Saturday, July 11, 2020

Stormy Times


“Stormy day in the fields - Tennessee” oil on wooden panel, 18” x 18” by Hilary J. England

I painted an original study when I was in Tennessee a few weeks back.  It had been a strange and sad trip, born out of depression and desperation to escape the lockdown here in PA.  I had heard the restrictions were less down South — plus I had another reason to go down there — a love interest.  He and I were trying to make heads or tails of all the complications we were navigating over the last several months.  The little seedling of feelings that had been planted were now smothered with additional hurdles of pandemic pandemonium and our own fears and hang ups.  

The painting was born of all of that.  I had wandered in the fields, hot and sweaty and alone, chasing the years of my life.  What had brought me to this point? Time was no longer on my side, it seemed — the universe had caught us all.  I felt the long invisible arms of it reach in and break my heart, crush my soul — there is a lot of symbolism of this in my painting, even if you cannot see it — it’s there.  I sat in the field and cried, the heat the gnats sticking to my face.  For the first time in a very long time I felt defeated — that life had become pointless, why do we do the things we do? In the end — it’s all for nothing, it seemed.  But then, a small ray of sunlight, ever so faint, it was a glimmer — shone through the clouds of gray.  It warmed my heart, and just that little sunlight buoyed me up — we go on, until we are called away — off this planet.  It’s just what we do — in good times or in bad, we still go forward.  For some reason, that brought me comfort — and I felt at peace.  

Now, that little piece of peace was immediately snatched away as I was walking back to the car with all my gear and dropped the painting face down into the dirt — obliterating it.  I was really angry now — it was if the dark forces of the universe had spit in my eye at that moment.  I got back to my apartment and brooded about this, but refused to throw the painting away.

A week later, I left the South, earlier than planned, realizing we cannot run away from our problems, or avoid them.  Everything had sorted itself and I went back home with renewed gratitude for my own life in the North, but still the ruined painting bothered me — the symbolism of it.  So I decided not only was I going to resurrect it — I was going to recreate it — even bigger and better than it had been before! And so, I did.  

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Stormy Times

“Stormy day in the fields - Tennessee” oil on wooden panel, 18” x 18” by Hilary J. England I painted an original study when I was in Tenness...