Season: Summertime

By Julia Cost

There is something about this season that gives me a many-month-long expansive feeling of craving in my chest. When I’m stuck indoors my attention is riveted out the window. When I’m outdoors I’m captivated by kids squealing with delight as their parents drop them off on the shady tennis courts for summer camp, and gleaming aqua swimming pools, and women in bright flowered dresses, and fresh fruit stands, and the way that the sunlight pours through the canopies of trees and dapples the ground. It makes me delirious.
I’ve been thinking about seasons a lot recently. Seasons of being an artist. The season of grinding rocks together in search of something that feels interesting enough to bite into. The season of gathering tiny ideas, like small balloons, and blowing air into them to see what shape they actually take. The season of stacking and re-stacking what seems continually un-stackable.  The season of dissolving and crushing and throwing so much away. The season of stepping back in a kind of gutted-out surrender.
And then there are the larger seasons. I just saw a poster on BART for an exhibit at the De Young museum. The poster was titled “Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years, 1953-1966.” The poster pictured a warm green and yellow landscape with a single figure from the back, walking through it. How fascinating it is that in retrospect we can see an artist’s body of work in clear phases. That work from some years is distinct from work of other years because of some important influence or strand of research. If you zoom out of your life right now, what season are you in? What is shaping your work in this period? Where you live? The experience just prior to this one? The people around whom your life currently orbits?
I wonder if perhaps years from now I will understand 2011 through future-unknown-date as my own “Berkeley years.” Maybe then I will understand how the overgrown gardens, funky colorful old homes, kids playing jump rope on the streets, babies held in their momma’s arms on bright porches, dads in their suits biking their kids to school before work, and shifting collections of chalk hopscotches around the neighborhoods affected my imagination. What I know right now is that I make sure to hop on each hopscotch that I find, in respect to the child who drew it, and the child in me, and because it is summertime… and in this season we must somehow be free.

Fresh off my easel:


Monterey Market, 20x 20, Oil on canvas, July 2013


The painting is on this page: