A River of Trees

The first few drops began to fall on Tuesday evening, the 10th of September. During the following three days the skies opened and rain fell in torrents on the Mediterranean Coast. Now it’s Saturday and the rains have stopped. Valencia seems to have been spared from the worst damage, but outside the city and along the coast south towards Murcia, dams and walls have collapsed, thousands of people have been displaced, crops are drowned under chocolate-colored lakes created by the floods, innumerable houses have been destroyed and six people have died, two swept away in their cars. It was awful to watch the video on the news, the cars tumbling like toys in the muddy waters, headlights still burning.

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Into the Storm

Into the storm – Oil/canvas – 32 x 48 inches

Wooded river valleys, prairies, and small lakes surrounded by hills that changed during the seasons from green to gold to white were the landscapes of my childhood. Since I had not traveled even to the far shore of the Mississippi River, the mountains and deserts of the West held an irresistible attraction. This painting of an afternoon in November was the result of my first encounter with the Badlands of Nevada. A man, or a woman, alone except for a little dog, are walking to somewhere as a storm closes in. This was years ago. I felt at the time that no further explanation was necessary. I feel the same now.

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Calle Caballeros, Valencia

Calle Caballeros, Valencia – Oil/Canvas – 26 x 32 inches.

Spain has been on my mind because I’ll soon be living there for the next three months. Old, dilapidated parts of cities draw me into them and, in the case of Valencia, they embrace me – there’s no better word to describe the feeling of being welcomed. I used to think that it was the people who did the embracing, and they certainly do, but I came to realize that streets and buildings were doing it as well. One of my favorites is this yellow ruin in morning sunlight. It took me weeks to draw and paint it years ago. I’ll visit it soon and if it is still standing, perhaps I’ll be able to paint it again.

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