The Essence of Things

Many moons ago I was fascinated by the adventures of Everett Ruess, a young man, who traveled isolated deserts and canyons of the West about hundred years ago and then disappeared. Much has been written about him, including some biographies by W. L. Rusho and David Roberts and more recently a more fictional account of the young man by Robert Louis DeMayo: “Pledge to the Wind, the Legend of Everett Ruess”. That one is high on my “to read” list.

I have seen almost more beauty
than I can bear.”

Everett Ruess

Everett was an artist and he managed to support his journeys in part by painting. He also wrote a daily letter to his parents and kept a diary. I have not seen any of his watercolor work, but I have seen reproductions of his woodcuts. They are amazing. Woodcuts are a god’s end for minimalists. They capture the essence of a scene with a minimum of detail. Everett was a master at that.

I became interested in the technique. Since we are living in the 21st century, I decided to make my first woodcut on a computer. That’s not art, you say? You are right. It’s just a fun way to concentrate on the essence of an object. There is a wonderful tutorial by Cheryl Graham on the web and the robin in it has been treated and mistreated hundreds of times. Here is my version.


Since the nights here are getting shorter by around 6 minutes every day, there will be less chance for working on my woodcut skills, but the prints remind me to focus on the essence of things.



“Leave it to me, as I find a way to be.
Consider me a satellite forever orbiting.
I know all the rules but the rules did not know me.”
Eddie Vedder


This is one of the nuggets you can find on the wonderful soundtrack to “Into the Wild”. Another great song is “Society“. Eddie found telling language and soothing music to accompany the life and death of Chris McCandless. I have read the book, watched the movie, hiked to bus #142 on the Stampede trail, and keep reading what people have to say about the adventures and the lifestyle of Chris.


I am sure he did not seek fame nor fortune. He followed his dream and made it to Alaska on his own terms. He did not seek safety nor guarantees.



Leave it to me, as I find a way …

Consider me a satellite

Consider me a satellite…

I know the rules...

I know the rules…

Into the Wild


Breakup may be a good descriptor for rivers shedding their winter coat. Not so for arctic lakes, such as Puntilla Lake. It’s a prolonged, circuitous process of freeze thaw. During the day the snow melts away, collecting on top of the floating ice, forming small puddles and giving the lake surface a gray, green, blue appearance depending on the depth of the overflow. During the night the water freezes, some mornings it is just a thin crust.

  - trapped and frozen -

– trapped and frozen –


In addition, wind and sun create unpredictable shapes of ice crystals. Gas bubbles that were trapped in the ice during freeze up become visible. A little more heat and the bubbles burst to the surface. Not for long. More open water…

How much longer until the first float plane of the season can touch down on the lake?

morning sky
Inside Out

On a Winter Morning – No. 3

“There is silver blue, sky blue and thunder blue. Every color holds within it a soul…”

Emil Nolde

What happens if you get up in the morning, walk out on the ice before sunrise? My breath fogs up the view finder. I can’t see what I am shooting. The camera is hard to handle, with and without gloves. It feels like a frozen brick.  I lay on the ice pointing the camera in the direction of the rising sun? What will I capture? We shall see later.

And then the miracle happens. One exposure results in something that looks… different.

It reminds me of art work created by Emil Nolde.

His art was condemned at one point.

One of his paintings sold recently for over $3,000,000.

Inside Out

“The purpose of life is…

to enjoy every moment.”

just another magic moment

just another magic moment

I always felt steeping tea is more… inspirational,

than brewing coffee.

Found the above quote attached to my tea bag.

I think, I rest my case.

What more is there to write about?

The purpose of life is…