today didn’t quite go as I planned…

I decided as I looked out on the beach that most of my usual sites had been used; I didn’t want to demolish anything that was still standing; I didn’t feel like doing yet another wall or tower; in short, I didn’t know what to do. I figured that this was the time, since I lacked direction, to tackle something I have avoided for a long time – the use of specific material.

I decided I was going to make an entire surface of the dark, flecked rocks that punctuate the beach – one, for their contrast to the light rocks that make up the majority of the beach, two, for their pleasing heat in the sun, three, because they were of an easily discernible specific type – there were other kinds of rock on the beach that were too similar in color to one another yet different in some other aspect, such as mica content. I set about collecting these rocks out of the other types on the beach, and quickly found it was a lot more work than I thought it would be – tedious, monotonous, and unforgiving on the back, considering how small the black rocks tended to be in relation to their lighter neighbors. I had a notion that I would make an encircling set of white rocks, just to up the contrast, but… you’ll see how far THAT got below.

just too much work. ended up getting a good amount of dark rocks, though, and had a bunch of driftwood, so decided to work with that. I thought they might look interesting rising from the black carpet; some ended up outside of the field.

once I had the protrusions and the carpet, I found it still lacking, so  I encased the bases of my sprouts in a protective sheath of stone as you see above – something to mark their eruption from the ground. without them, the sticks lacked presence. I did this mainly in flat, light rocks in order to heighten the contrast with the relatively rounded dark stones. they also created a pleasant cactus effect, I think – though I suppose it’s a stretch of a visual parallel.

note to self – remember to take the time-stamp off next time I take pictures. gah. this is the second time I’ve failed to do so, and it definitely looks like crap. anyways.

I wasn’t super pleased with how this turned out – it needed to be a lot more extensive so that the aesthetic could become apparent. if I had had less trouble in collecting dark stones I could have set up a much more elaborate field of sprouts, producing a forest effect. that’s one of the difficult things in working in a finer detail scale over a large area – the detail can be lost in the field, becoming meaningless due to the issue of scale. repetition can overcome this, but the detail one is replicating much still be apparent.

this one is definitely, on the other hand, a lot of fun once you apply your imagination. what if these follicle sheaths were at human scale with entire tree trunks instead of small driftwoods? I found myself thinking about living in such a place as I hunched over one of the mini-stacks, carefully trying to get a stone to balance properly. it made me want to buy a logging pincer and some boulders – I have plenty of sites around my house that would be a lot of fun to manipulate.

all in all, though, I still think there needed to be MORE dark rocks involved to make this a success. I thought about gradating out into lighter and lighter stones, but didn’t have the presence of mind to work carefully to select the correct color of stone to move on to – the stones appear to be random when you look at the beach in general, but there are definitely strictly defined types of stone present.

secondarily, I liked the effect of the tendrils of darker stone curling around larger boulders, seeping like a petrous mold.

regardless of the result, it felt good to get back in the sun and get my hands into the gravel. I’m starting to feel like I’m running out of sites on this portion of the park; perhaps I’m actually running out of ideas for the available sites, or the previously completed works are clogging up my visual inputs to the point that I cannot create something new – the old dominates, in any case.

maybe I’ll move on to another part of the beach, possibly past the cliffs, nearer to the light house. (come to think of it, I haven’t checked whether there are remnants of my previous works from last summer there. it’s highly unlikely, but who can tell?)

perhaps it’s time to move to another beach altogether.

2 thoughts on “sprouts

  1. Hey Alex! I’m enjoying the pics of your creations. It was a pleasure meeting you on the beach during our time in Maine. (I’m the lady with the pink hair who gave you some glucose tabs, I was with my ogre-sized boyfriend.) We both enjoyed watching you work and think you have a wonderful eye for design and shape. We wish you the best on your journeys. I’ve put a few of the photos I took of your creations up on Flikr & FB, sharing your web address here so hopefully you’ll get some more hits. 🙂 Good luck in all you do and best in health to you. Don’t forget to take care of yourself! 🙂
    Cheers, Jodi F.

    • thanks! I haven’t been able to get back to the beach for a while now, but I’m sure to get there sometime in the coming few days!

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