Crater Create

In Creative By Nature Art Blog, Earth, Fire by Lisa LipsettLeave a Comment

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Ever wonder what it would be like to create with a volcano?I recently had just such an opportunity. It’s funny but I keep seeing human-like beings in Nature- faces, personalities etc. and Nature in people- patterns, wildness, animals…..  This volcanic artful exploration is no exception. My encounter took place in a beautiful once active volcano vent named Algar do Carvao on the island of Terceira in the Azores Islands of Portugal.

walking down into the volcano

Look how far down it goes!!

Steam vent

While the volcano itself is indeed dormant, the surrounding land is very alive with heat and steam making me feel humbled by the massive forces at play.

Once inside, visitors are literally able to walk down into an old volcano vent and look up through the chimney to the sky. I explored, drew and painted in this beautiful space in the belly of the Earth. Here are my notes and images.

Sept 12, 2010 Algar do Carvao, Terceira, Azores, Portugal

This is the most inspiring place. I am inside an old volcano, literally walking down into the bottom. It feels like I am in the center of the Earth. My camera can’t cover the immensity of this place. My jaw dropped when I first saw how far down the bottom really is. As I walk down and down, I find myself looking up to the blue sky through a branch framed portal.

Looking up through the branch framed chimney

I love the chocolatey icing-like lava I see, like drips on a chocolate cake. I take a minute to draw these.

chocolatey lava icing
Drawings of lava veins

Each raised section of hardened lava has amazing veins that are minature versions of the larger ones. I wonder if something pulled away to create these patterns because they are similiar to veins I’ve created with paint and canvas. When I lay one painted canvas on top of the other then pull them apart, veined patterns appear.

Momentary Beauty- veined ball
The surface of the volcano is very porous so ground water continuously falls through drip by drip. I can hear these drips echo throughout the chamber and wish for the silencing of the new age background music so I can hear even more of this marriage of water, movement and cavern.

My eye catches the stalactites hanging from the ceiling and the beautiful patterns of gold, cream and green. A marriage of obsidian and mossy green algae growing up the walls.

Gorgeous colours


I am drawn down to the bottom, the very farthest point from the entry. I imagine it as one source of the lava outpouring. I find a ledge and sit down. There are so many compelling surfaces. My eyes drink in the beauty.

I gasp. Suddenly I see an eye, a face, then numerous faces. A compelling ochre coloured rock sits majestically in the corner. Its aboriginal feel and numerous white, grey and black surface lines generate the clearly visible primal faces and the most penetrating eye. I wonder if others have seen this before…

Rock face(s)
As I draw and paint with this being I notice a strong mountain shape between its eyes much like the pointy shape of the neighbouring island of Pico. Is the face a bull, a cow, a deer? It looks like all of these. I notice a white eye above the dark coloured one, and a dark eye above the light one. I find myself wishing I had chalk pastels to better depict the white and black lines on the rusty red rock.
Tears fill my eyes and I stop my drawing. I feel deep sadness press against my chest and throat, like a lava upwelling. I write in my watercolour book, ” such beauty, calm, I’m so sad about the state of things. I just want to carry on like one big happy family, enjoy, feel the joy.”  This sadness was of me yet so much bigger than me. It felt like an Earth sadness somehow.
I close my tear moistened eyes to paint.
I was jarred out of the sensuous dance of coloured fingers on the page when the attendant yelled down that the site had closed 15 minutes earlier.  I said thank you to this being for sharing anf hurriedly packed up my paints and paper. Once back on the main viewing terrace the Portugese attendant said in broken English that he goes down to the same spot everyday at the end of the day. He said “it’s Nature there”. I felt pulsing energy vibrate my legs, there were tears in our eyes.
I showed the attendant at the top level of the site the photos I’d taken of the incredible rock being. He looked hard, paused and then said, “you didn’t paint that did you?”. After I assured him that I had not defaced this sacred site but rather communed with this being and painted our connection, he vowed to head down to see for himself.
Last weekend I visited an incredible crystal gallery in downtown Vancouver called Crystalworks (http://http://www.crystalworks.ca//). Among the fossilized fish and giant quartz formations beautifully displayed by owners The Lipsetts (may be a distant relation) I spied a luscious hunk of shiny black obsidian. As I caressed its surfaces I was immediately transported back to the Algar de Carvao on Terceira. I had a deep sense of where that rock was from, the forces that created it, and the beautiful patterns it may have created on a cave wall somewhere…
My painting spot inside the Algar do Carvao


So dear reader what are you drawn to create today? What or who speaks to you on this beautiful Earth?
Visit http://www.creativenatureconnection.com/ to learn more about how you can experience the exciting marriage of creativity and Nature.
Lisa LipsettCrater Create

I'd love to know what you think.