July 25, 2021

By Arthur H. Gunther III

One recent day, I took a car ride with an intriguing woman (all are), and we had conversation. Never sure where those mutual talks lead, as I draw from a stream of consciousness, and the partner usually does the same. That means you are in the current, and it can be fast-moving; it can swirl into a placid pond and linger a bit; it can go over rocks, even waterfalls and lead to lakes, even an ocean. Much like relationships.

The lady and I were riding past part of the lower Hudson River Valley mountain range. I have had other such conversations in this region, and the description already given about how both water and relationships proceed or stumble or end or diverge fits. Somehow you never forget the journey.

My lady, though I am not sure she is truly mine, is actually a painting, an acrylic on wood panel, 24 x 24, and we were headed for the members’ show at an art center about five miles from Anthony’s Nose, the mountain that looks across the Hudson at its brother, Bear Mt.

The woman in the painting will no doubt be shy among stronger work from far better artists, but she’s to be the room, and her friend is happy about that. Good enough.

Who is the lady? Maybe my remembered conversation with her will tell me more in a discovery that leads somewhere, even to tributaries that do not extend very far.

The painting, and so the woman, began as a search for color. I deliberately chose her green coat, or perhaps blouse, and her red Irish lass’s hair. She is a stand-out lady, against a background of yellow ochre and similar color mixed and applied to show the stain of the wood, a medium preferable to me than canvas for this piece.

Her expression was painted last, for that is her soul. We only find that in exquisite moments, if we ever see the within at all. I drew her sharp nose, mouth and chin first, guided by the well of prior observation. I have seen such line before. When her eye was finished and the rouge of her face applied, she was there.

I like her. I may even love the lady, not as an art piece, for it may not be that at all, but for the feeling.

The writer is a retired newspaperman. This essay is adapted from an earlier piece.