Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Nugent Mountain In Morning Mist" 24x20, Oil on Canvas

"Nugent Mountain" 24x20, Oil on Canvas

I've been wrestling with this one since I painted it back in November. I really love this mountain as it is where I camped with my husband the first night I was in Big Bend. I went back to it multiple times because of it's shape and presence. The particular morning I was trying to paint was almost a white out with fog. I tried in the first few paintings to bring it to the viewer in stark detail and really didn't like it. I kept adding layers until it was almost completely hidden with just that stark red rock peeping through. 

I think sometimes it's more truthful to the mountain to veil it. That may sound crazy but it helps us see it's mystery and the lines of it's rock. It gives us a way of seeing INTO the earth when it is surrounded by mist. Too much detail distracts us from what is really there.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

"Tender" 36x72, Oil on Canvas

"Tender" 36x72, Oil on Canvas

A tough week to paint. To try to put on canvas something beautiful. It seems the world is being unraveled. Sometimes, as a painter, I feel like, "Does the world really need ONE more image?" But always there is this part of me that speaks through those feelings. It reminds me that beauty is meant to be shared and especially in times of pain, loss, sorrow. I think, for me, that beauty has always been a comfort. When I'm around too much unkindness or sadness I have learned that it's best for me to get near some beauty. Whether it be in water or clouds or even in the way the light bends in the evening. It is a place of filling for my soul. A place of quiet and the reality of God. He's here. Don't be afraid. Don't worry. He's here.

Beauty also has a ministry of refreshment. I noticed this after my time at Big Bend. People would come up to me and say, "You look so refreshed Dawn!" I realized it was showing in my face because I was getting to drink deep of peace and beauty. A luxury in our world. I know. I pray that you don't hear me say we need to run to the woods every time something bad happens. What I'm trying to say is this is WHY I feel so compelled to paint beauty (or try at beauty). It's not to run away from the world but to hold up what the soul truly longs for: peace and quiet joy.

I call this painting, "Tender" because the light makes the mountains look soft in the distance. As if they might be made of mist. I saw Dallas (the city I've called home for half of my life) show tenderness this week. The word means to show gentleness, concern or sympathy. I saw the Dallas Police Department draped with cards and flowers. I saw people lining streets to pay homage to police officers who died trying to keep our city safe. I heard elected officials speak love and unity. I saw tears on faces young and old, black and white. I was grateful for tenderness. The softness that comes out when it's most needed. As days pass I pray we keep that tenderness. We won't forget it in the tough discussions that need to happen. Too long we've kept silent and not asked, "What can we do to truly help?"

Maybe in a fast pace world where we are constantly bombarded with images and up to the minute news the best thing we could bring to the world IS beauty. A friendship, a moment of prayer for someone we don't even know, a meal, a hug. Maybe the best thing we could do is help people SEE the beauty of God. No preaching, lectures, meme's, or dividing lines. Just peace, beauty and the reality that He is here. He's never left.