I finished her this morning. Actually, I was close, so close late last night, painting with the windows open to the dark. I brought her downstairs and hung her on the bedroom wall, facing the end of the bed, because when a painting is this close, I like to sleep with it close by.
When thunder shook the house in the wee hours and lightning blazed right through my eyelids, I awoke to the sound of a torrential downpour. In the hazy black of night the owl
glowed softly, just enough for me to sit up and make out her outline. I felt safe. Held. Communal.
I'm still working on the official words for this painting, this Homage (for a great many of my paintings I like to write story-titles, a bit of poetic prose that serves as companion for the paint, as another doorway in which to enter a the painting), but I want to tell you some of the raw, perhaps unraveling, untidied thoughts behind it.
It starts with this: we're moving, again. Back north by the end of August. We've known the move was eminent for months, and while it is deeply bitter-sweet, I can not deny that I know this chapter of life is drawing to a close. So for months now I've been soaking up the land, willing my cerebral cortex to perfectly imprint the shape of every hillside, the bend of these redwoods in the wind, the scent of this dirt, the sound of this particular mix of flyers, the color of my river at sunset. I've been promising to never forget, and offering thanks after thanks for all this land has gifted me. It has been my place of healing, a place of quiet, of deep breath, of salt and tears and emotional stretch-marks. It has been a refuge.
But still. I know in my bones, the time has come to leave the nest.
So this painting, like so much of the work I've been creating through of late, is my small offering of gratitude to the land which has cradled me so well.
Tonight I know I'll sleep deeply under her guardian gaze.
(acrylic on canvas, 3' x 5')
(please please click on the image above - it will take you to my flickr page wherein you will be able to see this image MUCH larger!)