Road to Trail Running Convert

See that Hill Ahead by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

See that Hill Ahead by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Last December I decided to shift from road running to trail running because I like exploring outdoors and wanted more adventure. Trail running means hills. I started with the flattest trails I could find in Arastradero Open Space Preserve. Even these shallow grades made me gasp despite my relative fitness on the flats. But the astounding wondrous beauty that I saw inspired me to aspire to run every trail on the Peninsula and in the Bay Area.

Last Saturday, on a run through Pulgas Open Space, Jay, organizer of the Peninsula Trail Running Meetup, asked me what I had run. Here’s a list of the ones I’ve run in so far along with links to some of the blog entries inspired by those places:

  • Rhus Ridge – Los Altos
  • Skyline Ridge Trail – along Highway 35
  • Wunderlich Park – Woodside
  • Shoreline Park – Bay Trail & Stevens Creek Trail
  • Calero Reservoir Park – San Jose
  • Contra Loma Park – Antioch – Dragnfly Half Marathon
  • Briones Regional Park – Orinda/Martinez – Bear Creek Half Marathon
  • Arastradero Open Space Preserve – Palo Alto
  • Las Trampas Wilderness – San Ramon – Rocky Ridge Half Marathon
  • Los Trancos Open Space Preserve – Santa Cruz Mountains – Palo Alto
  • Monte Bello Open Space Preserve – Palo Alto
  • Pulgas Open Space – San Mateo County – Edgewood Road
  • Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve – Los Altos
  • Lake Chabot – Castro Valley – Bad Bass Half Marathon
  • Joseph D. Grant Park – Mt. Hamilton – Trail Hog Half Marathon
  • Jasper Ridge – Woodside
  • El Corte Madera – Redwood City – Skyline Highway

And I can’t wait to run some more!

Embrace the Mess

I am taking Kelly Rae Roberts’ virtual class called Hello Soul Hello Mantras because I love her mixed media artwork. Mixed media is outside my comfort zone and embarking on this journey requires that I embrace the mess of the process and uncertainty of getting there. So my mantra throughout is “Embrace the mess.”

I started with a blank canvas, perfectly white, unspoiled and tidy. The first step is to experiment with water dripped fluid acrylic paint, smooshing it around and brayering it. The result is a simple still unified look but with little depth, sort of a one and done.

Step One in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Step One in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Not being afraid to let go of this stage meant moving on to adding paper, ribbon and other sources of texture recursively. I can’t even recognize the starting image in this next step.

Step Two in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Step Two in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Then more. The dots pulled forward.

Step Two in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Step Two Point Five in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Then it was back to adding more paint, then more collage then more paint, going back and forth until I found some amount of cohesion. See the new dark blue areas?

Step Three in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Step Three in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Then it was on to adding the text:

Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

I couldn’t quite accept the mess of having the two SS’s so far away from the ME, so with one last change, it’s done:

Final Version: Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Final Version: Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

I can’t wait to start the next one!

Dearest Freshness and Ah! Bright Wings

The Dearest Freshness by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

The Dearest Freshness by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil

is bare now, nor can foot feel being shod.

 

And for all this nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs-

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

 

The Space Between Them

When you’re trail running, sometimes you don’t see people for a long time. It could be miles or an hour or two. And when you finally happen upon one or two, it’s almost shocking. Everything sense concentrated and every detail about this person or people in the landscape absorbed. When there’s more than one person, the space between people and what it might be saying is the most interesting part.

The Space Between by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

The Space Between by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

I happened upon these 2 men at the top of a steep mile-long climb up Rhus Ridge. Where they are standing marks the transition to the more gentle though exposed terrain of Chamise Trail from Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. They were so absorbed in conversation that they did not notice me or my huffing and puffing at all.

The space between them is too large for them to be friends. The fact that they are slightly facing each other means they met there and were not continuing on together. Each person’s physical stance frames the space between them. The expansive and earnest posture of the man on the right and the closed but comfortable posture of the man on the left means the flow of information is going one way and they are both okay with it.

When I ran by them while eating a pretzel, the one on the left asked me if I had enough to share. “Of course,” I offered. But he declined and I ran on and the space between us stayed the same.

 

When You Don’t Feel Like It

I really didn’t feel like going. Truth be told, I whined to myself on the 40 minute drive up to the top entrance to Wunderlich Park on Highway 35, though driving there was much easier than running up. I knew because I had done that before. 

On the topo map the Skyline Trail looked gently undulating, a great recovery terrain after last weekend’s monster tough Big Bear Trail 1/2 Marathon. Regardless, I was dreading hills of any kind. 

Chased along the highway by a pair of frantic mountain bikers in a truck desperate to get on their bikes, I pulled off and parked. My Nathan pack was ready.  Partly tensed against the run, I got out of the car, crossed the road and started down the path. At the first turn, I saw something so crazy beautiful that it stopped me in my tracks. 

Crazy Beautiful God Light by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Crazy Beautiful God Light by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

It was stunningly beautiful and a photo can only get so close. Later, when I got home, I tried some edits to convey more of the feeling of being in the place.

Crazy Beautiful God Light by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Golden Morning by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

The first 2 miles were awful and I didn’t warm up until about mile 8 of a 10 mile run. Despite that, seeing these 2 scenes and making these 2 images made every bit of it worthwhile. That’s not to say you should always do something when you don’t feel like it. If you do, once in awhile, you may be surprised by joy. 

Sketchnotes for NBCC Published

It’s great when you find a use for your gifts in service of others. Four of my sketchnotes of sermons at New Beginnings Community Church Bay Area have been published on the NBCC Facebook page. People seem to enjoy them so I am sharing them here also.

Habits for the Journey, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

Habits for the Journey, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

All of the sermons and sketchnotes relate to a seven week series called The Journey. This one you can find posted here. For the next week, I tried out some new Jelly Roll Soufflè Pens. They are opaque and made to look best on black paper

The Journey, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

The Journey, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

You can find this one here. The Souffle Pens are very large tipped so it’s hard to draw anything tight. Broad strokes only.

The Journey: Service, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

The Journey: Service, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

This was a good experiment but I went back to my usual pens and paper afterwards.

The Journey: Keep Both Eyes Open, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

The Journey: Keep Both Eyes Open, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

You can find this last one on the NBCC FB page.

You can see some of my other entries on sketchnotes:

Portrait of the Artist in Red Ink

Things change. Eleven years ago I created a body of work called Portrait of the Artist in Red Ink. Each of 16 digital paintings showed a financial portrait of the income and expense trajectory for an individual artist based on his or her goals and dreams. The results at that time were not encouraging.

Artist A by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Artist A by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Changes

However, since then, there have been a number of business model innovations that have both reduced the cost structure of being an artist and changed the channels by which artists reach potential buyers.

On the cost structure side of the business model canvas some examples of change include:

  • Captured Global curates and shows artists digitally removing the cost of maintaining a physical space called a “gallery”
  • Daniel Berman has removed the cost of having a fixed gallery space by having a traveling show for Mobile Photo Awards crème de la crème.
  • Digital submissions including those for MPA cut the cost for the artist to submit work. However, there is often a fee.
  • Digital display of images in galleries has removed the cost of printing and framing for both the artist and the gallery.

On the revenue side:BMC

  • Artist Kelly Rae Roberts has established direct relationships with customers through her blog, Instagram and classes thereby removing the need for a curator and galleries. She offers her work on Amazon.
  • Sites like Etsy allow artists to set up direct relationships with customers as well.
  • Sites like SmugMug and RedBubble allow artists to productize your images and get a greater revenue stream from each image.

In terms of the organizing center or value proposition, there’s also change. There’s a new group. While some consider owning art as an indicator of class, artists like Kelly Rae Roberts are offering it as everyday encouragement, something everyone could use.

Will these innovations lead to structural change?

Hans Abbing wrote a book called Why are Artists Poor: the Exceptional Economy of the Why are Artists Poor Book CoverArts (2002). In it he posits that as long as art is considered “sacred” it has to keep up a denial of economy. Exchanges are instead modeled on a gift economy. (Remind you of Open Source, Creative Commons?)

The Gift Book Cover

The Gift Book Cover

Lewis Hyde in The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World (1979) says that “Any exchange, be it of ideas or of goats, will tend toward gift if it is intended to recognize, establish, and maintain community.” p. 101. When the arts are for establishing community, they will be given away.

This notion of artist skill as gift reminds me of Bezalel, gifted by God in the Old Testament to create the tabernacle in Exodus 31: The Lord said to Moses:

“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, Eat Pray LoveIndia and Indonesia (2007) might agree. She gave a TED talk called “Your Elusive Creative Genius” (2009 – 19 mins) where she recounted several traditions that believe that the creative spirit is not something inside us but more like a spirit that has been appointed to us. We have a part to play but we need the other part too and we rejoice when it shows up to transform our best efforts into something more.

Conclusion

While many things have changed, as long as we believe that creativity is a gift, I don’t know that business model advances will help artists not need a second job. Regardless, for each gift, gratitude seems like the right joyous response.