green flash

Ocean Park: La Jolla Shores. Copyright 2013 Robin L. Chandler
Ocean Park: La Jolla Shores. Copyright 2013 Robin L. Chandler

With our meeting finished, I took the opportunity to visit the beach near La Jolla Shores.  Late in the afternoon on a beautiful spring day, I thought perhaps with luck I’d see the Green Flash, described in Wikipedia, as the optical phenomena that can occur after sunset for no more than a second or two. Emerging from the car, I was greeted by another kind of green flash.  The angle of the sun this late in the afternoon brought dramatic lighting to the park by the beach.  Rows of palms stretching towards the blue sky, cast dramatic deep shadows on the verdant green grass flashing before me. As I stood there, inhaling the sweet smell of the sea air touching the desert landscape, my eyes immediately focused on the dramatic colors and the strong verticals and horizontals. It was a beautiful moment – a quintessential moment when one feels blessed to be alive. Perhaps this kind of scene  – my green flash – is what caught Richard Diebenkorn’s imagination inspiring him to create the paintings now known as the Ocean Park Series. Robert Henri’s words from The Art Spirit passed through my mind too: “the sketch hunter moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them down in the shorthand of his sketchbook.”  Would I be up to the task of sketching this scene?  I decided it was worth the risk and that I would hold on to the basic elements that first intrigued me.  Painting is like life, it is all to easy too get lost in the details.  Try to find what is important – your magnetic north –  and hold your course.  As Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden, “Our life is frittered away by detail…..simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand.”

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