When I was about six years old our family moved from the suburbs to the countryside of southern Columbia County, in New York State. The only things dividing our new front yard from a noisy section of the Roeliff Jansen Kill was Jackson Corners Road and a steep bank. There were many things I loved about living there for the next eleven years, and a number of my paintings are about that place and time. Increasingly I find those memories emerging through dreams and in my depth journaling.
Recently I was doing a twilight image dialogue and the Roeliff filled the session as an ancient, wiry man with a lot of wild facial hair, limbs like driftwood, and a face full of quiet light and laughter. I feel like that water, and my boyhood obsession with it and with the rocks and fish and sycamores that shared its bed, still run through my veins thirty five years after moving away.
A recent painting start seems to be about the Roeliff, and I decided to post progress here. This photo has the contrast hopped up so you can see the lines - they are fairly faint on the actual paper. Click on the image to get a closer look.
What do you see in these scribbles? Maybe you see things I don't see yet. And there are many things that I see in my heart which belong in this image, but they haven't arrived yet. My memories of the Roeliff are of abundance, things all crowded on top of each other, continuous movement, distractions, the constant chuckle of water, and light. I doubt I can capture the ancient man who came into my dreams (yet), but I will take a shot at catching some of the feelings and images which have bubbled up as a result.
Here is another post about the Roeliff Jansen Kill.
A few other posts about that place and time: Pursuing My Father, Landlocked Sycamores, My Shadow (Pouch of Seeds),
And here is another painting I did years ago, with the Roeliff in it. The painting is called Turkey Hill - the hill on the other side of the stream from ours. To my young boy's imagination Turkey Hill was a magic unattainable place, across the deep water.