The part of California that I struggle with is the driving, but luckily I got to ride in the back of the van the whole way and take pictures of trees out the window.
I went on a lot of car trips growing up, and I think a lot of my work stems in watching the trees and landscape as we drove back and forth to California and southern Utah. I pay a lot more attention to trees than that stuff than I used to, but I noticed that the trees and sky in California look so much different than they do in Utah. Utah is full of trees standing out in the middle of nowhere by themselves, or huge dead trees. They’re very gnarly looking. Everything in northern Utah is very jagged and sharp. We’ve got the Rocky Mountains and the trees are…sharp-looking I guess. The trees in California are much more serpentine. The San Gabriel Mountains are hilly and round rather than rocky. All the trees had their leaves, and as far as I know, most of them don’t lose them.
As I snapped pictures of trees by the freeway, I wondered how my art would change if I still lived in California, or if I go back. I was actually born in Pasedena and we lived there until I was almost five, but I remember it very vividly. Every time I go back, some part of me feels at home. There’s a California girl in me somewhere. Not the part of me that has to drive, but some part. My husband is an animator, so we may very well live in California at some point. He certainly wants to. What would that do to my art? Would my trees get more snakey-looking? Would my skies get flatter, because the sky in California mostly seems to vary between blue and brownish-gray? There’s the beach though. I could get into that. There are palm trees, and all kinds of flowers.
It’s an interesting thought. Though my work really isn’t realistic or representational, the Utah landscape is a huge source of inspiration for me. I think my art will always have some Utah in it, but it will probably change to reflect wherever I’m living at the time. I may try to incorporate a little of my California girl into some art this summer. I’ve been playing with some ideas all winter while I was pining for the sun.
I’ll probably live in California again someday, as well as other places. My art will change right along with my surroundings, because my surroundings are part of me. I project myself into the landscape.
Read Part 1 here.
One of my favorite places in the world is the beach. No beach in particular, just a beach. Whenever I do guided meditations that instruct me to find a special places to watch my thoughts go by, I always think of a beach at sunset, and I sit on a rock and watch my thoughts pass over the horizon.
The Santa Monica Pier wasn’t exactly peaceful, but I had a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun taking random pictures of shapes and colors that interested me and I got some fun ideas for a series I’m hoping to paint this summer.
I had a good time watching the musicians, breakdancers, and portrait artists on the pier. There was even a girl with a few burmese pythons who was apparently raising money to buy roosters. I assume they were to feed the snakes. Anyway, I love snakes, so I definitely got in on this.
Here name was cleopatra. The last time I got to hold one of these, he tried to slither into my pocket, but Cleopatra was a little more polite.
I was hoping to see some dolphins or sea lions in the ocean, and I noticed a smooth shape surfacing now and then under the end of the pier. Once I got down there, the sea lion had swum closer to the beach on the side of the pier, and I almost fell down the stairs trying to get closer for a better look. She even poked her head out of the water and barked. I watched her for a long time. Yes, I randomly decided it was a she. I love sea lions. They seem like such happy animals.
I rode the roller coast with my little brother Chandler, that behemoth behind me with the stud glasses, because he’d never ridden a roller coaster on the beach before. The beach really does make it more fun, which is good, because this was actually a pretty lame roller coaster. I’ll have to take him to Magic Mountain someday and show him a real roller coaster.
We had our shitzu, Maya with us, and dogs weren’t allowed on the actual beach, so Mom and I walked on the beach for a few minutes while everyone took Maya back to the car. I wasn’t leaving until I actually got to touch the ocean. Californians are funny. They bundle up if the temperature drops below 70, but they’ll throw on their bikinis and jump into the freezing ocean in April, no problem. It was definitely cold. I rolled up my jeans and let the water run over my feet, but that was it. It felt good to feel the ocean though, and to walk on a beach. Every time I visit the ocean, it’s like something inside me that’s been holding its breath finally lets go. Maybe I’ll live by the ocean someday.
Sigh. I love the beach.
The week before last, I took a much-needed trip to California with my family. Sam couldn’t leave school, so it was just me, my parents, and three teenage siblings.
We spent a day at Disneyland and I think I had more fun than anyone. I’m really just a big kid. That’s probably why I get along with kids so well. Fraggle Rock is still my favorite show and I still love the Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland (which we didn’t get to go on. Sad).
I realized how important it is to keep the wonder and sense of magic that we have as children, because that lives in the same part of our spirits as our imagination, and life without imagination is a pretty sad mess. Most of us catch a glimpse of that magic when we see Christmas lights or when we hear Disney music, but the magic tends to get lost in the stress of everyday life.
A few tips for keeping the magic:
- Remember how you would have reacted to something when you were a child. When riding Pirates of the Caribbean or any other ride at Disneyland, I would have totally thrown myself into that world. I would actually be on a boat in the Caribbean. I’d actually be on a runaway train in a rocky mountain. I’d be a mermaid in that swimming pool. I’d be Pocahontas on that hike.
It’s basically the same list. I added somethings, removed some, and got a lot more specific about some. The travel section got a lot bigger and more specific. Also, if you haven’t made your Handprint List yet, why not?! I’m giving you a homework assignment. Make one. Today. Then send it to me, or submit a link. I’d love to see it! I’m also thinking of creating a special page for everyone’s Handprint Lists, so if you’d like to be a part of that, let me know!
My list will continue to evolve, so check it every once in awhile and you’ll probably see something different.
Aaaaand, you may have noticed that I finally got my own domain name so welcome to handprintsoul.com! Aw, my little bloggie’s growing up!
Thanks so much to all my readers for your great comments and support!
The bucket list. 101 things to do before I die. The Barefoot List. I’ve heard it called different things, but it’s essentially the same and everyone has one whether they’ve written it down or not. They give us something to strive for and look forward to.
I call it my Handprint List, because it’s who I am, who I hope to become, and the mark I want to leave on the world, and it inspired this blog. I doubt I’ll actually accomplish all these things, but it’s a list of things I can do. It reminds me to aim high and keep an open mind. I add and remove things all the time, and I think everyone should have one of these. So here’s mine, and I hope it will inspire you to create your own. (The bold items are the ones I’ve done)
McKella’s Handprint List
- Work, teach, or volunteer in a foreign country
- 5. China
- Do a family history tour through England, Ireland, and Denmark
- The Vatican
16. Eastern Europe (Romania, Ukraine, Etc.)
17. Visit the Galapagos Islands to see wildlife up close.
19. Hike to Macchu Picchu
20. Visit Mayan ruins
22. Road trip across America (On a bike if I want to get really brave)
23. New England during the fall
24. Visit Roden Crater
25. Visit the Sacred Grove
26. New York
27. Ferry on the Mississippi River
29. Washinton DC, to learn about our county’s history.
30. Visit Native American pueblos
31. Visit the Muppet stuff in the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
- Speak Spanish fluently.
- Learn to belly dance
- Learn to surf
- Improve my piano playing
- Learn to play chess
- Improve my singing
- Sewing (enough to actually alter and design my own clothes)
12. Ice skating
14. Study abroad
15. Learn to survive in the wilderness and test my skills
16. Learn a martial art
17. Learn to place Linus and Lucy in full
19. Bread making
20. Learn to use a pottery wheel
21. Make my own ravioli
23. Study psychology
24. Learn to not throw like a girl
25. Skip rocks
26. Publish novels…I don’t know how many.
27. Publish at least one non-fiction book
28. Become financially independent and debt-free while doing something I love
29. Write and publish a children’s book
30. Create a whole body of art work and have a gallery show, even a private one.
31. Sell a piece of art
32. Change a tire all by myself
33. Be vegan for a year
34. Try African dance
35. High-raw vegan for a month
36. Name a star
37. See the Spiral Jetty
38. See Halley’s Comet
39. Shower in a waterfall or in the rain
40. Spend the night on a beach
41. Scuba dive in a coral reef
42. See the northern lights
43. Touch a whale
44. Watch a caterpillar emerge from it’s chrysalis
45. Do 50 push-ups in a row
46. Go an entire day without speaking
47. Pet a tiger
49. Learn to live simply
50. Skinny dip
51. Make a two-headed snowman, Calvin and Hobbes style
52. Swim with dolphins
53. Volunteer in an animal shelter
54. Volunteer to help abused women and children
55. Reduce my carbon footprint
56. Throw a surprise party for someone
57. Create a new holiday just for my family
58. Plant a tree
59. Dance in a foreign country
60. Ride a camel
61. Get a golden retriever
62. Try bikram yoga
63. Reach my natural ideal weight through intuitive eating and enjoyable movement.
64. Eat at a raw vegan restaurant, just to try.
65. See Tears for Fears live.
66. Run a half-marathon
67. Run a race for charity
68. Master the scorpion pose
69. Ride a horse sidesaddle
70. Try showjumping.
71. Do a headstand
72. Go rock climbing
73. Ride in a hot air balloon
74. Live without a car for a year
75. Win first place in something
76. Live by the ocean
77. Go sailing
78. Celebrate a non-materialist Christmas
79. See a whale in the wild
80. Grow my own food
81. Do the splits
82. Sing in a rock band
83. Live a full-blown yogini lifestyle for six months. Asanas, cleansing practices, etc.
84. Try fencing
85. Get a pet pig
86. Watch a meteor shower
87. Own a home
88. Trek through a jungle
89. Write, play and sing a song
90. Get married in the Temple
91. Become a mother
92. Homeschool my kids through elementary
93. At least try natural childbirth…this is a big maybe, I don’t know, I don’t know.
94. Research my geneology
95. Do temple work for my family members
96. Conquer my depression and anxiety
97. Learn to truly manage stress
98. Conquer fear (driving, being away from my family, offending people, etc.)
99. Learn to be happy no matter what my circumstances
100. Age gracefully. None of this wrinkle fighting or hair-dyeing stuff.
101. Finally, make an amazing scrapbook of all this
I plan on making a separate tab to post photos of these things as I accomplish them, a sort of visual “checklist.”
If you have a blog, consider yourself tagged! Post your own handprint list and send me a link. I’d love to see it! If you don’t have a blog, squeeze whatever you can into the comments.