Late Summer Arrives

We’ve had a cool summer on the central coast, only now beginning to break its grip, finally heating up. Big Sur south coast (Big Sur Kate) announced 84 degrees before dawn, and I envy that cozy kind of hot air. Carmel Valley isn’t matching it.

Carmel-by-the-Sea was jammed yesterday. Fog lifted, word is out. The ocean was going from turquoise to a deep ultramarine blue, brilliant white foam on the cresting waves that hit those cratered copper colored boulders along that stunning coastline. Down by Carmel River a long slim span of kelp just under the surface put a mystic shine on the blue. When you get closer you see the orange and brown sea creature dancing.

In that little sheltered, sand dune protected bay just a few feet from the ocean, a man in a big straw hat was practicing kayaking. Doing all the maneuvering, memorizing technique. His young daughter was inner tubed, laughing, weaving in dad’s wake.

Always curious to see tourists, which I once was. I wish it were not the case but Carmel fosters a kind of uneasy pretension, all that beauty and so few sure of themselves in it. Until you hit the beach and get carried by it. Thank God for nature and it’s power to connect with what’s real and discard what ain’t.

A friend in Yellowstone overheard a visitor who said, I’m comfortable in my own skin here. The friend’s been there for weeks now, photographing grizzly bears and wolf packs vying for fallen bison, and has amazing photographs (Oops John) of the incredible wild things that live out their dangerous lives within those acres and acres of flowered pastures and purple mountain majesties.

Enough time in wilderness we forget how we look, what needs fixing, the fugit of tempis, and all the stuff that doesn’t matter once our hearts and brains are on fire with the call of the wild. All that registers is, Oh my God, look where I am! The stuff dreams are made of.

Gardens have been delighted with the cooler weather, very good year for plants and flowers, no heat drooping anybody. I feel so bad for the drought-stricken mid west.

I heard a radio report on the weather in Fresno, I think they’re looking at 113 degrees today. But if you live in Fresno you expect it.

When I lived in Coarsegold and up above Bass Lake (5100 feet) we’d get some of those hot mountain top days making for spectacular sunsets.

Those hills around Yosemite are famous for flying saucers and UFO’s. You learn to take your new neighborhoods in stride. It’s always something.


Surfer, Sand, Sea

One of those brilliant bright days along the Pacific central coast, light the moreso with the play of clouds and skies going dark to to stark.

Alone on the beach, a desolate place of privacy and not easy access. There’s something nearby of civilization, a hose on hand to wash clear to salt and sand when ready; a house ramshackle or spectacular somewhere in the hill behind him. And he sits on a long ago wood deck that’s being absorbed back into the elements. He watches where he’s just done battle with the Pacific. Watching to see what he’s missing on shore, what’s lost and found, feeling the connecting in his flesh alive with the pounding he got, with the wind, with the sun.

Bed In Summer

Bed In Summer  by Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?


Painting Holiday in Big Sur

Expressionist Painters Holiday in Big Sur, California!

Beginning April 2012.

Seven remarkable and stirring days among the exquisite redwood, fern, and purple sand beaches of heavenly Big Sur.  All inclusive: enchanting hotel rooms, three meals a day, transportation to and from airports and local guided tours. Open to painters who are interested in art with emotion, learning to break through the barriers that have made you feel distant to your work and the creative process.

There will additionally be instruction given in pen and ink sketching and its use for sharpening memory, leading to finished drawing technique.

Please leave a message here, or contact Barbara Sparhawk by email: for details and scheduling your stay. 7-day, 6-night sessions are limited to four students only. Children under 18 may be accepted for instruction, but must have an accompanying parent. There will be be two of these week-long sessions a month from April 2012 through September. Guests of painters, not taking classes, are welcome with a reduced fee. Locals requiring no housing, only classes, will be charged for classes only. Please book your place well in advance.

It’s going to be intense, thrilling, and life-altering. You’re going to discover how to break through what has previously short circuited energy connecting your heart and soul to your brush filled hand.


Holycowgirl Expressionist Painters Holiday

More details to be announced shortly. I am starting up a Painters Holiday with some unbelievable delights. The sessions will be seven to ten days, guaranteed to stun the world and Big Sur.

We are in for a good time. This comes of making our own revolutions.

Happy Birthday America

The Hawks Perch, Big Sur

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA     We’re 235 years old today. The spirit of revolution is never far from our hearts. Nor should the men who were the first American politicians be who pledged their “lives, their liberty, and their sacred honor” on that declaration of independence from European tyrants. We need a long hard look for a single politician today with any honor much less sacred. Americans are good in a crisis and excellent at accomplishing the impossible. In due course we’ll throw the scoundrels out, drain the DC swamp, and continue changing the world for the better by example. The past decade has been an educational intro to cultures which need getting up to speed, discovering the enlightenment of human potential, individualism, and independence. We’re still a beacon. Happy Birthday sweet land of liberty, shine on.

BIG SUR SUMMER      We really are in the most spectacular Big Sur summer, enveloped in gorgeous sunny blue-skied air. The recent short rain set all the aromas loose again, the potent bay, sweet fern and jasmine, sharp acacia, and dark rich riverbank earth. There’s a waft of salt mixed in from the ocean.

Big Sur is in a sweet pocket of sun with fog and cloud banks just to the north and the south of us.

Bearded Iris, Big Sur Hillside

Sold a large painting yesterday,  “Wild Bearded Iris by Riverbank”, (shown), it’s headed north above San Francisco with a wonderful couple. They didn’t say a word for a good ten minutes, walking around the gallery, looking, looking in silence, then the woman stopped in front of a painting she’d kept returning to and out of dead quiet said, “It’s beautiful! It’s so beautiful!” and I swear I saw her heart leap.

There are more pleasures with my gallery than I can sometimes count and sometimes am barely aware of. One is the joy of connecting work I’ve done with a stranger. Good day. Business coming back, roads open, campers and thrilled travelers, and the air rife with the happiness of being alive.