Stable Light

A few Octobers ago.
Betsy asked if I wanted to get a look see into the barn… so met up on middle road.
It was a peaceful morning, warm sunshine and soft wind, with a hint of dark roast.

I had painted the outside of this barn, from the road,
with wing-like hay loft doors open to the freshening ocean air,
and the generous pastoral view that welcomes the common up-island traveler.
But this invitation privied me the gift of walking through the weathered doors,
and into the working stable, where the muses practically knocked my proverbial socks off.

I know there was conversation, a tour of sorts, and then a walkabout to see the rest of the farm,
and those glorious reposing steers who hold court in their stone walled pasture,
and there was a pond, and a porch, a hidden doll house and some stellar views…
but all I wanted was to get back inside that barn.

Then time passed.
Like so many paintings, especially lately, this one tried several times to make it from sketchbook to easel.
It was even shortlisted for a year or so, but I know now that I wasn’t ready. That is not a simple lesson.
But, it helps me to understand the term, “Mature Artist”, which is mostly about knowing when to get out of your own way.

I do, and I did.
And, deep in my winter studio,
with the freedom to explore these barn interiors, and their inhabitants, as a collection of compositions,
I worked on letting a series of smaller ideas drive a larger narrative.

In this chapter, how does the light, streaming through a stormy sky, past the brown cows and the russet fields,
make its way through the narrow openings in the banked barn,
and come to rest on the soft pile of shavings and the whispers of hay.

And how important
are those fleetingly few seconds
when the random break in the clouds
allows a shaft of impossibly powerful light
to smash through those cracks
and dance on that rope.