Monday, May 23, 2011

The Washington Project - Update, Day 8

Since touring and sketching locations throughout Washington State during April 2011, artists Eva Pietzcker has returned home to Berlin and is busy carving woodblocks for a number of views.  She tells me that Soda Spring and Steamboat Rock are in process.  Things got busy in Seattle at the same time, and I've been aware that the last chapter of Eva's tour with C.G. booster, Joe Kaftan, was missing from the story, sorry Joe.  Now that I'm on vacation for a week, I finally have time to catch up on some of these things.  So here it is, Day 8 of The Washington Project in Joe's words.  More to come, no doubt.  B.C.

Day 8
We rose in Forks, WA and went straight to the nearest dinner, per Eva's request.  Over hash browns and coffee, we talked about similar childhoods, and how for both of us, creativity, the value of new experiences, and even Star Trek were all emphasized in our up bringing. Eva said she was taught that art was sacred - a belief that still completely impacts her life. She wondered if the creative life, by definition, is one of openness and exploration.

Our fist stop was First Beach in La Push. I mentioned that I was immediately taken by the scene of the village with huge sea stack islands just off shore.  'Why do you like this view?' Eva asked.  'I love places where you can see peoples' first attempts to connect with the landscape, like this village on the edge of the country, and old barns, or decrepit docks and wooden bridges in the country.'  Eva said, 'For me, there is so much evidence of humans here. I prefer what is wild, and fresh. Working with the untouched landscape, I want to relate this to these areas in us, that are maybe fundamentally good in themselves, or at least untouched.'  Eva smiled at me looking at the sea stacks and the ocean and said 'So could we go have a look at second beach, next?'

As soon as we arrived at second beach, Eva quickly moved toward a muscle encrusted boulder that lay in the path of a low stream, took a seat, and dove into a sketch. She was in front of a broad sea stack island, that was just off shore. Pacific rollers crashed around the island, and seagulls glided off to the side of the rock edges, just above the surf. This was the sunniest and brightest I had ever seen the Washington coast.

After pleasant lunch in Forks, we drove south and then east along the Hoe River toward the Hoe Rain Forrest.  About 10 miles up the road, Eva very excitedly said, 'Stop the car, stop the car! I know we are going to see rain forrest, but the river is like none I've ever seen!  With these enormous logs, bigger than I thought possible, I must have a look'. I obliged and watched her do her survey dance, until she settled on the pebbled bank of the river. She was posed in front of a tree trunk that was 150 feet long. The river basin was flat, wide and mostly made up of rounded gravel, with the sinewy streams cutting in and out between massive logs and fallen trees. A birch tree grove was beyond the river with pines behind them, leading back to snow covered mountains. It was an awesome scene. After returning from an long exploration climb on downed logs, I noticed Eva was no longer working, but was aggressively throwing rocks into the river. I waved her toward the car, and waited for her there. After a while, she approached, and said. 'I am done making art. It takes a lot out of me, and I can't give anymore'.  'Forever?' I said with a smile. 'Yes,' she responded,  'You broke me, you took me to too many places, now I'm broken.' I apologized and asked if we still might have a look at the Hoe Rain Forrest.  'If you insist.' she said with a fake grimace.
As we drove, she said. 'You know there are painters who paint 8 hours a day, but for me I have to hold all the plates in my mind, and I have to create something that is challenging and interesting, because this is only the beginning of the process, as I will cut and print for around 3 weeks for each sketch. And then it is very important that I am never repeating myself, because that is boring, so I really have to concentrate, and all that concentration can hurt, or at very least be very exhausting.'

When we arrived at the Hoe Rain Forrest, Eva perked up at the sight of the long drapes of moss hanging from the Spruce branches. We walked to the Hall of Mosses. We found ourselves standing next to a large beautiful owl, that was hiding on a lower branch. We continued into the great hall, and were surrounded by the layers of back-lit yellow moss, looking like so many golden tapestry. We were both quieted by the sight, and just slowly turned in circles, looking up, looking down taking in the illuminated richness of this wholly unique wonder forest. I didn't know their were so many shades of green in the world.
I whispered to Eva, 'If ferries exist, they definitely live here.' After a moment, I asked Eva if she was in the spirit to sketch here. She paused and said, 'Perhaps not. This is more of an etchers setting, so many lines in these trees, thousands and thousands of lines. This is magical, but it is not for my sketch pad I think.'  With that she turned back on the path toward the entrance  and said, 'Beside I am pretty sure we are on vacation now.'  So we left the forest and headed to the coast for a nice walk on the beach.

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