Two Thousand Inches of Happy
Oil on canvas, 48x48
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One of the reasons that I love to paint is that I love the way it makes me feel. I love where it takes my head, where it takes my heart.
When I am painting, it seems that the world goes away. Well, that's not really right. My surroundings recede. My worries recede. Whatever is dark and sad in my life recedes, and I am left with what is joyful and full of promise. I am left with color, and with light, and with faith.
I paint - and especially with something like this piece, this big, bright, heavily textured sunflower piece - I find a rhythm that helps transport me, helps bring me to that transcendent place, that place where sorrow is something just out of the frame, just off of the horizon.
We euthanized our 15-year-old Pekingese on Monday. He had had trouble walking for a couple of years, and his back legs pretty much gave out a couple months ago. This weekend, one of his front legs seemed to be on the way out. It was arthritis, the vet said, and Looie would not get better. He would not come out of it.
Loo had a good long life. He was the top dog for a long time, and one of his major roles was to stop all playing, whenever possible. We called him the fun police. Kaja, the German shepherd/chow in the photo with Loo, is also dead. Kaja spent many joyful afternoons in Maine running into Looie at full tilt, knocking him ass over teakettle. He would roll and tumble, and then get up, barking, and chase Kaja until she'd do it again.
I understand when people say they can't think of having another dog, because of the pain at the end of their too-short lives. I understand. But I wouldn't change a moment of this awful pain for a moment less of life with Looie or Kaja or any of the others.
And so I painted, and painted, painted beautiful, bright, rhythmic sunflowers. I let myself get lost in the colors and the light and the promise, and the healing.
IT'S NOT A GREAT photo, I know, but it was an exciting evening, earlier this week, when a rocket blasted off at night from Wallops Island, a few miles up the Shore. It was pretty cool to see it, arcing orange and fiery against the night sky, out over the Atlantic.
THIS IS WHAT the Eastern Shore looks like in November. It doesn't have the wall-to-wall brilliance of New England, but it is pretty and bright nonetheless. The white stuff in the photo above is cotton.