I think this photo is absolutely priceless.
The reactions of people this day were completely different.
I got to the beach at high tide, and had to wait for it to drop before I could draw. There had been strong west winds, which blow in a type of small, surface-floating jellyfish called Velella velella, or “By-The-Wind-Sailors”. As the tide receded, the velella would wash up in gorgeous blue bands that stretched up and down the beach as far as the eye could see.
To occupy myself while waiting, I decided to work with what was in front of me, and chose to darken the leading edge of each band of velella. I did this for perhaps a 1/3 of a mile in each direction. It was quite an undertaking.
Still with time to pass, I also made a quick, small, free-hand flower.
You can see the lovely blue bands of velella and the dark outlines that I had drawn along their leading edge.
I thought my tracing of the velella was as striking as it was creative. To me it really made one see clearly what otherwise might have been missed — that the bands had fascinating undulations and complex intersections. Plus, the dark warm edge made a beautiful contrast with the cool blue. The photo really doesn’t do the natural patterns and colors justice.
Normally people are incredibly appreciative of my work, but it seemed that this day people simply could not get their minds around my delineation concept. And often people do not to like what they do not understand. They would come up — annoyed — and ask what the hell I was doing and why. When I attempted to explain, I got nothing but puzzled looks, eye rolls, and a couple of “seems pretty crazy if you ask me”. (I didn’t.) I don’t recall anyone seeing the magnificence that I saw. It was quite a surprise.
Oh well. I was drawing for me, not for them. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
When the tide was low enough I drew the large circular pattern in the photo below. It was about 12 times the diameter of the flower, but distance and perspective obscure that fact. It was a design I had done before, however this time I wanted to try out a clever new tool that I had created. But by this point in the day this final design was really just an after-thought. I was pretty tired.
It was a blindingly brilliant but chilly day, with a very strong wind from the left. You can see people leaning into the gale, and the long dancing streamers of sand that quickly obscured my art piece.
I love everything about this photo. I can still feel what it was like to be on the beach on this dazzling day. And I love the design, which was done 100% free-hand.
I finished this sand drawing minutes before the rising tide erased it.
Sand art is a metaphor of life. We are here. Then we are not. Yet the waves keep rolling in, forever.
This pattern was done purely free-hand. Clearly I am getting better with my tools and with the medium. My growing expertise is allowing a genuine sense of freedom to radiate into the world.
This design is one of my favorites. I think it is beautiful.
This is the third time I have done this design. I had a different pattern in mind on my way to the beach, but I had very little time to work because I had to meet someone later, plus the weather radar showed heavy rain coming, and, if that were not enough, the tide was rising quickly. So I switched to this pattern at the last second just so that I could get some exercise — and believe me, that’s a workout! — and then get out of there. I stopped by again after my meeting and took the second photo of the piece disappearing.
I don’t know what possessed me to thicken the outer border. It was perfect as a thinner line, then I went ahead and wrecked it. It’s funny — I’m sure no one even noticed; the world did not fall off of its axis because of my blunder; and the sea quickly erased the mistake anyway. But it annoyed me nonetheless. It still does.
We are our own toughest critics.