Mini in the Mail #76: "Morning highway"

"Morning Highway," oil on panel, 5" x 5"

Growing up there wasn't much art at home, let alone original art. But my grandmother did have a large framed oil of a very empty country road surrounded by trees. A friend from her work life had created and given it to her, she said - that's all I ever knew about it. No one paid it much mind, myself included, as dominant as it was in her living room where we sat to watch TV, fight for control of the converter, and digest supper.

I used to stare at the painting and wonder, though, what techniques the artist used to create the sinewy trees and impasto road, and why just this road in the middle of nowhere, with nothing else to embellish it. I stared at the picture for years, not conscious about the questions I was asking or even that I was doing something more than resting my eyes somewhere, but allowing it to work on me and seep in, osmotically.

My grandmother is gone now and I regret not having been more perceptive about prodding her on the painting. Was it just decorative? What did it mean? How did it make her feel? Did it conjure other memories? Did it mark an occasion? Did she study and parse out evidence of the human hand as I did? Who was the artist? What were they up to now?

Now I think of Yeats, the poet: "The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."

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  1. And now you painted your own highway. I wonder if you might consider pasting your own thoughts to the back of your paintings?


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