It’s a camp I’ve been to many times. I feel as much at home there as I do in my house. Several years we shared the camp with an entwined pair of large Eastern Fox snakes warming on the rocks. I know where the pine needles are softest to lay my tent on. I know where the hidden blueberries and wintergreen are tucked out of sight. My painting spot seems to yield a different treasure every year. The camp has a soft weedy slip that I pull my kayak into in the evening, though I’m careful to watch out for the frog in that likes to sit there on the wet black log. Other than just being there, and painting there, I like to swim there. From the small point to the other side of the arm of the lake is about 350 m. Over and back in the cool morning builds the appetite for oatmeal. But the evening swim yields an even more delightful experience. The fading light of the day paints the opposite shore with a luminescent golden glow. To swim across or paddle along that shore in the evening is one of the gifts we are given just because we Are there. Just because we have taken a breath long enough to be there.
I suppose most artists have paintings that flow with ease to an almost startling success before they even realize it. I also suspect that most artists have a level of discomfort or even all out battle with paintings that push back. This painting was a push back, and sat unfinished staring over my shoulder in my studio for more than a year. I’ve had too much experience though to give up that easily. I think, like going back to that favourite camp, I’ll go back to that shore with my brush and paper again in the evening light.
My Evening Swim, 16″ x 22″, Elizabeth Gilbert, ’23.
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