I’m listening to Paul Winter as I write this.

His song, Belly of the Whale from his Earth Music Album.

If you were here and we were both sitting in front of this painting listening to it together…
I wonder if it would expand your thoughts about it,
the painting that is, too.

His saxophone is tilting in a graceful arc above the water
while a clear soulful whale song bubbles up from the ocean deep.
They meet a hair’s breath below the surface
in a gentle but haunting cello solo…and dance.

There is darkness and pain which flows into a brilliant blue tenderness.
A compassion that makes me weep,
and one or two notes that are all I need of joy.

I never would have chosen any of those words to describe this painting.
I’m not sure why I’m including them now.
But I do know that this painting was a mystery from day one.
It does not appear in any form in any sketchbook I’ve kept.
The objects are as far apart from each other in the studio as it is possible to be.

I remember picking up the clarinet
in order to adjust the string that was holding it askew on the wall.
Then taking the painting of Ted, which hangs facing the easel,
off the wall so I could hang it there.
Seeing the yellow of the whale oil strainer from across the room…
and then noticing the morning light catch the tip of the seagull feather in the driftwood.
How I got them all to stay like that on the wall and how that window got there I don’t know.

During the weeks I painted this Pat was away caring for a critically ill Uncle and his wife.
We weren’t expecting it and the separation was disconcerting.
I suppose the muses knew I needed a meaningful distraction.
And so they brought me to the edge of this latest in the spirit vessel series.

And I suppose they are at it again…

choosing tonight, as I write,
to have Paul Winter’s Saxophone to fill the studio, my heart, and my spirit

I love it when they surprise me like that.