Wondering while Wandering…
…an artist’s limp toward finding ‘Radiance Through the Rain’
‘May the Rain of Suffering Soften Our Hearts,
Seeping Radiance to Our Thirsty Places.’
J. Douglas Thompson© 2022
Thought’s on Mists
My easel today holds memories, recollections of what was and what I have left to consider to re-describe as I cast my mind over the past seventy-three years. I love taking photographs, but that is a separate love affair from that of painting. I seldom use any of my photos as a reference when painting. Each stands alone.
Today, I paint and while pushing my paint, I’m prone to ponder! The coming ‘letters from my studio,’ will be throwback thoughts across my life as an artist and a photographer with a bit of faith and philosophy thrown in.
What usually occurs when painting, is my hand dips paint with a rag or paper towel and then begins the slashing and whipping of rag against canvas. Sometimes while slapping the paint around an image appears that triggers a memory and if not, oh well, at least I’m left with texture.
Today what is coming to fruition from rag to canvas is an old memory of Alberta, Canada’s Lake Louise veiled in the heart of the Rockies. It shimmers turquoise. The sun slants left, mountainside clearly showing the rock face holding interesting patterns of ice-white water otherwise described as snow.
Up and over the first third of my composition stand a group of rugged pines showing their resolute passion for survival, with backs held ramrod straight. This is somewhat different from their cousins of the east, the Great White Pine. Found on the Canadian Shield, which is made of solid granite, it stretches far north beyond human habitation. There the pines lean way right, having a strong west wind blow them strident since birth.
However, here I am, by means of memory, sitting in my studio chair, my mind next to the lake. This, for the most part will be my way of sharing my journey and stories. A breeze sends a cold signal that maybe things are not as well as maybe they seem. A mist swirls down from the heights, adding a negligee of blue-white light over the rock verticals.
Mists come as the mysterious Spirit comes, first a breeze, a tender touch that kisses my cheek, leaving it slightly wet as the mist envelopes my view.
Sometimes the Spirit enlightens with warmth and sometimes adds a veil. The why and wherefore of the Spirit’s call to humanity is a mystery. I still see some of the hard formation that lays behind, but mostly it is misty grey. Life is seldom a clear-cut course.
More than often, we take slow steps, or well we should, as we navigate life’s journey. Sometimes the mists suddenly lift, and we see that all is well, and warmth surrounds our steps. And then, just as suddenly, a corner turned, and the wall of grey seems to pull us in, and our fears arise. Life is struggle! The flip side of pain is joy! Grey mists, darkness and sunlight. Despite the variables, keep putting your proverbial foot one step ahead of the last and choose to ‘Live!’
The eastern lakes mists steal lower shoals as across the bed of night they wrap all in the comforter of thoughts alone until the sun winks her soft hello. Maybe a fire in a hearth breaks its silent steal where humanity attempts to push away the darkness. It is here I want to dwell for a moment today.
The early sun rises east casting her curling smile on the grey and the mist begins her dance. Together they weave their sensuous sway from the lake and up the mountain as warm interacts with cool.
Later, after coffee is done and bacon crisp has brought us its pleasures, the sun begins to blow its warmth and the mist disappears. About 11 a.m. and she’s gone! The mystery of wonder that refracted light into the wondrous soft silk of mist is now a memory.
So, it is with these, my few short years of life, and yours!
I sat tonight during my walk west, in a field down the way, and reflected on the evening sky and the mists that wanted in. My life is like the mist, and yes will soon cover all as I pass into eternity.
My physical body is the present entity that enfolds the real me: my soul and spirit. This my cocoon will remain behind for the mourners and then disappear, too, but my spirit will remain, having travelled to a different dimension of interim wonder.
For today, I can have hope that as the mist envelops the here and now, there will be light again, and the field that I sat in tonight will re-appear, fully regenerated in its original wonder, perfection ready for a never-ending reality.
Finally, in all my paintings, my desire is to portray the light of hope peeking, even when most seems blue-grey mist. Often, the result is most beautiful when that soft light glazed, seen through the negligee, as she hides the veiled beauty of what can become if the invitation is accepted.
The Spirit of all mists comes suddenly, and then just as suddenly opportunity vanishes.
James 4:14 NIV …‘Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.’
My thought life for many reasons perhaps in common with you, Doug, connects at many points during my reading of your letter. Consideration of the brevity of time yet the enjoyment of the time I have had; the contemplation of my life after this body is spent, and when the term ‘time’ will be obsolete. Thank you for drawing my attention to the light of hope peeking through the mists of some of my days.
Thanks for taking the time to both read and respond to the letter. The wider the age, the more rapidly the days disappear. Laughingly, since my heart attack, I have noticed how fast the two weeks fly between refilling my pill boxes. It is striking! And thus the brevity comments. However, I must attempt to put aside any anxiety of future events and live in one day increments. I also think there is value in having life siloed into categories. I’m finding there is a lot of freedom in routine. Routine including working hard, and playing hard. For me playing hard, might be these days, people watching at a fine hotel lobby while enjoying the rich flavours of a latte. At any rate when I come aside, and put the laptop down or the brushes up I am then prone to begin to contemplate. Like Tolkein or Lewis, I think it is a gift to be able to extrapolate the possibilities of what lies beyond this dimension. Certainly our ‘minds have not considered the mysteries being prepared’ but nevertheless its more than fun to speculate. And because of that speculation and hanging tight onto faith, particularly in the storms, some light is always there. Enjoy your weekend! Keep painting!