Egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose of egret flying over Florida beach

The Sojourner. Egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose

Dreaming I am a bird...

I rise from the warming earth, unfurl my wings and sail towards the gentle sea. Gilded light streams through my weightless body. The saline air caresses my restless feathers, laughing at the impermanence of things.

I soar over a golden stage of feathery grass, rippling under my breast. Sea wind and cloud song chime in the atmosphere, replenishing my spirits. To be one, effortlessly, with the eternal elements—earth, water and air…dreaming over eons.

Do you remember—were you once a witness to hope?—We were ageless when the sky blazed violet and we crossed virgin seas to begin anew? Or is this too, another forgotten dream?

We were beloved pilgrims then, roaming sands of distant shores in ancient footsteps, furrowed by the pioneers of humanity. In the time when birds spoke the language of soul-mates, calling to one another from border trees.

Time is passing my unsettled friend. All we have is the single breath of each moment. Tread the edges of life’s tremulous shadows and travel with me on the wondrous side of passionate light.

Our culture gods assure us happiness is purchased just beyond our horizons, but beauty and wonder and self-fulfillment are within you right now.

Simplify, discard mediocrity, and save that which stirs your soul and rings of freedom, inspiration and love. Always love. For does not the sojourner’s heart want to be claimed by love too? Like reflected light shining on an indigo sea claims the moon for its own?

The world needs healing and hearts need care. So take a walk on a wild shore. Dream and create a vision, find your purpose and make a plan. Your interests, skills and intuition will be your guide. Then, rise from the warming earth and be like the bird winging toward boundless seas.

And take us with you. We need your gifts. Be the inspiring sojourner you were meant to be, unfold your dream as we travel with you.

And do all things with love and respect and care.

Now close your eyes and dream…

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Seaglass, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose

Seaglass, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose

Seaglass is an egg tempera painting I’ve been refining over the last couple of years. The birds, ibis, I first observed on Sanibel Island in August 2009. Seven years ago.

Apparently, seven years is the gestation period for an idea. Those August day’s were absolutely beautiful in myriad ways, when graceful birds moved like ballet dancers across a watery stage.

Seaglass is about the only painting I’ve managed to finish after my solo show at Cheryl Newby gallery in June. I have another one on the easel, and like my egg tempera painting, Nesting, it’s giving me a fit as well.

To burn off frustration, I’ve been remodeling the studio. In a way, my studio is becoming a manifestation of my evolving creative life attitude surrounding Seaglass. . . Serenity, simplicity and inspiring beauty.

Time…the quality of time, is a precious element. Some of my most serenely beautiful, life enriching experiences, were the simplest ones, involving, water, sand, sunshine and good company. Time is an endangered gift.

I’ll share photos of the studio soon, and write more about a serene design philosophy that I’m formulating to use as a guide in art and life.

Meanwhile, I wandered out to the mailbox the other day and found this magazine, Charleston Style and Design, from Cheryl Newby gallery.  If you’re on Pawleys Island this summer, stop in and say hi to Cheryl and Kaitee, and see the few remaining paintings from my show.

Charleston Style and Design magazine

Charleston Style and Design magazine


Daniel Ambrose, full page ad, Charleston Style and Design magazine

Daniel Ambrose, Charleston Style and Design magazine

Peace and Light, as always, Daniel.



Five for Silver, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose. Sold

It was two years ago, in June. I grabbed a coffee from Starbucks then carried it across the coastal highway to the picnic tables overlooking the ocean.

My grandma Dewey had just passed away a month shy of 105 years on this earth. Five months earlier, my best friend Donna had died. She was only 49. We used to pass the time on this picnic table, drinking coffee, sketching and talking about everything under the sun. Talking about art, God, our kids and simply laughing at each others daily stories. Yakking, she called it.

Donna Metts

Donna Metts teaching art camp in the studio. 2006

Sitting on top of a table, I gazed across an empty sea. I opened my sketchbook and started drawing. A cow began to take shape. A hill on Hoot Owl road in North Carolina came to mind. Early one morning, I had seen a lone cow pressed against a June sky like a paper cutout—or perhaps an illustration in a child’s storybook.

I thought of Donna, how she set a luminous example for her children, and inspired her friends. I thought about my grandma Dewey, the lullabies she sang to me when I was a child. Remembered how happy I’d been that fairy tale summer in the mountains. Reflected on the years I raised a family on the river. Swimming through lifetimes in my mind.

I started thinking I think too much, then thought about how thinking inspires meaningful paintings. . . I started drawing again.

I thought about all the people loved and gone. . . How our residual memories of them inspire and influence our lives. Memories are like molecules in the sea. Molecules make an ocean, memories make a life. Life is Art.

I drew a hill under the cow. Looking up from my sketchbook, I saw a pale moon riding the blue. I drew it beside the cow. My grandma’s low smoky lullabies from another era drifted over the yellow dune flowers. . . Hush little baby… Later in my studio, this sketch evolved into an egg tempera painting Hey Diddle Diddle.

thumbs-moon-over-bulowMany years ago, standing in the back of my truck beside a tidal creek, Donna and I painted another moon. I painted a green sky surrounding a yellow moon. She saw a purple sky circling a silver ball. In the twilight water below us, five white birds moved through the shallows.

I can not say where inspiration comes from. I’m certain I will never understand why love is withdrawn—or why some people turn pain into acts of destruction while others create works of tremendous beauty.

Nowadays, instead of sitting at picnic tables—after yoga—I go down to the ocean and swim out beyond the breaking waves. I lay on my back and float over the swells, relinquishing my thoughts to the infinite sky, letting senseless questions seep into the sea. The poet Rilke wrote: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions…

Life, like nursery rhymes, sometimes makes little sense. But I’ve been thinking. . .

We may believe we move through life like shadows of birds cast upon the water. Thinking our words and actions are unabsorbed, unseen like a sea wind. In our daily interactions, we shape, inspire and influence each other in countless ways.

Somewhere at this moment. . . someone is thinking of you as an inspiration.