Except for the occasional scream of a blue jay, the woods and edges of the marsh were quiet today. 24 gregarious but quiet birders walked the paths under warm grey skies. There were no unusual birds sighted; only some white throat sparrows, a chipping sparrow, a thrush or two, geese, crows and a pair of ring neck ducks. i found solace in painting a little sketch of one of the several ponds. It’s amazing how much painting helps one to feel at peace..
I’d forgotten to replace the flash card in my camera and anyway the battery was low. But, Painting was better than taking photos. Birders walk very slowly and i travel fast so it was no problem rejoining the group when i finally finished painting.
Well success maybe decades away for me but gratitude for these words from Anne (Anica Art) is very close to my heart. Finding them on her blog brought me back to my current motif, that of a marsh i saw last week while out on a birding walk. Further conversation with her (isn’t the internet an awesome thing-Anne lives in Australia!) has given me resolve to do more with this tomorrow and work more deliberately.
i need to do individual studies of the birds and marsh plants as well as work on pigment choices. i tend to get carried away. Marshes here in Connecticut become a riot of color and texture in the fall.
Here are the 4 i’ve done. When I’m painting -When I am able to paint- the world briefly gets to be a better, happier place.
The bird walks are fun. Our leader, a member of the local Audubon chapter has introduced me to many different and previously unknown preserves. Venues all within striking distance of my home. And going out with knowledgeable people who can identify a bird by its song or flight pattern as well as by its markings is a wonderful help for this novice birder.
Now i’ve got to turn in! as there is a walk tomorrow bright and early!
It seems as if I should be posting something and yet…
I can’t think what that would be.
To post requires an ability to feel, create, and act. I just want to be,
I can’t even think what to say right now.
Posting is sharing. I feel sucked up in a vacuum. I am empty.
It’s not that life is dull; far from it; I‘ve recently been to lots of beautiful and exciting places, enjoyed rich experiences and had full responsibilities to live up to. I’ve even managed to paint and sketch a bit and technically that is what this blog is all about so I could post those bits here. But they don’t please me or seem to have any merit or purpose. I’ve written poetry but that isn’t really supposed to go in here unless the poem is connected to a painting.
“The brush dances and the ink sings”
So within every storm cloud there is a silver lining.
Here is a video by one of the first artists i found when i began my blog and whom I have followed daily since. His work is extraordinary and it has been a pleasure to watch it evolve. This most recent video is awesome. Check out his website if you haven’t already.
Meaning is like many things we lose:
it turns out to be wherever we left it.
But we don’t leave it, it leaves us.
If you’ve never known the feeling of not feeling,
you’ll struggle to understand what I’m telling you,
looking for distant cousins of not-feeling
who bear a superficial resemblance:
like sadness or grief.
There’s a difference between reason and reasons:
reason tells us how to achieve something,
but we must have reasons to want to do anything.
These reasons come from our feelings, and
when we do not have them,
there are no reasons.
And we find no meaning,
no matter where we left it.
Many houses and rivers distant, she looks over my shoulder and wonders why I communicate this way.
Wouldn’t it be easier to write this as a treatise?
Psychology studies these things, it is a matter for science.
I can still hear the surf on Monhegan Island even after a trip yesterday into New York to visit the Cloisters-such a different world-also one I would love to paint.
Then today talking with a fellow artist /photographer I was being urged; strongly urged and encouraged, to visit a nearby farm where I might paint wonderful barns and pumpkins and yet another farm with horses and fall color and, and, and…
I need to stay with waves and rocks, asters and goldenrod, dying spruce and moss.
I need to slow down and paint!
Stop the world! I want to get off!!!
And as if that is not enough, Having resumed my morning walks I am seeing reflections in the marsh, flocks of cedar waxwings tipping off soft needled branches in quest of slate blue juniper berries, clouds that pile up in the blue; more images than I could paint to in a life time.
Wild flower bouquet from Monhegan that made it home in my back back.
Dear readers while you are waiting for me to get my pictures from Monhegan Island organized and posted enjoy a walk with Hanna. She is a kindred spirit who knows the magic of our world and like you is out there on the web.
You don’t have to travel far to experience magic.
We are carrying the magic inside ourselves, though it needs to be rediscovered occasionally.
Small children don’t look for magic. The magic lives within them and they are surrounded by it.
Their world is full of trolls and dragons, castles and mountains. Tigers, lions and brave knights. Not necessarily in that order.
I met a young Spanish couple in Jægersborg Dyrehave. They looked so bewildered, that I asked if I could help.
Did I know the way to The Eremitage Castle? I pointed out the direction. They asked me if there was anything else I could recommend?
I told them about the very special Hawthorn that grows on the plain.
And about a place nearby where many people from Copenhagen were buried back in the 1800 due to a cholera epidemic. And about the deer, I met the day before and…
Tomorrow i must pack. On Friday I leave for Monhegan Island, a wonderful Mecca for artists off the Maine coast. I came back from there last fall miraculously still in one piece and with a sketchbook of watercolors and drawings. This in spite of having totaled my car the day before I was to leave for the island. There were moments when the air below the cliffs drew me in but I painted them instead of giving in. This time I’ll have a body guard in the form of one very caring husband and my only concern is will I be able to paint at all? For my connection to that life force which gives happiness to endeavor waxes and wanes and often falters entirely. I’ll stay back from the edge.
I am blessed by having found three other artists who will be coming out with me. They and their spouses will share the cottage with us for the week. It should be fun. Particularly since one of the men has volunteered to be chief cook which removes a big concern of mine. Each couple or individual has their own bedroom. Now all we have to do is find a rhythm for using the bathrooms and other common spaces to meet every one’s needs. We’ll be 7 altogether. Best of all it looks as though we may get pretty decent weather. Let’s hope so! Watercolor in the rain isn’t much fun. And, I am planning to head out to those cliffs again and also into the woods or maybe the village itself. There is so much there to explore and paint to. Who knows what will ignite a fire?
I’m gathering what the four winds may scatter to live my life between then and now. Nothing-and Everything-matters. I am embracing the New Day and turning toward the morning. I want to find that confidence I lost and with it the happiness I know can be. There is a light within me. If I can find a way to embrace it with my heart i can let it shine out.
Perhaps if I really try I’ll be able to shut down my conscious mind and hear my truest voice. Most of all let me concentrate on painting and then painting some more.
After spending a morning in court, wither I had gone to support a friend, the victim of a tragic act by an irresponsible driver and drug user, I made my way down to the river to paint. There God’s world gave me a gentle welcome in stark contrast to the human misery we have created within our societies and which is played out daily in our courts and jails.
Greens, golds, blues and the rill of moving water washed over my soul. Fishermen hobnobbed on the park benches or quietly waded out through the reflections among the rocks while their wives sat and read on the shore. Six red-headed mergansers dove and skimmed the surface driving the trout together to be flipped into upturned bills. Later two more came gliding down the sun-dappled brown water. I have never before been privileged to see so many redheaded mergansers in one spot.
I painted one small watercolor sketch looking across the river and did a few quick pencil sketches of the fishermen catching and releasing and of the mergansers ganging up on the fish. Then I headed up to the Riverton General store for an ice-cream eaten alfresco in the lovely outdoor dining area they recently created.
It was a lovely afternoon. I am grateful for those who have encouraged me on this path to plein-air painting. And, next time, I’d love to have some artist buddies join me to enjoy the scenery and the good food.
Tomorrow i think I’ll play with my new Chinese mop brush. Only doing diving mergansers in grey and rust.