Over a recent 48 hours, an intimate group of tail-waggers embarked on a treasure hunt of public art. Our gang, like an itinerant, vibrating organism, scrambled up and down the hills and in and out of the eucalyptus groves to identify creative miracles, dotted like superstars among the natural wonders of this coastal oasis. Like an Easter egg hunt, the expedition signalled a kind of exultant celebration of worship and quiet human endeavour.
We could have easily been, instead, a gaggle of birders, skulking through a migratory bog, the taxonomy of valuable finds helped along by a guidebook and a collective company of devout eyes and hearts. While waiting, timeless, for a blinking neon riff on sin and virtue to activate on a building’s frieze, a biplane flew overhead pulling a banner selling car insurance. From there, a spotless cobalt sky cut into a hilltop feat of architectural engineering. We chorused on the recent resurgence and appreciation of California Brutalism. Past the parking lot and around the corner, each took a turn reading from a giant slab of granite, inscribed with messages of human truth. The gums, originally introduced to this area for railway ties then abandoned for their slow growing and meandering trunks, swelled and perfumed as a control group for beauty.
The hunters and collectors had each brought with them their own touch point for wonder, though words are not obligatory for cult-life. Silent questions like, “How is it made?” “What are the materials?” “How do I feel?” and “Am I inspired?” were implied as we circumnavigated the largest and heaviest or dragged our noses across the brushwork of a stand-out fresco. The makers, long-returned to the introversion of their studios, had left for everyone their ideas and execution, tucked into the landscape to compete with the sunset and public signage, construction zones and the noble reckoning of the seagull’s droppings.
PS: “If Venice sinks, the collection should be preserved somewhere in the vicinity of Venice.” (Peggy Guggenheim)
Esoterica: “The man who has honesty, integrity, the love of inquiry, the desire to see beyond, is ready to appreciate good art,” wrote Robert Henri in The Art Spirit. “He needs no one to give him an ‘Art Education’; he is already qualified. He needs but to see pictures with his active mind, look into them for the things that belong to him, and he will find soon enough in himself an art connoisseur and an art lover of the first order.” The Stuart Collection at the University of California San Diego and the Murals of La Jolla each exist to commission public art projects, enriching cultural life and making art accessible to everyone in their communities. “I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living.” (Robert Henri)
“Send all you have for loveliness, / Buy it, and never count the cost; / For one white singing hour of peace / Count many a year of strife well lost.” (Sara Teasdale)
“Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love.” (Louis Kahn)
This workshop/retreat will be ideal for artists who are serious about improving their painting skills, but who also enjoy great food, terrific accommodations and a bit of adventure. The instructor has many years of experience in both teaching and painting and is dedicated to passing along her knowledge to those who are eager to learn. Small class size will insure individual attention. We will be working from life and previous experience mixing color will be necessary.
Casa Buena Art Retreat, between Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan, is a calm and beautiful place to relax and explore your creative energy. Please check out their website for photos and detailed information about this exciting opportunity http://www.casabuenaartretreat.com/Retreat_LauraRobb.htm Non-painting travel companions are welcome too.
For more information on the instructor or to contact her, please visit http://LauraRobb.com