Monday, July 17, 2017

Martha and Mary

"Martha and Mary"
12x9" Oil on gallery wrap canvas

"There is something joyous in the elegies
Of birds. They seem 
Caught up in a formal delight,
Though the mourning dove whistles of despair."
—Galway Kinnell 

Once again I find myself drawn to the stillness of early morning light. Here the breaking sun illuminates two graceful swans musing on a glassy sheet of shallow water. 

Busy Martha on the right, fluffing a magnificent spread of feathers, rustles about in self-imposed tasks of the new day. Scanning the horizon is she preparing to take flight over the expanse of inland waterways in search of a nesting site? Or, perhaps she's heading off to explore muddy marshes for juicer roots and tubers, or to scavenge for greener grasses and plump morsels of grain from fields nearby?

Meanwhile, juxtaposed sits humble Mary. She floats effortlessly, suspended without a ruffle unassumingly in the shadow of Martha's wings. Caught in motionless wonder and total surrender to the fullness of trust and abandonment, she pauses with eyes closed, absorbed into the silence where in praise she gives thanks for another day. 

To me, painting is a delicate balance between both the seeing and the doing, not remaining in either place too long is paramount. Moving back and forth between the mystery of a subject and the active steps of mixing paint and placing the spots of shape and color—I not only see, but also sense and feel—keeps it real. Without the Mary, the Martha would be lifeless. 

Thanks for reflecting,

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