Thursday, July 15, 2010

Get Out and Experience Art, Experience Life

"At Ausable" by Christine Sullivan, Watercolor, 17 x 17"

It's been fifteen years since I played with watercolor, eight weeks since I had a paint brush in hand and never since I have painted out of doors. Yet I was invited by one of my best friends, a talented artist and the person responsible for pulling me into her art classes in high school, to join her up in the Adirondack Mountains for a weekend of plein air painting.  Lori assured me this would be a low-key plein air group (true) led by a woman artist eager to share her knowledge with others (very true) at a wonderful location (OMG the sights and sounds of Adirondack State Park reminded me of Ireland) and then she added quietly that there are a few challenges to painting outdoors (try black flies, mosquitos and no where to pee for starters). But all in all she assured me we would have a lot of fun together so off we went.

We learned a few things about painting, a few more about each other and I think it's fair to say we learned a lot more about life in its most splendid and colorful details. And that's a good thing. Actually, it is the thing.

So many times we are blind to the honest beauty that sits beside us. Those few yellow wild flowers standing tall on a strip of grass lining a dark parking lot can vanish or appear based on how open we are. But even when you are in one of the many wonderful playgrounds here in the US of A it is still sometimes difficult to see, to really see where you are. Sure when you look upward you appreciate the tall mountains lined by clouds or when you look down into the moving water of a bending stream you say to yourself, wow that's really cool. But you still have to give it more time. The it that is. The orchestra that becomes at once so very loud and extraordinarily quiet. The hum, the babbling, the shine all working together for your attentive eyes. After awhile you tend to creep off by yourself even when you are standing still. And that's when the magic starts to happen. And all things become one and you find yourself in the yellowfish of life and your painting starts easily working all on its own. Thanks, Lori! And to all, give it a try. You just might find your own quiet orchestra.

The Bridge at Boggs Falls by Lori McCall, Watercolor 14 x 18"