It is snowing this morning and feels like poetry as I watch from my window.
In a few hours, as the sun has breaks through the clouds and wisps of blue sky are visible, brightness will dazzle what has been a soft quietness over the land. This is when shadows stretch out from the trees across the snow creating tangles of trunks and branches no one can climb: not even the squirrels.
Oh my goodness! What to paint in these moments is the question as the possibilities are everywhere. Yesterday I was painting poppies from memory at a café I frequent but later today I will be out in the excitement of light and those marvellous winter shadows that must be seen before they melt away.
For now I’m simply watching snow flakes in the early light as I sip coffee. A northern flicker is enjoying suet at a feeder that hangs from a limb near the window. Across the meadow behind my house, a line of trees is barely visible through the storm.
Jim Pescott, a Canadian artist, paints Alberta landscapes http://www.jimpescott.com
Most of those things hardly matter while some are more vital to the moment. That’s probably how it is for you and it is certainly how it is for me. Except for me, what seems vital may be what you feel doesn’t matter.
I’m a visual artist and the ‘things’ I see mostly relate to the earth around me because I paint landscapes. When I walking through natural surroundings I must see a hundred concepts a day to paint but only a few of them ever make it to become paint on a canvas.
Here’s what often happens. A while ago I saw stacks of clouds in the sky as I stepped out my back door. Clouds are commonplace as everyone sees clouds when they step outside or look out a window. But for me, in that moment, those clouds spoke to me. My response is always to take a mobile phone photograph. Somehow, just taking the picture satisfies me creatively. Here’s the photo I took.
All the photographs in my phone are buried forever as there are a few thousand of them. But sometimes one of those hidden images may surface again in an unplanned way. My perspective is always, “everything happens for a reason”, so when a photo blinks back at me I listen. And this is what happened with the clouds behind my house photograph. It simply appeared one day through some unknown phone process much like when a pocket dial happens. The clouds were calling me.
Yes, the clouds were painted recently: “Ideas On The Horizon”, acrylic on a 30″x30″ canvas.
As the painting evolved it turned out that the clouds were helping me understand the horizon that was speaking to me.
Last weekend I was out walking and found myself following a large creek all the way to where it joined a river. Here’s a phone photo I took.
I wonder if this image will ‘call’ me some day in the future?