Saturday, September 14, 2013
Easel on Down the Road - Wisconsin
Ah... Wisconsin. I went to college in Wisconsin. I developed my love for beer in Wisconsin. I hitched-hiked and ate popcorn for dinner and saw Bob(s) Marley and Dylan in Wisconsin. I returned to the state Wednesday after spending too much time trying to leave my home. I unwisely routed myself through Chicago during rush hour and landed at my friends' farm outside of Madison after an especially long and grueling turn around the lake.
A hot wind was blowing, old barn bones creaking. Leigh Ellen greeted me with hugs and ebullience, her signature characteristic. She and her husband are part of my college family. We share the era when we were all free to dream and dream big. They have 8 acres, 2 horses, 2 outdoor cats, a golden lab and a kitten that tugs at the dog's ears and tail. The 150 year old farmhouse stands tall, it's original vanity burnished to a steadfast self confidence, clear in the knowledge of its purpose in the world.
The next morning I woke early, brought my coffee out to the porch and watched the rising sun wrap around a magnificent maple. My eyes wandered to some of the out-buildings: the corn crib, the hog barn, the little potting shed with greens growing out of the roof, but inevitably returned to the tree. It reaches up in every direction then back to the earth in a sweeping gesture of inclusion.
That tree would be the subject of my Wisconsin painting, yellowing soybean fields stretching out behind, a blue road diagonalling in from the right. I spent most of the day working on the full-sized canvas (24x30) and I like the final product. I may tweak it when I get back to my studio or I may leave the current energy intact.
Minnesota is next. I start in Minneapolis with a great friend from high school, also family to me, and her equally wonderful spouse. Then I head to the north shore of Lake Superior, anxious to find the view that reflects my wonder at nature's strength.