Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.
These lines are an excerpt from a poem from Marlowe which is considered an idyll, a poem which typically depicts a peaceful idealization of rural life. I chose to use the word in the title of the painting shown here, Idyll By the Lake, which is part of my show which opens Saturday at the Kada Gallery in Erie. The painting is a 12″ by 36″ canvas and has that feel of a rustic haven that comes with the word.
The feature of this piece that stands out for me is the small round lake that is the focal point here. I made it appear as thought the viewer was looking directly down on it which gives it a round , flat appearance on the canvas. There was just something that I liked in the way the lake appeared this way. It reminded me of the eye from a peacock’s tail feathers and I liked that shape and color contrasted with the lines and warmth of the rest of the painting.
But , while the painting is blissfully upbeat, I still think it is strengthened by the darkness that comes from underneath the bright colors. It gives it a bit of an edge, a feeling of wariness that takes away that feeling of cockeyed optimism that it might otherwise have. Kind of like a shepherd who happily watches over his safe flock but knows that he must always be watchful because there may always be great danger just out of sight. Maybe the Red Tree is such a shepherd here, enjoying such a peaceful moment. Taking in all the pleasure and satisfaction that the momentary idyll offers while keeping an eye for whatever might emerge from over that next rise.