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August 8, 2014

100 (Almost) Views of Haystack Rock

On the heels of a most inspiring ICON conference in Portland, Or. this summer, I treated myself to three days at Cannon Beach on the magnificent Oregon Coast. Cannon Beach is home to the infamous Haystack Rock. There is no doubt that once one is on this majestic beach, everything is about that Rock. The Rock looms large as you round the coastal highway, approaching town. It is a sight to behold. It has a presence, a persona, that is overpowering. People flock to it all hours of the day and night, when you are eating in a restaurant, every so often you hear "Haystack Rock" wafting through the conversations, when you are shopping, you are asked if you have been to the Rock, when you are given directions, it is always in reference to the Rock. From my incredible beachside room, I could see the Rock, and I, too, fell under the influence. On my first day, I tooled around the coast, driving to Manzanita, a town that has an equally beautiful beach, but it did not have that Rock. I drove north to Astoria and had some great chowder under an historic bridge, but, again, no Rock. I found myself missing that Rock. It was like a companion piece for me- 
a stability, a, well, a Rock.Of course, I drew it the minute that I got there, hardly doing it justice. 

But, as its presence and comfort grew in my mind and my space, I realized that it was always with me, even when I was 40 miles away. And that is when I thought about one of my favorite and biggest inspirations, Hokusai. Most of you will know who I am speaking about if you think about the image of the big wave- but he was so much more than that. First and foremost in my mind, an incredible draftsman whose sketchbooks are legendary. Another lesser known book that I adore is Hokusai's 100 Views of Mt. Fuji. And that is when I decided "yes, I am going to channel Hokusai! 100 views of Haystack Rock." It was 5pm on Tuesday when inspiration struck. I had to leave for the airport at 8am on Thursday am. I set to work. No one had to twist my arm to walk in and around the beach for a day, sketchbook at my side, working feverishly to get to my goal. I did not make it. 75. 


That is where I ended. I think that I could have, if I used my photos to record those last 25. 
But, this was a challenge to draw it on location. That is who we are, after all, isn't it?
I am back now, from my mini vacation with the Rock. I still feel as if it is over my shoulder.
You can see the series here.

5 comments :

Veronica Lawlor said...

Uh, 75 is pretty impressive Melanie! Love the series, especially the view through the flowers and the super linear one. Now you'll have an excuse to go back and draw 25 more.

Mark Leibowitz said...

What a surge of creativity! Great series (definitely click on the link to Sewell 75 of the sketches). My favorite was the one that has, what looks to be a field of daisies, with a tiny Haystack rock off in the distance.

memi said...

Thanks, Ronnie and Mark. Ronnie, I was looking for a a reason- and now, I have it! Road trip???

VHein said...

Melanie, I agree with Veronica--75 is darned impressive, and inspiring! I love them all, and I'm sure this would make a great exhibit! I love the post too--wonderful description of the ever-present Rock!

Gail Wong said...

Melanie,
These are beautiful! I love the colors you used in these sketches.