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. . .

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Rock on 2015!

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

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Facebook Artist Challenge

by Daniel Ambrose on January 12, 2015

Mary's baby clam and sea glass study. Oil sketch by Daniel Ambrose

Baby clam and sea glass study. Private collection.

There is a challenge among artists you may have seen on Facebook. An artist is challenged by another to post three images of art for five days and challenge another artist to do the same. We are supposed to post older work first. I dodged the requests made of me, as I didn’t want to flood the news feed. Finally, in the spirit of the game, I yielded.

Nautilus shell and glass table. Oil study by Daniel Ambrose

Nautilus shell and glass table. Private collection.

Today, is day two of the challenge. Day one, I posted three small plein air sketches from 2007. Searching my photos for more paintings to post, I found these four, small coastal studies. They’re early seeds of an idea for a series I wanted to paint over many years, titled: All that She Loves.

Glass buoy. Oil study by Daniel Ambrose.

Glass buoy. Oil study. Private collection.

An inert object may be rare, and beautiful, or even ordinarily unappealing until a loved one attaches meaning to it, elevating it into the extraordinary. Sensitive artists can perceive these things, even if we don’t know the people. We  translate intangible concepts with pigments and perceptions that entice us to look closer and see everyday miracles. This is the mystical, enduring enchantment of art. Unique beauty surrounds us in our daily lives—in nature, a white teacup in morning light, even in the mellow lines of your loved one.

Sea urchins and antique mason jar, oil study by Daniel Ambrose.

Sea urchins and antique mason jar, oil study. Private collection.

I thought it would be interesting to secretly paint the series over the years, and then reveal the collection of studies and egg tempera paintings in an exhibition. For now, my idea has evaporated like rainwater in the sun, and I’m focusing on a new project involving the whole artist, one of art and adventure that will be loads of fun. Stay tuned. Meanwhile I have to select more paintings for this Facebook Artist Challenge. To see the work I post on Facebook, click the Follow button on the right side of this page. May 2015 be filled with joy and prosperity for you.


December Moonrise

by Daniel Ambrose on December 11, 2014

    December Moonrise, plein air oil painting 6 x 8 in.

6 December Moonrise, plein air oil painting 6 x 8 in.

Saturday evening after dinner in the ancient town, I drive south along the ocean, letting my thoughts dwell among the dunes. Across the river to my right, the sun is sinking in an orange sky. Sea oats hail the passage with bronze pennants aflame. I swerve over past the bridge and snap a photo with my phone to share, and send it through the luminous hues. Send it over Florida from the east to the west coast in a few heartbeats.

In the peacefulness I nurse my coffee while a misty, pink veil paints twilight into a poem. Over the sea, the crown of a red moon cracks the horizon. Is it possible stanza and syllables can be arranged to describe a scene so mystical? Mirroring the sun, the moon climbs to orange, and again I click a photo to send and try to describe in words but my words fail to express the moment. I must paint it! My phone glows—Paint it! Comes back the message from the other coast. Yes, I’ve already emblazoned the moment on my soul.

I paint this December moonrise in memory and observance of a Carolina full moon that woke me in the mountains eight years ago. Moonlight enveloped the camper and made the snow covered mountains enchanting, intoxicating as these dunes are tonight.

In the silent pause between each heartbeat lies the mystery of love and creation.