An Old Friend
April 10, 2012
I have just spent an afternoon sketching up the drainage of one of my favorite haunts. It is my first time on this trail this spring and it is amazing how great it is to be reacquainted with with an “old friend.” There is so much that is familiar about each section of the trail, places I have painted in almost every season. Yet it is also fresh and new. Is it because I respond to things that I passed by before? There are trees that are dead this spring, turned rust-orange as their roots suffocated in water. And more aspen downed by the beaver and water re-channeled. Like a good old friend, there is deep familiarity with the soul and some things that are missed or disappear with time. But there is also an aliveness, a freshness and new things discovered.
Spending time in this drainage I sketch the patterns and shapes and textures. Each sketch has initial inspiration. That is why I have taken the time. Some are lost in translation while many become more meaningful on closer study. During the process of sketching I see more deeply. I see things that were missed on first observation. This discovery can carry a sketch to ignite a small color study to a large finished work to a series of paintings. When that first line is drawn, who knows where it will take you.