Thursday, July 14, 2011
Living in the country ~
This summer has a certain mellowness about it that reminds me of days long ago here on the farm when there were more domestic animals, versus the wild varmints present now. Contemplating those images of the past, and how the activities of contented farm creatures create a certain atmosphere, I'm trying my hand at painting what I remember.
Living in the country is the constant thread in my work. The hill is a lovely place, exciting in its constant changes, comforting in its reoccurring seasons - I'm a bit of a fish in its water, unaware at times of how pervasively the environment pervades my thought and work. I realized the other day, with a bit of surprise, that this country-mousedom is probably the main difference between my art and most. And as Aesop's ancient fable makes clear, the city and rural life have distinct boundaries, and opposing fields of prejudice - each idealizing and denigrating the other.
These thoughts lead me to wonder at the assumption, fairly common amongst city folk, that their country counterparts have debased or non-existant conceptions of art, countered by the opinion of many country folk that though that may be true, such things are not really important in the bigger scheme of things. But in fact, both country and city folk alike adore their relative kitsch, as much or more, economically speaking, as anything else they put in their homes and public spaces.
Then there's the counter-current, in which city dwellers dream of bucolic sunny healthy happy farms with slow food and real dreams, much better for the planet than the traffic they're stuck in, and the flashing glittering towers of affluence, ease and grandeur that come, naturally, along with wealth, are located, of course, not in a backwater, but in a country-dreamed city.
Like Joni I've looked at clouds from both sides - and settled in where I've always been.