"We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves."
I have completed only two paintings away from my regular studio in Burlington, Ontario, Canada....ever. You gets attached to places of creation. The familiar routine, temperature, rituals and ability to fall into a groove of focus tend to be pretty constant in one's regular studio. That is why I came prepared to Omaha, Nebraska. A prolonged working vacation with three canvases in tow to finish while here. "Erin, Choices, oil on canvas, 24"x48" is the first of the three.
I have spoken before about people I paint. They range from new friends to old friends...but an alignment of time and place must work together for a successful photoshoot and painting to take place. Erin, a good friend and yoga instructor, is an old soul. She is one of those friends who possesses the gift of articulation, and that, combined with wisdom, makes for very good conversation. I was thrilled when she agreed to let me paint her and where else to paint her but where she loves to be: a yoga studio.
I have been taking classes at Moksha Yoga Burlington for a year and a half. The first time I tried hot yoga I loved it. I knew as long as I could get out of bed every morning I would take classes as much as time and budget would allow. Erin teaches there, and Thommy, the owner of Moksha Burlington, let us do a little photoshoot in one of the studios.
I knew from the outset that mirrors and reflection were needed. I love the challenge that a reflected image places upon you, and the metaphorical significance is always enticing. I liked the idea that the mirror might not be instantly noticeable, that you might have to wonder momentarily if she had a twin. Or is it a different version of herself? Why is she looking away from herself and not towards herself? What is she thinking? The idea of a fork in a road, of a set of choices upon choices was the inspiration behind this piece.
I packed the canvas of Erin into my Subaru and headed to Omaha two weeks ago. The drive took me two days, with a brief stopover to visit my friend Joe in Chicago. What an amazing city. I'm more of a country mouse but I have always wanted to experience The Windy City. Though only a pit stop en route to the Midwest, I was impressed.
Evening sun setting on West Fulton Market
A brief mention about the drive. The border officials at the Sarnia crossing into Michigan were super nice. I knew I'd have to go to Secondary Inspection given my high threat vocation of being a painter ;) but I duly pulled into a spot while a pair of guards with black latex gloves went through the car and queried me as to the specifics of my voyage. I complied (of course) and we were joking around together after a few minutes. Then I was on my way. Despite tonnes of road kill and highway tolls in Michigan, I was thrilled to be on another adventure. Adventure keeps you young, sharp and fully engaged with the world around you. I highly recommend it.
Joe on the rooftop of his warehouse loft.
A great end to a great evening in the Windy City.
I will post another blog soon about my continued adventures towards Omaha, and paintings I am working on here. As a painter you need to keep moving, just as you move through your adventures that take you from place to place. But the point is, like a stone that skips across water, to keep grounding yourself with your work, or your passion, or your play. Ground yourself to things that define who you are and you will never become lost.
"Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference."~Robert Frost