Yes, I am missing a cloud today. I’ve looked for it in several places, the usual ones. But not to be found.
Like I look for my life on a Monday morning, in all the usual places, sometimes not to be found. And I’m jealous of these white houses standing so upright and sure. Confident in themselves and their plans. Smug-happy they made the right decisions. Strutting out red-roofed optimism.
They do not lean in, searching. To find that thing they are missing, the white cloud. But the rest of the painting does. The lake and the horizon pinch together in the middle, pull the hills and trees inward, a landscape search party. Bowed around the center.
Ah here it is. The cloud, blithe floating on the convex lake, off-center. Taking a break. Tired of holding up the sky. Gonna leave that job to the others. Maybe it should have been fog in the first place.
But the land does not release its searching tension. The charcoal sailboat still tilts. Maybe we have found what we were looking for, maybe we haven’t. Here the joy is in the looking.
When you visit Austin, TX (ATX), come take a dip here at Barton Springs. The fountain of Austin’s eternal youth. Some will recommend Hippy Hollow in the spirit of naked rollicking fun, but it’s a drive. If you want to dive into the heart of the city, this is your place.
Surrounded by Zilker Park and sky-spanning oaks, Barton Springs bubbles up from the aquifer at a beautiful 68° degrees year round. And year round you’ll find people swimming its luminous three acre length. With the salamanders and the occasional snake.
Tonkawa Indians bathed in the springs for sacred cleansing. The Spanish built a mission. Texas legislators cobbled compromises on its grassy slopes. You’re just as likely to meet a naiad here as the love of your life. And tops are optional.
I like this painting because it captures a timeless Barton Springs–the centuries layered under this paint. Reflects the sense of wonder that an actual place can melt into our skin. Touch a collective conscience as past memories lap against the bodies of today’s swimmers. A warrior cleansed, a convert baptized. Every bather’s released worries, friend’s wacky stories, and lovers’ stolen kisses; they all incarnate this spring. You can meditate laps or cannonball dive, either way refreshed to give soiled Life another go.
Citrusy colors capture the bright vibrant atmosphere. The creative diptych (two panels) calls out the quirky-fun vibe. Trees in solid motion cast shady pools and remind me of Japanese prints with elegant economy of line. There’s a splash of mid-century aesthetic, but its dripping modern all over.
And although you can’t own Austin’s limpid crowning jewel, this work is still available. A treasure sparkling down at the bottom of Barton Springs. Just a dive away.
(see the rest of Patrick’s work soon at Wally Workman gallery, ATX)