Thursday, May 21, 2009


Conditions are tough, up here at Timberline. It’s the end of May, and it’s still quite snowy, and looks like it plans to be for a good long while yet. Even on this balmy day, a stiff breeze is dropping down the mountain, carrying air chilled by the snowfields. I have set up beside my car, to stay as much out of the wind as possible. It may be ten degrees warmer on this side of the car.There is a lot to paint. Every part of this scene is full of color and shape and complexity. I try to narrow my focus, telling enough, but just enough. Even so, the painting takes longer that my back is happy about.I hear a whish, whish, whish overhead, and look up, expecting to see perhaps some mechanical flying machine, or at the very least, a condor. It is a crow, or a raven. This is puzzling. I’m told that owls have particular feathers at the front of their wings that keep them from making sound in flight. Sound in flight? I have never, sitting on my back deck in the afternoon, heard the sound of a bird’s wings. Even the gang (and I do mean gang) of neighborhood crows seem to limit their noise to a lot of raucous argument. Perhaps the sound of their wings is masked by suburban background noise. Standing here in the parking lot, mountain on one side of me, I am in a sound bowl. I can hear the clink of ski gear up the mountain and out of sight. Now and then a car door slams. I hear a comment, from far across the parking lot, about the lady who is painting under an umbrella. I suppose it’s no wonder that I can hear birds winging by.

1 comment:

Celeste Bergin said...

Well, this painting is so worth the cold that you endured. I love the narrative about the sounds....your last line is great. Of all your paintings....this one is my current favorite. I wish I could have gone with you!