Crestline Creations

posted March 29th, 2016 by

As we’ve been doing at least annually for a number of years, we just took an art-making retreat. This time it was in Crestline, in the mountains just above San Bernardino. Instead of a day’s drive away (or two), it was just two hours, giving us all the more time to work.


Built on steep slopes, many structures are three-storied.

Who knows how many of the homes and cabins around the lake are full-time residences, and how many are vacation retreats? We just know we benefited from the category of the latter.


As with all these photos, click for larger view.

It was through the generosity of friends Bruce and Sandy Wegner that we had the use of this little gem, tucked among the trees. That’s our van in the drive, which, with all rear seats removed, serves like a Conestoga wagon for our art-making equipment and materials, plus all provisions.Anne-Opening-Day

Anne, starting things off with a little journaling.

I didn’t think to take an “as is” picture of the living space before we started rearranging it. When we came, it was a cozy environment with abundant seating for many guests. We wanted a studio, so we stowed much away in a spare bedroom. There’s Anne’s press set up on a sturdy table along with one of our computers. Behind is the drop cloth covering the cabin’s carpet in what would shortly become the painting half of the studio.


Apply ink to a plate . . . layer upon layer of creative application.

In the cabin we found a guest book, added to by grateful guests over the years. To that we added our own, copied here in segment:

We came, we saw, we (were) conquered . . . by the serene beauty, the essential quiet (but for dogs, who don’t care), the Rim of the World Drive, ongoing heartbeats, and 47 other wonders.


Another evocative design drawn and cut in linoleum by Anne’s hand, with postcard of the lake.

The weather was perfect, unless one wanted snow (which I did . . . but so be that). I dubbed the place “our Yellow Submarine,” of pine-paneled walls, hidden below the road. We met no one, had all our meals in . . . black coffee in the mornings, red wine in the evenings, great soups, salads, salmon and burgers. Started the days with God, finished with movies (mainly Matt Damon).


The last day, with an array, but not all of Anne’s completed works . . . with piles of incomplete in the room behind.

Daily our own still-wet works went up on walls, shared with relics and posters already there. The hours, besides our introverted industry, were patterned with periscope walks, conversation, online sermons, music, an engrossing 14 hours of “The Iliad” (checked out from the Crestline library), our own brought books, the books in the cabin, plus more walks and more talks.

I should have added the after-dinner games of Rummikub, with winner getting a back rub ;-)


I worked in oil and acrylic, with toe dipped in water color. Here’s the only large piece I made.

I told Anne I don’t know anybody else who does this. All who remarked in the guest book marveled at the pleasure of “doing nothing.” That’s good for some, and for all sometimes. But when your work is both your life and your love, and there’s time to do it without interruption, for us it’s fresh-baked pie with ice cream, home-made.


The paintings laid out and displayed on the last day, during clean up.

Again on this trip I also worked on, and actually completed, the year-long commission of 100 barns for University Best Western in Ames, Iowa. They were fun and fast, and allowed for experimentation in a genre I don’t usually explore. But why not? I ask myself. Again, click to enlarge, twice.


Morning tea and thought under woolen warmth.

Anne will say I’ve got too many pictures of her in this post but here’s another chance to show that it’s not all work. Days always begin with with reflection and study, sometimes one or the other of us sharing insecurities and doubts . . . as art, and life, is not all confidence and self-knowing. Prayers often follow, for wisdom (what is art if it isn’t wisdom?) and just the needed presence.


The end of the day.

The distant lake barely shows across the deck and between the trees, with here, a glassed reflection back into the cabin with work table and art.

In all, it was a productive time, and satisfying. As I signed off in the guest book:
I was here with my girlfriend . . . of 50 years.  Loving all.



Sandstone Gallery Show


For the month of April my work will be featured at the Sandstone Gallery. The opening is during Laguna’s Art Walk, Thursday evening, April 7th, 6:00-9:00.

384 A North Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.  One block north of the Laguna Art Museum, near the corner of Coast Highway and Jasmine.




For any interested, I’ll be speaking at Heritage Christian Fellowship, April 10, at the 8:30 and 10:30 services. My assigned topic: “The Prodigal Son” (a story of which I have plenty of first hand experience).
All welcome: 190 Avenida La Pata, San Clemente.


Home and Studio Show, May 7-8


Save the date. We’ll be showing and sharing lots of new work, and enjoying the company of all friends at our Spring Studio Show and Sale. It will be the afternoons and evenings of May 7 and 8. That’s Mother’s Day weekend. Perfect for her, and you!

33752 Big Sur, Dana Point, California.


  1. Kent Pace Mar 29, 2016
    3:59 pm

    I never tire of your “turn of phrase.” You are a visual and verbal artist.

  2. Paul Carden Mar 29, 2016
    4:08 pm

    One hundred barns—what a great project!

  3. Norm Mar 29, 2016
    5:40 pm

    A place, for you two, free from distractions. How rare is that? Stillness… so very sweet.

  4. marty peet Mar 29, 2016
    5:40 pm

    You both amaze me…..inspire me…infuse me with some envy now and then. I’m a little envious of your passion to create. (Safe envy).

    I guess you’re not coming to Florida for the SBA festivities…..I’ve lost touch with Dean and gang.
    I’ve not attempted to contact; it’s mostly my lacking, not theirs.

    All is well with Charlie and me…..both active with individual activities and new dog…we had to put Maggie away in October. Jacob, new dog, is heavenly replacement and new friend…..good traveler, so we’ll be going to Alaska this summer in the RV.

    No news, but sweet thoughts and vibes your way. Love and hugs to you both.


  5. Becky Jones Mar 29, 2016
    5:44 pm

    The 100 barn project was a big deal. And I bet they will look great when you get them hung.
    I have a pix that I made in Paradise at the window overlooking Chico and it is a beautiful sunset. Have thought about sending it to you because you might like more than anybody.

  6. Rita Hoppr Mar 29, 2016
    6:56 pm

    What a wonderful way “to do nothing” what with hands on work, meditating, praying and just being yourselves.

  7. Susan Morrison Mar 29, 2016
    8:26 pm

    You two are amazing! I just love the work you do…and I appreciate the special couple that you are. God is good to you! :)

  8. sue Mar 29, 2016
    10:26 pm

    Beautiful work by both of you! So nice that it wasn’t as far but just as lovely and remote – more so w/ all meals in! Looking forward to our visit in April – sorry I can’t come hear you speak as I’ll be speaking in Santa Cruz the same weekend. LOVE the barns! And you, of course.

  9. Ginney Mar 30, 2016
    8:20 am

    It just looks so therapeutic to do what you two do. Work side by side…. Play side by side….
    It’s a beautiful dance. I love seeing the artwork you both produced…..

  10. Patricia Rody Mar 30, 2016
    8:39 am

    We may be able to attend the Sandstone Gallery show as my husband and I will be in the area for Azusa NOW, etc. at that time. I hope it works out. We first met you in the La Quinta Polo Fields at an art show, where you did a 10 minute portrait of us and I have been following your blog ever since you started it. I love your honesty and take on life Hyatt.

  11. Lynne Dresser Mar 30, 2016
    3:12 pm

    I continue to be amazed by your entire family, and how you express your inner beings through your art. Even Vernon is expressing himself with painting these days. I loved watching your creations come alive through yours and Anne’s very personal retreat. Thanking you for sharing your quiet time with us.
    I especially liked the painting of the woman in the black and red dress, she is mysterious and exquisite.
    I always look forward to your posts.
    Lynne Dresser
    (Paul Jackson’s Mother)

  12. Barbara Mitchiner Apr 2, 2016
    11:15 am

    I am amazed how much you do in your trips,
    how much you accomplish!!! looks like you
    would have to be there for months!
    I will look forward to hearing you at Heritage!

  13. grendal hanks Apr 2, 2016
    3:10 pm

    Great blog!
    Of course, my wife had a million questions about my lessons with you so being able to share your blog post today with her answered a few hundred. ;)

  14. Betty Shea Apr 5, 2016
    8:04 am

    Always inspiring, the both of you. Sending love and gratitude.

  15. […] painting, close up, two weeks ago in Crestline. (Below) one of my big pieces in window at […]