color study -- foggy lens at a house party
It's been a while since I last wrote a significant amount on my blog, and updated all you cyber-people about happenings in my life. So here it goes....
Immediately after U.S. Nationals I took off for school in Eugene. I took a full load of classes during the spring term at the University of Oregon, working toward my Bachelor of Fine Arts. Taking art classes always sounds amazingly fun and simple, but somehow every year it proves to be insanely difficult and busy. I'll spend hours editing a single photograph, a single line of code, on a single watercolor oyster. This year I took digital photography, an advanced drawing class, a digital arts class, and an environmental studies class called Global Environmental Issues. Let's just say there wasn't a dull moment.
Throughout this post I'll insert photographs that I shot (some are edited) for my course this spring. Starting now.
shapes and lines -- an early-evening reflection in a Bend, OR downtown window
The photography class was likely the most surprisingly fun one. I had assumed that I wouldn't learn much in that class, and was annoyed when I heard they had changed the upper-level photography course prerequisites from film to digital photography, although it does make perfect sense in this age. Alas--I was mistaken. I learned so much about my SLR, it was pretty amazing. And we even covered a bit of editing techniques on Photoshop. I hesitated to sign up for that class, but I'm now ever-so grateful that I did.
My drawing class was really wonderful. We did a lot of value-studies for the first few weeks of class, which were simultaneously frustrating and meditative, but never really that fulfilling. About half-way through the term our professor opened up the project definitions to include ideas that we had as individual artists. On the last project there were essentially no guidelines, other than to spend mass amounts of time on many drawings. So I experimented a bit with water colors and layering graphite/ink on top, which I ended up loving so much. I plan on doing more of that work when I get a bit of time, hopefully this fall....
Digital arts was probably the most difficult class of them all. I went into it thinking I would learn how to use a Wacom tablet, translate drawing into a digital form, and edit digital artwork. I have never been more wrong. We started out using Makey Makeys (please check out this video--these things are cool), Quartz Composer, and moved on to finally delve into Processing (a coding program). I never thought I would be learning to write code in that class, but that was essentially what the class was all about. How to take a vision/idea and translate it into this foreign-mathematical-computer language.... Yikes. I was completely unprepared for that. But after an incredible amount of confusion, struggle, and unintentional lap-top naps, I figured a few things out and actually learned to love the language a bit. That being said, I have so so SO much more to learn in the programming world before I become even the tiniest-bit proficient enough to create anything unique and original, and I'm not sure if I have the patience or the capacity. I may continue with it next year, just to challenge myself and see if it's possible. Cause I have so many ideas that I can't bring to life due to the dark expansive gap that the information needs to cross in order to take shape. We'll see.....
movement -- Allana silking out at Meadow Camp
And then there was the Environmental studies class. I've always been an advocate of sustainability, conservation, earth-loving, etc., but I wanted to get a better understanding of what is going on in our world and why. What a mind-blowing experience. I learned about everything from Green House Gas emissions, to water conservation, to industrial-vs-sustainable agriculture, to world-wide fishing practices, gender inequality, wealth disparities, and the violence all of these issues create around the world. I learned that I am leading an incredibly unsustainable life, and contributing immensely to global warming. Flying around the world, going through 50 pairs of skis a year, getting 4 ski jackets every season, supporting the agriculture industry in ways that are extremely detrimental to the continuation of our species, buying new clothes---these are contribute significantly to the problems I complain about and know are destroying this wonderful planet. Taking this class has inspired me to rethink my choices: how I choose what I eat, how I transport myself to the gym and the store, what clothing I buy and where it's coming from, knowing how the fish I eat was caught, and questioning my sport and the damage it is propelling. But I'm not perfect, and it's really, really tough to stick to all of my guns and ask every single waiter/waitress where my meat is coming from, researching a pair of shoes before I buy them, or choosing the more expensive crackers because they're GMO free. I'm not doing everything right--there is so much that I am still doing that is so harmful to this planet we're existing on, but I am now more aware of the choices I make, and I understand how these influence the market, capitalism, consumption, and hopefully the choices that the people around me make as well. It's a struggle, but it's better to believe it can be reversed than to just give up.
The Barn Light
color/light study -- party dishes
depth study -- Allana's feet on the Oregon coast sand
After school wrapped up I headed straight out to Park City, UT to train for a few weeks. It was time for me to get back to focusing on working out, and the Center of Excellence is one of those places that makes it easy to do so. Living in Park City allows for me to focus solely on working out, and not worrying about too much else (to-do lists, house projects, homework assignments, etc)... It was intense and demanding, but felt good to know I was getting back to the top of my shape. And pushing/challenging myself physically always feels so satisfying. I was working out while I was at school, but my program was condensed, and I was more concerned with finishing a drawing (at 3 am...that was due in a few hours) than taking my time during my lifts. So the few weeks in PC were worthwhile, and I returned to Oregon exhausted but ready to be home in Bend for more than 3 days for the first time since last October....
people project 2
people project 3
people project 4
Oregon was wonderful. I got to spend the 4th of July in Bend, and had many guests come visit from Hood who got to enjoy the festivities around town. We had a fun barbecue party for Allana's birthday on the 5th, and Leanne and Dustin stayed in town for a few days after the rest of the crew left to climb, workout, and play by the Cascade Lakes. We went up to the foot of the Deschutes to camp for a night, which was gorgeous and wonderful. After Dustin and Leanne left town, Tommy and I headed out to the Oregon coast to surf, camp, and explore. On our way back to Bend from the coast we stopped at the Oregon Country Fair, which I've never been to before. It was so full of magnificent, community-driven, earth-loving people...I am definitely going back!!!
5th of July fireworks :)
sunset in the Oregon sky
sheets in the wind at the Oregon Country Fair
The time spent at home in Oregon was short, busy, nuts, and lovely. It flew by, and before I knew it I was on the plane headed to New Zealand. Skiing down here has been wonderful. It is the most wintery I have ever seen in the 10 or so years I have traveled to New Zealand.....on Round Hill there were 8 runs instead of 1, as it was last year. The snow pack is perfect, the free-skiing is impressive and fun, the terrain is varying, and the training has been ideal. For the first week or so we were in Round Hill, the snow was very compact, icy, and perfect for training. There has been weather moving in and out, but for the most part it has been a really valuable trip. And we still have another week--YAY! We just arrived in Arrowtown, and will be training at Coronet Peak until we leave on the 16th. Yesterday was insane--we went heli-skiing with one of the U.S. Ski Team trustees. I'm pretty sure we were basically the luckiest people in this country, while we were plowing through massive amounts of new, fluffy snow. I was choking on it constantly, to the point of it being an issue to try and get air to my lungs. But it didn't matter. It was glorious. I have never had that much snow to myself (well, I had to share with a few others). But we never repeated a run, and waist-deep fresh snow was basically a requirement... it was so deep that you almost wanted to ski in someone else's tracks, just to keep your speed up. We hit a few steeper runs, and I had a few illustrious moments--it was literally so surreal I felt like I was dreaming..... It's a blurry, fuzzy memory in my mind now, but I'm going through some footage and am excited to share the bliss.....
Well, I've run out of time for today....but I have many more photographs and words to share, so I'll be updating again soon. Enjoy the heat of the summer sun, and I'll soak up the winter while it lasts. So much love from the Southern, colder, moon-waxes-and-wanes-from-the-opposite-side of the equator <3 <3 <3
adventures to and from, here and there, home and away, around the world--through my eyes, lens, and mind