For too many of us the beach, when we walk it, is demurely covered, her secrets hidden. We see only dull clouds, a span of water, lots of sand. Only those who look closely see the presence of it, the expression of it, the hidden secrets within.
From Benjamin Moser’s, “Why this World”: “Are rocks made or are they born? Answer: Rocks are.”
And so, art. Art is. And it’s everywhere.
Long Beach, New York’s East End purple rock, our lifeguards’ colors, was a jetty-mounted icon.
Incredibly, hurricane Sandy swept it to the sea.
Most of us are lovers of art in all its forms: painting, photography, sculpting, cinema, among the wide and varied. But art is all around us every day. Much of it is on the canvass of sand and sea spread out before us. It’s often found in the perspectives, patterns, forms and shadows we see all the time but don’t really appreciate, like this…
Too often I find myself, as I suspect are many of you as well, caught up in reminiscences or regrets about yesterday or anticipations or anxieties about tomorrow. Too often I don’t surrender that dubious, nebulous, morass of stuff to be present in this magnificent mural we call…
But when I am able to experience beach art I try to record it for others. Here are some of my art appreciations:
One day I came upon a piece of driftwood. In it I saw the distinct form of a whale, a knot even appropriately placed for an eye. There was a softly beveled slit in its side right where a pectoral or side-fin would be.
A day or so before, I had found a small driftwood piece of no real consequence but I thought I’d keep it anyway, just for the form of it, the softness of it’s edges. Much artful abrasion by sand and sea had worked its smoothing wonder. Because it was small I thought it might be an adjunct to something already on our window sill or maybe it would come in handy some day. I stuck it in my back pocket.
When I took the whale-form home I saw that the slit in its side looked like it might accommodate the small piece I had found earlier; and as if by the sea’s artful predetermination, it fit perfectly. It was as if it was created to fit…exactly.
I now had a sea-sculpted whale. A work so special to me I felt it needed to be displayed in a unique way. So I mounted it on our condo’s wall.
I did take my time doing so to give it the presentation it deserved. I fastened it directly to the wall with just a couple of nails but I created a three dimensional scene around it.
I altered nothing on the whale, it is exactly as I found it except for the fin I placed through the fortuitous slit in the side. I molded a clay gull, baked it, painted it, then placed it in a perch atop the buoy, drippings included.
I converted our dimmer light switch into a buoy by adding some wood trim, and placed some lucite for lenses that a lighted buoy might have.I added a painted PVC railing with painted struts, attached some old dock line from a boat I used to own and threaded that through a store-bought cleat. The results:
And so to other art of Long Beach, painted by a seasoned hand with brushes of wind and waves, sun and sand:
The dunes, deft strokes, flowing lines.
At water’s edge, a secret grace in the dance of green tendrils.
A closer look:
Sea spray’s accent to verdant moss on a sun-painted jetty.
Hemp’s rendition of splashing surf and rolling swells.
A sun-baked sugar twist:
The sea paints a visual echo of condo cliffs and co op palisades.
Batman and Robin:
A true lover of art embraces the presence, from hands to heart…live art.
Full moon on the dune:
…in an arc it forever traces.
The naked beach you’ve been waiting for: The art of love, crudités-sex-on-the-beach.
89 cents a pound, green market,
Kennedy Plaza, Long Beach, NY
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