Step by Step

::: By Hand and On Foot :::

Today’s walk

Was another Manresa to Sunset excursion, and back again.

Each walk seems to have a theme, and today it was jellyfish.  This is one of the larger ones I encountered, shown with the nifty rock I found.  Does it count as exercise bonus points that I found said rock at the furthest point of my walk, and hauled it all the way back again?
I think it does.

Testing, testing….

Have I mentioned that I’m returning to Spain next month? I’ll be there for almost six weeks, walking on the Camino Frances for some of that time (the same route I walked in 2006), and spending the other part of that time serving as a volunteer hospitaliera at Monasterio San Anton, a pilgrim hostel built into the ruins of an abandoned monastery. I am very excited!

Right now I’m going through long ‘to do’ lists, one of which is set up my blog to let me post from my phone. Here it is: my first phone posting.

Let me share some images from the training walks I’ve been doing.

Last week I ambled along the coastal bluffs at Wilder Ranch State Park. It’s hard to see, but that’s a whale out in the bay. I saw three different pods swim by.
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Later on the fog cleared, letting the coast shine in all its glory.
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Later that week I took a long Beach Walk, from Manresa to Sunset and back again. A sign! I found two (mostly) intact scallop shells, which I took as a sign that yes, I should be going to Spain.
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Yesterday I took a nice loop hike in the backcountry at Wilder.
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Don’t worry — I’ll be spending minimal time on my devices. I plan on being totally in the present, not lost in the interwebs. But I know people back home like to see a picture or two, and have some idea of where I am.

Headshot/Mugshot

Headshot/Mugshot #1

My “Headshot/Mugshot” series is an exercise in presentation and perception.

There have been three sources of inspiration leading to this series. The first, social and mainstream media have focused lately on how young men of color are portrayed in the news. Who is represented with a mugshot? Who is represented with a headshot? Questions of racial and class privilege are raised.

The second, a paper presented at a neuro-aesthetics conference I attended suggested that we as humans are quicker to perceive difference than similarity when presented with a face that is morphed between two individuals. What makes somebody ‘different’?

The third is the Dadaist game of Exquisite Corpse, where different artists each draw different sections of a body and then combine them.

Headshot/Mugshot #2

For these portraits, I’ve deliberately made the backgrounds colors that are not in the spectrum of human skin tones. I’ve also deliberately homed in on the facial features, not giving any social or gender cues such as hair or clothing. And in some of the portraits, all of the features belong to the same person; in others, they are mixed up.

When you look at these portraits, do any of the faces look scary? Do any of them look friendly? Why do you think that is?

When you look at these portraits, do you try to assign any racial or ethnic identity to them? Why do you think that is?

When you look at these portraits, do you try to assign a gender identity? Why do you think that is?

Headshot/Mugshot #3

Like Buttah

My birthday was in June, and my present from Sarah-Hope was a new set of four Pfeil carving tools. I’ve been saving them until I started carving my giant 3-foot-square linoleum block for the Roadworks Printmaking Festival at the San Francisco Center for the Book. Yesterday was the day! And wow. These tools are AWESOME.

I was so excited to start this block, and to start using these tools, that I made a little video.

By the end of the afternoon, much progress had been made.
Progress has been made on my lino block

San Antón: A Little History

At the heart of the Camino de Santiago is the meseta, the high flat plain of northern Spain, and at the heart of the meseta sits the village of Castrojeriz. Just before you reach the village, the Camino passes through the arches of the ruined monastery of San Antón.

Monasterio San Antón was a pilgrim hospital, run by the Antonine order. For seven hundred years, the monks tended to the pilgrims who passed by, and to those in the community who suffered. For another two hundred years thereafter, passers by wondered about the ruins of the once-great monastery. Now, it is a pilgrim hostel. (And I so wish I had stayed there on my own pilgrimage in 2006. The sleeping quarters were open to the air, and I wasn’t carrying a sleeping bag. But I imagine what it might have been like, watching the stars come out as the night fell, listening to the hooting of the owls that live in the remaining towers. Next time, for sure….)

This past winter, my friend Rebekah Scott approached me about doing some illustrations for a small booklet about the monastery, written by her and Robert Mullen and designed by our mutual friend Kim, the sales of which would help support the hostel (which is run entirely on donations). Yes! I said immediately. This week, the booklets arrived.
San Anton booklet

I have to say, this is a great little book. It is well-written, full of information, a treat for pilgrims and non-pilgrims alike.

Besides the cover illustration, I contributed a portrait of Saint Anthony, a reliquary, and an image of the remains of the great Tau rose window.
Relic

If you are interested in getting a copy of the book, you can make a donation via the Donate button on Rebekah’s blog, then send an email to let me know you’ve done so (be sure to include your mailing address) and I can send you a copy. Donations help keep the pilgrim hostel running; any amount will be a great help and greatly appreciated.

Tau window

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