Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Yin & Yang & Rain

You appreciate food more when you've known a little hunger, and love more after loneliness.  It rained this morning.  I woke up at four and opened my window so I could hear hear the rain better, and went back to sleep.  When I went out to walk this morning, the world was so fresh and clean.  Colors looked washed and bright against the darkened wet ground and sky.  I thought about tree roots, close to withering and dying like so many have lately.  But then . . . a cool tickling moisture . . . could it be?  Could there be more?  Roots inhaling deeply, taking precious water in, up their trunks and to the tips of their leaves.  Trees were saved today.  I'm sure of it.  Trees were saved and mushrooms were born.  

I painted the tree in the picture, perhaps a year ago.  I hope this tree is still thriving and taking in the rain of the day.  As I think most tree people can tell, it's a nice big California live oak.  It grows in a curious little spot that is the tail end of the vestiges of a lost nature park.  This spot has been borrowed from the utility that owns the power lines and transformed into a semi-private sanctuary.  I'm going back to paint there next Saturday.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Friend's House

We all probably think we grew up at the best possible time, back when kids were safe and had freedom, and there were infinite things to do and places to explore.  I think my own kids think that too.  Maybe everybody's childhood kind of shimmers in the distance.  Katie was one of my good friends growing up.  Our friendship probably peaked sometime between fifth and ninth grade.  After high school, she went to college out of state and moved away.  Thanks to Facebook, which is great for just this reason, we reconnected.  When Katie's mother passed away, and the family was selling their old home, she asked if I would paint it.  It's pretty close to where I live, so I gathered a few of my plein air painter friends and made a morning of it.

I love this painting.  A big part of that is probably that it made my friend and her sister truly happy, as well as a little comforted about giving up their childhood home.  Another reason I love the painting is that it's chock full of my own memories.  I'll come back to those.  And then I just think it looks good.  It isn't painted front on from a photograph.  I walked around and picked my favorite angle.  The light is pure Southern California.  It's not a real showpiece house; it's pretty basic, but in a lot of ways that makes for a better painting.  On request I enhanced the orange tree a little.  The tree  was struggling in the drought, had no oranges, and got removed not too long after.  I like the moon, peaking out in in the hot daylight.  And the memories.

Listening to record albums, especially The Beatles, over and over again until we knew them by heart.  Making prank phone calls.  Ditching my last undershirt there, not quite ready for a bra, but for damn sure was not going to wear an undershirt to junior high school.  My first slumber party, pretending I was hypnotized.  Walking to a nearby vacant lot with a tree to climb.  Walking to the variety store and buying candy and gum and wax lips and mustaches.  Puppies.  Looking over the back wall at the cemetery.  Teak Danish modern furniture that required coasters.  Which is what I still think of when I hear Norwegian Wood.