My landscapes may appear empty. I have fielded the disquiet felt by some viewers: Have you thought about painting people working in their gardens? Do you need someone to take pictures of? Please don't ruin this sunset by telling me how sad you were when you painted it. To those of you feeling the ache: how can I be of service? Would you like a side of human form with that day break?
While there may be no people in the Skylines series, I haven't left out life: telephone poles lean in to gossip; a stoic tower stands sentry; fence posts shuffle off in their labor; grasses party like it's 1999; trees huddle in to watch the end of a day.
I'll paint you a picture of what I think is real loneliness. It always uses some shade of these words: You'll never understand me; or I don't understand you. Then, a wash of silence. The silence is key here: when no one is saying, Well, tell me more, I want to try. Only one thing happens in that quiet: the ballooning of space. Our gut is punched, our breath expelled, and someone across the couch is already a million miles away. THAT is the bleakest of landscapes: there, two fleeting lives, either pushing away or being pushed. There's no looking back.
Maybe the opposite of loneliness is the ability to keep looking, to not blink; can we look into the lightening flash of another's life long enough to find a connection? Despite our fears, can we not flinch and recoil? I might feel blinded and terrified and dizzy, but will I stop and ask for directions to your place? I would so like to go there to see how you are.
My landscapes are full of human life: my life. I only paint what I know, and I paint with the belief that what I know is not so different from what everyone else knows: some bit of joy and a some bit of grief; some sense of place and some wandering; some sense of belonging, and yes, some loneliness too.
This week a friend embraced me with these words: you are not alone. It was just what I needed to remind me that someone, more than one actually, is with me. In fact, when I rubbed my eyes I was really glad to see that the field I was standing in was theirs as much as it was mine. Well, here I am with you, and you with me. Our landscapes are not empty.