At my museum right now we have an exhibition of a 19th century painter, Alfred Lambourne, who painted the Great Salt Lake. He was so inspired by the lake that he homesteaded Gunnison Island and lived on that remote place for months. Lambourne was particularly interested in Black Rock, a rock on the south side of the lake that stands alone and is very identifiable. But, like many romantic painters, his vision of the landmark was fanciful and dramatic…as opposed to the reality.
I walk through this exhibition every day, swimming through images of Black Rock. I recently went to Black Rock as a weekend outing, just me and my sketchbook and camera. My vision of it was not so grandiose. The road out to it has fallen in disrepair and is more pothole than road. The rock itself is covered in graffiti and there is litter all over the ground.
But it is still an iconic place; while I was there, a class from a local university was out taking water samples. Many were also sketching the rock. Historically, it was a place to go and have a picnic, swim in the lake, and generally enjoy the scenery. Which, I guess it still is, just with graffiti and litter.
With all these Black Rocks in my vision, I would like to make something commemorating the landmark, graffiti and all. And because hats are on my mind from the last project, I think I will make a hat. I envision a fairly plain hat with a surprise embroidery of graffiti. I will see where my pattern takes me.