Some of my favorite times with Coast Live Oak School are when we go to the Santa Ana Mountains. I’ve been going to this spot with my husband since high school. The colors tell many stories to me. Practically every rock has some sort of interesting or beautiful characteristic to it. I enjoy finding rocks with red or yellow ochre dust coming out of them to use like watercolor paint and sharing the process with our students. There is also a wall of crumbling shale that works like a deep taupe color. Usually I can find a piece of burnt wood to be grey/black as well and talc-like rocks for white/cream.
In a lot of cases I will use a twig as a pen or make a brush with plant fibers, like the one above I made with the Soap Root plant. On this particular day I had some brush pens in my backpack. These pens are super handy for many creative situations.
When we are ready to paint, we dip the rocks in the creek water and grind them on a large rock to create a palette. Then we paint until we run out of time! Clean up is easy with a little creek water. The materials all come from the land so there’s no pollution. When we leave you would never know we were there.
Creating in this way while surrounded by trees, and sounds of the creek and birds is quite meditative and soothing for me and our students. I am constantly inspired by the natural world and how we humans fit into it.