If Those Figures Only Left Me Alone...


Unlocking the door to my studio is a bright moment for me. Stepping in I leave the outside world and enter a carefree world where I am lord and master even if it is only over myself. Past creations cover my walls, their warm greeting gives me food for my soul, energy to seek out what else may be brewing in my brain. Little things I see each day are there in my head bouncing around like in a pinball game scoring points for the next creation. A white egret, a stormy sky, and a pale horse try to pass the paddles I play with, building the score of ideas before the painting is ready to drop in place. Paintings of past models enter the game, Kim in white, Chenoa playing with an apple, Sylvia napping before a law examination. I need to make a decision. Which is strongest? The blank canvas waits, paints and brushes are ready for the call. A half started painting of Kim leaning against the wall lays on the guilt and the blank canvas is returned to the line of canvases waiting for the call. The landscape game is put aside.

The white shirt and pale slacks that so intrigued me came out before I was totally ready. Scheduled for an afternoon of drawing and simple sketching, I was overcome by the challenge of white and near white. Dozens of figures sit around waiting to be finished. They draw attention away from the easel painting, bringing lost ideas to mind. Kim in white whispered to me all during the three landscapes that occupied the easel. Landscapes that were already complete there in my head and only needed to be brought to the canvas from the palette… if those figures only left me alone.

Kim would not be left there on the floor any longer. She demanded to be finished. Trial and error followed as one setting after another was brought to Kim. No response. Sitting there arguing with a painting can bring one down. It was two days of struggle before I saw a smile on her face. She always wanted to be there in Sylvia's place. I told her people would talk, but seeing her happy made me happy. Closing the studio door behind me that night I return to the world of the sane.

Do I dare pick up another unfinished figure tomorrow?

My Paintings Are For Kids To Play In

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A white cloud reaching to the heavens builds in the western sky. A fresh cool breeze alerts mom to get the wash in before rain undoes the morning suns work. There comes a light feeling as the heat and humidity are swept away. A few apples fall from the tree and mom directs us to put the clothesline poles into the garage as she wraps up the clothesline. The cloud is near atop us as the first drops of rain pelt us kids. To the front porch for the big show. Something about a summer storm that holds our attention, trees waving, cars sending up waves of water, neighbors rushing to close car windows, others rushing to get groceries in.

Every so often one takes shelter with us and mom brings a towel from the fresh laundry for our neighbor to dry themselves. News of the neighborhood is exchanged and glances tell us kids to close our ears. Water runs down along the curbs to the corner where drains are clogged creating a soon-to-be water park for us kids. There are screams of excitement as we jump and splash about in the gift that rain brings to a hot summer. Drenched, mom strips us to our underwear and we get a wonderful rub down with a fresh sun dried towel.

These memories are what bring kids to my landscapes. Stormy skies, streams winding through pastures, wild flowers waiting for tiny hands, spiders for staring at and running from. They are all there, unseen, in my artwork. My paintings are for kids to play in. Even if it’s only seen by me.