One more day, or perhaps two, and I’ll be finished with the latest commission.I have spent the last few weeks immersed, I wonder if baptized would be a better word, in the, previously unfamiliar, world of Fly Fishing. Every part of this adventure has been exciting to the senses. Meeting the fisherman, listening to his stories, getting acquainted with the gear, watching Tom Skerritt cast his protestant philosophy in A River Runs Through It, and sitting on the carpet of autumn leaves along the bank of my own Little Conewago Creek and listening.
I’ve had one half of the studio blocked off with the set up and I’m ready now to pack that up and let go of the still part of the term “Still Life” and tease out the last bit of magic I have been waiting to add.
Since this is a commission, that fisherman gets the first peek. But stay tuned, I am eager to share the rest of the story.
For today, here’s a look back on one of my first and favorite commissions, from the doorway in my old treetop studio, which still stands along the creek’s bank, treasures from Walt and Lin’s family and a dusting of mother nature as muse…
Painters’ Notes …
I can’t imagine a Pennsylvania winter without snow.
The howling winds of a Nor’easter. Ice freezing a path across the lake.
Fields covered in white with their stubble of corn stalks stitching their way over the hills
to the horizon. Wood smoke from chimneys on distant farms. Animal tracks crisply outlined in blue white frosty morning crystal. And a shockingly peaceful quiet in the air.
But here we are. The warmest February to date.
Not enough snow so far this fickle season to take a broom to.
In my studio, leaning against a bookshelf, are the snowshoes that Walt’s father was given
in exchange for a country healing. The wooden skies and boots that Lin and the boys have worn thin,
and a leather strap of sleigh bells which now ring their history proudly each time I open the blue door.
So it was that the other morning, when I finally opened my eyes and the good dog Gulliver
nuzzled my arm awake and I managed to put on the layers of clothing in the same order in which they
had been discarded the night before, and, we two, the pup and myself, came to the cabin door…
and the wind actually blew a stinging swirl of snow in our faces…
that I began again to believe.
It only lasted a few hours.Long enough for the snow to build up on the intricate laces of the snow shoes.
For the winter light to reflect its solemn rainbow across the skies…
and for just a touch of warmer light
to remind me that this collection of objects
represents the folding in of two branches
of a great family tree
in testimony to their respect
for nature and heritage.