“Distance Memory, Sycamore Creek” contemporary figurative painting
I was driving to Sharon, Georgia, for a dinner party with old friends last week. The night before, I had stayed up all night painting, so I was tired and running late. Still, I couldn’t help but notice how perfect the day was for painting: The sky was filled with rolling clouds, so there was balanced light on the fields and trees, and the sky itself had good contrast. Also, because it was fall, the trees were starting to turn a dull yellow green, which was actually quite warm and interesting in the sunlight. Best of all, each time I crossed a creek, I would see sycamores that had just turned a brilliant yellow, the brightest yellow they would be all fall. Within days, they would either fade or be bare. Truly, the day was a unique opportunity. The problem was that I was tired and running late, and I knew if I started taking pictures, I wouldn’t stop. So I drove on.
The next week after I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about how warm the yellow sycamores looked in the cool fall sky with the sunlight and the rolling clouds. It was the most glorious landscape I had seen in six months, and I had wasted an opportunity to capture it. I could have easily stopped and taken just one digital photo just to get the colors remembered, but I didn’t do it. Just one photo, and I could have had all I needed to paint, but I didn’t do it. It made me so frustrated, that I spent the next few nights trying to capture it from memory, and I think I was fairly successful.