Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Path

I spent a lot of my childhood in Colorado. Dad, being the adventurer he is, was always taking us all over the state. I like being outdoors and have fond memories of blue skies, wide open spaces and mountain vistas. It was not populated like it is today and you could adventure without seeing another person for days. It was a close to paradise as I can imagine. (if you like that sort of country! And who doesn't?)
Since I believe in creation and the Creator, I think I am not whole, not balanced if I spend too much time away from nature. Everywhere we've lived has had a wooded path to walk. In Illinois we lived right by the old cable car lines that were the first commuter "trains". Those were turned into a long series of paths that went on forever. Here we have one that winds through the back of the neighborhood. I try to walk every day. I also walk around the other developments sometimes if there is snow on the path or it's muddy, etc. It's just not the same.
Walking through woods has a medative effect on me. (in my imaginary world I do Yoga on mountain tops, dessert sand dunes and tropical beaches. In the real world I walk the path!) No distractions but the occasional rabbit or jogger. My mind wanders. And I see the gradual change in the cycles of life. The spring is brazen with color. Maybe a visual reaction to the drab winter landscape, our eyes are assaulted with color. Lots of it. But what stands out each spring is yellow. That's the color I think of when I think of spring.
Now all I see are white flowers. The wild rose blooms, dogwood, the locus tree blossoms and something that resembles honeysuckle. The white shows up well against the foil of green that is so predominate in the warm months. I think there are colors that are dominate at certain times of the year. Have you noticed that as well? And the funny thing is-that color shows up in my work at the time! And with each change of color, I have a new favorite! Have you ever explored one color? Try it. But I'm babbling now!
Who cares? And what is this got to do with creativity? Well, I guess I was thinking that I get my best ideas for paintings on these walks. Or I see something I need to come back and paint. If nothing else I get exercise so I can stand to paint in the studio a while. I believe the recent popularity of plein air painting is in response to artists needing to get out of the studio and paint from "life". Always the better option.
And nature is never static or boring. Often hard to get along with, nature is in a state of constant flux. So the idea of painting the same scene many times will always result in a different painting.
Friends who don't paint landscapes tell me that all that green gets boring. I don't quite understand what there are looking at! Yes, summer is green. The sky is blue. If your not looking close!
So my thoughts are this: find your inspiration. Today its the path. Tomorrow it's the child on the swing set. For me, I can always count on creation to spark my creativity!

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