American Storm Series c. 2018-2020
American Storm Series
One late summer night when I was a young child, an immense storm spun above our lakeside cottage for many hours. The bowl of land kept the storm circling, repeating thunderous booms with spears of lightening accenting gusts of heavy rain. I was terrified, the dog’s teeth chattered, and my Mother wasn’t too happy either. Mother must have told Dad about that endless night when he came home from far away work.
The next time a night storm occurred that summer, Dad came into my room encouraging me to leave the warm lower bunk bed. Taking my hand, we walked out together to see a storm that turned an entire sky into gray billowing clouds and their shadows. Lightening streaked down from above, with lateral branches looking like the veins of a leaf. Multiple pulses of bright white light showed angry, leaden colored whitecaps.
Only my belief in my Father’s wisdom kept me there. I would do anything to have his respect. Eventually my heart slowed to a regular beat and my breathing became normal. I began to watch the storm with my silent but loving Father still gently holding my hand. Together we watched, sharing a sense of wonder.
That night I learned a new way to think about storms. They are like symphonies, taking us from tranquil beginnings through sweeping emotions, to a resolution as all become quiet once more. A storm is a free movie, a story of wind and water, light and dark.
A storm begins with dark veils of rain shading the distance. Moving closer, the first wind brings scent of rain. Raindrops spatter to strike the dry ground, bouncing dust upwards in tiny circles. There’s a rise in tempo. Clouds sweep overhead as a single mass of rapidly moving gray shapes. We are inside the storm, all black and white and shades of charcoal that soon move on to other places. At long last we breathe a sigh of relief as colors return to the landscape. Our adrenaline rush subsides.
I paint storms to salute my Father’s great understanding and love of nature. As a pilot, he was wary of storms, their dangers and challenges but as a naturalist, he taught me to love them. I am grateful for both lessons.
I take photographs while delivering exhibitions to museums and universities across the nation. I translate what I see and feel into art.
Stay safe and take the time to fully watch a storm.