Frosty roofs and thin crystalline ice on the ponds tell me winter has arrived here on the wet coast. As I walk through the woods to work I think to myself that I should be stopping to paint here where the mist is rising off tall golden grasses or take reference photos of the red shards of light from the low-sitting sun reflecting on tall, bare trees.
Our lives are finally finding a routine, a pattern, as we work our way out of the funk which the late spring brought. Friday morning sessions with the Al Frescoes plein air painters is one sure way to anchor that pattern to our passion for art. Another is my morning mediation routine which provides my brain and body a chance to let go and float into a more peaceful day.
My plein air work is still a fight. I’m working my way towards more abstract work. It’s taking more time and effort than I ever imagined. Though I am not complaining when it involves being outside in such beautiful surroundings.
At those moments when I am struggling with a painting, I often comment to my artist husband that painting is hard. In the big scheme of life, however, painting is pure pleasure even when it is not working out.
At those moments when I am struggling with all the small (and a few big) challenges thrown at my family and me this year, I note to myself that you never know what’s going on in a person’s life and we all need to be kind. In the big scheme of life, however, I am happy to be alive and this too shall pass. And this. And this.
Even when we chuck that painting in the bin or personal struggles trip us up, the living is good and painting is still hard!
Evidence from the summer of 2018:
As I was transitioning between work items today and scrolled through Instagram, I came upon this quote:
A childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows. ~ John Betjeman
And it struck me that this is what I aim for when I create my art. I want people to experience a piece of work viscerally rather than intellectually, first. I want people to feel something, recall an experience, remember a moment or mood or smell or taste or event; to make a connection between their own lives and what is represented in that work.
And then it occurred to me that with the death of my dear mother-in-law last month, came a lot of personal reflection on what life is all about. And what we leave behind when we depart. If we don’t have children to carry our genes on, what evidence if any will there be of me even existing on the planet? Is there nothing but memories in people who have known me? (as a wee bit Buddhist then that’s okay with me) After all, isn’t life about the right now rather than the past-tense? Of course there is the art but that is also temporary.
But I really do think I’m okay if what my life is about is making a connection with another and effecting their thoughts, emotions, feelings… if only for a moment. Evidence of life.