Sunday, May 15, 2011

South Eastern Plein Air Invitational, Day Four..

Coosa Sunrise 2011
3,75x10, Oil/Linen Panel

Cloud Shadows, Heron Island
12x18, Oil/Linen Panel

Thursday was an interesting day of painting.. since it was the morning after the tornados had ripped through the area. It so happens that the storms had passed over the region we were scheduled to paint, Southside.. a beautiful and hilly community along the Coosa River and its backwaters. As I left before sunrise to go paint, I was wondering just what I would encounter...

I arrived at Rainbow Landing safely and was grateful to see that there was no major damage along the way. The sky was still filled with moody and sluggish clouds that would not allow for a celebratory sunrise after such a devastating night. I was surprised when I turned to the west and saw this strip of determined ambient sunlight that willed its way through as a reminder, in spite of the turned about world. Coosa Sunrise was one of those paintings where again, all I had to do was show up and hold onto the brush. It was the smallest painting I did, but probably my favorite of the event.

As I moved down to the Highway 77 Causeway to paint Cloud Shadows, again, I was taken as to how nothing seemed out of order. It was a beautiful view looking at the mountains rolling along the water in both directions. The causeway jets across the water, connecting the valley of two tall hills. One of the museum Staff dropped by on his way from the distant hill, looking quite shaken.. he had just come through what was the town of Ohatchee, now flattened by the tornadoes. He had witnessed rescue workers retrieving bodies of those who did not survive the night. I was astounded and moved that I was standing with this peaceful view, yet just up the hill was trauma and suffering. Several passersby stopped out of curiosity to see what I was doing and shared with me the stories of their homes being damaged or in some cases.. gone. It was affirmative to me that the presence of plein air painters in the community is important for preserving the memory and presence of the fragile changing landscape.

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