Tight buds tip the bare limbs of the Chestnut trees along Putah creek; their smooth boughs pull up into puckered green. Spring waits, holding its breath.
The passage below resonated with me this week as I painted a series of images of my dog in motion for the Natsoulas Gallery BARK show next month. I was drawn to a few photos I took of Moses as he was alerted to the house's front windows. His young body twisted and tightened from a playful lop into a purposeful, masterly stride.
The first two paintings came easily, speaking of hitting a stride. Though this is new territory for me - attempting to narrate moving flesh and bones- so I'm far from expertise or mastery or any great confidence in the idea that there is a Great, Grand Usefulness to my work, all of which is credited in the following description of a person's blossoming. What I do identify with in this passage is that, when I do my best painting often there a sense that I am opening myself, I am connecting to ideas and energies that are inclusive of me but also bigger than me. I become more open to the world, sensing a confidence to be there more freely, to take it in and participate in it without feeling entirely overwhelmed or overtaken. Even in the face of a challenge or new experience such confidence and connection is grounding, offering me the feeling that I am at the right place at the right time.
May this be my spring.
Something about her. Something over the week had grown and flowered, something hibernating in the canyon had come out into the sunlight and liked what it saw. Hard to explain.
...No doubt there was expertise, an easy competence that needed no thought, a return to a hard won usefulness that make her to me seem bigger. I don't know taller, broader, a planet with more gravity than it had before. That was part of it. Watch anyone enter their arena of real mastery and you see it, the growing bigger than themselves. Love that. But it was something more too. As if the arrival [here]... as alien as it was from anyplace she had lived before... as if it were an arrival she had been preparing for. For a long time without knowing it. Maybe. I don't know. Seemed that way to me. As if part of her relaxed, as if there were a shucking of some old skin. A husk of herself that had been a barrier I hadn't even been aware of. And in the sloughing off, she opened and flowered. Corny, huh? Not really. Magical. I mean to watch a person let go of something and flower.
from Heller, Peter. "Dog Stars". New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. 309-310. Print.