Fearless Eye

By Robin Schauffler

April 13, 2015

Fearless Eye

I sat on the plank deck of a house in the forest and shared my watercolors and brushes with my nine-year-old nephew. I painted the chestnut-colored ponderosa pines with their puzzle-piece bark. I painted the blue morning sky and white clouds.

My nephew said, “I want to paint that sunset we saw last night!” One of those after-the-storm, sky-clearing ones. He stabbed his brush into the paint and began mixing. He swirled and mushed. He attacked the paper, splashing strange new colors. His muddy sky had blobs of green and touches of brown, a wash of gray. His trees were thick and gritty, black stark trunks on whirly sky. We admired each other’s paintings and he gave me his.

Later, far away, I printed my photo of that sunset and tacked it to a bulletin board. I brought out the two watercolors. Mine was pretty good, a nice sky with fluffy white clouds, strong straight trees. I tacked it up. But Alex’s—the weird green sky, the black trees—matched precisely the mood of the sunset photo, had the wild clearing energy of that sky, had captured the sense of wonder we felt watching it. I placed it beside my own painting, proof that a fearless eye may see more clearly.

 

Photo "Some Colours" provided by Jason Hargrove via Flickr.com creative commons license.

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