Leaves are falling, the weather is getting colder. Maybe I can get in a few more days of plein air painting before it gets too cold. The nice thing about painting in the fall is that the insects are not trying to feast on you as you paint.
I have two very special places I enjoy painting. One is the Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, close to West Jefferson. The northern part has many beautiful paths, but there is one in particular that goes by the amphitheater on the creek’s edge. Just to the left of the amphitheater is a few trees with lots of roots exposed. I have painted these trees more than several times. It’s also a great place to actually paint the creek with all its unusual stones which were washed down stream by strong storm waters.
Most people don’t realize how much each creek changes after strong storms. This creek has undergone some drastic changes in just the few short years I have been painting her. I refer to the creek as her because I believe it is a living entity and has many of the best of female characteristics so I take a little literary discretion in describing her. Along the banks and in the middle of this stream I find almost endless subject matter.
For me being along the shores or paddling down stream, I find it to be a special place of healing especially of the spirit. I paint to calm myself inside.
My other special place to paint is just below Deer Creek dam in the little park just south of the dam. This is actually the spillway of the dam and the trees are marked by the water being released. Many roots are exposed and it’s easy to walk along the shore, stop and paint. Here, trees are continuously changing as they fall into the stream as the water pulls the soil away from the roots.
Again, this to me is a very restful place where I can paint for hours. It’s mostly quiet except for a few kids playing while the adults fish. I count these children as an intricate part of nature also. I often watch the sun reflecting off the water. These are scenes I love to paint and they bring a lot of inner peace to me.
But the truth is I really don’t have to even get into my car to be close to water. Across the road from my home is a farm with a very large pond on it. It’s so large I guess it should be considered a small lake. Anyhow, it is also a great place to paint. The water and little waves are hypnotic and easily cast a spell of peace on those who sit by its shore.
I feel very fortunate I can walk, ride a bike, or use the car for a short drive and I am in the middle of many beautiful places and for that I am very thankful.
Harry Croghan is an artist, photographer, writer and teacher. He can be reached at 740-852-4906 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.