Monday, April 27, 2009

Home again

Kansas Afternoon. Oil on stretched canvas, 10x30
please contact me for price and shipping/delivery info

I'm home.

And never have two words held so much for me, or surprised me so immensely.

I thought a lot while I was driving about the differences between this trip and the one I made in July. On the outside, they looked the same. I lit off for western regions, stayed for about three weeks, made more than 40 paintings, reached home spent and exhausted.

But that first trip was pure escape. I flung myself out of my newspaper job, out of a 20-year career, and flew like a boomerang out and back. It was very much a journey of freedom, and I'd have been happy for it to continue for another few weeks.

I think that on that trip, I showed myself that I could paint. I'd staked everything on that question - and the exhilaration picked me and carried me.

On this trip, I didn't have to ask that question, or thrill from its answer. On this trip, my questions were much deeper, much more serious: Has my art grown? I have painted and painted and painted these past months. I have experimented and measured, read and studied and worked - and yet, I look at some of the paintings I made on this trip, and see paintings I made a year ago. I look at others and see paintings that I made in my first weeks and months of painting. I see no progress, no change, no growth in vision or in skill.

And then I look again and see worlds of change. I see brighter lights and deeper shadows, and a finer line between them. I see a more knowing hand, and a more pervasive sense of experiment. I see paintings that speak less of the painter and beckon more strongly to the viewer. In these, I do see progress.

How I wish I could keep my mind and judgment here in this second look - but of course, I can't.

I do wonder if the similarities in my paintings arise from the simple fact that the same type of scenes draw me. I will always paint what I love, and I will always love wheat fields and treeless horizons and rhythmic, rippling hills. I will always love huge, open skies and far-off mountains. I will always love the sun playing through tree limbs, water shining in a ditch in a field, a path curving through an open gate. These sights make me imagine. These sights make me hope.

So I am home now, with my questions and my paintings and my worries, and there's no place I'd rather be. Spring has barely arrived here in Connecticut. The earth is cool beneath my bare feet. I'm glad that I've come back in time to watch the spring unfold - and in time to paint it, too.

As always, thank you for reading.


Unknown said...

Yay! you're home safe and sound.

I think this last painting is my very favorite. Unique subject and lovely perspective! Now for your own show!

Sandy Sandy Art said...

Oh Carrie, I've enjoyed your travel log so much! Your paintings and writing is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing it all with us! Hugs, Sandy

carrie jacobson said...

Thanks, Sandy and Sheila, thanks for looking and commenting so loyally, and being so supportive. I have more paintings from the trip to post, and am contemplating a variety of options, places to take my writing and my painting, and things specifically to do with both. I have shows scheduled for August (that's in Maine) and September (at the gallery in Montgomery, NY, which represents me) and I am looking forward to both! xoxo

carrie jacobson said...

p.s., now to paint some shelter animals!