Monday, November 15, 2010
Dune Report - From Brooks Ave to the Santa Monica Pier
We again had gorgeous weather and, as a result, many locals had chosen to decamp on that stretch of the beach (the northern-most extreme of Venice and the southern-most extreme of Santa Monica). I prefer walking when there are fewer people on the beach; the more people around me, the more difficult I find it to commune with Mother Nature. Even though the white noise of the waves swallows up most of the sound they make, just their physical presence often seems distracting to me. And yesterday was no exception, at least at the start of the walk.
But what is a distraction for me is often an absolute boon for Alma. On the inital stretch of the walk north, we found many abandoned beach toys and other man-made detritus. We arrived on the beach at Brooks Ave. at about 4:15 p.m., and so we had about 45 minutes of glorious sunshine left before dusk. We used that time to our advantage. Here is what we found:
10 bottle caps (red and green Coke primarily, but a couple orange Gatorade tops as well)
3 plastic toy sand shovels (pink, green and yellow)
1 plastic toy sand rake (yellow)
1 broken plastic serving spoon (white)
1 plastic toy bucket (red with white handle)
1 plastic dinosaur mold (yellow).
Alma joked that with all the dinosaur molds she has collected on the beach this summer and fall, she can now put together an assemblage piece called 'Dinosaur Art,' an oblique reference to some of the put-downs she has endured at the hands of the Los Angeles hipster art scene.
We also came across the intricate cross-webbed tracks of many seabirds and Alma thought the imagery deserved a photograph. I would not have seen the beauty without Alma's pointing it out to me. The bird tracks do possess a strange sort of elegant, almost fractal, beauty:
The Santa Monica pier has a small amusement park\carnival built on it.
As you can see from the picture immediately above and the picture at the beginning of this post, the Pier offers various rides and attractions, including a small roller coaster and a medium-sized Ferris wheel. Someone associated with the park (or with the company providing the Ferris Wheel) has programmed the most beautiful light show for the Ferris Wheel's lights. Often, after dark or even as the sun sets, we will see the Ferris Wheel presiding over the Pier like some giant electrified kaleidoscopic sentry. Alma took some photos last night with her cell phone but the camera does not capture the magnificence of this Ferris Wheel well.
The lights on the Ferris Wheel constantly change, perhaps every second, producing an effect that the lights and the wheel actually move. Now I know that someone somewhere had to program the light changes and intricate designs. That would be a hell of a job to have, making beautiful light shows with a Ferris Wheel. Just as the colors of the sunsets are often reflected in the area or surf where water meets sand, so too the lights of this Ferris Wheel reflect onto the sand right where the water meets the sand.
As for the bottle caps Alma and I reclaimed from the beach yesterday and on days previous, below is a photo of one of Alma's work in progress. A giant flower whose petals are composed of . . . you guessed it, soda bottle caps of various hues. If you look closely, too, you might notice that the two petals on the stem actually began life as plastic toy sand rakes:
Finding the materials for 'found art' on the beach yesterday and then seeing the Ferris Wheel so brightly illuminated got me to thinking that, as touchy-feely as it may sound, art happens all around you and often you find art where you might least expect it, provided you are willing to open your eyes and look (or have a spouse who is an artist). The western sky is a giant canvas upon which the powers of the universe put their works but even in something as small and seemingly disposable as the cap of a Coke bottle is the material of art, requiring only the imagination, hands and diligence of a dedicated creator.