Sleeping Bird

Sleeping Bird, private collection, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose

This new egg tempera, Sleeping Bird, represents the only painting I’ve done in the past four weeks and further in the series I’m exploring. I like the purple periwinkles sprinkled in the foreground. I also developed a new glazing floating technique that makes the translucent layers shimmer and appear dimensional.

Though I have many commitments and galleries calling, I needed to step away from the easel for awhile.

Instead, I’ve been down on my knees. No, I ain’t been praying…well, maybe a little.

I’ve been working on the studio/home upstairs creating tremendous clouds of dust. The photo below is the finished bedroom. A place to sleep, make love, to dream. The latter is its function these day’s.

The light in the morning bathes the aqua hued room in floating serenity. In a sole chair, I sip my black coffee and muse on these large canvas’s.

My imagination scampers over islands of sparkling shells, drifting through misty aquatic sunrises, white feathers and wild dune flowers, immersing my soul in the healing aroma of hope and dreams.

Like a ship on a boundless sea, the ample sails of my spirit billow with possibilities. Lifting me above the primal waters of my lowest nature to scream with the soaring osprey’s in the crisp blue air of my inner life. Make a new home in the divine light of love and inspiration. Untether my self-imposed bonds of restraint; the words I failed to say, actions never taken.


Down on my knees, sanding the floor, my head shrouded in clouds of dust, if I find myself praying, it would be for all those who suffer and stress, overwhelmed in the dust clouds of your lives.

Your power is in you, sleeping bird.

Circle the thermals of your life and see the beauty that surrounds you. Feel your strength begin to stir in you, like an unseen breeze ripples the water. Feel the sense of well-being, the energy building, the power of possibilities pulling you above your circumstances.

Be awake to the ones who care. Be the one who cares. Rise above it all, reach out and be the one who makes a difference. Just be…be yourself, know and use your gifts. It’s what we love about you.

Let’s be the light that floats through the room.


Companionship, egg tempera painting

Companionship, egg tempera painting

I still can’t remember the road I was on, nor the name and even less where it was in the North Carolina mountains.

Know it was spring and after once discovering the elusive Charolais cows, I had my eyes peeled for them. I do recall rounding a curve and there being a cemetery on a shady hill. Curious to see how old it was, I turned up the rutted drive and parked under a pair of time-twisted cedar trees. My daughter and I share a trait for reading old epitaphs. When my twins were little, we used to play a game called no money fun. In one of them we made rubbings from ancient, weathered headstones. You’ve probably  heard of one of my favorite inscriptions. “I told em’ I was sick.”

Coming around a large granite monument I spotted a flash of white in the pasture across the road. Cows? Could they be Charolais? They weren’t there earlier. A farmer walked along the fenced lane, bucket in hand.

Scampering down the hill I went across the road, looking both ways twice lest I end up back on that hill permanently. Sometimes I forget my surroundings when enthralled with a scene.

I made some sketches for this small egg tempera painting, Companionship. It’s 8 x 8 inches, framed in silver,  and after a bit more paint, will be available at Crossnore Gallery.



July organic mountain tomatoes

The Year of the Garden

We made ready the land.
I sawed the boards and boxed the beds,
filled them with hope and alluvial soil asleep
in moccasin dreams of ancestral Cherokee children.
After consulting the Old Farmers Almanac she declared,
we will sow by the moon in this ancient mountain rainforest,
an organic garden—beans, squash and zucchini.
Let’s try different things, how about heirloom tomatoes?
We soon learned why hardly anyone grows heirloom tomatoes.
But the others exploded, succulent, sun warmed, bursting orbs,
a crimson rebirth of Time’s oldest fire mirrored in tender flesh.
Joy each morning returning, the rich discovery of ripe fruit,
dewy, reddening quicker than we could pick em.’
They rolled around the rustic table by the fireplace,
a succession of plump sirens consuming the kitchen counter.

When Jeremiah the young, confident, country plumber came,
we chatted against the wood railing above the stone wall,
saturated in bird song, pleasant talk, and new mown grass.
Morning sunbeams, silvery messengers, made lace of walnut leaves.
Judging our garden with admiration, he drawled,
“em are some good lookin’ maters.”
Then he moseyed to his truck, returned, cradling his Mossberg,
shouldered it and shot a snake in the pond. “Ahh don’t like snakes,”
drifted from his lips like cirrus smoke from the barrel of his gun.
But the corn, oh! We laughed when the corn by the 4th of July
was still only ankle high, and later by first frost,
shyly concealed kernels small as deer teeth.

Near sundown it rained on that Friday the 4th.
After Mexican dinner in our small mountain town,
we gathered with families at the ball field by the river.
Twilight the rain cleared, darkness, the expectant murmurs.
Down on the pitchers mound volunteer firemen huddled,
a flash, a rocket whistled over our heads.
We were so close in the thunder and light.
Fiery rainbows of stars showered all around us.
It’s a wonder the ole boys didn’t set house and hair afire!

These pictures all came to me in flashes, in Florida today,
on the 4th of July, emptying the art trailer on other heart land.
Knocked my head standing up, when I found in a box unopened till
this seventh summer, a Valentine note, composed the year of the garden.
Seven lines handwritten in juicy red, succulent like the flesh
of the tomatoes reaped that summer, on the slope by the pond,
seven miles outside of that little town in the mountains.
Seven lines distilled, dispelled time inside that sauna-like hull.
Suddenly the taste of those luscious tomatoes in my mouth.
Wet, dripping pure sunshine, spring water, slipping across
the oceans and mountains of time and undreamt dreams.
In the time of the garden on Independence Day
under an eternal, blue-smoked, mountain sky,
I believed in the destiny of stars.