A Walk In The Shadows
The Path Home
The principles of design in art: balance, contrast, movement, pattern, rhythm, variety/unity, and emphasis.
I have often felt that these also are principles of life. The two paintings of today reflect the extreme contrasts of recent periods of my life. In the extreme pendulum contrasts I went on a quest for balance.
Contrast could be describe with words like: good/bad, positive/negative, night/day, hot/cold. Extremes of conditions. Both of my paintings I am showing today are of the same subject, a white picket fence. They actually are from the location, just different times and different emotions.
"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction"
Life changes can illustrate this law very well. One minute you are moving at 110 miles an hour without a lot of control over your time and the next you have come to a dead halt without any of your usual things to occupy you time.
My painting, A Walk In The Shadows, was created during a time where I was moving at that 110 miles an hour. There was not much down time and extreme life changes were taking place, some exciting and some sad. I was hurrying home one day and turned on a less traveled road toward my house. As I looked to the church on the left I saw contrast of the shadows on the hot concrete up against the hot white of the fence in the summer sunlight. I was drawn to the contrast and stopped to take a photo for a possible painting. It was such a hot day that I thought how glad I was to have on shoes while standing on the hot concrete. If barefoot, I would have to jump from shadows to shadow to find relief from the hot concrete.
The painting was done during this extremely busy time and I can happily say that it was accepted into a juried International show. A few months later, my extremely busy life went from 110 miles an hour to 0. The contrast was extreme. It felt like a teeter totter. I was way up high and going up and down, and then the other person gets off suddenly, and I hit the ground hard. BAM! Covid. Isolation. Grief. Anxiety.
What to do with all these emotions? So I turned to the two things that are therapy for me: my painting and working in the yard. I looked around the yard and noticed that in my "busy" period, the weeds had gotten out of control. I went after them with a vengeance. It took several back-breaking months to get the entire yard weeded. I started at point 1 and patiently continued until every bed was complete. Then I went back to bed 1 to start a new project and guess what...they were back! Equally as bad as when I had started. In this solitary time, I felt broken and depressed and over-whelmed. At about this same time, I was listening to a podcast and heard a woman talking about "problem solving". She said solutions to problems were like six-packs. Now this got my attention. She said that there were at least six solutions to solving a problem, like a six pack. If the first solution doesn't work, choose another one from the pack. I thought about this and the principles of design came to mind. Contrast! What is the opposite of weeds? Flowers! And with this same principle, I thought about the contrast of stillness. Movement! The contrast of ugly thought (how I felt about the weeds). Beauty! So I started walking!
I started walking the same path I had been walking but with a different purpose. I was looking for the contrast of what I had been concentrating on...Beauty. On the way I met neighbors I had never met before. I stopped to compliment one on how nice her yard looked and she told me about a business called Weed Warriors. I started noticing things on my walk that I had previously passed without notice, like the red door on an old white house. That red door just seemed to invite me to paint it. I broke out of my routine route and ventured over the bridge into an older neighborhood. I walked down the sidewalk of the church with the picket fence that I had previously painted. This allowed me to see the path going down the back of the property. A path I would not have seen if I had not gotten off the road and walked the fence line. This path bordered the same picket fence but with a whole different feel. The shadows were calm and peaceful, a total contrast to the first painting I did of the fence. If I had not started walking to find beauty, I never would have found the subject of this painting, The Path Home.
The Weed Warriors came and got rid of all my weeds in one morning. I was introduced to a lovely woman who helped me start this website. I found unlimited objects to paint on my walks. I had a successful one-man show in the month of October of a total Covid shut down. Many of the paintings in the show were products of my walks to find beauty and in the process found balance to the contrast. I titled my show Walk In Beauty. The title came from the following poem that I felt expressed my feelings of my walking experience:
Walk In Beauty
Beauty in front of me, Beauty behind me,
Beauty above me, Beauty below me
Beauty all around me
I walk in Beauty....
In the house of life, there I wander
In the house of happiness, there I wander
Beauty before me, Beauty behind me
Beauty above me, Beauty below me
Beauty all around me
In old age traveling, with it I wander
On the beautiful trail I am, with it I wander.
In beauty, it is begun
In beauty, it is finished.
I happily share with you the beauty of my contrasting paintings, A Walk In the Shadows and The Path Home.
Thanks for connecting,