John & Anne Wiley

2014/01/17

Art

Some would say that at its most interesting, Art is just a nickname for Arthur. Looking at paintings or photos just doesn’t trigger for them what it magically awakens in me. In this glimpse, I see Art.

1265 Art Flow

1265 Art Flow

It strikes me as silly to analyze Art, because it’s beyond understanding. But somehow images like this awaken not just my love of Art but my love of understanding and an associated yearning for learning. I enjoy the niggle of vertigo from this angle, the interleaved wedge swaths of color, the frozen action of surfers, and the subsurface billowing sand. But I’ll never know why this glimpse of Art moved finger to shutter in that moment, or choice of this for a longer look from among snaps, or posting this brief foray into analysis. Or wondering for a moment whether anyone seeing this will experience thought, boredom, or Art. 🙂

2014/01/15

Frames

Flying has redefined my frames. For some aviators it’s about reframing travel, in that you can go from here to there very quickly. Akin to the difference between using your feet or your car to go ten miles, especially subtracting the “security” and early check-in of airlines. But for me it’s much more about the frame of an art work.

0081 Framed Tree

0081 Framed Tree

From a quarter mile or so up we see a vast expanse of breathtaking beauty, so snapping a pic like this with a superzoom lens is about choosing the frame. The tree was surrounded by acres of the white hothouse tents, and that made it art even more than a tree in a meadow. Other art I see aloft is reframed by the fresh perspective of a hawk eye.

0106 Framed Dune

0106 Framed Dune

This dune at Vandenberg is different at every angle, in every light, at every scale, and every day. So how my eye frames it and chooses the moment to snap, freezes it into static art that I can now explore in detail. Unlike the hawk who probably sees only movement in the soaring search for fresh food, my eye brushes the texture of scrub and sifts the contour of fine sand. In a different moment I am filling the frame with a divide between streaks of sand and marching waves.

0105 Framed Divide

0105 Framed Divide

They meet in a battle of colors and shapes wrought by the wind, creating a geometry of mind that I call art. Before long our magic carpet transports the framing eye to another shore where sculptures jut from one dimension to another, accented by an eroded line to the sea wearing a garland of foam.

0127 Framed Stone

0127 Framed Stone

In this way, everything becomes art. Being on the ground is transformed by these forays into the sky. Waking is transformed by dreams.

2014/01/13

Totem

I’m not just fascinated by rock formations. I also harbor a fascination with that fascination. Why is it that when flying over areas seldom seen by humans, I’m entranced not just by the beauty of the entire scene?

0369 WildScape

0369 WildScape

Few people wander beyond the thin strand of highway winding from Santa Maria in the distance, through a pass to Cuyama visible out the other window (not in this pic of course). I like the gentle (plenty of flat open landing spots) wildness of it and the fact that just off the road are totems only visible to hikers and aviators.

0371 Totem

0371 Totem

This one is probably visible from the road, because I’ve seen cars parked at the curve apparently enjoying it from afar. A few hardy souls even apparently make the climb up to it because I could see some trails. But beyond it are more totems that may seldom be visited.

0403 Forgotten Totems

0403 Forgotten Totems

Did these formations once have meaning to bands of people or lone explorers wandering this region? How many people know of them now? What about this hidden collection of totems where water seems to have once flowed in abundance?

0406 HandHold Rock

0406 HandHold Rock

That large rock at the bottom even has a row of what look like hand holds carved out. Maybe by hands, maybe by water?

What of this garden where several small boulders rest atop larger ones?

0410 Totems? (click=Larger)

0410 Totems? (click=Larger)

Did people place these in the last few years, centuries, millennia; or were they somehow deposited there by natural forces? Do many of us find such totems evocative of our relationships with self, other, ancestors, and nature? Does my enduring fascination with such things reveal mingling in my nature along with modern and scientific consciousness, some mythopoeic quality?

2014/01/11

Valley of Vines

Santa Rita Valley wineries are both picturesque, and well-reputed for Pinot Noir in particular. The film Sideways features scenes and wineries there. I enjoy flying over it first because even in a dry year like this it’s such a beautiful vista down the river to the sea.

0049 Valley Vista

0049 Valley Vista

Secondly, we enjoy visiting the quaint tasting room at Alma Rosa and we used to be able to afford a bottle of their Pinot occasionally.

0052 Alma Rosa

0052 Alma Rosa

I also enjoy the colors of the river, and how it reminds me of small rivers I’ve kayaked and canoed. Time slows as we’re wordlessly slipping among reeds enjoying sunlight through the leaves, listening to bird song and silence punctuated by a gentle bump of paddle on hull or rippling dip of blade in the smell of slow river.

0062 River of Time

0062 River of Time

2014/01/07

Salt Shapes

Soda Lake is a four or five hour drive from SB, but a happy half hour in Tripp. Rather than have to drive circuitous windy roads around and through the intervening mountain ranges, Tripp simply lifts over them to go direct. Once there, this playground of shapes entertains.

0323 Soda Lake Playground

0323 Soda Lake Playground

Those low mountains are the Temblor Range created by the turmoil on the San Andreas Fault, another attraction of this valley. Speaking of valleys, the hazy one beyond is home to Bakersfield and Fresno, with the Sierras in the distance. Here in the dry lake though, I’m quite drawn to the intricacy of shapes like this frozen lightning bolt.

0329 Intricate Etchings

0329 Intricate Etchings

But my favorite on this flight was a joyful romping reindeer shape.

0328 Romping Reindeer

0328 Romping Reindeer

The delighted leaping shout it makes with stirrups flying, and even a little heart shaped mark by the ear. The beginnings of a unicorn horn, and a wispy beard waggling in the breeze. Yes, this to me is a playful shape any artist could have fun with, especially on such a grand scale.

I wonder how many people ever get to see this perspective, how many of them would see the shapes as I do, and what it is in our psyche that translates natural patterns into art. Perhaps not all children see bunnies and castles in the clouds.

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