Turquoise Paddleboat,  acrylic on braced wood panel, 48" x 24", 2016.

Turquoise Paddleboat, acrylic on braced wood panel, 48" x 24", 2016.

Red Canoe,  acrylic on braced wood panel, 24" x 24", 2016. (available)

Red Canoe, acrylic on braced wood panel, 24" x 24", 2016. (available)

The Cottage,  acrylic on braced wood panel, 24" x 48", 2016. (available)

The Cottage, acrylic on braced wood panel, 24" x 48", 2016. (available)

A Different Jack Pine,  acrylic on braced wood panel, 24" x 48", 2017. (available)

A Different Jack Pine, acrylic on braced wood panel, 24" x 48", 2017. (available)

Those Summers

 

Turquoise paddleboat,

Orange life-vest,

red canoe,

a different jack pine,

the way the smoke furled starward and the waves counted beats upon the rocks —

I think back upon them fondly.

Snapshots of days when bedtime always came too soon.

Memories of moments that make me ache for the lakeside.

Brown sugar on strawberries.

White sugar on rhubarb.

Racing to spot the Big Dipper.

My childhood was the ideal

 as I look back upon it. Those summers especially.

Sunned, soaked, spoiled and shaped by the south of Ontario. Milkweed, zebra mussels, maples and miles. Sun-bleached mornings, calm and still. Stillness.  I wonder if it’s only there in my mind – I don’t remember the details well enough. Time and space take them away. But with time and space comes that stillness that I love.

And then my mind wanders to Roehtke.[1]  And I’m waking slow. Walking paths through crisp foggy mornings. Dreams. Past lives. Or forgotten memories. Familiar yet distant. Comforting and something else. And I can’t put my finger on it. But it keeps me steady – I should know. Things to go back to. Or go forward with.

I have never been sailing, but I love the thought.

I have never been to the East Coast, but I love the idea.

I put those things on the checklist I always lose.

And then I’m back to thinking about turquoise paddleboats.

All of these things come together to shape my work and my process as much as they shape me. Layers of paint and medium, like layers of time and space, exist somewhere between my past and present, between memories and desires.

 

[1] Theodore Roethke’s poem, The Waking

 

Those Summers is currently an ongoing body of work.