35 photos, but also because his work really does contrast with the rest of the sculptures on the property. He is the only land artist in the collection, and his is the only work that was designed and built onsite with materials from the site; he and the Runnymede staff made the clay with soil dug from the side of the road there at Runnymede, and then they used that excavation, resembling a slump in the road cut, as part of the piece. Also, his is the piece most clearly about negative space, not just the negative space inside the pots but also the negative space of the land itself; all of the other sculptures are essentially an object placed on the land, but his takes your eye down inside that land. And his is the only one that is really a sequence: you see the first pot and then another and another, and it builds into a little narrative as you walk along the trail. In some ways, I think the Runnymede collection as whole does this — your landscape experience builds out of what you’ve seen and your anticipation for what the next sculpture will be — but the Goldsworthy work does this on its own.

It was interesting to stand there, discussing it and observing people’s reactions. Most people liked it; some folks were not sure what to think of it, finding it perhaps overly subtle; a majority of them had heard of Goldsworthy and many were there specifically to see his piece, but fewer had seen Rivers and Tides than I expected. A few people power-walked past without even noticing it was there.

I’m not sure if you are supposed to see it from the bottom or the top, but there’s a clear evolution throughout the sequence whichever end you start at. The lower pots are more cracked and they sit more clearly perched on top of the land; the upper pots are more intact and more deeply embedded, culminating with the final pot sunk into the ground at the source of the clay. There’s an argument for starting at the top and walking along as the pots emerge and become more fragmented, perhaps an illustration of time or entropy; personally, I liked the sequence from the bottom, seeing the pots gradually take your focus into the earth, back to their origin, so that’s the order I’m showing. The entire sequence is below. (more…)

Runnymede Sculpture Farm

Early Forms by Tony Cragg

This past weekend I was a sculpture docent at the Runnymede Sculpture Farm in Woodside. Runnymede (also written up here, with an interactive map of the property here) is a large private property with over a hundred outdoor sculptures; it’s rarely open to the public and then usually just for guests at non-profit fundraising events.

This weekend’s event was the 50th anniversary celebration for the Committee for Green Foothills, an open space advocacy group on the peninsula. Personally, I hadn’t heard of the CGF, but the Student Conservation Association, who I have worked for in the past, was organizing volunteers and I jumped at the chance to see the property. I don’t generally think of myself as a huge sculpture person, but I knew that Runnymede has an Andy Goldsworthy piece, and I’ve caught glimpses of some of the sculptures from the freeway on my way to Woodside. I’ve now done enough sculpture posts to have a sidebar category for sculpture so maybe I’m more of sculpture guy than I thought.

Blue Gate, Leaning Ring, and Two Arms Akimbo by Sam Perry

I ended up being the docent for the Andy Goldsworthy piece on the property. I took photos of it, but there are a lot of them and it’s far from the first piece that you see on the property, so I’m going to post them separately in a few days. In the mean time, I have a bunch of other photos from the property, posted below. (more…)

More Sierra Watercolors

This is probably the last of my summer sketchbook, this time from a little further south and a couple weeks later, in the Bear Valley area. This year I’ve been to Tuolumne, Loon Lake, and now Bear Valley, pretty good for one summer. I’m hoping to make it up the mountains one more time before the snows, but we’ll see.

These first three watercolors are from Spicer Reservoir. It has more of a bathtub ring than Gerle and Loon lake, but it’s nice. I wasn’t aware of any hiking trails around the reservoir, so I walked along the shoreline, boulder hopping and swimming from the rocky peninsulas.

I had a minor plein air adventure at the reservoir. While I was sitting at a picnic table, working on this one of the dam, a couple came and settled themselves down in the sand about thirty feet away, a little behind me. I didn’t pay much attention to them, and I’m thinking they didn’t notice me either, because a little while later I realized they were sharing the kind of intimate moment which is not usually shared in front of other people. With my watercolor stuff spread all over the table and the watercolor wet and half-completed, I ended up just putting headphones in my ears and ignoring them. I’m still a little taken aback.

I also went to Calaveras Big Trees State Park along the same highway, a little bit lower in elevation. Great park, amazing trees. I think the sequoia groves there are better than the ones in Yosemite. I did a couple of watercolors at a swimming hole on the Stanislaus River running through the park. I set up in a more visible place, on a big rock in the river, and no one there showed me anything I didn’t want to see.

Loon Lake And Gerle Lake Watercolors

Gerle Creek Reservoir

These are from a camping trip to Gerle Creek reservoir in the El Dorado National Forest above Placerville a few weeks ago. I think it’s funny how the first one blends with the background color of the blog. I seem to like this olive-y chartreuse color, as it shows up in my blog, drawings, plantings, clothing, and probably other places I’m not aware of.

The Eastern Part of Loon Lake

While camping at Gerle Creek, I hiked at nearby Loon Lake. Both lakes are reservoirs, which I’m usually skeptical of, but they’re both quite pretty, with rocky islands to swim to and jump from. The largest island (below) looks like a great spot for a kayak or canoe camping trip.

The Central Part

The Western End

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