Perseverance and the Painter’s Soul

"Sacred Falls" oil on canvas 24"x24"

“Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul is the work of the soul, and good for either the work of the other.”  Henry David Thoreau

With ease and clarity, I can transport my mind back to a day in the late 1960’s, perhaps 1968.  The wheezing of my childhood asthma became almost unbearable and I threw my heavy frame backpack to the ground in the thin Rocky Mountain National Park air.  I was angry at the blistering pace that my Dad was setting as we ascended up a seemingly endless set of switchbacks and I wondered why in God’s name we were doing this.  I knew that there was no way that we would turn around and go home, for my parents had been planning this maiden backpacking trip for some time.

The moment we arrived at Lake Odessa, all thoughts of the effort that it took to get there vanished.  The remainder of that afternoon was spent exploring with my three sisters, fishing, setting up camp and generally having the time of our lives.  I didn’t know at the time that my parents had given me a great gift, they had introduced me to an activity that would be repeated enthusiastically throughout my life.

My time in the backcountry of Colorado has made an indelible impression upon my soul.  Painting provides me with a channel through which I can express the feelings that have come from those experiences.  Just like backpacking, painting is not easy and there are times when I just want to give up.  But I keep going, knowing that just around the next corner or over the next hill is a reward worth working for.

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