Pathways

…while laying reclaimed bricks for a path to our century old farm house I had an Epiphany. So many of my projects are shaped by a path or line that defines a space or leads to another set of circumstances. Struggling with a wagon load of old bricks across a newly graded driveway topped with sand, for a moment I stepped outside of myself and saw this 60 plus year old women determined to lay yet another huge section of bricks.I thrive on a satisfaction of completion, even if only a portion of the over all job is done. I push myself to conquer a section.

And then with sweat and grim I saw myself for more than the physical effort it was taking. I saw the path. Then I looked up and saw the bark chip path I had created several months ago that  gently curve past the horse barn, past the 75 year old apple tree, rising and then out of site as it rounded a 10 foot high stump that is now buried by salal. I trace in my mind the narrow path sweeping round the rock edged salal grove and then gently curve down to settle under a giant cedar. The satisfaction of seeing this completed path was thrilling. The play of landscape disappearing round the salal, was a game of mystery. Every day after finally creating the bark mulch path I would walk it and marvel at the softness of nature falling about it. It is as if I created an invitation to enter into this more wild world, safely! The new path I am creating out of brick has a similar feel. Each evening I walk the completed section and scan the surrounding garden as the shape becomes more defined. That same thrill takes hold.

Pathways are healing for me especially when I need sorting out. The kind of sorting out no one can help with. The physical labour is a big part of the process. The grunting, and sweating then next morning achy muscles all add to the delicious belief that I am doing something important. Creating a direction, a definition. I then saw my paintings and realized how I make pathways by lining leaves, buildings, landscapes in gold. I can’t seem to complete the painting without dipping my rigger brush into liquid metallic gold, then allowing the gentle grace of the brush to line it all. Again that thrill of completion. The gold to me has the added magic of making the painting come alive. Like the Blue fairy helping Giuseppe bring Pinocchio to life.
As an artist I see the world as in a painting. The excitement of meadows cresting to an arc of ancient forest. Then the frolicking line of lambs playing tag as they race ahead of the old ewes, all the while following the same worn path across the meadow. Deer too follow their same paths through forests. As I walk the old forest in Ruckle Park, I become accustomed to looking for the little pathways of these gentle beasts. There is a kind of peace that settles in with a pathway. A discipline that helps shape a place, a life. It is as if the lining gives one a permission to view and grow and explore safely.

“…I am gone into the field to take what this sweet hour yields…..” The Invitation by P.B. Shelley

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