Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Life Painting of a Tree

It’s hot. Even when it’s only 95-100 degrees, the heat index has been up to the 120’s here during the day and it’s a challenge to paint out. I’ve discovered though, that if I go against the natural orientation of every atom in my body and set my alarm for 5 a.m. I can get out there and paint a couple of quick ones before it’s too unbearable. Also, if anyone else is going, we can have lunch afterwards, wax philosophical about our profession over some sweet tea, and leave much the richer for it!
Such was the case recently, two weeks in a row! This painting was the only one I caught on the second outing because, shocking, we were stopped by rain! Our drought has been so severe for so very long that I really don’t expect it anymore, regardless of the forecast. But, happily, rain it did.

Before the rain, there was a high, light overcast as the sun came up and most of this painting was laid in during that gray time. About a half an hour before the sky let loose, the sun peeked out a couple of times and I knocked in the spots that it caused and brightened the grass. When we were forced to throw in the towel, we huddled under a hatchback talking about our morning before dashing off to lunch. It was fun to be soaked and cold in July in south Texas.
Driving back to my studio afterwards I was thinking about how very much I love what I do. How many people can say that? I love every part of it, and just being allowed to do it makes me profoundly grateful.
One question we ask ourselves as painters is, “Is painting about painting, or is it about the painting?” Is it the experience of producing, or is it all about the product? My answer is, “Yes!” If you’re painting your experience, your product transcends the materials and conveys a time and a place, an experience, to someone else through the filter of a human being. It’s the beauty of 3 again: time, space, artist. I was the only one in that exact spot at that exact time and I had a skill that allowed me to create a unique record of it. Richard Schmid once said that fine art is the only form of communication that goes directly from mind to mind, no translation. I need to think about that some more but for now, here’s a painting of my experience and joy one recent morning, from me to you, with love. 

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