Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mendocino Village

I teach workshops, and occasionally I get to teach at a really great place. Mendocino, California is one of those places. It's in northern California on the coast. You go through redwood cedar forests and rolling volcanic hills filled with vineyards to get to it.

This was the view as I stepped out of the studio from the Mendocino Art Center.

This is the view of the cove from the headlands. Notice the volcanic rocks? Notice the fog? It's often foggy, and there are several impressive lighthouses along the coast.

Most mornings I would go to a little local cafe, called the Bay Side Cafe, and eat my breakfast there. Everyone thought I was nuts because I would eat out on the balcony. It was September, often foggy and chilly to the locals, but hey, where I come from, we'd already had a foot of snow, and it was downright balmy on the balcony.

Pretty soon, I'd have a chum. If I didn't watch him, he'd be more than happy to hop right into my plate and sample what I was having for breakfast. If he was really lucky, he could snatch something big before I shooed him away. By the end of my stay, it was a staring contest every morning, with him waiting for my attention to be diverted just momentarily so he could swoop in and rob me of my breakfast. Absolutely no fear!

Also while I was there, I could go every day across the little area commons to see the sculptor working through the day. This is "Three Ages of Woman" sculpture by artist John Fisher. He didn't quite get it finished by the time I left, but it was amazing to see the progress while I was there. To see him carve this rough stone into smooth features, wavy hair, sea anemones and star fish on the sides of the sculpture, was just fascinating. One day there would be a vague form with rough linear grooves, and the next day it would be smooth and refined.

If you ever want to go to a pretty place, I highly recommend Mendocino. It's quaint, picturesque, relaxing, beautiful, colorful...and if you run out of things to look at or you can't bear to be in any of the little shops full of exquisite work anymore, then there's still a dozen or so villages along this stretch of the coast that will be equally as beautiful.

Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak

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