This mixed media collage is titled SOUL FOOD – I did it several years ago and it is now owned by one of my favorite people. It is a large painting, it makes a strong statement, and requires a dedication of space, much like the various things that feed my soul. If you examine it closely it reveals details about the passions in my life. I could not get them ALL worked into the composition of course but there is a selection of clues. Sort of like Cliff Notes. But my life is an open book…always has been. If you ask me a question I answer it honestly – if you know me it does not take long to figure out what makes me tick. I reveal a lot in my art and my writing, and of course those “life journals” are pretty much out there all over the damn place so it is already too late for me to be mysterious even if I claimed I wanted to be. I am a communicator. It runs in my family – the genes from my straight-up-tight English Lit and correct grammar teacher mother combined with my artistic, musical, eccentric risk-taking furniture salesman father gave me no choice in life, really. My dad could tell a story – always a true one – and it would be hilarious. He was charismatic, handsome, romantic and a naughty boy to the very end. So the fact that I seem to be drawn to that very type of guy is no big surprise.
But I digress – soul food is what is on my mind today. Cravings – soul food places and faces and things that feed me and fill me up, leaving me satisfied and content. I hope you all know what your soul food is, because when you need symbolic comfort food and you need it NOW then you probably know just what to do with yourself. I guess my equivalent of the old tried and true comfort soul food mac & cheese has got to be the BIG SUR COASTLINE of California. When I move back to Denver this summer I just don’t know what I will do without it. There is a very special place to stay as you travel south on highway 1 – it is a charming cluster of motel cottages perched along the edge of the sand dunes on a desolate stretch of beach overlooking my Specific Ocean, as I call it – it is going to beckon you again and again once you go there. The place is THE SANCTUARY, just a bit north of Monterey and Carmel. Visit the website at www.thesanctuarybeachresort.com
Oh and by the way, as you begin your drive down the coast, in the town of Pacifica just south of SF (that place that is always on the news because it is losing chunks of real estate into the sea) be sure to stop for BBQ at The Gorilla BBQ place, 2145 Coast Highway 1, Pacifica – located in an orange railroad car on the left if you are headed south – the best BBQ I have EVER had. They do have mac & cheese. www.gorillabbq.com They even have their own theme song available on the website.
Another must-visit place, farther down the coast past Carmel by almost 2 hours is Nepenthe – you can Google or Bing it and read to your heart’s content – I cannot possibly do it justice with my mere words, but I will say that the word Nepenthe means to alleviate pain or sorrow….to cause to forget trouble….and it does live up to it’s press. The views are beyond belief, and on my last visit there for the occasion of my late husband’s memorial day spent along Big Sur with dear friends, my pain lifted and I felt lighter than air when we settled in there for a very long dinner on the terrace. Go there to feed your soul. Go.
There are many areas here in northern CA that I consider my soul food places. In the 7 years I have lived here I have soaked up a lot of rare and wonderful memories. Yosemite leaves me breathless, Tahoe of course is my family’s playground just an hour and a half from my front door. Wine Country – Oh my goodness. My favorite art supply store of all time is FLAX in San Francisco – it is like a candy store for me. The exotic collage papers imported from all corners of the world are my magnet, pulling me in and holding me hostage there for hours. That store is responsible for changing my artistic life and direction. And it is so much more than papers – it is a great place for kids and for wrappings, ribbons and albums, books, journals, paint of course and canvas and every single thing you can think of in art. www.flaxart.com
This blog entry will be continued – so much to say and so little space. Emotional Soul Food is a concept that I highly recommend you explore – if you find a safe and comforting place to go, a particularly wonderful person to visit, something satisfying to eat, a lovely location to sit for awhile or a midnight walk along the beach – if you know how to employ your special people, places and things for your own peace and comfort – well then you are taking care of yourself well. And I believe in taking care of yourself. There are few people who will do as good a job of that as you do, and it is indeed a full time job.