Monday, December 10, 2007

Painting Offers the Permanence We Seek

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: "It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea." – Dylan Thomas (for whom my youngest was named)

As we enter yet another holiday season when our government boasts consumerism and promotes fighting the terrorists by importing more crap from cheap Chinese labor; I lament at the loss of our humanity to a plastic age. Now more than ever, the world and the things that fill it are disposable. I, personally, cannot recall anyone I know that lives in the same home his or her grandparents owned. My own parents have owned and lived in four different homes, in one town, since my youth. The famous back-to-the-earth Englishman, John Seymour, once said – “If houses were well-built and the population was stable, everyone would inherit a good house.”

Creating an inheritance for my children. Maybe that is my underlying purpose in painting. Perhaps it feeds my enduring love for my solidly built 1939 English cottage on the prairie outside Glacier National Park - to have something permanent in the face of my own wandering nature. – DN

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