Saturday, October 29, 2005

An unexpected gift of a day

This is the view from my back deck tonight at about five-thirty. I happened to look out the kitchen window as I was throwing Lytton's dogfood can in the trash, and there it was. I grabbed the camera and went out to photograph it. My neighbor Donna was on her deck, too, admiring the same scene and we exchanged appreciative comments. In the middle of a mundane moment, a sight like this can't fail to elevate us, to show us beauty so powerful that it makes us stop what we are doing and gawk at it. It's hard to imagine where our appreciation of such things comes from. It seems unique to human animals to find enjoyment in simply looking at things. What neurons in our brains fire and stimulate that vague, indefineable pleasure, and why? Surely it has no roots in our instinct to survive. If I were to wax poetc, I would say that it gives us the will to survive.

It was a cold, dreary day made enjoyable by painting with Lisa. We set up a complicated still life on her dining room table. It was a cheerful pumpkin-infested fall subject, rounded out by dried hydrangeas picked from Greg's bush, leaves and apples. It was so lovely that I decided to go after it on a full sheet of watercolor paper. This is the first full sheet I have tried since my return to watercolor and I was a little fearful of the huge piece of paper. It turned out all right, though, if a little over-worked in some areas. Those places were compensated for by some nice light leaves. I have more to do on it, and I think I will be happy with it in the end. Lisa worked in acrylic, and our two paintings were like two sides of the same coin---an interesting study of mediums and the way they influence interpretation of the subject. It was thrilling to see, feeding my love of seeing the same subject done by different artists.

As if by design, Thelma called and I was able to share my enthusiasm with her. She has been playing with paint as well, and having a fine time. I had anticipated a reclusive day full of household chores. Some days give you happy surprises.

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