So about 2 weeks ago, I got a call from the manager of the Seguin Oakwood Art League. She asked if I was entering their next show, because the deadline for the paperwork was that day. And then she mentioned that the theme of the show…. was “Flight”. *grin* Well obviously someone was trying to tell me something. Thank goodness he knows how dense I can be sometimes and makes sure his signs are obvious! I drove right over and signed up to enter 3 pieces in the show – without even knowing what they would be yet.
I decided to enter 2 photos, as surely I’d have two good ones from the many aviation related things I’d shot in the past few years. And then to challenge myself, I entered a yet-to-be-made painting… without even being sure I can produce a painting I’ll even WANT to show people. *gulp*
The first photo was taken up in Dallas at a balloon festival back in 2010. It’s a small festival – with only about 10-12 balloons – but the bonus is that they don’t rope off the liftoff area, so you can get really up close and personal with the pilots and balloons as they take off.
Drew didn’t go with me on this particular trip, but we went to several balloon festivals together over the years and also went on our first balloon ride together for my 27th birthday back in 2009. In fact, he had just bought me my DSLR camera that year, and the balloon ride was my very first time to get to use it. This photo was taken with that same camera. We did go to this same balloon festival last summer with his family… and that is actually where the main image for this blog was taken. Just after all the balloons had lifted off into the evening sky, we all went over to watch the sun set over the lake together. His Dad happened to snap some pictures of the two of us standing there on the bank. I’m so glad now to have these photos and the memory of that beautiful evening.
The second photo I took at the Ft. Worth Air Show last year. It was my first time to see the Blue Angels and the last air show he and I would go to together. It was a huge air show, and all the lines to everything were super long. I remember us getting some pulled pork sandwiches because it was the shortest line, and having nowhere to sit to eat them! So we sat down on the ground and went to town trying to stuff our faces with these enormously big and messy pork sandwiches. Pork just falling all over the place and sauce all over our faces and us laughing like kids. Then we sat a while watching some of the various planes fly.. and he gave me his baseball cap to keep the sun out of my eyes so I could see them better. At the end of the day is when the Angels flew. We went back to the car and grabbed our folding chairs and sat ’em out in a field on the air base. He’d just bought some new boots that weekend, and I remember we were talking about how great they looked. I still had his baseball cap on.
The Blue Angels were spectacular – and he was as excited as a little kid to see them. It was just another of many ordinary beautiful days living life together. I’d never been to an air show before I met him – and I instantly fell in love with these events. The history, the culture, the people… and of course the beautiful curves and lines of the aircraft that are so delicious to photograph. I chose this photo of the Bleu Angels because I loved the feeling it created as they broke away from formation… this beautiful upward, outward energy, like watching a deep breath expand in the sky. The essence of it reminds me of the feeling of that day together, and of so many days in our life together, too.
And then comes… the painting! *dun dun dunnn!* As to be expected, I put off doing it until the day before it had to be turned in. In fact, I put it off well into the evening… and didn’t even start on it until around 10pm! Fortunately, I’d been thinking about it for a few days, and already had a visual in mind. I wanted to create a flying figure, streamlined in shape, that was something like a human with wings. I wanted it to represent Drew – and to represent the feeling that we all fly on past this life. A feeling that each of us continues on in a perpetual flight after we leave this world, and we bring the colors of our soul with us. It was actually his mom’s idea to do the space and stars – thanks Mom! ;) I was trying to figure out what the background would be, and she threw out that idea and it was just exactly perfect.
There’s some room for improvement on it… its not quite symmetrical, and I wasn’t 100% happy with how the overall body shape turned out. But, so far this is the closest I’ve gotten to something I’ve imagined in my mind on a painting – and that is cool. I also learned a lot about working with paint – a medium I have absolutely ZERO experience with. I learned you really have to be patient when doing layers of color. You have to paint one layer, let it dry, then do the next, then let that dry… otherwise you end up with muddy colors. I had seen a documentary a few weeks ago where the artist was painting two paintings at once, and realized this must be why! So now I know to always be working on 2 canvases at a time so I can be painting one while the other dries. I love learning this stuff. And I still cannot believe, after over a decade of hating painting and avoiding like the plague – even managing to not take ANY painting classes in the entirety of my BFA degree – here I am… painting! And actually wanting to. What a weird world. I weird world that I am very grateful he has lead me to.