Village of Vilshiem on a rainy day, oil painting on canvas 30 x 40 inches, 2019
It is still early morning and just my second day back in Germany. Almost exactly a year ago I came to Germany for three months which was my very first time leaving the United States. This is now my fourth time back since then and I will be here for the next two months. I have been painting and drawing while I am here because this has been my chosen way to interact with the world. Making visual art is my favorite way to remain grounded in reality.
Working and living in Germany has stretched me out to a larger size. A different culture presents daily challenges that force a person continually out of their comfort zone and into new growth. Painting and drawing on location has been a great way for me to acclimate to a different culture. It has been a great way to meet people. When you are working away at a painting of a view at a travel easel, people are often curious, the courageous ones will stop and begin a conversation.
Vilshiem on a rainy day, detail
The painting above happened by accident. The last time I was here in April I would as often as possible take the bus from the little village of Vilsheim into the city of Landshut near by where I would paint plein-air in the streets. This particular day I had accidently missed the last bus for the day and found myself stranded. Leaving the bus stop I began to look for a cool view to paint. I soon found a spot that I thought could make a good painting I followed the sidewalk up to the front door and began knocking. After getting through some awkward and confusing conversation I was soon in their backyard setting up my easel and paints to begin a brand new painting.
Vilsheim on a rainy day oil painting, detail
In recounting this story of my plans being changed when I missed a bus it’s a great reminder to myself of how important it is to remain flexible. Fuck ups can become happy accidents. I think of keeping up this attitude as a learned skill. Earlier in my life when things didn’t go my way I would react with a blend of anger and anxiety. Now my new reflex has become less being pissed off and much more curious anticipation. Kind of a “Hummm… what now?” kind of open mindedness that keeps me open to a larger adventure and new things to be learned.