Friday, Sept 13, 2 013
The big excitement of the day, aside from the fact that I got two more paintings started and the one from yesterday was almost dry today, is that I saw, and then tasted, my first dust storm.
Apparently dust storms on the playa are a common occurrence during the dry season, and this one, in its tasting phase, didn’t last long. But I went out about 3PM to paint (same scene as yesterday) hoping to catch the colors of the playa in mid-afternoon and finish yesterday’s painting and to catch the evening light in a new painting.
The playa runs along the old lake bed, north to south, and the wind was catching its eastern side, along the ridge and buttes that line that area. As the wind progressed down the fatter part of the playa, it picked up and was tossing dust high into the sky, way above the ridges on the east. It was a nice brisk wind, going straight south. Playa’s compound is on the west (undusted) side of the old lake bed and so I painted merrily along, trying to capture the strange hues and colors, like mist only not mist.
[Rachel said later that the storm must have been going from south to north, although I painted it as well as registered it as going north to south. Dyslexia, bad eye sight, or a freak storm? I dunno]
Finishing up for the day, I stopped at the Commons, where Barbara and Rachel were finishing up for the afternoon. It was a bit close inside and all the doors were closed. I thought little of it, until I got back to Cabin 10, just across the great lawn. By the time I got inside and looked out, the wind had shifted and the dust was wiping out the view of Winter Ridge, to the west of the compound.
I ran around closing all the windows (I forgot a few) as if we were in a windy downpour. Then I stood at the balcony windows and watched the world get wiped out – and then reappear – and then get wiped out again. It was fascinating – and very close without the windows open. Finally I opened a beer and made some dinner and next time I looked out the windows, everything was clear and calm.
I have opened up the windows again, but with a bit of a question about whether this could happen while I’m asleep. I think I will cover my computer before I go to bed.
The moon is a bit more than half full and the outside looks delicious right now. I’ll have to make a bit of a jaunt around the great lawn. The mosquitos are fairly ferocious, although I have liberally dose myself with Cutters.
The dust storm over Winter Ridge. This was the only time I saw the Ridge look as though a rain storm was misting it over. There were lots of rain storms that came from the west over the ridge, but they tended to be fierce rather than misty.
So that’s the news from the Oregon Outback. Jer and I have made phone contact and email contact, the latter the only electronic contact available on site. I could try a cell phone, if I hadn’t loaned it to Jer, but I hear you have to hike and check and check and hike some more to find the tiny corner of this property where you can get service. Not worth it, and I truly glad I don’t have one to think this way about.
Tomorrow is Saturday and time’s a-passing. But I found a sweet little easily reached view that I can paint when all else fails, and I did an oil bar “painting” at the crack of dawn this morning. So I’m doing OK as an artist. At least I’m showing up. June