Leaving school this afternoon, I drove my Jeep out into a beautiful world, awash with Texas sunny skies and temperatures at 71 degrees with cool breezes filling the air. I slipped a Beatles Anthology CD into my player and listened to the three different renditions of Strawberry Fields Forever. I felt a sense of sadness, realizing that I miss John Lennon more now than I did in the immediate years following his untimely death. Maybe I lacked maturity in those days, but his death was a sensationalist event in the media and I never really felt the sense of sorrow and loss until much later. Now, I have trouble listening to Imagine and Strawberry Fields. As the song played, my mind’s eye was filled with this image from Stovall Park in south Arlington, Texas.
I drove to the park, got out of my Jeep and walked to this location, and as I gazed at the tree in the late afternoon sun, the muse whispered sweetly and gently into my ear, and I knew I had to give it a shot. I must say the muse was with me this time, as I felt genuine joy working on the piece, though I only lingered 45 minutes over it. I was intrigued with the darkness and density of the tree, with the sun behind it, and the contrast of the yellow, sunlit leaves in particular places. I also felt stirred at the dark lavenders and crimsons I sensed in the sprawling shadows beneath the spreading tree. The only part at which I labored the most was the dark density of the body of the tree top, trying to find the right kind of blue tones to put into the shadows. I’m not sure that I got it right, but I think I have improved over past attempts at painting trees en plen air. I hope I can find a way to do it tomorrow as well. My dreaded 4-class school schedule will hold me until nearly 3:00, but maybe I can get away quickly enough to capture the afternoon light again.
Thanks for reading.