Walking into the Hollow this late fall morning I notice the silence. No leaves rustling or crickets singing, not a sound. Hiking the leaf strewn path alone, up the short incline that leads into the woods, I stop, turn around, and look back at the view. Steep moss-covered rocks grace both sides of the entrance to the hollow where I had entered. The sunlight glistens on the colorful wet leaves that have fallen into the creek, and this all has given me the strange knowing I get when I have found the place to paint my next painting. I can already see it completed. I set down my backpack filled with my painting supplies, set up my easel, attach my 16″x20″ linen canvas, squeeze large amounts of oil paint from tubes onto my palette, and grab my widest painting knives to quickly lay-in my new composition. I glanced at the time, 11:31am November 7th, 2011. The time changed yesterday, and the Hollow already looks different today than it did the last week I was here.
Time and place mean nothing to me. I will carry out what I came here to do. Capture this moment, and light, in a place called Taylor Hollow. I try not to think about how long it will take me. This is automatic to me now. I remember to take a time to make the internal connection with the unseen ones, who I know are always with me, and ask for their guidance when I am working. If I forget them, especially when I get frustrated and feel as if I am making a big mess, not a great painting, I stop again, and think for a moment about them surrounding me, waiting to help. They always can calm me if I will let them. All my fear slips away, I hear them whispering to me, “Just keep working Sharon!” I have noticed when they are talking to me, they always use my name.
There, I am finished. Anymore time spent will be overworking it. Knowing when to stop is crucial to a successful painting. Check the time again. 12:40pm November 7th, 2011. I pack up my things, carefully put my heavy backpack on my back, and put my easel over my shoulder. In one hand I carry my palette, and in the other hand, I carry the just completed very wet painting. I begin my long hike back out of the Hollow. Carefully stepping so not to slip on the wet rocks. I pause for a moment, turn back to look at the spot where I had just been, listening, to the still silence in the dappled sunlit place I have been so busy at work in, and suddenly a question pops into my mind. “What will be the legacy of your life?” For a moment my emotions well up inside of me, as extreme feelings of unworthiness, inadequacy, and impatience with myself, fill my thoughts. Tears well up in my eyes, but before I have too much time to wallow in circumspection, a very interesting, large, grey-brown squirrel with a white face and ears, not noticing me at all, walks right across the very spot where I had just spent the last hour working very hard on this painting.
I watch as he continues on his way, as I too now will do, taking with me yet another interpretation of this place Taylor Hollow, his home.
Last week the colors of the leaves were much brighter, and there were many more of them still attached to the trees. This painting, was from the same spot in the creek, but I was looking in the opposite direction as the other two paintings.
My studio is going to be on the Sumner County Studio Tour December 10th and 11th 2012 the link is http://sumnercountystudiotour.com.
Please let me know if you read my blog or would like to be on my announcements list. I am planning trips to Ireland and France for Artists, Writers, and Explorers in 2012, and I would love for you to join me!