Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Reflections on the Visions

I am at work on a post about my adventures and mystical experiences at Crater Lake and its surrounding environs.  In the meantime, I'll share a bit more from the 2012 staff art show.

All toll, we showcased work from 12 park employees from three divisions.  In two days, 300 or so park visitors came to the Rim Community House see our show.  For most of the two days, I was on the front lines, staffing the show.  All the setup and take down and organizing left me in a bit of state of exhaustion, even though  I received great help from my comrades Lesley and Lauren.  On the afternoon of the second day, my comrade Brian came an offered to staff the show voluntarily, and give me few hours of respite.  It was an act of kindness.  I went to sleep on the bare wooden floor in the back of the Community House.

In the end, it was great to see the various creative interpretations of Crater Lake by my comrades, and an honor that we could share our visions with the visitors.  I composed the following statement to introduce the show, and posted it at the front table:

"The Vision behind Visions from the Blue

By living and working in National Parks, Park Rangers develop unique depths of knowledge and emotional connections to America’s great places.  Therefore, it should not be surprising that many Park Rangers are also artists.  With camera, pen, brush, utility knife, knitting needle, or keyboard, we express our knowledge and feelings about these landscapes.  At Crater Lake, different rangers respond artistically to different aspects of the mountaintop caldera.  Some are drawn to the power and violence of the volcanic eruptions which created Crater Lake; some interpret the beauty and tranquility of the lake at present day; some are enamored with the plants and animals which inhabit the lake and forest; some retell or reinvent the Native American stories; and some create abstract works to express the mystery and mysticism found in this environment.  Visions from the Blue showcases artistic approaches as diverse as the Rangers who created them.  We hope that you enjoy this show, and leave it with some education about the wonders of Crater Lake National Park, as viewed through the eyes of those who live them daily.

~ Ross Wood Studlar
Park Ranger-Interpreter (and artist!)"

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Visions from the Blue

A lot has happened since I arrived at Crater Lake.  I have gathered much to fuel my blog in the future.  In the present, it has been difficult to make time to update this bloody site.  I am here now.

Now that I have returned to Crater Lake, the Crater Lake staff art show has been reborn.  I led the organizing of the first-ever staff art show in 2010; I am back for the second-ever in 2012.  Our title for this one is Visions from the Blue: Park Rangers Interpret Crater Lake.  The show will feature photos, paintings, drawings, weavings, and sculptures by at least seven members of the park staff, including yours truly.

In my four years of seasonal work at Crater Lake, I have interpreted this unique landscape from many angles.  I take special inspiration from the stories that Native Americans tell about Crater Lake.  My latest artwork along these lines is below.

This one is a collaboration with my friend and fellow ranger-naturalist-artist Lesley McClintock.  She created the environment; I created the figures.  ( © to respective creators).  It is an illustration to "Coyote in Love with a Star", a story told by the Klamath Tribe wherein Coyote has a tragic love affair with a mischievous star, and the events lead to the formation of Crater Lake.  (For the full story, you can consult Coyote Was Going There by Jarold Ramsey.)

At Visions from the Blue, I will display illustrations to other Native American stories, along with drawings of our amazing landscape and its wildlife.  And I'll showcase my comic books The Raven and the Crayfish and Avian Tales from Crater Lake.  As for my fellow rangers--Lesley has drawings and prints of rare animals at Crater Lake, such as the Mazama Newt and spotted owl; Stephanie has an impressive set of photos of Crater Lake and other national parks; Lauren has an image of Crater Lake knitted from wool (and I had not known it was possible to knit with such detail); and Maria has a glass sculpture of a volcano, which I am yet eager to see.  Tomorrow, I will hustle and bustle to get all this set up and situated in the Rim Community House.

And so, if you happen to be able, I recommend that you come see us for the art show.  For more information, the flyer which we have posted across the park is also posted below: