Hope, egg tempera painting in progress, Daniel Ambrose

Hope, egg tempera painting in progress, Daniel Ambrose

There was a full moon rising, large and golden, above B.B. Kings head. Magic on a mountain summer night. A balmy night full of hope and future dreams—yes, I’m certain I was there, remember the remnants of pink rhododendrons skirting the path through the forest to the stage. Coming into the meadow, saw twilight crowning the mountains in cobalt blue. Fireflies sparked under the dark pines. I see white crotchet sweater, and careful blue eyes. I see everything and yet, know nothing at all. Maybe it’s the memory of a dream?

I’m on a highway by the sea, a pink mist drives me to the side of the road. A red sunset reels like a movie over the river, makes me take out my phone to share. Send it to Sarasota, it’s just as good a place as any. A yearning tells me to turn around, and there I find you, rising above the sea. Paint it! Comes back the reply—I’m already there.

It’s there I will remain, gardening in the land of hope and dreams. It’s there I will give you, all the beauty that I’ve seen. A teacher of my small children once told me, your eyes are sad. Well, I saw a young girl newly blind, in St. Augustine, learning to walk with a cane, and I heard the sound of my heart break. The eyes are sad by what they’ve seen, but look deeper and you will find a heart that sings, a puppy on the inside wagging it’s tail enthusiastically. Eyes that see beauty above every thing. Take what you have, and give us your best. If you can’t see it—I know—I hope you can feel it too. Can the moon move hearts as it does the tides?

Knowing nothing about these things, I leave it to you. Hope and love are each unseen, but they will lift you high above the shifting dunes like a breeze beneath the wings of a little bird.

It’s there in the realm of August air, among singing birds, and light on the sea, there in rising hope for all, we will dance to the music of the moon.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.—Eleanor Roosevelt.


Childhood Places

by Daniel Ambrose on February 6, 2015

Six Palms, egg tempera painting 1999

Six Palms, egg tempera painting 1998, Daniel Ambrose

The old creek meanders through marsh and myrtle and mysterious indigo shadows of mossy live oaks and cedars. Lanky palms lean from her sinuous shoulders. Egrets, ibis, spoonbills, and wood storks parade her shallows probing and pecking for crabs and fingerlings. An eagle swoops in and snatches a mullet in sharp talons glistening silver in the sunlight. Water dripping from her breast like jeweled pendants. An otter arcs across a narrow channel in the shadows of black needlerush, a salt loving grass transforming into purple haze in winter sunsets. Centuries ago, the splashing paddles of British and Spanish soldiers, the voices of Seminoles and the extinct Timucuan, once echoed over her ultramarine face. Winding through time she’s carried cargo and conversations to coquina plantation and sugar mill. Here in this place of my childhood, harmonious memories of family and friends linger in the bubbling eddies of tidal flows.

The egg tempera painting above, Six Palms, from about 17 years ago represents the colors of my old way, when the light of many loved ones voices sparkled in the air above Bulow’s waters. Voices silenced by the passage of time. For the past seven years I’ve wandered new places for inspiration, but I’ve been seeking a spiritual source close to home once again.

If you come for a visit, I’ll take you to Bulow, to one of my childhood places. But we won’t stay long. The gentle breezes, rustling palms and waving grasses nourished my spirit and inspired my art for decades. But come, now I will take you to a more beautiful place.

Seeking a liberating feeling of freedom, of promise and possibilities,  I imagined other childhood places—remembered one thirty miles up the coast. I’ve been there recently, making studies, reflecting, and painting in awe of the luminous light and uplifting colors. The well is beginning to fill again. New ideas are emerging. Hope is rising in a revelation series about dreams, sea and sky, inspired living, real and imaginary childhood places.

Here is a peek at the initial phase of my discovery process. The plein air oil painting below is one of my recent studies.


Plein air color study by Daniel Ambrose

In the spirit of my art crusade, I’m organizing egg tempera landscape painting workshops. I will take you through my method of creating from initial inspiration to painting an egg tempera landscape.  To be notified of when and where the workshops will be held, or to host one in your area, join my painting the egg tempera landscape list.

We’ll explore light, color and inspiring places guaranteed to make your heart sing and take your work to the next level.

If you come for a visit, I’ll take you there.


Kindred Spirits, oil painting by Daniel Ambrose

Kindred Spirits, oil by Daniel Ambrose

In the era of my adolescence the world was in a turmoil. Like today, fear and hate spread their noxious toxins.

In 1969, the Rolling Stones released Gimme Shelter, a song addressing the times. Four decades later the lyrics still strike social chords of today. Most of the way through the song Mick sings of the hate perpetrated on humans and he’s seeking shelter. The images in this video depict scenes from the day.

An impressionable child of those confusing times, my young mind was infused with the music and images. My elementary school was two blocks from the Florida beach. My third grade class had high windows facing the sea. Cuba just 90 miles south of Florida. During the Cuban missile crises, though not yet in school, fear was still instilled in me how close we came to annihilation. In third grade we watched an old film called Duck and Cover on what to do in case of  a bomb attack. We were supposed to crawl under our desks. Ours had cubbyholes so I fretted over how I was going to fit in that little space when a bomb came zinging through the window. I reckon a sense of impending doom was instilled early in me, which has taken most of my life to dispel.

But I have learned from her to rise above the doomsayers, and stay true to the light that moves my soul. In time, I’ve come around to the concept of light symbolizing unadulterated love. The world needs more love and respect. We must love ourselves, each other and the planet. We take care of what we love. I share my attitude about life through my art, but I can only communicate it one painting at a time. I’m kindling a concept to light up the lives of more people.

In the spirit of this, I’m starting an art crusade to counteract ugliness in the world. It’s more than about painting, it’s a place to shed our masks, and take shelter in a supportive, encouraging environment, a place to grow and explore and make new friendships. I’ll start small, just drop a pebble in the pond, in faith the ripples spread throughout other lives. I’m looking for kindred spirits to join me. I will need people with organizing skills who have an interest in art, nature, healthy food and travel adventure. And people with inspiring places that would like to play host to a small group of paint intoxicated artists. It’s simply about putting more positive vibes out in the world.

Most of the way through the song Gimme Shelter the lyrics speak of ugliness, then suddenly in the last chorus the words offer a beautiful solution, sister. . . Love. . .

To learn more email me, or subscribe to stay up to date.

Rock on 2015!

About the painting Kindred Spirits:
Oil on linen, champagne frame
30 x 40 inches
Pending sale