My dad always took us for a Sunday night ride in the LaSalle. Depending which direction we were headed we either stopped at Dairy Queen or Prince Castle for ice cream. I took up bird spotting on these drives as mom and dad checked out new homes. They just liked looking, weren't really interested in buying. Mom looked more at the gardens. I was more interested in the farms when we actually got into the country. Not sure what my sisters and brother were interested in. Some trips were to small towns and cemeteries looking for graves of possible relatives. 65 years later I can still picture a black bird with a yellow cap and a silvery yellow stripe on it's wings sitting atop a grey weathered fence post.
These days I cannot help but get off the main roads to see what might be hidden out there in the country. Dirt roads have given way to gravel then to black-top roads. The birds have been replaced by old country houses with carpenter lace and screened porches, an occasional wash line with white sheets riding the warm winds. Retired barns kept up by loving farmers find their way to my canvas. Summer drives I find places to stop and do some on-the-spot painting and sketches. Sitting in a cemetery I find peace surrounded by history as I paint the back of a church. Head stones of soldiers with dates of 1916 and 1944 tell me to do a good job.
Here is the church in Wayne, IL, bathed in the warm sun light that inspires many artists. The brick walk, the windows of the parsons home, the old tree that catches the rain and lets it softly fall on the flowers below. Today it was dappled light dancing away on the scene before me. For me there is always a story to tell, a play to be performed.