"Sierra del Carmen" 36x72, Oil on Canvas
I've been working pretty steadily here in the studio after the weeks of Christmas and New Years. I wanted to start where it began for me. Kendrick and I got to Big Bend on a Sunday and wanted to camp out together before we checked in with the Park services to start the residency on Monday morning. I remember feeling so in awe of the space and light and color. The sunset came along with our meager dinner and Kendrick said, "look!" I remember it took my breath away this contrast between the blues and the oranges. The blues were varying kinds along with the subtle shifts of color in the dome of sky. The plants were strange and prickly, thorny and colorless at times. The smell of them was sweet and musky. I was later to learn that the Creosote bush gives off this beautiful scent especially after a rain. I remember crying that night as Kendrick talked to me. Trying to encourage me that if God brought me here He would help me to paint it. I felt so inadequate as a painter. How could I express anything so sublime, so real? It only came through the following weeks how I had been thinking totally wrong. There isn't any way to capture this wonder. That wasn't my job. Even though as Artist in Residence I felt it was. In fact, my only "job" was to receive. To take in to my body, heart and spirit what it means to feel His presence. God didn't NEED me to paint anything. He was delighting in it with me. He was beckoning me out there. Saying, "Come! See! Listen!"
As I worked through the layers of this painting I reflect on that layering that happened in me. I recall my fear. My SELF being in the way of His love. I see Him drawing me further into freedom through this experience. No more need to try to prove anything. No more TRYING. Just BE. I see Him covering me again and again in that wash of grace. Just as I glazed layers of cool blues and then layers of orange. Each layer bringing out the one beneath. He calmed me with beauty. I stopped looking for what I could capture and instead looked at what delighted me. What stirred my affections for Him.
There is nothing I paint that will come close to the experience. The reason I paint is to simply reflect back. To say, in my own intimate way, that I love Him. I see the beauty He has made. I agree with Him in it.