Setting or Rising?

Watch my “Trees and Stream” painting come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Was the sun rising or setting? Was she enjoying the early morning serenity, or was she so absorbed in her book that the sun set on her? Time has no meaning without context. Without it, we choose what it means.

Today, time slipped away and I didn’t paint as I’d pledged to do yesterday. Instead, my daughters had me on a bit of an adventure. At one point I was helping to remove a pine tree that was growing inside a flowering shrub. I transplanted that tree and I plant to decorate it for Christmas. When I do, I’ll think about how my oldest discovered the tree and how excited she was to show it to me. I’ll also remember when my youngest pulled on the root, fell backward onto her bum, while showering me with a cloud of dirt. I’ll recall how she laughed while telling the rest of the family this story.

Maybe I’ll paint the tree. I paint what inspires me. Sometimes it’s not very inspirational, just a project assignment, but I find a way to connect to it. Other times my art is deeply personal, profoundly sad (and I cry while painting it), or a humanitarian statement. But usually, my art is something in-between. It’s the real life moments between the sun rising and setting, when we choose what time means.

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Painting Relaxation

Matthew the sea turtle is an animal rescue who captured my heart. He’s since been returned to the wild, his ocean home in coastal Georgia on Tybee Island, but his delightful personality is unforgettable. Complementary hues such as earth tones and blues create a mellow balance that depict relaxation. Matthew’s natural coloring, gliding through peaceful waters, made this painting an easy fast project. Some subjects are so relaxed, they practically paint themselves!

Color and brush strokes also convey relaxation. Colors associated with food and nature work well. Brush strokes that dab and glide, lay smooth, and rounded- rather than short jagged rigid strokes- create a feeling of peaceful calm. Styles such as impressionism work well for this.

In “Trees and Stream“, a girl has lost track of time and is reading until the sun goes down, or is she enjoying the solitude of early morning at the break of dawn? Your interpretation probably depends on whether you feel most relaxed in the quiet morning hours or in the soft darkness of evening.

I hope that my video (above) helps you escape into a peaceful orchard for a few precious seconds, sound on for full relaxation effect.

In our first example for today’s “Compare 3”, the sea turtle was an obvious choice. The subject himself is a type of animal associated with a mellow peaceful vibe. He’s also in water; the natural properties and colors of this element make the job easy. Then, we stepped up to the orchard painting, which took a bit more thought, but we were still guided by clues (peaceful reading, resting in nature). In our last example, we won’t have animal or human personalities to show us- we must think and feel creatively.

The act of relaxation, refreshment of mind and body (a state of calm and peacefulness) can be depicted through “tranquility”. Tranquility is another way to define a state of peace and calm, of being untroubled. Many people draw upon their personal faith to meditate on thoughts and inspirations that are spiritually intimate and soothing; easing fear and anxiety, accepting a tranquil spirit. “Fruitful Vineexpresses tranquility, a deeper, more permanent state of relaxation.

Did my video (above, with sound on please) ease your spirit? We can glide into relaxation through activities we enjoy, such as being in and around water, and by maintaining a naturally mellow personality, like Matthew the sea turtle. We can also consciously seek relaxing and stress-reducing lifestyles that incorporate regular time for leisure, reading, solitude, and being in nature like the girl in the orchard. But, ultimately, the deepest and most profound state of relaxation is when we find spiritual calm, as depicted by the grapes on the vines.

When we are untroubled, we can just “be”.