Two days ago when it was snowing hard with a good wind blowing I went out with drawing paper and easel to a spot in our neighborhood were I have drawn before. I set up and drew the drawing above in about thirty minutes which is about all I could stand to take with the wind blowing snow in my face. As harsh as it was it was also exhilarating to be out there simply responding to the intensity of the weather and the natural beauty of the landscape.
This is the drawing I did three years ago of the same view. Even though it was done in March there is a note to myself that reminds me of how cold it was that day as well. There is a harshness to Winter in the Midwest that is easy to complain about but as challenging as Winter can be here it also forces a sort of rugged development of the soul. Winter may become an opportunity to become tougher and more resilient if you can accept the challenge with the right attitude.
This painting titled String Game (which recently sold to David Ledbetter) shows the same landscape view inthe background. This painting is from a series that explored relationship intertwining. The painting includes the landscape environment where my two daughters grew up. They are tied to this land as they are to each other. Growing up in the same family and sharing a bedroom along with so many common experiences, have imbued their relationship with depth and meaning. It is a beautiful thing to see them together simply enjoying each others company.
As I ruminate on why I continue to take the trouble to go out into nature and draw and paint, I realize that this practice over the years has helped me to love the place where I live with an unusual depth of feeling and commitment. Sitting outside for extended periods of time, looking and making marks, has helped bring me closer to understanding what it means to really live in a place. Drawing and painting my children over the years may have had a similar effect of creating a potent bond. Drawing and painting then becomes an act of love and brings with it all of it's own ramifications.