These are two plein air paintings from around Washington and Augusta Missouri. Every spring I try to do the Augusta Plein Air painting week. It is so much fun to find the little nooks and crannies off the back roads and paint all day. I'm definitely still practicing, it is a lot harder to paint out in the sun and wind and rain, but it is so much fun to be out "in it"!!
What I love about plein air painting is the ability to be right in the moment and actually sit down and paint something that speaks to you on a gut level. I see so many things every day that I would love to paint. Scenes, light, the sky, a child, but am not usually able to actually follow through in that moment because... well, life!
It makes you think about what it is that calls out to us in the midst of our days and grabs our attention. What is it when you catch a glimpse of something that makes you catch your breath? A sunrise, a child, a tree, a shiny pebble in a puddle of rain. What is it that makes us look and fills us up, even for just a moment? Is it simply the unique way our retina picks up color and light and communicates through the optic nerve to our brain? Or is it more - Something speaking directly to our soul, to all of the experiences, images, and places we have stored up inside? Is it one way God speaks to us ?
As artists we are constantly looking, we allow things to distract and pull us to that place that says "stop and look". That's what we do and why we have to create. It's not enough to just look, we want to take part in the fabric of creation.
In the book "Neither Wolf nor Dog", the old native grandfather tell the younger white man to look at the buffalo out on the prairie. The younger man looks, but sees nothing, until the buffalo gallops across a few seconds later out of the woods. When he asks the grandfather how he knew the buffalo was there, he replies, " he showed himself to me" .
I love that answer. I think each person is shown these glimpses of beauty and light, to in turn give back to the world, each in our own way. If we are going too fast, or not looking, we could miss those fleeting moments. Or we miss it because we are so used to seeing the ugliness and darkness around us. Tiny glimmers of light together become powerful. If we think of walking through our days in a way that looks for these gifts of beauty, for the good, for the light- then our whole life becomes a sacred experience, unique to each of us, given back to the world and creating a better place.