Saturday, September 20, 2008

sacramento river delta

Here I am painting alongside the Sacramento River -- (squinting) , holding my dirty hand up because I was painting in oils and it was covered wth paint.

This weekend I dropped a painting off to another juried show and then went to Sacramento to pick up a painting from a gallery (it bounced back via Fed Ex). The guys in the gallery were 'taking the piss' out of me for coming from San Francisco. Not sure why exactly.

I drove back along the river road looking for spots to paint. What a marvelous drive! The river--quite big--at times gets much larger. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the river and the bay. I want to visit the bay model again to study where I have been.

Near Sacramento I passed many new suburbs that were right alongside the river under the levee. You can scramble up the side and see bicyclists, dog walkers, runners and such going back and forth. Along with beautiful views. I can see what all the fuss is about. Schwartzenegger was worried about the safety of our water system and flooding in the event of an earthquake. I also passed many many foreclosure signs in these areas.

Once on route 160 I didn't see many places to pull over though there were some cars parked alongside--probably fishermen. Somewhere around Walnut Grove I took a side road that had a sign to some island. It didn't seem private; I followed a truck and some cars to get in there. The road on top of this levee was smaller and had very little traffic. The people in the house next to me said it was ok.

I painted in oil because it seems like a good idea in the heat. The painting came out sort of fuzzy. I had my usual brushes but couldn't get as detailed as with acrylics. But on the other hand I was definitely not overworking it and the colors are easier to grey out and make naturalistic.

About an hour into the painting a lady came by in an SUV and told me to move. It was her private land. She said I couldn't park on the road anyhow. I asked for 15 minutes which she granted. It seemed strange because usually people are so nice to me when I am painting. She apparently owns an island and has all these renters. Driving back to Route 160, I had a more careful look at the pavement ahead and could see that they had had some trouble with it. There were cracks and slumps and it went to one lane at one point. But on the other hand, it didn't look much different than the road I had been driving on for the last hour.

Now I get it that one should not park on levees. I did not realize this. I saw no signs. I guess it's a problem with the shoulder but it also seems odd that you can drive on them in the first place. In England's fen country the roads are beside and below the canals. Growing up in a New York suburb we didn't even know there were rivers. Now they have rivers and flooding, (We also had Canadian geese migrating twice a year. Now they are year-round residents.)

There were quite a few marvelous draw bridges along the way which I'd like to paint. Closer to home was an awesome view of Mt. Diablo from Rio Vista. The river there was enormous, really huge and powerful-looking, and I saw large signs saying "Notice" next to the pulloff areas. I couldn't read the small text. Where these no parking signs? There were lots of cars next to them.

Before I got to Antioch I suddenly had to go over this very high and very Disney'esque two-lane bridge and almost had a panic attack. I felt dizzy and disoriented by the walls on either side of my car. It was very narrow and very high (300 feet? 500 feet? thousands?). I had someone on my tail or otherwise I'd be going like 20 miles an hour. I was having flashbacks to bad experiences at Splash mountain and Great America rollercoasters. I will avoid that one in the future if at all possible.

- - - - - -

After I posted this I was lying in bed realizing that only crazy city people park on levees. I almost got up and took the blog down. We know potential employers find one's blog. Who will ever hire me if they read this? I who caused a crack in the levee and that the river will burst out and flood the house next to it and the orchard and cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands in the housing developments. Maybe there would be a cascade effect all the way down to Antioch and the stupid bridge would fall down. They would look for me and find my blog and charge me with 6 billion dollars of flood damage. And worse, I would never be able to live with conscience. All because a stupid New Yorker parked on the levee. They would pass new laws that no one is allowed to drive on the levee and construct a big fence around it for national security reasons.

Labels: , , , ,