Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Lives in a Painting

On Friday night, the little redhead in the painting graduated from high school. She and her sister often visited me when they were small and I took them to the playground at the River (the same one which Lucy now loves.) I took photos and made sketches just as I do now.

On this particular day, the light on the blues of the girls' shirts and the pretend paddle wheel of the ship shaped playground equipment seemed to need a brush. I combined several photos into a composite sketch to get just the right lines and tackled a 22"x30" sheet of watercolor paper. I had no thought of making portraits, only the idea of patterns of light and the interesting shapes. Well, duh! There they were -- Lily and Savannah! It's what I routinely drill into painting students -- Don't paint "things." Paint light and shadows in interesting shapes and the "things" will say what you want them to say.

The girls have always loved their painting and for some reason it simply never found a home. It hangs at the top of my stairs just outside my bedroom door. It makes me happy and it is a fun reminder of my nieces as children. Lily will go away to college with the three honors she was awarded at graduation. Savannah is taking medical classes while working and being mother to one year old Ben. (Their younger sister, Hayley, is enjoying HER 'trip to NYC' with her mother this week.)

I wish for them many days in the sunlight with enough shadows to shape their lives well.

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