Shooting Stars

by Daniel Ambrose on April 20, 2015

harpist
I heard her song long before I knew her.  It’s been told to me, that they saw us talking many years ago, and I was so naive.  She told me once that she did talk to me, and that I don’t remember, but she does. I have no memory of our talk that day—I talked to so many people. There were many thousands over the years. Few do I remember. But my name, she remembered, while I forgot hers.

Now, I can’t forget her. Now, I remember everything. The pictures crash into me without warning, a storm surge of emotions sweep me away. Random fragments of  images and words assail me, flashing through my mind like shooting stars. Conversations, islands, meals, a mountain garden, bookstores, seashells, a fireplace, fall through my mind like a warm spring rain.

Breathe, wise teachers say, breathe in and out, know that you are breathing. Make your mind and body as one. Be in the moment. Thinking on the past brings sadness, thoughts of an unknown future begets fear. Peace dwells in the present.

But it’s hopeless, for it’s in the present that I find you. I no longer hear the wind whisper through the pines, without hearing your voice telling me how you love the peaceful sound…the quiet. I no longer roam the seashore without searching for the perfect sea glass for you. And every shooting star evokes the memory of the night of the meteor shower, when we made love by the sea. A girl on a horse carries the image of you on an island jungle trail, blue dress gleaming in the misty light. I see you slowly turning, smiling, looking back at me. There will never be another waterfall on a Caribbean island or Carolina mountain without your presence embedded in the watery atmosphere. Nor will I witness a sunset after a rainy day, when I see you turn to me and say, that is what I love about Florida. How the dreamer in me, loves the dreamer in you!

Do these wise ones feel deeply? Can they paint the emotions that ebb through the tides of our days. Can they turn ineffable love into a painting? Throughout my life I have memories of many beautiful things, but only ours touch the child in me.

This restlessness in you haunts me. It’s contagious, and I can’t be who I was before you. I no longer belong here. Not here among asphalt and concrete. Not in this place where men come to end their days.

Your dreams became my dreams. And my dreams are of you. Should I have an identity of my own? I am hands, heart and eyes. I am the conduit of your dreams, channeling the love flowing through me. My paintings are my glorious testimony of living. Here is a man who loves and was loved.

I belong with you, among aqua waters and pink sands, singing with birds and whales, soaring with sails unfurled against the mighty winds of life. I belong with the wild mares running free on Chincoteague. I belong on an endless estuary floating beneath the bluest sky. Come with me, my love.

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moonn-ambrose

Spring Moonrise, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose

Fiery pink and gold banners unfurl across the sky, greeting me as I exit the darkened restaurant. Satisfied and solitary, I steer towards the river to catch the show, maybe paint a tropical palm sketch as a prize for my Facebook Studio “likes.”

Following the river north, getting high on the evanescent light, windows open, feeling the balmy island evening elevate my soul, I intend to continue cruising. And then, nearing a side street leading east, inexplicably I whip the wheel and aim for the beach.

The ocean…a full moon rising! Spring moonrise! A flag of colors floats above the tranquil water. The Earth’s shadow, just above the horizon, casts a luminous blue. The facing sunset forges an orange bar melding into a silvery tone. A hint of violet compliments the pale yellow moon.

Absorbed in serenity, I listen carefully. I’m certain I hear whispering in the nocturnal sea air, a primal, peaceful, spring song.

About the painting:
Spring Moonrise
Egg tempera
8 x 10 in.
Sold

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To Sleep, To Dream, egg tempera

To Sleep, To Dream, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose

What’s on the easel: To Sleep, to Dream

I’m not really sure where I’m going with these sleeping birds. Indeed, I am not quite sure they are even about birds. The inspiration for them appears to come from a vague place of sensations—interpretations—from memory more than external stimulus. It’s baffling and exhilarating. I have no thoughts, and yet, they are not thoughtless.

These sleeping bird paintings may be about connecting contrasting concepts; the sense of weight and weightlessness, vulnerability and power, lost and found, desire and…well, it may be about none of these things.

I like the little touch of sea glass.

Anyway, this small egg tempera is on the easel, and I’m considering how far I want to take it, or maybe, how far I want the process to take me.

Art can take you to extraordinary realms. The creative process is a tantalizing mystery, more wordless than worldly. Still, I thought I’d try and share insights with you.

I sent a photo of this painting to my dealer. She titled it, To Sleep, To Dream. I’ll leave you with these words she wrote in an email to collectors.

“Daniel is doing what all great artists eventually do – he’s exploring a particular subject (birds) and seeing how far he can go with it.  Monet did haystacks. In this case it involves not only composition, but also the age, size, stance of the birds and all the colors of the bird and around the bird.  I love it when artists embrace this kind of creativity.  It really speaks to something higher and deeper and more beautiful – so, enjoy!  He’s traveling a lovely road with this endeavor.” – Barbara Hughes

Thank you for being on this journey with me.

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