Stop and Smell the Rain
The Talking Weather Heads pointed excitedly at concentric circles of yellow and orange on the television screen in the other room. It wasn’t necessary to read the scrolling text – I knew that it said “severe thunderstorm warning”. I tuned them out and closed the lid on the pot of spaghetti sauce to let it simmer for a while. I walked back to my laptop on the kitchen table where I was multi-tasking paying bills and sending emails. This is a daily routine in Florida summertime. The thunderstorms, that is.
Vicky appeared from the office. She took a break from her consulting project to respond to the dryer’s beeps. We were in our own separate worlds uninterested in the impending threat of severe thunderstorms headed our way. A white noise got louder and louder. I thought for a moment that my digital overload was getting out of control. Really bad because it was in full stereo.
wait a minute…that’s rain!
A totally un-task related idea popped into my head as Vicky & I paused in the kitchen: “Hey, let’s stop everything we are doing and go outside and enjoy this rain.”
We sat on the sofa under the covered portion of the patio and smelled the parched earth quickly cooled by the pounding rain. Someone could almost bottle that summertime smell. It was like the start of a great movie and we had perfect seats. The rain took center stage and it was as if there was nothing else going on in the world. A slight breeze confirmed nature was paying off the excessive heat of the day. The rain was loud. And good. The dogs quietly joined us. They, too, seemed to know a magnificent show was about to start. We all watched in silence.
The patio screens turned semi-opaque from the excess water. The sun broke from the clouds while the rain continued on and, from our vantage point behind the screens, looked like a strange, weak headlight pointing our way. As we say in the South, the Devil is beating his wife.
After fifteen minutes or so, the rain quieted and a chorus of frogs signaled that the show was over. Bravo. Way better than any movie on TV. For the moment, anyway…
Our little break was a good one. We all need to stop what we are doing on occasion and enjoy the moment.
Enjoy friends and loved ones.
Enjoy the view.
Enjoy life and the marvel of nature.
NOTES ON THE PHOTOS: All photos below were taken with an iPhone 5s and are unedited images – no App filters, no Photoshop. It’s not that I don’t manipulate images – I do – I have a gazillion photo editing Apps on my iPhone and I actually do use about half of them. I just want to illustrate how nicely these raw images appeared. I find my iPhone’s camera to be a wonderful tool as an artist. It is always there when you need it (as photographer Chase Jarvis says, “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You”) and allows for nice outbursts of spontaneous creativity. Sometimes I use the photos as reference sources in my work and sometimes they are just mere sources of non-related inspiration. If artistic block of any kind sets in during my work schedule, it is often cured by a photographic outing with my iPhone – even if it is just a trek around the block. I also believe that you, at times, need to step out of your medium or comfort zone to find inspiration. A fresh look at things. A change of scenery (one of the reasons I feel artistic travel workshops outside of one’s home base are excellent sources of inspiration.) The photos below were inspired by a rainstorm and may likely, in turn, inspire a future painting. Creativity thrives within chain reactions. Following an afternoon Florida thunderstorm, my patio screens were full of water and semi-opaque; a slight slap with my hand revealed some of the backyard vista and I shot these images. I like how some detail emerges through the opaque, flat areas. The screen also creates a sort of pixelized view.These images remind me of the color field paintings of Abstract Expressionism. Though shot in color, the screen and water desaturate the color to almost black & white images. Again, the images were not manipulated – this is how it was when it was. Enjoy.
– Robert Leedy, June 2014
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- June 26, 2014 / 9:20 am