Thursday, May 1, 2014

Garden Wall- Glacier National Park

Recently, I sent a painting to my son who is in college in another state.    Since he lives in an apartment, I did not trust it to make it to his door, and if it did, I did not trust it to stay there on a college campus!!  So I sent it to my other son who lives close by. As luck would have it, the package went missing!  I felt my heart drop.  I even cried at the thought of never seeing it again!  "What's that about?" I thought.  I guess I never realized how attached I am to some of my work.  They are a little like children in a way.  We conceive an idea, give birth to it and then painstakingly bring it to completion.  There is one way they are different--I have a whole lot of them!  And, some I don't like nearly as much as others!  But I know you understand what I'm getting at.  Some of my paintings are very important to me.

I've posted this painting before.  This painting is a plein air watercolor I did in Glacier National Park just outside the hotel where my son worked that summer.  We went to see him for a few days and had an great time.  I am such a lover of nature and Glacier is, well, I cant describe its beauty!  I got up early one morning to paint while the guy's went fishing.  It was sunrise and the lake was glass, the air still and the view was breathtaking.  Fish jumped, wild life went about their business as tho I was not there.  It was so peaceful and the painting practically painted itself.  I was really pleased and my son told me how much he liked it.  That Christmas, I gave that painting to him. 

So with that history, you can understand why the painting was so important to me.  And why I was so upset when I thought it was lost forever.  As luck would have it, this story has a happy ending!  We are still not sure what happened, or why it went missing for a few days when everyone said it had been delivered, but it did eventually reach its destination and my son now has possession of the painting!! (sigh of relief)

Not every painting I do has this kind of importance, value or sentiment.  That's one of the reasons I like plein air painting.  You are really recording an experience, not just painting a scene.  Some paintings don't work, but I have a memory of the place I will never forget just because I spent that time there.  If you think about it we engage almost every sense when we plein air paint.  We smell, hear, touch, see and sometimes taste the scene we are painting.  We spend time recording what we see, but we remember much more.  It is an experience.  You don't get that in the studio.   

Almost losing the painting made me realize I really love every part (well, maybe not the wind or bugs) of painting plein air!  Being in nature and drinking in the scene with all my senses, sometimes I even paint a painting that has great value to me.  I may not have the flexibility to travel to far flung places to paint right now, but I can still have that experience close to home.  Sometimes a little painting done in the back yard is as refreshing as one of a grand expanse away from home.  And the apple orchard is blooming up the street too... :) 

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