Skies of the Big Empty

I could use up all the memory left in my WP plan if I posted photos to illustrate the constantly changing, wildly variegated skies of the San Luis Valley. I’ve even attempted to paint them, but the ineffability of clouds is a huge challenge. That’s OK. I don’t think it will keep me from trying. I just figure I have to be a better painter and that might happen by continuing to try.

This time of year the phenomenon of lenticular clouds appears pretty often because the air over the mountains is colder than the air in the valley.

In my painting life, I know I’m confronting a turning point but I don’t know what it is yet. Painting sky and painting weather seem to be my thing which is lucky because there is a lot of both down here. I have a painting on the easel right now and it’s not living in my mind which means I’m probably going to cover it to keep the dust off and wait for a better day. You can’t hurry love.

I was “talking” (in epistolary language) about my reaction to selling paintings with a friend and he put it in clear language. “…stai solo raccogliendo i frutti ” … “You are gathering the fruit”. I have always painted and written without much thought of that. I think that’s the best approach because what happens after I finish something and put it out there is really none of my business. The sky just does its thing.

The philosophy behind a painting or book? I guess that’s what critics and the future get all lathered about and, I’m sure that, in my case, that isn’t going to happen. For me painting and writing are more like one of the images in Yeat’s poem, “The Double Vision of Michael Robertes:”

On the grey rock of Cashel I suddenly saw 
A Sphinx with woman breast and lion paw, 
A Buddha, hand at rest, 
Hand lifted up that blest; 

And right between these two a girl at play 
That, it may be, had danced her life away, 

For now being dead it seemed 
That she of dancing dreamed…

O little did they care who danced between, 
And little she by whom her dance was seen 

So she had outdanced thought. 
Body perfection brought..

For what but eye and ear silence the mind 
With the minute particulars of mankind? 

A break is probably for the best. My wonderful short-term job judging independently published books for the contest is about to begin. I’m expecting boxes of books to start arriving any time.

Featured photo by Lois Maxwell

21 thoughts on “Skies of the Big Empty

          • It’s always a difficult decision to make after starting a painting that one is not happy with. Most of the time I try to put it aside and then, after a while, continue painting. The time lag generally brings a different perspective, priorities shift. But I also throw away a lot …

            • This one is easy. It’s only 12 cm by 12 cm and it’s acrylic. I have another one, a larger one, an oil, that I’ve put away hoping down the road it no longer looks so awful to me. But I’m not hopeful. I’m also looking out for the best white to cover it with.

  1. I remember you put away the painting of the tree and when you went back to it, magic occurred! I hope your painting that you aren’t “feeling” can wait for inspiration.

  2. Martha, my favorites are the first and the last. The poem speaks perfect-I can relate to it in areas of my life. I’m needing a break. I “broke” down and finally upgraded my iPhone to a 13. The ONLY reason was because it was free if I chose to stay with my provider, AT & T. I went in only to say, “I want my bill to be around $50.00 only.” I felt victorious! And today, with the weather nearing mid-50’s and climbing all the way to 70’s by Christmas (really??? and WHO doesn’t believe in global warming?) I’m going to take my new phone (aka the best camera I own) and head to the trail. For it’s there I can hear what step I need to take next. Sending love and hugs from Finn and me dreaming of snow and mountains (I booked a ticket to WA state to see my youngest son and his family in January-I see snow and mountains and much beauty in my future). 🤍🤍🤍

    • Congratulations on the new phone! I’m happy I got mine earlier this year. The camera is OK, a lot better than my old phone and all I need most of the time. I felt like I’d “won” too because I ended up with an iPhone 12 for the same cost I was paying for my 5 year old SE. That was a long story, but the result was good. The best part has turned out to be the 5G which means I have internet on my phone here in the San Luis Valley — a huge safety feature in this remote place. I’m glad you’re going to Washington! That will be beautiful ❤ Me, Bear and Teddy

      • P.S. The poem is pretty incomprehensible in its entirety. In college — Critical Writing — our project was to write five critical essays about one poem by Yeats. This was mine. Of course, an assignment like that makes a poem unforgettable. It was a great assignment for honing, developing, writing and critical reading skills in a lit major, too. It’s nice not being a lit major any more and being able to take from this poem that which speaks to me. This poem would have been better to illustrate my post, but I didn’t think of it.

        https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43293/among-school-children

      • Thank you! I had such fun with it today. I went on the paved trail (least of my favs) to check out lake view through bare trees (and wicked wind!) and then hit my favorite trail through the woods for more practice. I wasn’t as “present” as normal in my peaceful woods as I was teaching myself techniques. I’m so happy you have 5G and internet in your valley now. That’s a huge win! Thank you for your support always. ❤️🤗

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