To the Best of My Lights

Art and Tulips by the Sea
Rosarito Beach, Baja California
Photograph copyright 2019
Molly Larson Cook

The heat this strange summer has reminded me of my days in North Carolina where the best thing about summer was the fireflies. I’m still working on the art, but in truth, things have slowed down a little. Happily, the weather has also cooled a little, too, the last couple of days.

The good news is that I have a new show coming up in April here in Corvallis at a sweet place called Sam’s Station. Sam’s opened while I was still living here back in the mid-1990s – in the last century! The location had been a service station, hence the name. I like that kind of creativity and fun. And now it’s a popular gourmet coffee shop, bakery and restaurant.

My big/small painting project this month, besides finishing two works in progress, is to create something on an 8″ x 8″ canvas for a fundraiser at our local art center.

Lest you think the smaller canvas will be a quick cinch to create, let me admit that I have as much trouble with a small canvas – more trouble – as with one of the much larger pieces I generally do.

It’s something about the scale.

The colors are the same, but the scale is not. I should have known. When I was back in art school, taking Life Drawing workshops and sketching nudes with charcoal on 24″ x 36″ newsprint pads, the instructor often allowed as how I needed bigger pages.

I’ve tried my hand at smaller work from time to time, and it’s not terrible, but feels just a little claustrophobic to me. I greatly admire people who work on miniatures with the delicate detail that makes them as beautiful as they are. But I’ll admit I’m the blowsy type.

I want my work bigger and looser. You can only get so loose on a small canvas. I’m not sure yet what will happen with the 8″ x 8″ but that’s my task this week.

Ten years ago when I first dipped my toes and my brush back into the world of art after so many years away, I worked on small collages. I like them and sold some, but it wasn’t long before I wanted more freedom, wanted to be wild. I mean that in the best artistic way. I wanted to go for the gold, jam away the night, make music and keep on dancing.

Of course, I’m not as young or agile as I once was, but you can’t blame a girl for trying. Like Don Marquis’ creation, Mehitabel the Cat, I say “There’s a dance in the old dame yet.”

These days I also have a move coming up…not my household, just the studio. I say that so blithely, “…just the studio.” Moving an art studio is no small potatoes but it’s a good decision. I’ll have everything at home and I can soon paint, like I have in the past, whenever the spirit moves me, including 3:00 a.m. I could not do that at the studio.

Also, my many plans for the historic building my studio is in and the space itself flew out the big windows when the pandemic hit.

Life is about being willing to make new decisions when needed and, for me, they’re needed now, keeping in mind the words of author Rollo May (The Courage to Create):

“To the best of my lights this is what I choose to do although I may know more and choose differently tomorrow.”

In uncertain times, those are words to live by.

4 thoughts on “To the Best of My Lights

  1. Good luck on your move Molly. Send me notice of your show in April, you never know who might appear–hint, hint.
    As to smaller canvasses, eh…too hard to absorb, so stick with your instinct and go big girl, go big!

  2. I am already looking forward to that! Maybe Janet will come, too…would love to meet her. The photo was one of those happy accidents…

  3. An outstand photo and good for you Mollie. You continue to pursue your dreams. I will look forward to visiting your show next year. It’s been too long since that cup of coffee in Bellevue!

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