Tag Archives: Found Art

Finding Art Along the Way: Art Walk Prelude

These are some of the pieces I’ll be showing in the La Manzanilla Art Walk on January 28.  I have another entire body of work–wall pieces where a part detaches to be worn as a brooch–that I’ll show you in a day or two. These pieces were all made by materials found on the beach at La Manzanilla or La Ribera in Baja:

Click on first image to enlarge all.

Off-Kilter

img_2063Nude Descending the Beach. Wall sculpture and photo, jdb

Off-Kilter

Who cares if your bangs are uneven,
your hem hanging down on the left?
If the picture frame’s a bit off-kilter,
who here would feel most bereft?

Who fusses and dithers whenever
the pizza’s unevenly cleft,
or in the new rug he just purchased,
if the warp is not square with the weft?

When it comes to most talents,
he’s not especially deft.
He has little talent at singing,
and he has neither looks, charm nor heft.

Yet if your smile is crooked,
my dear, I fear you are effed.
for with our friend “Even Steven,”
a mil off is as bad as a theft.

 

The prompt today is “uneven.”

“No Soggy Doggies” and other Found Beach Stories

My rental house at the beach is no place to socialize three dogs raised behind high walls and accustomed only to their own company.  At home on Lake Chapala, their relationships with other dogs consist completely of sitting on the roof and barking at every dog who dares walk by my house.  I miss them, but they are well-cared for by Maggie, who is housesitting. The found art piece dedicated to them as well as a few others recently completed are shown below. All of these sculptures were assembled by me over the past two months from assorted plants, shells, bones, wood and other objects found on the beach during my morning walks.

(Click on first photo to enlarge.  Then click on each arrow to view other enlarged photos. After viewing all photos, click on X at top left of screen to return to this page.  A link to other found art wall sculptures recently completely is given at the bottom of this page.)

Go HERE to view recently made found art sculptures shown in an earlier post.

I responded to today’s one word prompt, “Object” as a noun.  Here is the link for the prompt, in case you want to see how others responded:   https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/object/

Freshly “Found”

Here are a few of the found art wall pieces I’ve just completed.  They are all constructed of material collected on the beach of La Manzanilla during morning walks.

(Click on first photo to enlarge all, then click on arrows to see next photo.)

 

The artist––Mario Gagnon

Sculptor in the Sand

                                                                     Sculptor in the Sand

Mario Gagnon is retired from his life as a hospital maintenance engineer in Quebec, but when we retire from our profession, we do not retire from our interests, and his lifetime fondness for what he calls “decorating” comes with him when he comes to the beach.  Like most of those camping beachside, he has made the palapa living area of his campsite “homely” in only one usage of the word.  From hammocks to wall sconces fashioned from fruiting bundles of palm trees, his environs are beautiful in addition to comfortable.

I revisited him yesterday, partially because I’d forgotten to take a picture of him when I met him on the second day I visited, but I was also there because of my curiosity over whether he altered his sculpture each day.  I did find him fussing with the tail of the iguana, but that was perhaps just staging for the bypasser who was currently taking his picture.  When the “interloper” (kidding) departed, it was my turn.

This time it was a female neighbor who translated for us and she explained to me something that I had not cottoned on to the first time we’d met.  “He can’t understand you because he is deaf and he can’t read your lips because he doesn’t speak English!  Formerly, I had thought his friend was interpreting only because of the language barrier, and when I spoke Spanish, thinking it was closer to French, it hadn’t helped much either. Trying to imagine what the beach would be like without its sounds to accompany it,  I asked him if he could feel the pounding of the surf. “Yes, he told me, “because I am deaf, my other senses are stronger.  When I smell a fire, I can tell how long ago it was lit, what is burning and what was used to start the fire.”

This dapper, handsome man was generous in sharing his art, his home away from home and his time.  Here are some of the pictures I took of his world:

(Please click on first photo to enlarge and view gallery.)

If you didn’t see the first segment I did on Mario’s wonderful beach sculpture of the iguana, to see it, go HERE.

Iguanas in the Sand

Iguanas in the Sand

One thing I’ve discovered after six years of time spent in La Manzanilla is that it is never going to be the same experience two years (and often two days) in a row.  One year the beach was covered by thousands of crystalline mounds of jellyfish that looked like snow globes that had wound up in the wrong climate.  Another year, the beach was covered with coral, yet another with stones.  One year we couldn’t swim because of a red tide and another due to all the sea lice (miniscule jellyfish larvae) in the water.  Last year, three different mantas and a large sea turtle beached themselves,  I found a blue-footed booby washed up on the sand and helped to set out hundreds of tiny sea turtles to make their way out into the ocean.  There was also a month of feeding frenzy as hundreds of pelicans, gulls and other sea birds dived like kamikazes into the ocean around me and this ritual was repeated day after day.

This year, for the first month I was here, there were practically no birds–a signal as sure as the vanishing of fish tacos at Pedro’s that the fish had moved elsewhere due to those same warm waters that had caused Hurricane Patricia.  In this fifth week of my stay, the fish have come back, although not in the numbers of former years.

But as in other years, there have been a number of rewards that compensated for days I couldn’t (wouldn’t) go into the ocean due to the opening of the lagoon and its drainage into the ocean. The resultant dirty water and odor caused me to walk farther up the beach than I have recently and those journeys led to the three different adventures involving iguanas that are pictured below:

(Click on first picture to enlarge photos and then click on each arrow to advance to the next photo.)

Today I was fortunate enough to meet the man who created the iguana sculpture.  His name is Mario Gugnon, a retired hospital maintenance coordinator from Quebec.  He says he found the large driftwood piece several years ago and to him it looked like an iguana with it’s left hind foot caught in a trap.  He added the palm fronds and has been doing so each year since.  In between Mario’s visits, the manager of the campground puts it away in safe keeping.  When I asked if he worked in other media he said no, he was not an artist.  He just likes decorating things.  In illustration, he pointed out their tastefully appointed and comfortable little terraza under the canopy.  But that is the subject for a different posting. (Update: I’ve now made that post as well. You can read it HERE.)

La Manzanilla is the perfect town and beach for someone who dreads repetition. It has been a new adventure every day this trip and I can’t type, edit and post fast enough to keep up with the stories.  Another day, another saga.  Thanks for joining me as I try to take it all in.

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Sea lice – stay safe at the beach!

http://www.buysafesea.com/sea_lice.php

are actually the microscopic larvae of jellyfish and other ocean stingers which contain the same nematocysts (stinging cells) as mommy and daddy. In many areas of the Gulf and Caribbean the primary culprit causing “sea lice” infestations is the larvae of the thimble jellyfish.

IMG_2479

Dream Jobs

                                                                        Dream Jobs

I have been lucky enough to have several “dream jobs” in my lifetime.  First of all, I was a teacher. I loved teaching kids and enjoyed the other people I worked with.  My first teaching jobs were in Australia and Ethiopia, which additionally gave me the chance to travel and live in “strange” environments–things I had wanted to do since very small.

I taught for ten years before finally deciding I needed to change my life to enable me to find time to write.  I then moved to Orange County, California, to live with a dear friend and spent two years studying a number of areas I felt had been neglected in my earlier education.  I would go to the library with lists of topics I wanted to know more about: art, artists, places, concepts, psychology, philosophy.

The writing of Carl Jung was of special interest and I allowed synchronicity and the unconscious to guide my life.  This took me to Los Angeles and into film school at U.C.L.A., an apprenticeship at a Hollywood agency and eventually to a job working in p.r. and publicity for Bob Hope’s production company.  It was a job where I was laid off for 5 months of each year, between shows, and this enabled me to write and travel.

After three years of working here, I married and moved northwards to the Santa Cruz area where I became a silversmith and paper maker.  For fourteen years, I traveled and did art shows with my husband.  This was as close to working for a traveling circus as I would ever come, and I loved both the studio work and the traveling.  The people we would meet in various locations across the U.S. became our friends and we slept in our motor home or van in convention center parking lots from California to Ann Arbor to Boston.

As the area of our travels narrowed to the west coast, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Colorado, I accepted a “job” as the curator of a new art center in the San Lorenzo Valley near Santa Cruz.  Although this was a volunteer position, it was both time-consuming and extremely gratifying as I met and worked with artists throughout the Santa Cruz area.  I loved coordinating and hanging eight shows a year as well as teaching classes and handling show themes, admissions, publicity and openings.  It was practically a full time job in itself,  but we continued to handle a full show schedule ourselves.  By then, in addition to my making silver and copper jewelry, Bob and I were making art lamps together. He did the stone and wood work and some of the framework for the sail like shades whereas I made the handmade washi  paper and some of the framework for shades and covered the shades.

I’ve been lucky my entire life to always have a job I enjoyed and believed in and this continues to this very day as retirement has brought time to write more and to shift my focus from jewelry and lamps to mixed media assemblage, which I continue to this day.  While at the beach, I concentrate on collages of found objects from the beach and city streets. It also gives me time to write this blog which consumes an ever-increasing amount of my time.

Here is a gallery of shots that capture, I hope, my process in  collecting, assembling and mounting found objects into my assemblages.  If you click on the first picture, it will enlarge the photos and show them to you one by one:

Prompt: Describe your dream job. https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/money-for-nothing/