Reading Under the Tree


Life is unbelievably busy. It was just spring, but it’s summer already. The last snow we had felt like it happened last week. Am I even going to get to the lake before the leaves begin to fall? Is football on next week? What day is it?

The pace of life makes me thankful for the four seasons. If it weren’t for certain clues from nature I’d continue to zip through life at a most unobservant pace. It is so nice, as the season changes, to take a moment and indulge in what’s happening. The above image is a painting that I made from a photograph of my children doing just that. It was one of our first warm and sunny afternoons. The days were beginning to get longer. We went to the library after school. The kids got some books, and as we were exiting the library the trees atop the knoll in front of us were too inviting. The kids felt compelled to run up and plop under a flowering tree and look at their books together.

The painting is titled Sharing Stories in Spring. It is part of my B-sides collection.

If you are keeping up with me then you know I recently debuted a painting I made of a couple at the beach. It was the first painting in my series of commissions I hope to complete this year. What’s even more ambitious is that I’ve decided to simultaneously create a B-sides series too. This means that I will take the paint palette from the original commission and use it to paint another (completely different) painting. The paintings will have color similarities, but everything else will be different.

When I create a piece for someone they pick the image, so all of my effort goes into the palette…What colors am I going to use? Where am I going to put them? How realistic is the composition going to be? I’m methodical. I scrutinize the image to plan the brushstrokes. The painting of the couple on the beach was no different. When it was done I had a lot of paint left on the palette. I wanted to use it; I had a small canvas nearby; and a B-side was born. I gave myself an hour, thumbed through photos on my phone and picked one of my children from April I thought would make a nice painting. The result is featured above. It’s so expressive. It’s obvious I didn’t think about what I was doing. I just did it. It’s a small act, but quite an energizing act after completing a more meticulous painting. The A-sides are a display of my skill and knowledge. The B-sides are a display of my subconscious.

My grandmother used to volunteer at the Burlington County Library in Westampton, New Jersey. I was never a huge reader until I got older, but I always liked the library. My kids all love reading. It’s the one thing they could do all day and never get bored. They adore the library. We lucked out here in Westminster, Colorado. Our library is quite picturesque. It sits atop a small hill, with trails leading off and around it to a small pond or wetlands. There are grassy knolls with sweet little trees. After the kids check out their books they like to climb the lawn and sit under the trees and look at their books together. Sometimes they take breaks from reading to roll down the hill, or do cartwheels, or just lay in the grass and look up at the clouds. The picture I used for inspiration on this painting was taken on just such a day. Spring had just sprung. The flowers on the trees were captivating. I was trying to rush us off on another errand, to then get home in time for dinner, chores, and bedtime. It was useless. One could not resist the urge to snuggle down in the shade of the beautiful blossoms and discover a story.

This painting, both in its image and the way it was created, epitomizes the act of seizing a moment and using it for all its good. It’s not even a slow down. It’s a stop and overindulge. This painting is available in my Etsy shop.

Thank you for reading today.