point arena high school students put their best work on display

AP students art show at point arena market highlights talent and passion

Point Arena Arts Sign

(blogpost #4 06.08.16-point area)

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, I was winding up some chores that included a writing break and indulging in a cup of coffee at the Arena Market. I spotted a table through the front window where I could witness this quiet city version of hustle bustle.

arena market outside

As I made my way in, taped to the window was a poster announcing the current art show. To my surprise, on display, was a body of work by the students in the Point Arena AP Art Class.”

window sign PA AP art

As an art enthusiast I need little reason to be distracted by an art show especially in the world of emerging artists, new work and young artists just beginning their career. Watching the evolution of these passionate workers is part of the excitement in the art world.


wall install back
wall installation

While they are students, I call them artists. The artist’s represented in this show transformed the front part of the market into a gallery with compelling work, color and subject matter that flowed organically.

art install 3 PA AP art
wall installation

While subject, style and choice of materials varied, it was evident that each piece spoke to messages and inspirations personal to the artist. The voices of the artist were unique making it an easy assumption to make that their education was tailored to maximize individual potential and not variations of one size-fits-all assignments.

faye ritchie
faye ritchie

I had an opportunity to speak with one of the artists who said that what she continues to push is how to manage the part of her work which is very intricate. How to make it finer without compromise and be repetitive in her own style. She felt a sense of personalized education in her class experience.

The works in the show spanned detail from abstract, figurative and illustration.

willa caudry. elephant and flowers. PA AP art
willa caudrey

There was outstanding rendering in illustration.

elise allen PA AP art
elise allen

Across the work, color was meticulously used and well thought out providing  balance and visual impact.

Examples of artist expression were throughout the show creating a viewer experience that was personal. One theme that I felt across the show was an impressive craft of creating emotional resonance created from two dimensional canvas. The depth and embellishment of simplicity in the work were evident.

madi chidlaw.boy PA AP art
madi chidlaw
lauren curlee.woman PA AP Arts
lauren curlee

In this corner of our remote mendonoma coast this group of enthusiastic and dedicated young artists are focused and hungry to learn their own potential. Their imagination, craft and execution of their unique voice on canvas was stellar.  They are passionate, driven and most of all talented with a common goal of being the best artist they can be.

This group represented twelve artists. While the show closed May 31 at Arena Market, remember these names that were once listed together with a portfolio of  work on the walls in the front of the Arena Market!


Lauren Curlee, Natasha Higuera, Salamadi Tishma, Elise Allen, Kaed Sanders, Chloe Diggens, Violette DeGarmo, Chunn Carillo, Sebastian Reaves, Willa Caudrey, Faye Ritchie, Madi Chidlaw.  

Curated by Whitney Badgett.

While the artwork was not for sale at the market, this was posted for further information:

Intrested in purchasing PA AP arts

*Update:  On Tuesday morning, June 7th, Point Arena high school students staged a protest for the dismissal of members of the teaching staff including AP art teacher, Whitney Badgett. Badgett curated the art show at Arena market which ran from May 1-31. A “pick” highlighting the artists and their work, the subject of this feature  was near completion prior to the current events and keeps with the “local picks” component of mark’s column.  This serves as a note to acknowledge the news at the high school.  
Note: A replay of the  eyewitness coverage of the June 7th student walkout can be heard here walkout can be heard here   It is also posted on local facebook pages.

Stay tuned to KGUA, 88.3 for updates on local news. Show your support for community radio at http://www.kgua.org


Holy Kale!  What a set-up!


Gualala farmers market opens for 2016*

warning: do not attempt to eat some photos below*

(blogpost #4, 05.28.16, gualala)

While we see our neighbors and they see each other along the way, each week, each day, here and there, the opening of the Gualala farmers market for the 2016 season was a reunion.

faces astrid

Colorful tables, festive atmosphere and familiarity that could be seen in greetings or heard in chit-chat throughout the small grass covered area set the tempo for our holiday weekend.  

opening day-opening hour

peopleinlie crop

Familiarity was seen not only in the faces of the vendors and the shoppers but also in the offerings along the dozen or so tables set up in an informal square.

medicinal plants
medicinal plants and farm

A gathering space to eat or listen to music from Lawrence White and Jennifer Rodenbach, or just sit and catch up. Music blended with the sounds of the place where we live on the Mendonoma coast. Like everything we do up here, the duet seemed to play their music gently with respect to our natural landscape.

jennifer rodenbach and lawrence white

All through the market folks were tearing off hunks of bread, balancing plates of warm just-prepared food or picking at the fresh muffin in a paper bag that won’t make it home (for those lucky enough to have come early). Engaged in the kind of conversations that happen spontaneously.


Hellos, how-are-you’s, compliments and questions of interest were not limited to people who know each other or even recognize each other. We sometimes forget names more than faces up here. Our forgetfulness is forgiven, smiled at.

At other markets I have visited in bigger cities the names of people I would see  even as a regular shopper are generic.  The bread lady.  The olive oil guy.  That chard woman. The kale kid. The coffee dude. The couple that has the sprouts.  Here, the names are names , to mention a few, Katie, John, Mike, Dennis, Zoe, Matt, Christopher, Astrid, Donna, Allen, Mike etc. 

allen cutting sprouts
allen packing sprouts
the face of the experience

Whipped cream, organic,  is seen on chins and noses, crumbs on cheeks. Some people are quiet, their breathing steady and eyes closed as if they were at an appointment in nature’s spa. It seems, everyone is smiling either broadly or mimicking Mona Lisa.

The ocean exhales and inhales around people under a sky, almost cloudless. Waves are frisky. Cars in a less than perfect line are parked on the shoulders of the road where there is space. Passengers standing outside to glimpse the whales migrating north. Every so often, a stream of vertical air bubbles shoots up to the sky.


Here, at the market, within minutes, newcomers, visitors or passersby all blend into one mood. Faces of the Gualala farmers market. Each one brings or is swept in by generosity, kindness and a sense of being, of calm, that is contagious here.

There is traffic today. About six cars moving slowly to let pedestrians cross the road in the center of our downtown where there is no traffic light.

Offerings are plentiful. From the ground. From the sea. From the heart. From home kitchens and portable kitchens. Everything works together to make the market manageable with choices that are not overwhelming but still have to be made or given into.  Don’t think too long, that little gem lettuce may be gone.

carrots-saturday best-seller

We are present here. Our questions are not bigger than the moment. Which of Katie’s breads do I get? Which of Astrid’s tarts? Bonanno’s oils? The artichoke focaccia or the tomato and cheese? 

katies bread unveiled
don’t forget to get one for the car ride home

Aromas of prepared food seem to be spaced by bunches of greens and flowers.



For those missing Bones, Mike Thomas is here, stirring his pots on the opposite side of the space from Gavin and Autumn as they prepare their plates at Dos Tacos.

gavin and autumn kitchen
gavin and autumn.dos tacos

Along, another side, Astrid working magic between filling as much as thirty orders of waffles and strawberries with cream and slicing chocolate cake or packaging tarts.

Katie and Dennis, Katie being synonymous with bread, of Roseman Creek Ranch is on the opposite side quickly going through the remainder of the hundred loaves of bread they baked and delivered over the past few days for their CSA and this market.

katies bread unveiled
polenta.  the treasure inside of this weeks specialty from roseman creek

While they set up, Katie is arranging a bouquet of flowers, for sale, from her garden. I don’t think I have ever seen Katie without a smile on her face,

katie flowers
katie pence robbins and flowers from her garden

Cookies fill cookie jars. Bunches of kale, mustard greens, lettuces, chard and spinach fill baskets next to bowls of potatoes, onions and this week, fava beans.

fava beans

Everything while just harvested for today has been nurtured for months from farms including Oz, Westside, Bishop and Northridge. Allen, next to Astrid carefully cuts fresh shoots, maybe cutting one or two at a time.

Newcomers, Karen Scott, Sheri Kirby and Erin Karnes of Ridge Top farm are selling tomato plants, limes and meyer lemons. Sebastiani has their hen house eggs.

sebastiani hen house and fresh rinsed

Gualala Seaweed has their specialty assortment.


When it comes to olive oil, you can count on John Bonanno to have his line of favorites and his new specialty, this week, rosemary garlic and basil.

And coffee, of course, our local fave!

roasted and brewed just up the road-our own green bean

Calorie free options are available.  Indulge.

hand made uniques

Bob Gardiner’s flavors seem to pop right out of their jars.

jams from bob gardiner

Don’t expect a market filled with dozens of varieties of one thing or numerous specialty items or tables and tables with similar items. What you can expect is a truly local market that is built, grown, delivered and served by farmers, bakers and makers limited to our own stretch of locality. On the ridge, up the road, over that way or north in the next town.

sign at bishop farms

The hard work by our marketers never shows in their moods.  They grow, they package, they harvest and gather. They prepare for market. They transport.  They hand draw signs and stock plates and bags. They do everything to provide an experience that is not felt in most places. They show gratitude for their customers whether it be a one time visitor or a weekly shopper. This is our community.

bishop farms seaweed

Donna Bishop founded the market fifteen years ago and still runs it. When I asked her why it started later this year, she said, “The weather wasn’t just right over the past two weekends. I could feel it in here,” she said, as she patted a gentle open fist against her chest.  She was right!

beginning of month weather

Donna is tireless as she checks all the components of the market, all the preparation and management. She maintains watch over the licenses and regulations to make our market certified. 

The one thing missing from the market is cheese but good suppliers are too far away and freshness is key to this market which Bishop will not compromise on.

The costs are set for our community. The passion is free. So are the hugs that Jann Littleton doles out at her small table in the corner.


Zoe, daughter or Ruena Horn who owns Westside is just back from a semester at Northeastern and is thrilled to be back surrounded by real fruit and vegetables which she says is not very good in Boston.

westside farm greens customer
zoe of westside farms

oz farm greens

The market is seasonal open at 9:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Get there early for limited selections. Eat from our market and you will be taking in the nutrients that make where we live, magical.

 As you leave, stop by Jann Littleton for your heart and hug!

jan littleton



back to back sundays celebrate history from cinco de mayo to root beer floats

(Blogpost #3,05.17.2016-Gualala and Stewarts Point)

Passion and Pride!  That’s what fuels us up here along the Mendonoma Coast giving way to two special events on recent back to back Sunday’s. Our neighborhoods came out to participate and celebrate.

cinco de mayo at bower park brings grandes sonrisas

cincodemayo sign
signs directing to festival

Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). In America, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.


And celebrate we did at Bower Park. The vibrancy of celebration was seen in the colors of the costumed dancers and could be heard in the music that kept most people from sitting down. Kids smiled and performed  proudly.

Javier Chavez from Action Network spread his smile and energy checking in throughout the crowd to make sure everyone was having fun. Bernadette Smith cheered her dancing students on as they performed.


Other familiar faces could be seen serving authentic dishes. A setting that could be a Mexican town plaza but set in our own local redwoods. One of the unique parings that lends to the magic of where we live.


“Come get fresh Aguas Frescas” (Spanish “fresh waters,” a combination of fruits or vegetables blended with sugar and water to make light non-alcoholic drinks) could be heard on the grounds of Bower Park where the Cinco de Mayo festival was held. Pinatas and delicacies hung from kiosks.

DJ Smerf, provided the music while a young Mexican population provided the performances of traditional dance and practiced collaboration. As they danced on stage the onlookers were tapping their feet, clapping their hands and singing out phrases of music and encouragement.


Over a dozen sponsors help bring the Cinco de Mayo celebration to Bower Park.

the sponsors

 twofish2 opens the doors again at stewarts point store to a large crowd and lots of ice-cream 


After several months of anticipation while closed for renovation Twofish baking company opened up their second Mendonoma location at the Stewarts Point Store.


overview side 1

Twofish2 maintains the feel of the  1800’s general store, showcasing  items from the history of the store that opened in the same location in 1868


Once again, partners and owners, Hilla Ahvenainen and Margaret Smith have worked tirelessly to keep not only the authenticity of the general store but also restores a good ol’ energy that is familiar with general store’s customers.


Twofish, the original  founded in 2003  in The Sea Ranch, also by Smith and Ahvenainen, continues to serve a loyal following and the curious tourist in a small informal natural cafe setting.

hillanad margeriteoldtime
margaret smith  and hilla ahvenain


Candy displays and offerings bring even the oldest of us back to tasting childhood. The Stewart’s Point Store had been owned and operated by the same family, the Richardson’s since 1868 until it changed management of the store about a year ago, closing several months later.

Shelves and showcases at Twofish2 are filled with beverages and food for easy take-out or simple preparing and probably, the emergency item you need. There is no shortage of offerings for nurturing sweet teeth or hungry bellies after the most twisted part of Highway 1. The specialty food menu makes choices difficult to make. Added attention has been given to vegetarians and vegans.



At the general store, “Wow, I haven’t had a root beer float for years” could be heard from more than one person standing or sitting inside and outside during grand opening sunday.



Twofish2 is open 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Twofish in The Sea Ranch is open Thurs-Sat, 8a.m.- 3:00 and on Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 1:30.  Parking is available at each location but get there early for the best selection.More on twofish here.


Local and proud to welcome another year of Cinco de Mayo and the new location of Twofish2.




















I Left My Stress in San Francisco

(Blogpost #1, Anchor Bay, California-05.09.16)

We cut the urban cord and moved a year ago, three hours north of San Francisco. Where the northernmost part of Sonoma fades into the southernmost part of Mendocino.  The two counties connected by a simple steel bridge over the Gualala River. This stretch of coast that locals call Mendonoma.

mendonoma sunset

I had concerns. So did friends and family. Highway 1 which we are dependent upon for 47 miles north or south of us resembles a stretched-our Slinky. Critters have a relay race across the road after dark. Airports with big planes and important non-stop destinations are three hours away. No Whole Foods. No Starbucks. No local hospital.


Grocery shopping, filling the gas tank, getting prescriptions filled take strategic planning. Costco makes more sense now with six packs and three packs of packaged, canned or bottled goods.

During the day, Billy is in his studio or production shed working on zines.  I am back-and-forthing from Point Arena to Gualala integrating with the community, taking woof! on daily chores. Exploring pocket beaches. Time at  KGUA.  Time to write.

An easy dinner around our kitchen table happens organically.  Perhaps greens from the garden with rice or simple salad.  Then a Netflix or HBO binge hour. We split a cookie or a single chocolate bar. Woof! is down, his snout on his paws on the sofa we said he couldn’t go on when we got him last year. Other than the breeze you cannot tell if the windows are open or closed.

our backyard

Woof! runs through the open door into the front yard weaving through redwoods to chase his ball. We  look out the windows and see the canyon below us. To the right, the expanse of the Pacific. Birds swoop at eye level. Sea lions bark. Morning doves sing. Ravens change their voices. During whale migration we can spot a vertical spray out in the distance. Wind whispers and shouts. A green hammock, loaned to us from my daughter, hangs within a cluster of trees. Fog puts on a slow motion show. People smile and look familiar. No matter the differences, one thing is shared–this place.

front yard

Our mailing address is actually the address of a stack of mail boxes between Deanne’s Blue Canoe coffee shop and the neighborhood real estate office. The mailman, Rod, does not deliver to the individual houses. Matt, the UPS guy does. Sometimes, Barbara will hold a package for us at her Anchor Bay General Store.  She orders vegetarian brands we like. Cooked bacon is ready for my mother-in-law every Monday. Barbara went up to our house when we were out of town to bring ice-cream.


It takes awhile to realize that the options here are not limited. The choices are not fewer. They are just different. Ice cream choices are limited to coolers at the market. The farmers market may have eight kiosks on a good harvest week, five months a year. Run out of milk after 9 p.m. means waiting for the next day. Urgency is now defined as something needed within a 48-hour period if you have Amazon Prime. The common response is, “That’s the way it is up here but look around!”

front yard to belly

veggie garden

There is honor here. Appreciation. Nature invited us in and allowed us to trespass into her folds, her magic.  People from afar, anything over 50 miles ask, “How about those rains I hear about?  Are you guy’s okay?  All those fallen trees. No power. Closed roads. Must be crazy.”

point arena lighthouse

I say, “Uh, huh.”

bowling ball beach
bowling ball beach at low tide

Nature performs here. By choosing to live here she gave us backstage passes and lets us participate. I respond back to my concerned circle. “Remember, that eclipse of the blood moon? We watched it from our backyard for two hours.”

what we see

I met Peggy Berryhill, General Manager of KGUA, Gualala at Cook’s Beach. Actually, our dogs met first. Peggy and I share similar passions and history. Now, several hours a week I contribute my time  to KGUA, 88.3 FM. KGUA is the perfect radio station for our community. The station spreads the voices of our community in the same way the air around us spreads it’s magic. Peggy’s smile is easily imagined each morning on her show, Peggy’s Place. Her smile can be the smile of the community.

peggy.voice of integrity
peggy berryhill

KGUA inspired me to write this blog. Focus on where we live. How we came here. What we do here. It’s a soundbite of life up here.  What we find. What we witness. Who we meet. What we learn. What we do. How we live.

my guys.  billy and woof!

It’s not about what goes wrong when you chose to live remotely but what goes right!

Next Up:  OZ

discovering oz without a tornado taking me there

(Blogpost #2, Point Arena-California, 05.13.16)

residence entrance.no people
residence porch

Chaz Prymek and Nick Jaina performed musical wizardry at Oz Farm, Saturday night, April 30th. Oz Farm is about 140 miles north of San Francisco and about fifty miles south of Fort Bragg, one turn off of Highway 1 onto Mountain View Road, about 10 minutes north of Point Arena.

Jaina began his set just after dark. Prymek followed after a short switch of instruments. More than one coincidence and less than six degrees of separation brought me to the event. The performers used the original form of social media to alert folks-simple word of mouth. Dependable communication given erratic cell phone service and internet challenges.  Cost of tickets, a donation into Prymek’s hat which he removed to pass around. Jaina had copies of his books and CD’s for sale. The two musicians had not played together before.

jania books and cds

Oz Farm with its history of changing owners has maintained its commune aesthetic and community dynamic. As I drove up I smiled thinking this must have been one of the early off-the-grid destinations, the kind that is mentioned in a Denis Johnson story. The nocturnal sounds breathing through 300 acres of trees and pasture provided an ambient melody under a densely speckled sky. Halos from overlapping constellations seemed to crown the 21 people sitting  on tree stumps in a half circle. A compact fire crackled between performers and audience, dogs down leaning against their caretakers.

margaret stewrt building fire
margaret stewart

Nick Jaina calls Portland home but home now  is on the road where he travels from small space to small space delivering a hybrid performance of story-telling and music. His recent book, “Get it While You Can” was a finalist for the 2016 Oregon Book Award. As the Los Angeles Review of Books says, “a love song to music and to those who make it and live it. It is a warm, hopeful book about finding freedom and claiming it every day of your life, despite all the traps along the way.” Jaina extends those stories to melody and lyrics. He reads a passage against an original soundtrack, puts the book down and continues live. His performance lasts about an hour. Visit nick jaina’s website.


Chaz Prymek is from Colorado. Currently, he is a tentative resident of Point Arena. Pass by the old Sea Shell motel under construction and you will see Prymek wearing a hard hat and work boots. Prymek’s hands work hard carrying  boards and cutting them, painting and prepping. After the workday his hands transform into gentle extensions from his heart and soul handling every part of his guitar to create magical musical compositions that he calls “visual lyrics.” Visit chaz prymek’s website.

chaz prymek

“I’m only going to play two songs tonight, but they are long.” Prymek takes you on his visual landscape tour flawlessly and wordlessly. Sounds of bon fire, wind in the trees and soft surrounding movements integrate into his compositions. He’ll crack a joke or two before he plays, tell a short story. It his music that hypnotizes.

Oz Farm changed owners last year. Margaret Stewart who manages the operation is passionate about what the farm offers and what it can become. A handful of farmers live on the property where they manage crops for a CSA and tend the fields. The farm offers space for DIY events including but not limited to retreats and weddings. Stewart  is especially proud of the apple trees which she pointed out. “We have so many varieties. You can see how they grow wide and spread out, not tall.” She said pointing with her open hands. “That’s the French style, espalier.”  Learn more about Oz Farm and their CSA   or  visit the Oz Farm facebook page.

Oz Farm is what I call off-the-beaten-track that is off-the-beaten-track. A twenty-minute drive north on Highway 1 from Anchor Bay beyond the small city of Point Arena (which has a theatre that simulcasts London Theatre and NYC Opera), past Stornetta Lands (voted by NYT as  #3 “must-see” places in the world-#1 in USA) and just before Manchester. Turn right onto Mountain View Road. Oz Farm is 1.68 miles on your right, down a gravel road.

welcome to oz

When I asked Stewart how she gets the word out about what Oz offers, she said “We rely on word of mouth and social media. There is also a site we are part of called hipcamp.”  I chuckled as I looked around at the setting that reminded me of a Country Joe and the Fish album cover thinking how preserved Oz is but aware of how to embrace the future.


Come to our Oz up here!  Where Emerald City is the Emerald Triangle and where Mother Nature is our Wizard.