Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Painting

I finished a new oil painting.  It's called " the place I belong."  It is a painting of the log circle at Grand Rapids Public School's Zoo School.  My daughter Ellie is attending this 6th-grade-only school and is in the painting.  It was a gift for Mr. K (Dennis Kretschman) who has taught there 39 years and counting.  Prints were also auctioned off to raise money for the school and their annual auction.

While picking Ellie up from Zoo School one fall afternoon I was particularly moved.  A sequence of observations followed… 

·      The symbolism in the scene, -covered and surround by the very nature they are studying and captivated by. 
·      The significance of moments like this in the lives of these kids as they grow into adults. 
·      The devotion and heart the teachers put into these kids that extends far beyond their “jobs.”
·      The sheer beauty of the setting.

The lyrics of the song “County Road,” often sung at this spot with Mr. K playing the guitar, came to mind.  Country roads take me home, to the place I belong.

“ the place I belong” just seemed to describe all of these thoughts. 

I snapped a couple of pictures.

It didn’t take long to think of painting the scene.  But I wanted to paint it a way that was more timeless and less specific.  –Like it could be any class, any year and represent the thoughts above.  I attempted to represent years and lives and memories in this frozen moment. “Life is old here, older than the trees” and “all my memories gather ‘round” are a couple more lines from Country Road that seem appropriate as well.

I fully acknowledge that this art is a poor reproduction of the real thing, -of being there that day.  But I hope as years pass and people grow up it helps bring them back to this place, “…to the place I belong.”