Week 12: Be Here Now

We had a hard rain last night.  This morning I anxiously walked up the street to see the cherry trees again and knew what I would find: all the petals had fallen. And so it ends, at least until next year.  My father once told me that the one thing you can always count on in life is change. Time rolls onward, and there is always something slipping away, while something else takes its place.  I only had one week to enjoy the cherry blossoms, but I walked under them twice a day, photographed them, drew the clustered trees and the individual flowers, scanned the drawings into my Mac to create a floral pattern design, and finally painted them today.  This year I did more than notice them in passing. So now I will let them go, knowing there are Dogwoods to look forward to…

This week I really wanted to paint, so I mixed up some juicy pinks, reds and oranges. I was also inspired by the fresh Spring green that is coming out everywhere in the neighborhood, on lawns and in the new leaves. I did a simple landscape painting of the cherry tree-lined street, then added collage elements into the blooming canopy.  I was most interested in the billowing texture of the flowery boughs, and how the shapes of the trees frame the pieces of street and lawn behind them.  While the trees are painted thickly with heavy gel medium, the background is painted very thinly, collapsing the distance into flat shapes that fit in and around the trees like a jigsaw puzzle.

Cherry Trees, acrylic collage, 12 x 12

I also took on the Rainbow Challenge from my last post. I wrote, “Why is it that the representation of a rainbow has become such a cliché, synonymous with Care Bears, unicorns and everything trite?  When seen in real life, there is nothing more grand, more magical, more intensely pure.  Would it even be possible to put a rainbow in my artwork without being either ironic, sarcastic, comical, or naive? I might try that.”

Since I did, in fact, see a real rainbow in the neighborhood this week, I felt I had full rights to include it in the painting. Does it look silly or trite, or ruin the whole piece? I am smiling and thinking to myself, “Does it matter?”  All things are transient: the cherry blossoms, the rainbow, this painting, my life. Rather than worry about embarrassment, or anticipate the end, let me just be here now.

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