Sunday, August 17, 2014


“Seeing. One could say that the whole of life lies in seeing –
if not ultimately, at least essentially.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ

I wound my way through the Great Smoky Mountains at dusk yesterday, after 10 hours of dizzying driving. Back-lit clouds had formed over the peaks, as puffy and intricate as the tree-covered behemoths below. I had only seconds to glance at the spectacle before attending to the twisting road, this place as new to me as I to it. Waking today in a Tennessee creek-side cabin on retreat, I sketched my impressions from the drive.

I didn’t bring acrylics or canvas on this trip; I’ve come here to write and hike, and perhaps through osmosis, gather inspiration for more paintings. From each cabin window is a paint-worthy view, but again, that’s not my mission right now. When I’m amidst great beauty but unable to paint, I have to trust that I’ll gather the impressions I need, whether or not I physically document them. Sometimes, the best material for new work arrives when I stop and just witness. Later, when the time is ripe, I can scribble my wonderment.


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