#P16: The Best Season

Here is the pastel version of the charcoal sketch I posted earlier. I quite like this painting, but as much as I tried, I could not achieve the same wild, desolate mood that comes through in the charcoal version. I think the starkness of the black-and-white as well as the lower horizon and greater aspect ratio in the charcoal sketch contribute to that desolate mood.

I can see that I need to expand my pastel set now to include more deep, warm colors. In this painting I could not get the warm darks with the range of colors I now have, and I had to resort to black, which I prefer not to do.

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“Got a ticket to the moon – but I’d rather see the sun rise, in your eyes”

My life pushes relentlessly toward its mysterious conclusion. About a week ago, I was on LinkedIn and was asked to endorse the skills of some of my contacts. In short succession, the profiles of two persons came up who I knew had passed away during the last two months.  They were both younger than 65.

The thought struck me – if we expected, as a rule, to live no longer than 35, how different would it feel to walk – slowly, face turned to the sun – alive still at 47? How much deeper would we live, how much gratitude would there be for that feeling in the calf muscles as we step onto some sidewalk in the deep shade of some large tree?

I was thankful this evening for my teenage son, home from school, sharing with me his passion for exercise; to see how he revels in  the discipline of his diet, keeping up with his school work – the feeling of starting to take command of his own young life.

I thought back to one of my favorite verses in the Bhagavad Gita:

For the man who is temperate in food and recreation, 
who is restrained in his actions, whose sleep and waking 
are regulated, there ensues a discipline which destroys all sorrow.

(Bhagavad Gita: Chapter IV (17) - Translation by Radhakrishnan

How well I remember those teenage years, and how much I envy my son the life that is still ahead of him. And yet, happiness is here with me too. Truly, this is the best season of my life:

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

Wu-men (1183-1260), quoted in
The Enlightened Heart, by Stephen Mitchell

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you are content and happy today.

13 thoughts on “#P16: The Best Season

  1. Very pretty. Still desolate…just not black and desolate. Like the difference between Monday and Tuesday! Black and desolate vs just desolate. Friday would be full on Dawn Color!

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    1. Thanks DawnMarie! Yes, it is a bit different from “Dawn Color”. Just imagine if you and I have a joint exhibition one day, it would completely freak people out! Very different styles – though I think your earlier desert paintings also have a color scheme based a bit more around tone? Your beautiful still life paintings are another thing – color all around!

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      1. Lolol. Yes sir. They wouldn’t know what to think. We would have to call it Monday and Friday! Shell shock! I did used to use more of the earth tones, very true.

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  2. Black and white landscapes seem more dramatic in black & white in photography too, I like the moon and sun charcoal, very strong. It is not easy to find contentment in this troubled world, nor easy to be disciplined in the face of a well made curry 🙂

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    1. Ha, you and my wife would get along like a house on fire (very well, that is!). She also has that unbearable lightness of being and does not get pulled into heavy stuff. And she makes a mean curry! I have to say, on a cold Saturday when I smell that warm curry early evening through the house, my self discipline goes out the window!

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  3. To me your pastel painting does show the wild desolation though it has more dimension than the charcoal version, which I think is even better. I think it takes a whole lot of years to get what we want or need to get done, or understand. Sorry to say and yet, truly they are the Golden Years, perhaps not in health but in mental, psychological and spiritual capacity, at least that is the hope. It has been until my 50’s that life is finally making sense, it doesn’t matter when it happens, just that it finally rolls around the bend. Even if I were to die in a year and only had a few years of enlightenment or accomplishment, no matter, it happened regardless. Yes, it would be great to have it in my youth but it takes time and it is worth the working out of that living and learning, it is all the matter of perspective and being grateful.

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    1. Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comment Margaret. Yes, as we have often mused to each other – the learning curve stretches on forever, thank heavens! Personally, I think growing old is under-rated. I feel a bit less like a bull in a China shop now that I can reflect on some of my life’s learning experiences.

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  4. The charcoal drawing is very strong. I like its stark power, which comes partly from the contrasts of light and dark. Sometimes color can keep things in a middle range. Have you ever tried mixing blacks with pastel? I very often use them in oil painting. I think I’ve used them in pastels, but I don’t remember for sure. Anyway, I mix phthalocyanine blue, alizarin Crimson and burnt sienna. By varying the percentage of the constituents you can create a “color” black and white painting.

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    1. Thanks Andrew. I appreciate your advice about mixing blacks with pastel – I have been thinking exactly in the same direction. I am looking for a color approach that is almost black and white, but with just enough of a hint of color to push not only the value dimension, but also the temperature of certain areas. I will experiment a bit and “report back”.
      I am really drawn to your paintings because of the strong dark/light structure I see in them. It is almost as if it takes priority over the color scheme. But somehow, it makes the color appear even more powerful. I recall one painting by David Leffel in which he painted almost the entire painting in one color, with just a single hint of another color in the focal area. Yet somehow it seemed to me one of the most colorful paintings I had seen.

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