What does this image say to you?
On first glance... it's a big, fat man lying on the beach. Yep, that pretty much sums it up... right?
Oh, just loosen up a little bit and look again... Anybody and everybody can enjoy the beach... No fancy umbrellas or chaise lounges... A less-than-magazine-perfect body... Last year's blue trunks... Favorite ball cap over the face...The picture doesn't show it, but you know the sun is shining, the temperature is warm, and the water is cool... job and responsibilities a hundred miles away...
... complete relaxation... if only for a little while... peace... bliss... beach bliss...
This painting is special to me for a couple of reasons. One is that I loved how my own thoughts about it evolved as I worked on it. I went from that first-glance thought to the really liking what this guy symbolizes. The lady who asked me to paint this for her explained why she loved it, and it made complete sense. You see, this painting is not an original. She already had a similar work that she'd found years ago at some flea market or craft fair. But, that piece was destroyed along with her beach house in a hurricane several years ago. She had a photo of the wall where it used to hang. I hope this replacement reproduction gives her family the same feeling that the guy on the canvas has!
Another reason that this painting is special to me is that it is my 200th painting! That's quite a milestone! 200 paintings since that first attempt called Summer Trees that I did on February 22, 2007. What a lot I've learned about color and shapes and shadows and lights and texture and composition and well... just art in general in these five years!
I am so thankful to my friend and art mentor for showing me how to see things differently then faithfully guiding me through the learning processes every Monday night for 3 years.
To celebrate painting #200, I took my parents to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art today. We are so fortunate to have this amazing place just 30 minutes away from us! I'd been with my husband a couple of times and with my 4th grade students before, but it was quite a different treat to take my 86 year old parents. It's more than just looking at art... it's an event... an adventure... an amazing experience. If you ever get the chance, go! It's free! It's beautiful!