Monday, August 6, 2012

Painting Gravagna

This past weekend I celebrated the fact that 11 years ago I managed to talk an implausibly beautiful and intelligent girl into marrying me. I was a boy who had little to offer beyond vague aspirations toward being an “artist,” or maybe an “adventurer.” She was nineteen and a sophomore in college. On paper it looked a little rash.

But our friends came from far and wide for the wedding, some even arriving unannounced and camping on my parents lawn. They celebrated our rash vows. And you know...

...everything turned out okay.

For this 11th anniversary I gave Anna this painting of Gravagna, our beloved little village. (It’s the biggest landscape I’ve ever painted). For the rest of you I offer Chesterton’s essay “In Defense of Rash Vows."

Creating this painting was an interesting and sometimes challenging experience. Most of the work was done in late afternoon sessions, over the course of about 3 weeks, on a hillside about a mile or so from the village. Each day I wrapped the painting in an old sheet and walked to the hilltop to contend with the sun, snakes, and curious passers by. And the wind. Oh, the wind. A large canvas is really not much different than a sail...

But there really is no substitute to painting a subject from life. You learn more. Spend time really looking at a subject and, if you’re lucky and attentive, you might start to really see it. And that always feels like a miracle to me.

As one of my favorite teacher’s told me, “You can teach your hands to do anything. Art is in the eyes.”