I remember in body and mind what it felt like to photograph a backyard tree at Sylvia's house in Illinois during my inaugural painting weekend in May 2014, to use brush and paint on canvas board with that tree as my reference. I remember the feeling of a clumsy, self-conscious, awkward pas de deux of hand and eye as I strove to replicate what I saw in front of me. I remember the uplift of trying my hand at something new—at painting!
For the bookmark, I used no external reference from which to paint. Instead, I tapped into whatever 'treeness' resides in me. And where does it reside? In my veins like sap? Couldn't tell ya. I referred only to what showed up in front of me as I created, layer by layer, moment by moment—and I called on nearly four years of showing up in my studio day after day to paint. I felt such excitement and gladness for my accumulated empirical knowledge.
Watching that bookmark come to life, like magic, was pure fun. The bookmark itself was fun. Being aware of the increased inner resources I now have available to tap was fun.
All of it: fun.
Also fun, a nugget of aha awareness: with each painting—both Leaning into Lessons and On a Hot Summer Day, I expressed who I was in the now of the living moments of acutally painting. With each piece, I gave life to something that neither I nor anyone else had ever painted before, something that will never be painted again.
Every time I paint, that will be the case.