Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Caretakers of Our Souls

church,California,Mission,San Antonio de Padua,green grass,flowers,late day,afternoon,sundown,sunset,man walking,contemplative,meditative,spiritual
The Caretakers of Our Souls      11" x 14"      acrylic on panel

I always like to think of churches as being the caretakers of our souls while we are here in this life. (I don't always agree with some of the other stuff that goes on, but in my ideal world, that's what churches do).

This is my latest classically-inspired painting. It's a scene of one of the old California missions: Mission San Antonio de Padua, north of Paso Robles in the little town/area of Jolon. Thankfully, it today sits in a rustic setting but is still an active parish. A man is strolling down the path, looking around, contemplating the world that is unseen and bigger than this one.

In my mind, this guy is me -- always looking for answers, lost in thought, trying to get past the clich├ęs and simple-minded, feel-good platitudes that have overcome modern Christianity. He -- I -- are into the deeper things of existence, trying to reach into the infinite much as I did when I used to do transcendental mediation years ago. God is so, SO much more than the grandfatherly figure we laugh and talk with over coffee.

I made only a few changes to the actual scene -- the dirt footpath is really a paved road, covered in faded asphalt. I brought the trees on the right a bit forward from where they are in life.

The title came from an old Robert Stack movie, The Caretakers. He was the director of a mental hospital, and in talking with his staff, Robert described all of them as "the caretakers of their souls," the ones who were there for the patients, helping them as best they could to play the cards the patients have been dealt. That's an awesome role, all considered.

The churches, then, are/should be the caretakers of OUR souls. another awesome role to fill.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

End of Another Day

End of Another Day is my latest painting It features a view in Joshua Tree National Park in late afternoon. It's spring, but I de-emphasized the flowers and focused more on shapes and lighting.

desert,Mojave,Joshua tree, rock,boulder,formation,afternoon,sunset,sundown
End of Another Day                                 11" x 14"
This is the first piece I've done in a long time that doesn't include any wildlife -- not even a hawk in the sky. In my mind, there's a fine line between solitude and loneliness -- this time, I was leaning more toward the latter. Lots of space, everything is spread out, long shadows and only rock and plants -- no animals. I think a critter would have added something that people can relate to, and maybe then the viewer wouldn't feel quite so alone out there. (Of course, the critters are actually all around you, watching -- but you don't see them!)

I don't know if I succeeded -- if I didn't, well, not a huge issue. But if you look at this and sense that you may be the only form of animal life on the planet...then I pulled it off!