Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Painting Across America, Tennessee

Running Water Creek along Hwy 24/134
5" x 7"
acrylic on gessoboard

I painted this on Sunday May 6 along what I think is Running Water Creek.  I found it after seeing several cars pulled off along a county road in one of the most remote parts of Tennessee that we explored.  A couple of people were fishing and a small group had just crossed the creek behind me to explore some caves.  I just wanted peace, and quiet and cooler temperatures.  By now, I had my painting set up pretty streamlined and thus was able to wade down the creek a bit and find some seclusion.  Then, I saw this scene with sunlit crinkles on the water and trickling sounds of rocks and water uniting.  I was set!  I got ready and relaxed to determine what I may want to focus on in the painting.  I had about two hours of painting time when Pyar came to share lunch.  It was a fun lunch and as soon as I finished eating, I started back at the painting.  I knew I could finish it in the similar light of the afternoon and wanted to complete it before meeting up with Pyar again.  Once Pyar finished lunch, he set off back along the county road running parallel to my creek paradise.  Within about five minutes Pyar called on the phone from down the road.  He told me he needed my help and asked if I could walk up the road.  When he mentioned a stray puppy was at stake, I immediately packed.  I could not tell if the painting was finished and at that point was ready to let it go for the day.  I soon realized that Pyar was only a few hundred feet up the road and so I walked to meet him.  I could hear puppy Jack before I saw his pleading eyes.  I gasped, he was so small and between us and him was a thick growth of underbrush, trees and trash and just behind the puppy was the roaring sounds of Hwy 24, a major interstate.  Pyar's plan was for me to stay in front of the puppy while he walked down the county road and was going to circle back and come behind Jack so we could keep him from going into traffic.  As soon as Pyar was behind Jack, the puppy bolted under the barbed wire fence and into heavy interstate traffic. My vision was hampered by the brush and trees separating the two roads and I panicked, inside.  You know the kind that you can hear your heart in your head and you get sweaty thinking about what could be happening but you don't know so you imagine the worst and then wonder if it could possibly be any better and time travels at an all time slow pace?  It's frustrating.  So, I waited.  I knew if Pyar could get to the puppy, all would be well, but I could only hear the whizzing of semis and cars going too fast, just out of my sight.  It was miles before not seeing any homes or dwellings, no stores or crossroads.  I thought we were remote and safe.  I had no idea that the major Highway was within feet of my tranquil creek.  About thirty minutes later, my knees burned from crouching, trying to get a glimpse of what could be happening and thrilled I had not heard any brakes nor any horns at that point, I hear Pyar's sweet voice, 
"Yes!  I'm here! I'm at the fence, did you get the puppy?"
"Yeah, I got him" Pyar said softly.  I saw him then, in Pyar's arms, he was little and quiet and alive.  Pyar handed his warm body over the tall barbed wire fence to my waiting arms.  Jack fell into my chest and his racing heartbeat told me he was still scared.  I held him tight as I quickly descended the cement drainage ditch, managing not to trip.  The puppy's heart rate slowed and he rested his chin on my left shoulder.  Pyar came around and met us.  We hugged and walked to the car.  Jack felt heavier as we walked along and his sighs were deep and long, matching mine.  Soon, we were all three sitting in the shade closer to the creek than the highway, feeling relieved.

To see the video of Jack's rescue and read more, go to www.hikingandhoping.com

South Cumberland State Park 
5" x 7"
acrylic on gessoboard

Now that we were a party of three, everything changed, for the better.  My explorations were more active and exercise oriented instead of just scouting for campsites and painting spots.  Jack and I quickly became trail buddies.  On this day he found this meadow just behind one of the trail heads, away from people looking at the falls where we just climbed for about two hours.  We were ready for a rest and soft grass,and here we found both.  I was able to make a few studies in pencil and a quick under-painting before we were to meet back up with Pyar.  It was a great day and I loved seeing the earth through Jack's eyes.