I always start with the very background of a new painting. The goal of the first paint is simply to cover the canvas: the deepest colors; the broadest shapes. This is a fun session because it’s fast, and about fluidity and big picture. I’m not focused on finite details, but setting myself up so that when I get there those will simply be finishing touches on layers of layers of the slow build to clarity.
Some memories as a point of reference to help guide me into Mobile Art Studio pickup and launch:
- It was 75 degrees and warming under a bright blue desert sky as I alternated walking and jogging a trail that wound gently upward and promised rock features. I took in prickly pear and barrel cactus on either side of the trail with both appreciation and wariness – no false steps here. At first, the feature ahead looked tiny and unimpressive: a large gray boulder surrounded by smatterings of red rock with bleached green plant life lumps in between. But I got closer and slowed, my face sheened with sweat and my calves covered in a light dusty film. Split, cavernous red rocks glowed under the sun with lime green, early spring desert plant life filling the cracks. Bright light from a clear sky contrast the deep blue with fiery sandstone, all radiating steady warmth from the surface and cool from the shadows. I started crying. It had been a long time since I’d visited the desert from Alaska and I felt lucky to be there. I wished I could beam in everyone I knew and loved to share that moment and feeling with me.
- I was painting a 12”x12” rendering of sun and snow filled winter woods on my table easel at home in Alaska. I noticed the photo reference was all pattern and color: branches fanning out and locking, with cool blue and purple snow lining and punctuating every available upward-facing surface. On the outer edges of the painting, a warm red sky attempted to push through the tightly woven trees. Toward the middle, a glowing orange and finally a piercing yellow-white punched through the center. I decided to focus on the patterns and colors over the subject: literally looking at the forest through the trees as I painted versus focusing on finite detail and patiently waiting for it to add up to a whole. I had such joy painting that painting, because I was playing. As I dotted the final bits of snow on the surface, I took a step back and felt finished at the same time as the painting. I smiled. I signed my name.
- We waited for weeks to finally get the title for our truck, Fluffy. As we discovered when we were getting set up to sell, we’d never received the title from the bank when we paid off the vehicle in 2019. And, as I discovered when I went to the Alaska DMV for what I thought would be a simple, if annoying, process to get the title, it wasn’t actually in Alaska. We had purchased Fluffy in Nevada, therefore we’d have to get on the horn with their DMV to finally get our title in hand. Wes did. Then he did again. Then he did probably eight more times, with hold times as long as two hours before he finally reached someone (on days when they didn’t simply throw up a busy signal and basically say “we’re too busy, better luck next time”). We had a buyer lined up who was, thankfully, patient. All things said and done: Wes initially got misinformation from the DMV about sending in our expedite forms, which resulted in an agent seeing the situation and expediting us even more than we initially would have been. We got the title and officially sold the vehicle with days to spare before I hit the road. It worked out.
Experience and enjoy the moments. Be present.
See the forest through the trees. Have fun and keep perspective.
Worry is a fool’s errand. Keep moving forward and trust the bigger picture. It will work out.
I don’t know what the details are yet, but this piece serves as those bigger picture brush strokes on which I can begin to layer my upcoming journey. I’m so thrilled and grateful for this phase of life and whatever and wherever it brings me, including and especially the many people and places that sustain me. I’m feeling very full, open, and ready.