Our final morning here, we drive the 10 mile Ocean Drive and look for a beach to visit for a few minutes before driving home. We get to see another side of Newport. Big and small, mostly modern beach homes with wonderful views. It is quiet here—and I have no idea if it is the middle of the week quiet or just the nature of this side of the town. No restaurants, no where to tour. If I was to live here, this is where I would find home. This area is still not far from where the cottages are and we pass a few former carriage houses and footprints of old green houses.The surf is very small here but it is the ocean sounds in miniature. The beach is a rocky and coated with a layer of dried sea weed but there is some sand in which Julia can play. How many times, we have travelled to lovely beaches without sand toys! Forgotten at home, or impossible to carry. This time, she has her pails and shovels and there is little to use them on. No matter, she is happy wading in the surf, picking up and discarding rocks and letting hand fulls of dry sand pour through her fingers.
When ever I am at a beach, I wish hard to live by water. Listening to the smallest of waves brings me home, home to a place I have never been.
I have not worked on the memoir since I have been in Newport, and I recognize that although I never feel like I spend enough time writing, I have been writing, editing, mining for more material and arranging some piece every day for weeks now. It is never long out of my thoughts. I will get back to it tonight.
We have done a bit of drawing/painting here, which although not writing, serves to keep the creative corner of my brain fed. I do wonder now why I waited so long to play with pencils and color. I have no natural ability. I do not naturally see with Julia’s eyes. I cannot put colors together that are in any way interesting most of the time, but I enjoy what I am doing. With the smallest pallet of watercolors and a brush that holds water and so can go anywhere, I spend time capturing what I see. No surprise, but I am drawn to capturing flowers and gardens. Deb Putnoi, who is Julia’s art mentor, exposes and teaches me about exciting techniques that I enjoy. Her emphasis is always on process and experimentation. Slowly, very slowly, over the months I am growing to trust myself to try, to experiment, to feel less self-conscious that there will not be a pleasing product. The longer I do it, the less I care about the product and the more I get lost in the process. The feeling of flow for the first time making mono prints a few weeks ago was a revelation. I haven’t had the feeling quite so strongly since that first time but I’ve felt the slight buzz of it often. If I was to regret, I would regret not discovering this sooner, not using any slight delight making art of any kind to feed my muse’s habit. I see that not exploring these possibilities has been part of not taking myself seriously as an artist. My only excuse is that I was waiting to be wildly successful before I became eccentric. Now, I see that I must allow the eccentricities to leak out any and all days first and not be concerned in the least about wild success. I cannot regret taking so long to make this discovery. Yes, I wish it was a discovery made when I was a teen carried over from an adventurous childhood, but oh, that was no never me. I had to wait, to heal, to grow, to learn myself, to become less afraid of life and death. Maybe in my next lifetime I will take advantage of these rather late in life discoveries. Maybe I need to stop imagining that I can use these discoveries in some distant future and just enjoy them now.