Vision


Sinuous shadows always intrigue me. I took the source photo for this one last summer at a paint-out in the valley. I saw the delicious shadow shapes as soon as I arrived and quickly stepped out of the car, camera in hand, to make sure the earliest sun was recorded. There’s a brilliant intensity to the light first thing in the morning that is so seductive.

I took the photo into Elements and played with it, changing the colors and intensifying the contrasts. I blurred it so that I couldn’t see anything but the light and dark shapes and that liquid turquoise color. I find that blurring it to the point that I can’t see any of the details helps me think in terms of shapes defined by value, enhanced by color. Of course, all I have to do is take off my glasses and place the photo across the room. I’m decidedly nearsighted, still able to read the fine print without glasses, but my distance vision is bad.

I painted it on a new product that Richeson sent me, Gatorboard covered with a gesso and pumice coating. This one was 8x10” and bright white. I like the way the brilliant white allows the colors to sing. The white by the dark tree has been added, because I darkened the sky with a few swift strokes of pale blue. I recomposed the trees on the right side, adding some in front of the rest to balance the composition, and the building has some bumps and bulges that just happened, but they appealed to me because I often see things bleeding into each other that way. It’s probably a fault in my vision, which is pretty bad.

I think the Lord arranges it so that all of us see things a bit differently, sometimes by changing our eyesight. I remember as a 13-year-old looking up at the moon. It was a time when all of America looked at the moon. The ‘space race’ was on, and President Kennedy had told us we’d actually get there one day! I saw several overlapping shapes, which I mentioned to my parents. As you can imagine, they hauled me into an optometrist pretty quickly. I still think a moon made with four or five overlapping circles is far more interesting than the standard one, but at least this is a result of choice and not a mere limitation.

God is good at that. He gives us choices, shows us things in different lights, from differing angles, even with different vision. Take off or put on your glasses and look at the world—it changes things. What a visual treat!

It’s not always easy to look at a limitation as an opportunity. I know that as I age I have to force myself to thank God for the parts that still work. Maybe I should stop and think a little more closely about what the parts that don’t work do for me, such as my nearsighted eyes, instead of always thinking in the negative. He works all things together for good in the lives of those who believe and obey Him, so even bad vision is a benefit when it’s used to advantage and appreciated for what it is.

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