Tuesday, January 31, 2012
On a possibly related theme, I am reading a most interesting book titled "On Deep History and the Brain." This is the first history book I've read by a historian that takes humans' evolutionary history seriously as a necessary prelude to the standardized prehistory that assumed humans to be already fully-formed Homo sapiens but ignores how we got that way. We have all seen rainbows, but as a fraction of our waking hours, I'm sure rainbow viewing doesn't even come close to 1%. Is it possible, though, that the rainbow order of colors is deeply imbedded in our brains as the "correct" order?
[I'll finish this exploration later today. I want to mention Richard Dawkins' "Unweaving the Rainbow" for another angle on this topic.]
I'm back. Dawkins' book, among other things, talks about the consequences of Newton's discovering the fact that white light is made up of a range of wavelengths and that with use of a prism the wavelengths can be separated into the familiar "colors of the rainbow." To an extent, Dawkins' whole career has been centered around defending science against those who believe that factual explanations of things like rainbows ruin the sense of beauty. You know, the "ignorance is bliss" idea. Dawkins' argues that greater understanding leads to an even greater appreciation of beauty. He sees outgrowing the manufacture of and subsequent dependence on "gods" to be enlightening. It is rather amazing (dare I say un-Christian) how violent some of the criticisms of him have been over the years.
My youngest son is a very science-oriented guy, and I love to talk with him about things like rainbows. He has more knowledge about the electromagnetic spectrum than most high school science teachers. And, there's no doubt in my mind that he has a deeply felt appreciation for rainbows. Not only would he never take them for granted, he would go way out of his way to view the double and triple rainbows that I've told him about that are frequently viewed along the Front Range of the Rockies. Looking eastward from towns like Boulder during the summer rains one can often see amazing rainbows. Centennial country is out there 100 miles or so, and happens to be the world's greatest locale for experiencing hailstorms. But, that's another story.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The first meeting of my Community Education class, Adventures in Nature Journaling, will begin at the FRC student center at 9:00 a.m., on February 4. Watch this blog and/or the college's web site for information on how to register. The college will be issuing a catalog shortly. Meanwhile, feel free to e-mail me with any questions. The class will meet for 6 Saturday mornings between February 4 and March 17. The class may be repeated and a second 6-Saturday session will be offered between March 24 and May 5. The class will meet at a different site near Quincy every week. Depending on weather, we'll meet on established trails and/or inside coffee shops and art galleries. I'll contact participants weekly to announce each Saturday's venue.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Some folks experience the winter blues so deeply, they give the impression that the condition is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not me. I grew up in New England, and if you don't like winter, that's not a good place to be. I loved playing ice hockey on frozen, flooded cranberry bogs. Before our skates scratched up the surface, rendering it translucent then opaque, I was constantly getting distracted by the fish and turtles I could see swimming slowly beneath the ice. On a certain level, I was probably yearning for spring so I could renew my acquaintance with these critters. In Quincy, at 3,500', we are the borderline between true winter and semi-winter. That is, we sometimes get lots of snow but other times get little or none. For instance, despite the bitterly cold mornings, rain is forecast for later this week. Minor variances in conditions in the oncoming front could turn rain to snow or vice versa. I wait. It always interests me to see how various humans and other animals respond. If I take the position of anthropologist, I am pleasantly occupied and don't mind whatever weather Mother Nature delivers. However, I can assure you there is in me an invincible summer. I can hardly wait to resume photographing, drawing, and writing about wildflowers and bugs, and showing others where to find some seldom seen delights of Plumas County.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
In my previous post I listed a number of gallery showings and class offerings I have coming up in 2012. I'd like to add to the list an adventure available in Quincy that not many Quincy residents are aware of and that is Feather River Art Camp that takes place the third week of June on the grounds of Oakland Feather River Camp just a few miles from downtown Quincy. I'll be offering a class in Nature Journaling at the Art Camp this year, but there are many other great offerings by artists, writers, dancers, etc., at the camp run by Berkeley's Karen LeGault for over 20 years. Check it out at http://www.featherriverartcamp.com.
Beginning Saturday February 4, I hope to offer a class through Feather River College called Adventures in Nature Journaling. Watch for official announcements soon. In this class we will visit a different site in or near Quincy for each scheduled Saturday morning in order to discover the many "seldom seen sights" in our local forests, meadows, and roadsides, and indulge in several possible ways of creating nature journals. People who are interested in creative writing, drawing, painting, photography, or combinations of these modes, are welcome to inquire further by e-mail (email@example.com) before 'official' advertising begins. I plan to offer two, 6-week sessions of the class during the spring semester, Session I on Saturdays between Feb. 4 and March 17, and Session II on Saturdays between March 24 and May 5. I will also offer at least one all-day excursion to Table Mountain near Oroville (car pooling to be organized) during the peak time of wildflower blooming, usually between late March and early April. Watch here and elsewhere for announcements. Join me in discovering Plumas County's many "seldom seen delights."
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
First, is my Valentine's Day project. I am an exhibiting member of Main Street Artists gallery where currently my photo greeting cards and two framed photos are on display. For the month of February the gallery will have a Valentine's theme. I am producing a Commonplace Book (definition and explanation to follow soon) with a Valentine's theme. The top two images here, plants with heart-shaped leaves, have inspired some original sketches that will be in that book. The bottom image, a flower variously named Harvest Brodiaea, Cluster Lily, etc., etc., will be a part of a small book(let) that will be the first in a series of Natural History "zines." Volume 1 will be called Those Elusive Lilioids." I hope to publish it electronically, although a limited number of hard copies will be produced. Back to the drawing board - more to follow soon.