I have an artworks display in the show case at Basalt Library. It will be there through the month of March, 2017. I hope you can stop by to enjoy the story of a backcountry artist and to be inspired yourself!
Bucksbaum Campus Phase 2 – In progress June, 2016
Aspen Music Festival and School, Castle Creek, Aspen
40BWORKS serves as the Landscape Architect for Phase 2 of the Bucksbaum Campus of the Aspen Music Festival and School, designed by Harry Teague, Architects. Phase 2 involved the construction of a composition of new buildings around the significant large ponds. The entire central area of the Campus is primarily a pedestrian environment.
While the buildings are complete, planting on Campus is still in progress. Here, freshly-placed sod gleams.
Ever-changing reflections in the ponds create another dimension of experience (during construction).
Planting in Phase 1 is taking hold, restoring the wild natural feel of the riparian environment surrounding Castle Creek as it runs through Campus.
It’s exciting to see wildflowers like this Firecracker Penstemon, and Rosy Paintbrush (not shown) blooming in the Campus specific wildflower mix, sown in Phase 1.
Pitkin County Library, Aspen – Opening Celebration, June 19
I worked on the Pitkin County Library Expansion project when I was at Design Workshop. I led a phase of planning approvals, landscape conceptual and schematic design and design development. The construction drawing and observation phase was completed by Design Workshop.
It was a rewarding experience to attend the opening celebration and congratulate board members, library and county staff, and consultants. All worked with dedication to evolve the early vision into a constructed reality for the entire community and visitors.
The library expansion opens on to a public plaza, merging indoor with outdoor space. In particular, the children’s room has a small sunken garden amphitheater for outdoor reading and activities.
Patrons, board members and the community are excited to explore this new facility for the 22nd century!
The roof reading garden features great views over the public plaza and towards the town and mountains.
It only happens once, the time I first discover a place. When I feel naively open, like soft pink petals of blossoming salmonberry and all is fresh like the new leaf green of its foliage. My senses are alert as I deeply inhale salt smelling air and catch shrill seagull sounds in the sky. The differences from my home in Colorado are stark.
South East Alaska is a land by sea, islands among sea, lakes on land. Colored in shades of grays, greens, and sometimes blues; ancient, ever-changing.
There is no clear order, no neatly layered bottom rooted in deep soil, nor tree trunks pointing up straight to a clean top line of sky. Instead, massive spruce and hemlock rest across the forest floor, their upturned shallow-wide roots a living green wall supporting brilliant green lichens, mosses and ferns.
Base twisted roots entwine, pairing massive trunks as families of trees. I wonder where does one begin, another end? There is not death, instead rebirth, regeneration, the fallen becoming grounds for fresh new growth. The forest is verdant, deep, alluring. Spirits of ancestors whisper.
The sea feels expansive with mysterious edges where land and water meet, punctuated with coves, rippling waves, big black boulders, coastal curves and crevices.
Water pools and laps among small dark pebbles, falls cascade straight down towering dark cliffs, white froth bounces playfully over gray smooth worn rock. Creeks so clear that pebbles shine below, the surface glimmers in cyan blues.
This landscape doesn’t hold still to be captured (on paper), it paints itself, in watercolor, always fluid.
The sky is not a flat blue backdrop. It is part of land and sea, alive with flocks of calling seagulls, with white-headed black-bodied eagles that spiral and soar the thermals, with multitudes of wings that shimmer in the light. The sky holds water in many forms – fat puffy clouds, mysterious sweeping mists, fogs draping snow-capped peaks and silhouetting forests. Water vapor always moving evoking ever changing panoramas, bonding to earth with falling rain. A spiral of life like the ancient petroglyphs inscribed on rock.
Sitka is my moody muse. She dulls me with her endless greys then pierces me with unexpected searing shards of light. The sun emerges as a magical gift. It transforms earth and sky. Energy abounds, changes to evening’s pink and orange frolic, and lingers long in night’s deep blue twilight.
A place evocative, where hundred year old trees hold knowledge of times past, sculpted totems tell stories and voices of ancestors are still heard. In town, the round Russian church, rectangular bishops house and elegant once-college campus speak of the more refined.
A place where people-time pauses – small shops that still sell everything from milkshakes and toys, to hard candy, kettles and tea cloths.
There are many stories to unfold.
The chilly days and long nights of winter provide time for reflection on the exuberance of summer. After an amazing season of outdoor adventures, a contemplative mood brought on by falling snowflakes and cloudy skies allowed me time to collect my memories. Through my sketches I could relive those magical moments in the remote backcountry. So I gathered my artwork and literally packaged the pieces in the form of notecards. I hoped to share my inspiration with others and promote earthwise awareness.
My earthwise approach to production of the cards included working with a local Basalt print shop for proofs and final production of the cards, using recycled paper and envelopes, and laying out the cards to maximize the printable area with no waste. I was careful to avoid the use of plastic for packaging. Instead, the card sets were attractively tied with natural twine or raffia.
The holiday season provided a great opportunity to participate in community events and share my work. My first public opportunity was when “High Alpine Falls” sketched in pencil and pastel, was selected to be shown in the Wyly Community Art Center Open, a celebration of local artists held during December in Basalt.
Next, the Wyly Artisans Market presented a friendly venue to display and sell my arty notecards. The first night was a whirl of activity as kids ran about creating holiday ornaments while adults mingled and chatted. Saturday and Sunday were more peaceful, providing opportunities to chat with visitors to the market and other artisans.
The notecards were grouped in three themes: Colorado Mountains ’14; Southeast Utah Desert; and the Grand Canyon. I created a set of notecards for each theme that included four designs. The sets included eight cards featuring two copies of each design.
This post will help you contact me and also suggests a way to reuse materials.
I created my business contact information on an eco-friendly self-inking stamp.
This allows me to:
a) share the information with others by simply stamping material they are already using;
b) stamp material that has previously been used.
I saved the cardboard box packaging from my groceries that included trail bars and teas, laid it flat, and cut business card shapes. Then I stamped them.
When on the trail, my inspirational backpacking partner and I would often contemplate the beauty of our minimalist lifestyle and our raised awareness of being a human in nature. Casey Lyons captured that feeling in these excerpts from his recent article:
“Then one morning, you open your tent door and you know, sure as dew glistens in the sun, that you are just exactly where you should be. There’s no distinction between you and the woods and the trail, because you are all part of the same bigger organism…
You’re floored by the way a tree bark looks when the afternoon shadows give it infinite depth, the sight of a caterpillar silhouetted through a beech leaf, the way a summer cloudburst sounds when you can’t get out of it and don’t care, because being wet has been a condition of life forever and now it’s part of yours, too.”
Lyons, Casey. “More is better: Long-distance hiking.” Backpacker June 2014: Pages 12-14.
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
― Sagan, Carl (1994). Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. New York: Random House.