Sunday, March 29, 2015

Freedom_to roam_roadtrip: Getting out there again: View from a kayak

Freedom_to roam_roadtrip: Getting out there again: View from a kayak: Camera phone image of Lake Texoma showing the clarity of the water This will probably be my next painting. I am working on getting back ...

Getting out there again: View from a kayak

Camera phone image of Lake Texoma showing the clarity of the water
This will probably be my next painting. I am working on getting back to the simplicity and beauty of water and how light reacts on its surface and even more important through its depths. It's been a long time since we have kayaked and today we broke a streak.

Unfortunately, didn't break the streak of being skunked. Smallmouth bass are sitting on the bottom laughing at the hapless fishermen as we speak. But this post is not about fishing or painting-it's about being out there.

It was truly an amazing day. The sky was brilliant blue, the redbuds and bradford pear competing to be noticed. We didn't even rush to get the kayaks out, there was plenty of time to just enjoy being there.

We threw crank baits and tubes, slabs and even some topwater and the fish wouldn't budge. In fact we didn't mark many fish on the fish finder. We paddled, we paddled and paddled some more and even though the 54° water filled the back of my boat and we fought the wind for several hours nothing mattered than the feeling of being emerged in the beautiful scenery.

I remembered what I didn't like about kayaking, the stiff legs, awkward tangling of lines but more than this I realized what I missed. First, my son and nephew enjoying themselves, my brother and I throwing jokes and thoughts back and forth.

I remembered what I have been missing in painting the brilliance of water, the smells and the colors of spring stirred memories. In some areas the rocks and pristine blue-green water looked like how I envision Greece and its rocky white cliffs against the Aegean.

The exploration of another two miles of the lake makes me realize just how many more open areas and hidden bits of paradise that are just waiting to be discovered. By car or by kayak I am excited about starting the journey to bring words and pix from all the faraway places, even those that aren't so far away.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Photographing Beavers Bend State Park: Reigniting my passion

Day after the rain at the spillway Beavers Bend State Park
I have been to Beavers' Bend on many occasions but this time with a flexible amount of time and not much planned I feel like I got to see more than usual.

I was able to enjoy photographing for the pleasure of finding out-of-the-way images. My intention was to shoot the clarity of the water and the misty diffused atmosphere of the rainy evening that we arrived.

My first project was the glistening pine needles against the darkness of the lake and the dam. I used a large aperture so I could allow for a sharp foreground and a soft unfocused background.

The most enjoyable aspect of this particular trip was shooting for a specific image that I had in mind and being able to shoot until I found the combination I was striving for.

It was cold and wet photographing in the rain but if my son didn't mind fishing in the rain, I didn't mind photographing.

Broken Bow Lake

I have always known that for every good shot you get, you tend to shoot large amounts of frames and this particular shoot rang true. So many images look better in the mind than in actuality and others seem to create themselves after they've been composed.

View from above Broken Bow Lake
Rain on the Pines
Broken Bow from the Pines

Road Trip; Sometimes flexibility is more important the actual destination

Above the Dam Broken Bow Lake Oklahoma
The spring break trip has come and gone with many lessons to share. My son and I
have grown in our relationship and that’s a good thing…no really even despite Dad’s growing pains.

Being the explorer that I am and having the need to live as large as I can, I planned an amazing trip across Oklahoma. I planned a trip to the northwest tip of the state. I wanted to show him Boiling Springs State Parkin Woodward, Alabaster Caverns, and the Great Salt Plains State Park and finally the Wichita National Wildlife Refuge, it was going to be amazing.

Unfortunately and fortunately that wasn’t the trip that happened. Instead of this great cross-country trip we went to Beavers’ Bend State Park in Oklahoma.  It’s a wonderful place to visit but not something new to me-not many options for new magnets.
Broken Bow Lake Oklahoma
First positive thing, we spent about a fifth of the money that we have traditionally spent. Second, I didn’t drag an unhappy teen on a trip that I was trying to make happen. Of all the aspects we pride ourselves on these trips is flexibility and this trip was no exception.

Our first night was fishing in the rain, amazing conversation and a bit more hydroplaning than I would have preferred. We didn’t catch anything, maybe a cold.
Had a pretty wonderful yet frugal dinner at Abendigos and did something you sometimes can’t manage with a teen, we talked.

The next day was cloudy but bright. We spend a large portion of the morning sleeping in. Fished a little and than picked up a friend of ours that had just moved there and spent the rest of the day with two teens and again, talked.

There is something beautiful about teens laughing, being silly and yet still talking about life, the good, the bad and the ugly. We hung out in a park, ate sweets, talked, had a wonderful dinner at the blue rooster and finally had an amazing deer run, one of my very fond teen memories with my family. We saw twelve deer and laughed like we were a bunch of juveniles, it was a really fun day.

The next day we fished before leaving the park and I learned more about my son and myself. I have come to a conclusion-we are both growing but it’s a good healthy thing even if I haven’t been on board in the past, it’s working out just fine.

He drove most of the way home and again we learned-the dance you do on the highway with trucks and other cars much like the parent-child relationship. You pick up speed, you get too close, you slow down, and it’s an intricate dance as each of you adjust-not too fast, not too slow, not too close and not too distant.

Unfortunately he has to find his own speed and his own comfort and my job is to allow him the highway and open space to become the man he will be and at this time I’m excited for the road ahead. A bit of freedom, a bit of flexibility and this trip through life I think is going to be worth writing about…. next stop anywhere, stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

On the Road-A review of the movie and personal musings

I watched On the Road Today- a story by Jack Kerouac, what struck me more than the actual texture of the film was the underlying theme. First off, I realize why critics like movies that can seem boring from the surface, I believe it’s more the texture of the film, the interaction between characters and the interplay of scene and character, this is only a theory.

The beginning of the film deals with  the free spirit of the beatnik generation. You could sense a lack of purpose and the desperate need for it. Drugs, jazz and conversation fill the gaps of boredom as a group of would be writers search for purpose in 1947 New York. Each character yearns for inspiration on the brink of killing themselves or enjoying the absolute rapture of sex, drugs and jazz and not finding fulfillment with either avenue.

I was bored in the first part of the movie, a boredom that after watching the whole movie was actually empathy for characters seeking fulfillment through various reckless avenues and coming up empty. I can relate to the feeling of searching for that which feeds the soul.

My interest grew with the traveling portion, a passion I could truly relate with. I think there is a common bond among writers, an intense need to experience. Desperation for changing atmosphere, to see new places and learn new things about your surroundings and ultimately the self in relation.

To me, there is no greater adventure than the road. It brings solitude and introspection all highlighted by an ever-changing environment. I love how mountains begin as distant phantoms and grow to dwarf the traveler. I love the first smell of the ocean or how a city or small town disappears as the speed limit increases and you realize how much open space separates town and city. I enjoy finding out of the way diners, holes in the wall, people who are passing through or the regular fixtures of a diner or pub.

I love to listen to peoples stories, how their town used to be, how there’s no barbecue like this place left, A barbecue place in Knoxville or an amazing little diner in Bakersfield. You connect the dots, you realize freedom is just a walk outside your house and beyond the walls of your life, this I believe is a writers’ paradise.

Unfortunately for the writer, the truth bites hard, the fact that there must be some form of conformity, due to the innate need for financing the road. Freedom is not free, it is a choice that can cost us everything, and there can be much suffering in not conforming to the standard programmed life. We must balance our freedom and ability not to be tied down by our highly demanding lives, relationships and the cost of being free to roam.

We must be realistic with who we are-we must balance relationships, family and finances. Just like Free Love was a farce the ability to not be tied down by anything has its drawbacks. The characters in On the Road experience the pain of wanting to be free and how we hurt those we included in our lives, Nothing is perfect, from the corporate man that keeps one job to the traveler who ties themselves to nowhere-there are drawbacks and costs to each.

In the end, you see the selfishness that costs one writer everything and the wisdom of the other character conforming to some of societies contracts.  I believe there is a possibility of compromise between the two lives.

I have seen people that live outside the corporate and programmed life, there is a feeling of elation in the succeeding on your own terms but there are also the life pangs which I consider necessary to feel alive.

There is nothing more amazing than the difference between having to rely on meager sustenance, the ramen noodle diet and splurging for an amazing meal, Just as warmth is never such a blessing than from someone who has felt the cold deep in ones bones. I believe the extremes are the only way we can truly enjoy the full breadth of our lives. So for those that get out on the road, figuratively or literally, enjoy the pangs, they will give way to rapture in the elation of succeeding on our own terms.

Artistgordon - Find me on