Blues. Greens. And a Little Gray Mouse.

Today I want to share some paintings that I had not visited for a while. What I have discovered is that my circuitous artistic journey has been less circuitous than I realized.

Looking over earlier work I can see a trajectory that began almost 30 years ago.  I plan on taking a few days at the end of each year to look back to better understand where I might be going with my art.

This post looks at paintings of greens and blues.  Heart Balance is one of my favorite paintings.   40 x 30 inches on (I think) birch panel.

Heart Balance is the first time I consciously flipped the colors:  earth and sky.

Most, maybe all, my paintings begin with the landscape. This landscape has the green on the top and the blue on the bottom. But while this is logically flipped, if you spend any time around water you are familiar with this layout. The sky, reflected in the water, lays beneath the green of the shore.

I once read that all paintings are self-portraits but I had not realized how my paintings are also landscapes.   Landscapes of the heart as often as landscapes of nature.

Heart Balance brings to mind my favorite Kandinsky mobile.  If I stand in the right place in the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and if the guards are in the next room I I use my trombone player lungs and send it spinning.

The details on Bridge Between are beautiful.  I love this painting.

I won’t identifying WHAT the bridge is between.  I have MY ideas.  What bridges are before you?   What bridges are behind you.   Are you facing any bridges in your life?  Is the bridge an obstacle or does the bridge facilitate your journey?

Maybe the bridge is between seasons of life?

Sometimes it is difficult to recognize the season we are inhabiting. Sometimes determining the season is a solo investigation and other times we are assisted by those we trust and love. (Remembering that some we love can not be trusted and some we trust we do not love.)

And on that downer note, Consideration. You can tell these paintings were accomplished during the same season. They began the same weekend after a trail ride with friends.

Cardinals are special to me. Each one is a sign of hope, a reminder to keep going.

These two are facing each other, but I do not know that they are looking at each other. I think they are looking past. They have chosen different elevations, different places to stand, but they take their stands in the vicinity of the other.

What is their attitude towards the other? Are they in competition? Is the mindset of abundance or scarcity? Will that mindset open or close possibilities? So many questions.

And the questions are often as important as the answers. Journey is a painting of questions strategically asked. Is it the horizon or a path? Is it looking ahead or looking back?

Journey doesn’t ask aggressive questions but invites the viewer to slow down and ponder. First glance it is a simple painting. Further consideration reveals an abundance of surprises to keep the eye entertained for a goodly while.

Abundance is all around us, but In a world of abundance, lack is too often our focus. Kinetic, like its companion piece, Heart Balance, invites us to consider our focus.

Everything is so interconnected and becoming more so every day. A touch here, a breath there and the world spins. (Love me some Kandinsky mobiles! I see them in my dreams.)

Here is a bold statement and one that I believe more true with each passing year.  Maybe this is wisdom?  Maybe it is a delusion.

The belief in autonomy is a false belief.

I really love this painting. It is David’s favorite. It hangs in our living room.

River Glow One is titled River Glow because I was in San Marcos talking to the owner of a new gallery and she was opening a San Marcos River show the next week and she liked these two paintings. Not remembering the titles, we named them on the spot. And, yes, River Glow One and River Glow Two do call to mind the glow and glory of the San Marcos River.

But the original inspiration was Ms. Well’s cow pastures. Ms. Wells is the real deal, an honest to goodness cowgirl. Elderly, tough as nails, and ever so elegant. She rocks her jeans and bouffant while maintaining her pasture with her big John Deere tractor.

A single road leads to and from my house and it passes Ms. Wells’ manicured pasture. The small black Angus herd is friendly. Gregarious even, for cattle. filled These are the bovine we feed grass to on our walk. The ones with the huge black tongues.

Cowbirds keep them company in a glorious inter-species dance. The lower pasture gathers runoff after rains and a seasonal pond forms surrounded by huge trees. The pond reflects the sky and the sun and the upper branches and it is magical.

Walking past Ms. Wells’ property is magical. Magic is why these paintings call to mind a spring fed river as easily as a cow pasture. Magic is the common denominator. I hope you can see the magic in these two paintings.  River Glow Two

And finally, the little gray mouse found in Perception. In an earlier curated email, I mentioned something about the stories we tell are the stories that define us. Well, this is one of those defining stories and the lead character is a little gray mouse.

But the question remains, what story is the little gray mouse telling?

When the mouse looks in the proverbial mirror is the reflection one of weakness and frailty or one of lion rescuing strength and fortitude?

Perception of self is fluid. A mix of gut and choice.

How do you perceive yourself today?


Framing Nature

I have been working on a grant proposal.  While I would love to be chosen, I am not even crossing my fingers.  Regardless of the outcome, I am THRILLED with the project and I will be refining my vision over the coming months.

I envision large abstract landscape inspired painting situated IN the landscape.

These will be accompanied by an empty frame inviting the viewer to see abstraction in the landscape inspired by seeing the landscape in abstraction.

Art with a side of covert art education!

I am thinking of five to ten paintings along park trails, hiking, biking, or maybe even horse trails.  If permission is slow coming then pop-up installations on Sunday afternoons at parks where families gather in the spring and fall.

Each painting will be accompanied by a frame.  A perfect place for a selfie AND and an opportunity to look through the frame and be inspired to discover the abstract qualities within nature.

If permission is slow coming then pop-up installations on Sunday afternoons at parks where families gather in the spring and fall.

Who knows what will become of my grant proposal, but I will find a way to make it happen.

The next time you take a hike or a bicycle ride or saddle up, please keep your eyes open and we will find the perfect venue for the FRAMING NATURE art installation.

Peace and freedom, Gwen!

PS I Know all these photos are of the same painting but it was hard hauling this one out to the woods.

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Living Stones. Balancing Stones. Cairns.

Christ, a living stone…. rejected… yet chosen… Yourselves… like living stones…built into
through Christ.
1 Peter 2:2-10

My strong rock… castle… crag… stronghold…
Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16

Stephen gazed… saw… “Look!”… “I see”…but they covered their ears… and began to stone him…
Acts 7:55-60

Ebenezer  stone of help.
1 Samuel 7:12

Stones from… midst of the Jordan… bring them… a sign
… memorial forever.
Joshua 4

A white stone… a new name.
Revelation 2: 17

A new heart… I will remove… their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 11:19, 35:26

Cairn.  A mound of stones built as a memorial or landmark.  Found worldwide throughout history and prehistory.

Balancing rocks. Markers.
A moment.
A meditation.  A prayer.
Considered a nuisance by some.
Considered art by others.
A gift.

I am reminded of the church, “living stones,” when I discover a cairn or balancing rocks.  Built with stones, common and found, unique in shape and weight, formed by time and circumstance.  The individual qualities of the stones enable them to fit together.  Each stone is positioned to be supported and to support.  Together the common becomes uncommon.  A firm foundation provides stability necessary to release creativity.  The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

I am happy to answer any questions over the phone or better yet, meet for tea and cookies.  817-832-6952

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May 12th. It is a big deal in my family.

Today is May 12th.  |
Twenty years ago it was a very long day.   As May 13th approached I asked Margie Spencer, our midwife, if we might hurry things along as we really hoped Roy would be born on the 12th.  The 12th was Lauren’s birthday and cousins sharing a birthday seemed like a splendid idea.   We hurried things along and Roy was born minutes before midnight.  A very intense May 12th birthday.  HOORAY!

Can You Hear Them?
22 x 30 watercolor on paper

Roy did not ask to be born on Lauren’s birthday.
Roy seldom asks for ANYTHING.
Roy is content in himself and his lot.
We love him with all our hearts.

Today Roy is 20.
Today Lauren is not 31.
Six years ago, two weeks after she turned 25, Lauren was killed by a drunk driver.  Lauren is near our hearts on Roy’s birthday, but mourning is not our focus.  We focus on celebrating Roy and remembering the joys of Lauren’s short but very full life.

We cherish each moment.

Life offers no guarantees beyond death.

Today is May 12th.
Tears of laughter.  Tears of mourning.  A multiplicity of tears and emotions run paisley through the day.

The moon is full.  The sky is bright.  The breeze is gentle.  The figs are heavy on the tree.  The birds sing songs of spring.

Happy Birthday Sweet Roy David Meharg.
We love you.