Friday, May 14, 2010

And I didn't even get arrested!

The Big Yellow Yonder Texas Hill Country
9x12 oil on board, © 2010 by S'zanne Reynolds

I have passed through this beautiful expanse of hills and mountain-like ridges between Johnson City and the Austin 290 turn-off, many times...wishing I could pull over and paint it. But I always worried that I'd get in trouble on a busy highway, cause an accident or get a ticket.

This time, I'd NEVER seen the hill country so burgeoning with color and beauty. The blue ridges, green hills and yellow wildflowers were calling to me, PAINT ME, PAINT ME! It was a veritable yellow brick road of flowers everywhere up and down the highway. But in passing, I saw an amazing cross section of hills, valleys, flowers and distant mountains. So, I did a couple of U-turns until I could slow down and pull over safely with the 70-80 mph passing traffic.

I pulled the van off onto the shoulder as far as possible into the ditch, and hiked down the hill a bit to avoid feeling the traffic swooshing by. The wind was boisterous, hurling my easel to the ground....a storm was coming in. I knew it might rain and I'd better paint fast and furious!

It was exhilarating! It was like trying to grasp a bit of heaven on earth. I almost forgot to breath, I was so intent on taking it all in: the changing light, the fog rolling in to the distance, the golden yellow intensity, the vibrations of green.

Apparently still visible to passers-by, two different cars stopped to see what had caught my attention. One a professional photographer and the other an amateur, they both commented on their surprise and delight at finding this vista and wondered how I'd found it. I laughed as they were both envious that I could avoid painting the power lines which would show up in their photos. A few shots later and they were gone...leaving me to about 3 hours of work.

Curiously, it wasn't the end image that mattered to me here. It was that I did it...something I'd always wanted to do and had been afraid to, not confident enough or had some other concern of time, inconvenience, etc.. Just as it began to rain, I placed the final strokes, signed my name and delivered my new work to the floor of my car next to a week's worth of workshop paintings. I had done roses and peonies in vases and a couple of people who modeled for well a three other outdoor scenes near my cottage. But I was proudest of this highway painting. There is something so satisfying in doing something you've always wanted to!

And I didn't even get arrested!

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