Some Recent Paintings

It’s been a while since I’ve posted much art work. I slipped into a bit of a painting slump after Steve’s father died in January, and I’m only just getting back into the groove. It’s not that I didn’t paint all winter– I did, but most of what I painted just didn’t turn out. It’s interesting to see how much one’s emotional state impacts artistic expression. I’ve always known it does, but it’s hard when one is stuck in the midst of it. I was feeling somewhat aimless and generally sad, and my paintings seemed to be without focus or feeling of life. I have also found it hard to write, I suspect for similar reasons. Doing a couple of pen & ink drawings was helpful in getting me jump started painting again; getting lost in the small details pulled me into a different place and restored my confidence and enthusiasm.

Here are the pen & ink drawings I did.

And a couple of paintings I did of Milo. He always makes me laugh with his antics, and his wagging tail cheers me no matter how down I might feel, so painting him often lifts my spirits.

These Chickadee are two of my beloved little friends who eat from my hand

And this is Jade, the Mallard Drake who visits our stream with Agate, his pretty mate, every spring. I did this from a photo Jonathan took many years ago, so our springtime visitor this year may be a son or grandson of Jade, but the Mallards visit without fail for a few days every spring, then go elsewhere to nest.

I seem to be back into a painting mode and am eager to pick up my brushes and play with color again. This afternoon I will be painting with a friend in her garden full of beautiful flowers, so perhaps I’ll be posting flower paintings soon.

My May 3rd Bird

Yesterday, May 3rd, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak spent the day enjoying my feeders and perching in the lilacs. I spent much of the day looking at him through binoculars, taking photos of him, and just enjoying his presence. Although they are common in the area, I have only seen one other Rose-breasted Grosbeak at my feeders, also for just one full day, and also, as I realized this morning when I looked at old photos, on May 3rd, in 2007.

Why May 3rd? I can’t help wondering if there’s something that attracts a bird to a given location on a certain date. Perhaps the lilacs were just barely starting to open on May 3rd in 2007, as they were yesterday? Or perhaps something about the day length drew the bird to my garden on that particular date? Or perhaps it was just coincidence.

Whether coincidence or indiscernible detail (indiscernible to me, that is; obviously not to the bird), this is one more reminder to me that there is so much more to creation than what we already know or can readily observe. I’m reminded of when I took a biochemistry course in college. I had dreaded it, expecting it to be full of boring details. Instead, I found that I was learning the most fascinating details of life, and I felt as if I was seeing the fingerprints of God– traces of his magnificent work that was happening all the time right in my own body, without my conscious awareness.

As a friend of mine puts it, our sight and understanding is like a pinhole view into the universe, surely limited in more ways than we realize. I love it when something enlarges that pinhole slightly, opening my sight and my mind to more of what there is, even if I don’t understand what I’m seeing. I am thankful for my May 3rd Bird, who has lifted my spirits with his beauty, raised questions I doubt I’ll find answers for, and reminded me that my sight is limited, that there is mystery beyond my current knowledge and understanding.