I am still trying to master acrylic paints. I have a couple paintings lying around now that are mostly complete. I guess they should be done, but I’m not totally thrilled with a couple aspects of each, so I keep them in a ‘hmmm, what am I going to do with you’ pile.
Today I begin a painting of succulents. My inspiration is the above photo I took last October at The Esalen Institute at Big Sur, California… a few hours before we rushed Blue Eyes to the hospital in Mountain View. I printed out a copy of the photo a few days ago and have been planning the painting in my mind. I am going bigger with this one in hopes I like it enough to hang it in our beach house. We are still waiting on the construction financing package to go through before we can break ground. Now we’re looking at mid-July? Between flood elevations, land surveys, architectural plans, engineering plans, construction budgets, construction financing, and permits, this has been a ridiculously long planning process, and I still have plenty of time to finish this painting and many more before there will be walls to hang anything on.
Coincidentally, today I received an email from Esalen saying they have received a lot of attention since the series finale of the AMC television show Mad Men aired. The Don Draper character apparently experienced an epiphany at a location modeled after Esalen and the show accurately portrayed “the kind of breakthroughs that people would have at Esalen all the time.” This according to the current Esalen President. We have not watched the second half of the final season of Mad Men because… yes, that show is full of triggers. I am pretty TV-movie-trigger-free lately, but Blue Eyes is a different story. Most likely I will be watching it alone. Funny thing. At the ‘Science of Happiness’ seminar we attended at Esalen last Fall, the only epiphanies I had were that I do not like sleeping in rustic cabins anymore (although the intimacy between me and Blue Eyes before he became ill was quite nice other than the annoying presence of huge flies buzzing around us), I very much do not like trying to find happiness a mere eight months post dday in a crowded room full of opinionated people judging why other people aren’t happy enough, and it is not wise to take a recently diagnosed sex addict to a place filled with some half clothed and some fully nude people. As we sat out on the gorgeous and expansive Esalen lawn looking over the beautiful Pacific Ocean, I had an amazing view (from my vantage point) of a young and quite voluptuous mother swimming and sunbathing in the nude approximately 30 feet away from me, with her toddler. Blue Eyes had his back to the pool, and the person we were with on the lawn was fully clothed and spilling out the deepest sadness about her life and her depression and her pain and fear, and even that couldn’t make me stop thinking about that big huge trigger standing/sitting/swimming mere feet away. But that was just my very unique experience.
I do find the location to be absolutely stunning and I fell in love with their vegetable and flower garden, but I have pictures of all that to remember it by. I doubt I need to return to the Institute any time soon (and the drive to and from was crazy treacherous) and if I did, it would probably be alone and to experience a painting workshop, or maybe a yoga retreat.
Above: gorgeous climbers at Esalen. Below: Esalen pool.
Above: Esalen veggie garden, October 2014.
Esalen at sunset.