I have turned off the radio.
In my part of the world we happen to be in the midst of a series of absolutely perfect spring days. Absolutely. Perfect.
Like people all over the world, I am nervous, trying to be careful and cautious and non-calamitous. The incessant news takes its toll, making it easy to forget how beautiful the day is.
I go into my light-filled studio. When it’s beautiful outside, it’s especially beautiful in here. I want to make something yellow. I take an oil crayon in hand and begin to color the blank page, just playing, just feeling the feeling of yellow. Add another yellow over it, now there is some depth; add some little patches of light orange, then some more orangey orange, then some turquoise marks and some little orange marks and yellow marks, some white, smear the colors around a bit, oh, this is nice!
Is it a good painting? Heck if I know. It doesn’t matter, because the involvement with the color is what I needed; and now I am filled with yellow’s shining glow, in the face of what we face.
Happy equinox, everyone! We are all in this together. Some places it is spring, some places it is autumn; but everywhere it is equinox.
Cold. Freezing. Ice. Winter sun. Thin warmth. Thawing…
I have always loved advent calendars—opening a little door each December day leading to Christmas. In recent years I have made my own, and find the making to be a quiet meditation. Daily the journey to Christmas unfolds in my hands.
This year’s is cut paper; gradually I am making my way down the snowy mountain to Christmas.
Sit down in nature and look. Any direction. This is a thicket of willow shoots. No horizon, no focal point; but what a high-spirited display of color and life.
Autumn is punctuated with moments of stunning beauty. This was one of those moments. A yellow aspen lit by sudden sun slanting through early morning fog. Stop. Stop and look. It will change in a blink.
Recently I spent time on Quesnel Lake, an inland fjord in central British Columbia, Canada. The cabin we stayed in is remote; the only access is by boat. I’d been wanting do some larger watercolors outdoors, so I packed a dozen 15” x 11” (38 x 28cm) sheets of paper and some larger brushes along with a collapsible easel and camp stool. And because it is bear country, a whistle and a can of bear spray. And because I had a cold, a box of kleenex.
So I put on my rain regalia, strapped on my backpack, and headed out into the beautiful wet. I used one big umbrella to sort of shelter the easel, and another to sort of shelter my paint box (and the kleenex…), and I relied on my rain clothes to sort of shelter me.
The mist brooded over the mountains as the rain and I painted together. The colors bled and blended, splotched and spread. The rain was not an impediment so much as it was a participant. I felt thrillingly alive. Nothing is so enlivening for me as painting in nature, with Nature looking back at me…and even getting her own hand in!
During their growth, sunflower plants tilt throughout the day to track the sun. Once they start blooming the tilting stops and they generally stand facing east. One seed in one season grows into a great trunk sporting huge leaves, and then produces these brilliant flowers that compete to outshine the sun!
One seed. In one season. I mean, what’s your definition of a miracle?
I love the flavor of corn on the cob, of garden-ripe tomatoes, and of raspberries and strawberries and blueberries and blackberries.
But peaches! For me they are The Most Heavenly flavor of summer. And here in western Oregon they are in full season right now.
Excuse me while I go get one and eat it over the sink…
August is my least favorite month. At this point the golden summer that I could hardly imagine during the rainy wet winter has bleached out into a relentless glare. I have all the energy of an inside-out sock.
The last couple years I have begun to tackle August by challenging myself to daily look for something delightful to paint. These are tiny paintings, about the size of a playing card. And they are transformative for me—each day I awaken wondering what I will find to paint, and each day I am surprised at what I find.
This is our mint bed in full bloom, buzzing with bees, wasps, and such a profusion of pollinators that I never knew existed. No dog days of summer for this crowd!
I wonder what will be tomorrow’s surprise…?