Friday, October 19, 2012

Chasing the Light

Chasing the Light
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

I love the exuberance of plein-air painting. I love being in the landscape, watching the clouds, feeling the wind, smelling the scent of earth.

I love that you have to go fast, paint quickly, to capture the scene as it in in the moment.

One of the things that makes plein-air painting hard, (aside from the wind, the bugs, and the uneven ground) is  the temptation to "chase the light" - change your painting to reflect the day as the sun moves across your horizon.

As I was making this painting, I thought about chasing the light. About chasing a feeling, an experience,  a person? A speed? A sensation? A taste? An accomplishment? - that makes me feel great, about myself, about my life, about my future.

Do we all do this, all the time, knowingly or unknowingly? When we take that job, or decide on steak, or buy that painting, or teach our children this or that, when we choose a home or pick out an outfit or speak for an hour in the parking lot with a friend, are we chasing the light? Chasing some feeling that we hope will bring us to that place of happiness?

People tell me they love my paintings but can't buy one because they have no room on their walls. Get rid of those old pieces, I want to say. Give them away, put them away - not just so they can buy one of my pieces, but so they can look at the NOW in their lives.

Instead of chasing the light, I want to race it. Run ahead of it. Let it light my way.

And so, for a moment or two a morning or two ago, I soaked it up. Breathed in the scent of the land, and reveled in the promise of dawn, and let the morning's tender pink light take my breath away.

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