Behind every painting, there is a story. At least!
I often send out emailed pics of my paintings in progress, and share a little of the “story” that seems to inevitably unfold around each experience of painting outside, en plen air. Every time it’s different, and I’ve met such an amazing variety of people out there while I’m working away, splashing on the paint. From time to time I battle depression, if that is an apt term, and so I find that these golden moments sustain me, and I feel led to share them in the hope that they might also lift up others.
Here is one such e-mail I sent out, on March 26, 2006. As it turns out, the first sitting on this one was also the last. Upon contemplation (and the relentless badgering of a couple of friends!), I decided that the painting was done.
Here’s my new baby a’birthing, as of first sitting. It is called Saturday Afternoon. I had a grand time this afternoon, splashing paint around in a suitably mad fashion w/ a palette knife.
Several beautiful young kids came up, parents in tow,to ask questions and to watch. And, I think,to experience art.
One exceptionally beautiful five-year-old girl with kind, ancient, eyes approached me with no fear and asked,“Why do you paint?” I am rarely at a loss for words, but that one wasn’t easy. Her mom had walked up behind her and rested her hands lightly on the girl’s shoulders. They were both stately. Trying to help, the Mother sort of leaned down and coaxed, “Well, probably the same reason you like to paint, Honey.” I smiled and said, “Probably, yeah.” But the girl wanted an answer, and stood her ground. She was so solemn, and so beautiful, that I just wanted to pull her to me and give her a big hug.
So I thought a moment and then said, “I guess to help me really see the world. I think that there is beauty around us,a lot, but sometimes we forget to take the time to look.” She was paying careful attention; I watched her eyes subtly but carefully scan the horizon of great blue bay before us, and the palms, and the big sky above.
“You know what?,” I told her, “Sometimes, I don’t think I’ve really seen the beauty of a place at all until I’ve painted it.” The child nodded slightly; she understood. “And so I’d guess I’d have to say, that is how come I paint.”
She said nothing; she only stepped back, looked at the canvas and then once again to the vista beyond, and turned to skip away and join her friends to play. Her Mom smiled. “Special kid you got there,” I told her. “Yes,” she said.
Later on, just before the whole group moved on, the girl returned, alone, and stood just behind me, to my left side. I could feel her. I turned, and our eyes met. A simple moment, really. Big, beautiful brown eyes. So innocent, so open to the world. I loved her, perhaps by way of honoring that beautiful boy always inside of me, also with big brown eyes, also burning with that quiet hunger always resident in the heart of the innocent: To really know, to see, to understand, to love and be loved.
Or maybe just because
And then she was gone. Just a moment in time’s river, but I am left with this strange feeling that I’ve had one or two times in the last couple of months, actually more of a quiet conviction: that in all probability I may not see this child again while on Earth, but that we will meet again and recognize one another back in Heaven, and be glad. I cannot explain it, but am fully content with the mystery.
Love always, P.