Vicky & I made a trip to New Orleans several years back – pre-Katrina. We love the city’s food, music, art & people. I always come back a few pounds heavier!
On this trip, we took a drive outside of the city and saw many of the old plantations. Oak Alley was one of them. It has been the backdrop for many movies. Like many of the Louisiana plantations, it sits across the street (and levy) from the river. The plantation house faces the river and its “driveway” is silouhetted by beautiful, old oak trees. I took my paints and Vicky was patient enough to hang out while I did a painting of the plantation house.
Gnarly roots from the oak trees determined where I sat. As I painted, a man came over and quietly watched. The painting was in its early stage and he asked if I was painting the house. (Not a stupid question considering the splashes of paint on my paper.)
“No,” I said, “I’m painting the tree – the house just happens to be in the painting.”
This got me thinking about the idea that as artists we often ignore what’s really in front of us. It’s not always the bowl of fruit that is important but what is around that bowl of fruit.
You know, like stop and smell the mangos…