Friday, September 28, 2012

Now that you know that this blog is not literally about learning to watercolor, I can switch mediums.

Off and on over the years I painted in acrylics. And mostly I painted landscapes. I could go for years without painting and then bring out the acrylics and splash the paint around wherever I wanted without any need to make it resemble the real scene. It did not matter whether the real tree was a oak, pine or cedar. It only mattered that tree-like shapes made the landscape work as a painting.

Painting a human figure presents a greater challenge. Because of that I did very few. Happily, just a few paint strokes satisfactorily caught this image of my youngest daughter as a toddler playing in the sand.
 This painting has always brought me pleasure. No photographs of her--as delightful as many are--capture her as does this painting. Which brings me to a new insight.

In this the summer of my 70th year I began to realize that I was losing interest in painting just natural landscapes. In the watercolor class I found myself attracted to scenes where there was a trace of human beings--buildings, lawn chairs, clothes hanging on a line.

Then, on my way home I stopped in Santa Fe at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. Suddenly I found the whole of her work to be very lonely and in that moment I felt a great rush of affection for people. I wanted to run out and embrace all the wonderful people I've ever known. It was a watershed moment. Then I knew that I had to paint this amazing creature God had made. If I was now going to be able to devote my time to learning to paint again it would express my love for people.

This beautiful child of mine. What was she thinking as she shaped the sand into her own creation. She is one with the beach and sky and yet she is already her own being. Somewhere deep within her depths is there still a trace of whatever she was experiencing in that moment?

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