June 4, 2007

Blue Ridge Vista
oil on linen
12" x 16"

A few weeks ago I felt a strong urge to paint from a high place so I could see distant places. (There are times, once the trees have leafed, when where I live feels like a prison of green!) Unable to think of any reason not to go -- how I can avoid my bliss -- I threw my painting gear in the back of my car and headed to North Carolina.

I'd thought to go to a spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway near a backpacking trail I'd used a long time ago. When I arrived, however, the place was shrouded in dark cloud cover. Still, I painted, happy to be in the cool, fresh air.

The next day was much brighter. I set out for the Parkway once again as I would for the next three days. As I drove up and down looking for painting places, I stopped repeatedly at one particular overlook. There was a budding tree that grabbed my attention as well as purple mountains rolling off to the horizon. I wasn't until I was headed home that I submitted to my desire to paint the scene, the one depicted above in Blue Ridge Vista. I felt complete.

The impulse to paint in high places derives perhaps from an intuition that, from time to time, it is good to get above it all. Some find transcendence an escape. For me it's a touchstone with Reality, a place to know that in the Big Picture, it's all already alright. Before I was a painter, meditation served a similar purpose. Now, I am able to produce an image from that space of Being and bring it back down to where things seem more easily obscured. As you can see, I've got a great job!

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