River (Safe/Not Safe):

A river has a shore with calm areas of water, and also much wildness and chaos further out, and lots in between. During the second year of the pandemic I started weekly trips to the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River at Ollalie State Park in WA. This river was a wonderful and exciting place to see it all. These painting days were the first art getaways from home..

An artist chooses the subject of any painting with a lot more than just the beauty of a scene. What gets brought to the easel, the brushes and the paper/canvas are what’s on her mind and heart, as much as the visual appeal. And sometimes the painting shows the artist what is on her mind with her choices of shapes, color and movement . These painting days to this nearby river provided a day out and an opportunity to be with other artists also craving getting away from home. In our own cars and masked, we would safely renew friendship, and enjoy being and painting in a place together, echoes of our pre-pandemic life. My choices of exactly what to paint each time seemed to be about choosing safe calm places of this river, or, on another day, choosing  subject matter out in the turbulence, farther from shore. As we all navigated the different and changing ways to be safe during the pandemic, the shore and the wildness of the river helped me to bracket and sort through the pandemic’s unseen effect on me. Some days I was braver than others.

All images and text copyright property of  Catherine Gill.  Contact author for permission to use any images or text.