Impermanence: The Rock Sculptures

Rocks and Wave
George and Holly Moyer
Carlsbad, CA
2011 • 24 x 12

When I found out that Carolyn would be taking the triplet (below), I painted this smaller picture of rock sculptures from the same original source. I have a feeling that there will be more to follow.

Impermanence: The Rock Sculptures
Carolyn Costin
Malibu, CA
2009 • 3 panels • 72 x 48

In early Spring, 2009, I began carrying my camera with me on my short, daily commute along the beach in Carlsbad, CA. I had the idea to photograph the rock sculptures that popped up from time to time, and perhaps, by the end of a year or two I might have an interesting collection. For two months, I didn’t see a single pile. Then, wouldn’t you know it, I didn’t bring my camera one day, and as Lindsey and I drove home we saw several stacks. We hurried back as quick as possible.

Rock Sculpture #1
2009 • 24 x 48

Low and behold, there was an entire community of rock sculptures, and they were the best ones I’d ever seen! I began snapping photos and a young man and his fiancé approached on bicycles and said they were really happy that I appreciated his work. I thought he was pulling my leg, but indeed, one man, Steve Reynolds, had spent two-and-a-half hours creating his public art. A former student at Parsons School of Design and the San Francisco Conservatory of Art, Steve allowed me to photograph him and his spontaneous exhibit, while he built another four-foot tower.

Rock Sculpture #3
2009 • 24 x 48

Rock Sculpture #1
Detail

Rock Sculpture #3
Detail

Rock Sculpture #2
2009 • 24 x 48

The next morning, when Lindsey and I passed by the spot, all of the mounds were gone. Whether they were knocked down by teenagers or authorities who were afraid of kids getting hurt by falling rocks, every one had completely vanished—impermanence.

I connected three 24 x 48 inch canvases and used my projector technique to trace the three sculptures I decided to paint. Although they are not contiguous, I wanted to use the same pallet and brush style for all three, thus uniting them as a set of panels.

Rock Sculpture #1
Detail

Rock Sculpture #2
Detail