Painting Together

Lately, due to social distancing, my plein air paint time has been close to home and solo.  Fortunately for me, painting and solitude are compatible, allowing a timeless contemplative concentration of my surroundings.  Yet outdoor painters are seldom alone, are we?

After the initial bustle of easel set up, my movements are rhythmic and my gaze in a fairly constant direction from subject to substrate and back.  Neighborhood birds, after the first clamor of alarm, return to their varied songs.  Time drifts.Eyed-Click-Beetle,-Susan-Duke-Waters

I am no threat and this is quickly understood.  Insects crawl across the painted scene, leaving with multicolored legs.  Mosquitoes arrive.  Last week, a Giant or Eastern Eyed Click Beetle crash-landed onto my palette. (I had to stop and identify that one!)  Birds pose, scrutinizing with one-eyed profiles, and leave.

ChRockery Shrew, Susan Duke Watersipmunks, shrews and wild turkeys, grow tired of waiting and forage anyway, often within reach, ignoring me.

I too am absorbed with my task.  Recently, while painting a cotton field, something startled me. In turn, my sudden movement disturbed a trio of deer who had arrived, unseen.  They bounded away across the cotton leaving an indelible image of Deer in cotton field, watercolor, Susan Duke Watersbeauty and movement.

And as I return home, lugging my too-many supplies and possibly a painting that insults the eyes, I carry too, a profound sense of belonging, of acceptance.

Artists are often accused of living in their own world.  Maybe, but we are not without company.



Cotton Field and Seed Plant, in oil.