So, on Friday (June 19th) I will be leaving the daily grind to be a gypsy artist for a week. I will take my newly gesso-ed birch panels with me to San Onofre Beach where it will be my outpost for the week. San Clemente hosts a week long Plein Air competition and I will be taking the entire week to get some sun and painting done. I always look forward to my little trips about once a year… usually alone. It is a necessary thing for me to be in solitude. Distance from the stuff of daily life has a way of giving a new perspective. Interestingly, Saturday evening will be Summer Solstice. I do not necessarily “celebrate” this, but it offers a reminder that seasons do change and life goes on even after drastic life changes happen to us. There are these threshold moments in our lives that we can look back on and see where everything became different. We can not prepare for everything that lies in the path of our future, but we can know that the trail that we have been on so far has brought us to where we are now.

My artist friend Michael Pearce has a spool of shoelace material.  Stitched into the lace is the word “Solitude” which is a word that I cherish. It is idealistic of me to think that I can have solitude in the chaos of my life, but I try to be reminded of its value. In the book “The Way of the Heart” Henri Nouwen has an entire chapter talking of the importance of solitude in our busy lives. It is a way to spiritually re-charge. It is infact the first step on a path that he describes as the way of the heart. (the next steps are silence and prayer) Of solitude he says “Solitude is the furnace of transformation.” He goes on to say in another book “In solitude we discover that life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared.” It is there, in solitude that I do recharge my gift. I am able to go back to the daily life of family, work, community and share the gift of life. I am truly looking forward to filling up with grace and the suns vitamin D boost as I paint along the coast next week.