Friday, October 29, 2010

What's Really Underneath the Hood

c. sullivan, oil on canvas, work in progress

The crisp air and distinct angles of the sun in fall harkens back to a time in my youth when I bought a tired looking 1972 MGB convertible. It wasn't my first car but it was the first car I bought with my heart...and a few thousand dollars I had scrimped and saved. That first summer together the car was in a body shop out in apple country. The "garage" was actually an old barn. I would ride out there to check on her often and by fall she was ready to ride. Fresh paint (porsche red no less). Lots of bondo on her sides (body work) and duck tape around her wires in the trunk that needed wiggling to ensure the lights would work.  

From then on I would spend the weekends out on the winding, back country roads and drink in the farm fields and river valleys surrounded by hillsides blanketed with rich color. The air, filled with the competing scents of just tilled earth and decaying wet leaves, would blast through my hair and all my troubles would jump out and be taken away. I was home out there in the farms and hills. They were my refuge. My solace. They seemed to represent permanence and gave me a sense of history needed in a young and quickly passing life. Even the old decaying ones half hidden in the overgrown fields spoke to me.

Now I find myself back out there...maybe for much the same reasons but in a more practical convertible, though she's still fun on the corners. And in the studio I always lean towards painting farms and find I am wanting to paint her barns, too. And apples. And old farm machinery. Things that are red. Old. Leaning. And in so doing I am peeling back layers of memories I forgot I had. And from this is coming a turn in my work. It teaches me that when you have a strong passion for your subject matter it will show through in your work. I'm not sure you can properly capture its soul if you haven't really spent time living in their shadows. 

I am excited to be on this journey and to see where these new open roads will take me and as always remember to spend time feeding your creative passions, too. It is the only way to truly live. Brush on!

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