Trout are the reason I am in California. They are the fish Bob has been studying through his work for California Fish and Wildlife since we moved out west in 2015 for his first post-college job at a hatchery. Since then, we've learned so much about the Northern California watersheds, the local fisheries, the state wide issues, water rights and how trout and salmon are effected by humans, climate change and dams.
In 2017 I took a trip to New Mexico with my Grammy for an art workshop. The trip was incredible, but that's a topic for another time. At the end of the trip, my returning flight was delayed, giving me 6 hours to romp around Albuquerque by myself. I was in Old Town where the vibe is exactly what it sounds like as you pass architecture created in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The second building I went into was a Native American Trading Post where I met a woman named Blue who I spent the next 4 hours with. Upon meeting her before she knew a thing about me, she predicted that I live on the side of a mountain healing people with food and art. This was the same time I was working with Inwood Community Farm across the road from my house at 1600 feet in the foothills or Mt. Lassen. I was also starting to teach painting classes regularly at North Valley Art League in Redding.
She also predicted that my partner work with a Rainbow fish. In awe, I laughed , smiled and then told her that Bob works for Cal Fish & Wildlife working with Wild Trout, more specifically very largely with Rainbow Trout. She simply said 'of course he does.' She told me we were multidimensional beings of the 5th generation...the Rainbow Warriors. Later we laughed because my business card literally says 'art and garden classes' and my title on the card is 'Artist/Mulitpotentialite.'
She told me stories and explained so much symbolism in her culture. She is part Aztec and performed a ceremonial corn blessing on me in her native tongue. She repeated the same thing many times as she had me turn to face North, South, East and West. He voice was beautiful, tears streaming down my face. The only words I could make out were 'Rainbow Warrior.' My time with her was such a blessing to me. She did another ritual in her language as she chose a name for me. I'm still not sure how it is spelled, but my guess would be 'Bontiquwa' which means 'the hand that paints.'
I will never forget that day. It has motivated me more than anything else at times. Since then, I have become scuba certified and moved closer to the ocean. I am still on a mountain, still teaching, still growing veggies and medicines. During a trip to Belize this winter and Honduras for scuba, I decided to try my style with underwater paintings. It's interesting to look at this painting from last year because it represents so much, symbolically, but also material wise.
This piece was created with home made encaustic paint. Through self study, I have been exploring this medium from scratch. Time spent with it has been off and on with season, because in the summer, I never want to plug in hot wax (it gets 120 degrees near Redding!) 'O. Mykiss' in my opinion is my most successful encaustic work so far. The paint is made with a 1 to 10 ratio of demar resin (tree resin) to filtered granule beeswax. I paint with hot wax and use a torch to smooth it out. As the wax collects and cools, accretion occurs which is the natural texture created with the wax as it builds up. Encaustic is it's own varnish and the resin raises the melting point so it won't melt on you! A neat way to own a natural piece of artwork.