Nature speaks to us more through poetry than prose. It does not yield up its secrets too easily. Rather, it invites us to look deeper, dance with it, ponder the metaphor in its lyrics, and perhaps discover something of our own nature. There is always mystery, things seen and unseen. The river reflects the sky and temporarily blinds us to what is going on in its depths. The flowers straining for the sun hide their roots in the dark and silent earth. The hidden heart of the oak chronicles the long years in the code of its rings. And everywhere, woven into the fabric of all things, energies are humming. Atoms are singing. As a painter, it has been these layers that I’ve always been interested in, the surface and what lies hidden.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in water. Gazing at a river or pond, you see leaves and grass stems riding on its surface. You see reflections, trees growing on its banks, the sky, perhaps buildings or even people, and these reflections are constantly changing and distorting, altered by an infinite number of forces—wind and unseen currents, the movements of fish and other creatures, raindrops, a child skipping stones over the surface. Where the light reflects only the reflection itself may be seen, but in the shadows there are tantalizing glimpses of a whole other world below. You might see stones on the bottom, or fish, or aquatic plants swaying in the currents. With a body of water, many worlds are visible at once.
I find water to be a perfect metaphor for life, always changing and transforming. Water, the life-bringer, the sustainer, of which the late naturalist and essayist, Loren Eisley, wrote, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” Water is certainly the elixir of life. We are walking pillars of it, our very bodies 90% water, the primordial ocean carried within. The trees and plants are living vessels, their tangled branches and roots turgid with water. It is no surprise that most of us find water very peaceful and healing, that we are drawn to it, or that I am drawn to paint it, in all its manifestations.
This particular body of work represents my continued journey as a human being wondering at the universe around me, listening to the rhythms of earth, and attempting to honor them.