Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Great Basin Art residency begins

(Above:  Stella Lake along the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail at Great Basin National Park in northern Utah.)
Steve and I visited Great Basin over a year ago.  We intended to hike the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail and take a one-way mile walk off it to see the grove of bristlecone pines.  That didn't happen. In early June the snow hasn't melted enough for access.  Even the end of the scenic road was closed!  What we experienced was spectacular though, and I shot lots of inspirational images, even a few of brislecone pines.  But, I was itching to return and hike those trails.  Well, I applied for this art residency and got it!  Due to COVID-19, my two-weeks was postponed from summer to fall ... but at elevations hovering around 10,000 feet, summer temperatures would still have been hot.  September is PERFECT.  I walked nine miles the first day and eight yesterday.  I shots hundreds of images, mostly close-up shots of the amazingly textural surface of the bristlecone pines.  My residency proposal calls for me to spend time observing the colors and textures here in the park and to create a stitched piece for the permanent collection.  Bristlecone pines are at the top of my list! 

(Above:  One of the bristlecone pine trees ... not a detail shot, just an image to show the variety of surfaces and natural colors.)
Some of these amazing trees are four thousand years old.  They've adapted to the harsh environment by growing very, very slowly ... and in ways to survive all sorts of weather. The wood is resistant to decay.  Even dead, the timber can stand for more than another thousand years.  During my first two hikes, I saw a large, grouse-like bird and a young deer.  I got photos but didn't get one of the long-earred wild hare.
(Above:  A deer ... behind the only man-made object along the trail.  This was a very small, fenced place around some sort of water pump/gauge.  The rest of the hikes were pure nature in every direction.)
The trail to the bristlecone pine grove continues up the mountain, over a rock glacier and with views to the never-melting snow in the crevices of Wheeler Peak.  I hiked this trail on my second day.

 (Above: Lake Teresa.)
Part of this art residency is a public component. With COVID-19 social distancing and other guidelines, this aspect had to be creative.  As a result, I'm helping with the park's 11th annual Astronomy Festival, September 17 - 19.  On the first night, I'll assist with "Art in the Dark".  Limited to twenty people (with reservations ... and sold out!), people will have an opportunity to color half of a night-flying, native white-lined sphinx moth in light and the other half in the darkness of a "red light".  Because humans don't see color in darkness, it will be next to impossible to know which crayon is which.  (The labels have already been covered.)  

It was great fun to do the research to find the right moth, a high resolution image in the public domain, and create a line drawing from it. I did this over a month ago. Unbelievably while driving here, I found a dead (not squished) one on a gas station’s pavement. I’ve also stitched Ursa Major (a bear) and a fiber vessel using glow-in-the dark thread. So, I’m ready for the presentation!


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