I'm getting the post about the August image for my calendar written just in time before I need to write September's! I find it slightly ironic that the images for July and August had restful themes while I've been a bit too busy to find much time for recreation or relaxation this season, let alone write my blog posts! I think things are getting back to a more normal pace, but we never know what's around the corner, do we? What we can do is be in the moment, no matter what that happens to be. If we focus on being present in each moment, we might not meet all of the expectations of others, but maybe we were not meant to do that. I am learning to not stress about all that stuff and live each day as God puts it before me and know that it is good. It's okay. (For more on that, Matthew 6:25-34 is excellent.)
I smile at that thought as I look at this painting of the girl placidly gazing off into space with a book on her lap as she rests in her garden. It's easy to idealize times gone by as better or more peaceful than ours, isn't it? I imagine that before there were all of the distractions that our culture throws at us, it was a little more natural to live in the moment. But I also imagine that there were other distractions in those times, and it has always been a training of the mind to allow for rest and presence.
This tranquil scene fits nicely into the space for which is was painted, the bedroom of my client's daughter decorated in the French Baroque style. This was another commissioned piece done for the clients who had frames that needed art.
(Side note - if you have the calendar, you will notice that the image was cropped slightly to better fit the page. Here you see the complete painting.)
I hear from my readers that you enjoy seeing the process of my paintings so here are a few photos and simple explanations for you.
The clients had this frame that they loved and chose a scene to be modified for the painting. Here you see me preparing the toned ground to paint on which is different than my usual in that I started off with sky blue in the section that would include the sky. On the right is the finished painting, which goes nicely with the style of the frame, hung on the wall.
The clients wanted the figure in the painting to resemble their daughter but since it was a surprise for her, I couldn't ask her to pose. So, I used the photos they provided, none of which were quite the angle or expression I was after, but I was able to work them together for a satisfying result. When I first met the clients in their home, their little dog met me at the door and I could tell she was a beloved member of the family. I suggested including her in the painting, and in the photo below, you can see my work with the reference photo.
The photos on the left show some of the progress of the painting. I first laid in the structural pieces and the figure to make sure they were in the desired places. (The bright white circle is just glare from my light.) I then began the background and worked back and forth on building it up and adding detail.
So, that's the story of Garden Repose. I would love to hear from you! Do you have ideas for being mindful even while busy? Or are you running on stress, adrenaline, and caffeine? It's probably a little of both for most of us. But, hey, even the girl in the painting has something to lean on. When we share, we gain a little encouragement for the journey.