I love the river near my home — everything it represents, and IS. The way it physically and metaphorically reveals the unceasing flow of life. The way it offered me a refuge during challenging days. The way dipping my toes in the cool waters eased my hot, worn body on floats, and the bird songs and subtle rippling sounds soothed my mind. The way surrendering to the gentle flow encouraged me to accept life’s currents. The way it offered my being room to breathe, allowed my imagination the space to wander, and my spirit to be replenished and rise. I will ever be grateful to Anna Robertson, who nudged me by example to immerse myself on simple inner tube floats on the Roanoke River through my hood. It replenished my soul, profoundly deepened my relationship to my home, and was one of the joyful highlights of the year.
I really enjoy making paintings. I love taking life in and allowing the energies to reveal themselves in a work of art. I consider myself a conduit in this process, and see it as a great privilege. Although it may sound a bit hokie, I also like participating in the best parts of this tradition of making beautiful things, which I trained in and have studied and appreciated for nearly 40 years.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” ~ John Lennon
Like anyone my age, life tosses us unexpected circumstances that redirect the plans we’ve made. Life ebbs and flows. Several chunks of time (sometimes for years) during those decades I chose to set my passion for art making on hold a bit rather than feel stressed trying to have it compete with other places needing my energy. Mostly toward what I feel were good reasons and responsible priorities.
Besides, I’m reflective but not one to look back on life with regrets (seems a waste of precious energy). The last few years some responsibilities have eased; among other things, my son has blossomed and is happily into his own career. These have spurred me to delve back into art making without feeling I was compromising other things. While I continue to run a business full time, I try to remain aware having time outside of that work these last few years is a great luxury.
“Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone's soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.” ~ Rumi
Stick around long enough on the earth and eventually ever more friends and family pass. Some folks may be indifferent to this; I’m not. Beyond a loved one’s transition, the grieving, and possibly attending to their loved ones, an indirect affect is that it wakes me up to our limited time and interactions with others. I really try not to squander either. We all have to decide what this means, but for me it distills to trying to be a positive force, keeping authentic, true to myself and others, being of service where I can, and sharing others’ burdens and my own joys.
To me, people in few professions epitomize this as well as caring and dedicated teachers—I’ll even venture that those in America’s public schools are in many ways challenged to hold their center even more than others. So it’s a confluence of wonderful things when a painting I’ve been fortunate enough to help bring into form, about a subject that profoundly moved me, displayed in a space I was able to establish and share it, is chosen by some dear trusted friends who ARE long time teachers for purchase to adorn their warm home.
A heartfelt thank you to Mike Scott and Theresa Bell, your support and friendship are invaluable and allow the flow of vital life forces to continue. ❤️🙏