...and a river runs through it...
Coco and I went for a walk the other day, across the tracks and through an empty park that has a tranquil stream running through it. It's a beautiful spot with mature trees, red-winged blackbirds and softly running water that Coco enjoys wading in and drinking from.
A discarded piece of lumber connects one side of the stream to the other and gives us a way of getting across to the forest beyond. Coco was reticent about crossing at first, but after bucking up his courage the first time, he flies across it like it is nothing to be concerned about.
On the other side of the forest, crisscrossed with deer trails, lies a dry river bed. The first time we saw it, I instantly thought this would be a great spot to do a workshop that had been noodling in my mind for a long time. The idea is simple. Bring a small group to a spot just like this and have each of them build their own little inukshuk. Each is photographed from different angles - to give some choices with respect to shadows and values. Then we go back to the studio and everyone gets to use the inukshuk they created as inspiration for their painting.
I walked through the final portion of the workshop yesterday, as a test run of sorts. I had laid down some colours the night before using a palette knife and used that as my starting point yesterday morning.
I have been drawn to water, or the representation of it, in recent paintings, and found myself seeing my pile of rocks emerging from a stream. So, I went with it. These words accompanied me on this journey.
Eventually all things merge into one
And a river runs through it.
The river was cut by the world's great flood,
And runs over rocks from the basement of time.
On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops.
Under the rocks are words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.
(from A River Runs Through It written by Norman MacLean)
These words from the 1992 film, and MacLean's book before that, have always had great meaning to me. They connect to family, tradition, history, memories, and a sense of place and purpose. They remind me that our time on earth is fleeting and that we must make the most of it. They encourage me to honour and remember those who have come before and acknowledge that they have contributed to the moment I am experiencing right now.