Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wild & Precious Moment

This is a photo of me working on my last painting, "One Wild & Precious Moment" taken by my oldest daughter, Amy as we hung out in the studio for a brief hour before taking her to the airport. Amy lives across the country from me and I rarely see her these days as she finishes her teaching degree in Kamloops, BC so this was indeed one of those precious moments.
I was keenly aware that Amy would be leaving again shortly. After having spent a glorious ten days traipsing across Italy with her, this was a beautiful gift to have her resting on the couch while I returned to my "ordinary" daily life in the studio. While the music of her ipod filled the studio, my body relaxed into the finishing touches of a painting that I felt was both successful and succinct in expressing my inward landscape of tumultuous and ephemeral joy. The title for the painting is inspired by Mary Oliver's delightful poem "Summer Day" where the act of attention is a form of prayer.

The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-- the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver, The House Light Beacon Press Boston, 1990.
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