Saturday, January 7

A Record of the Living of a Simple Life

Reach for the Realm of Light

I've been painting and drawing this willow for at least 15 years. It has several companion willows along the borrow-pit on a dirt road near my home. Although they are the type that would normally become large, venerable trees, these particular willows don't get much bigger than this. They are routinely abused by the county roads department - their trunks hacked off without thought for beauty, empathy or esthetics ... yet every summer, they come back more unkempt, each year denser and wilder. I love them just as they are -- even more, I love them because of the way they are. They are indomitable and I take that as inspiration for my own life.

So, at times I've deeply identified with the willows along this lonesome road. At first I noticed them because they had a wild air about them and I felt we could understand each other - me and the willows. That was in the middle of winter. I painted their colors with multiple layers of pastels, working fast in the cold, but not wanting to leave out a single nuance of their vibrant character. The colors of their branches were enlivened by the cold, and contrasted with white snow all around.

The branches drew tangled lines against the paper sky seemingly without rhythm or sense. To me that first time, this one looked like a girl just waking up next to her lover ...

Someday in the near future, these friends of mine will be pulled out altogether -- a large subdivision (i.e. ugly suburban sprawl) is planned for this very meadow I've loved so well. I will be sad when that day comes.

Until then, I go back again and again to record these simple lives ... to record the fanciful or dark or poignant or confused emotions they invoke in me. And to document their existence before they cease being.

When I get a chance, I'll repost this photo and written piece with a couple of my sketches from years ago. Just for context and comparison.