I was introduced to Mary Oliver several years ago and since then have grown to love her poetry and recognize it even before I read the by-line. Her writing is full of awareness. The day I painted this I had read her poem “Why I wake up early” From that poem came the title for the painting. It just seemed like such a good way to start a day.
John Muir may not have had art in mind when he penned this: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.” I know he had places like Yosemite and Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks as he talked of places and I think I did too as I painted this. I suggest that “places” can also be non-tangible spots where our hearts find some reprieve from whatever may be troubling us.
You can view additional paintings inspired by land or sea, click here.
Well over a year ago I started preparing for another hometown exhibit, painting images of a variety of subjects in a number of my favorite styles, some detailed and planned; others, loose and spontaneous.
Then 2020 happened. The show went on hold. Life itself went on hold. I continued painting but something different started happening. I found myself drawn to small pockets of time on small pieces of paper, usually in the morning before the noise of the news cycle got in the way and with a fresh abandon, perhaps freed from exhibition expectations. I started thinking of these painting times as “morning moments,” not necessarily because of the time of day but because I was fully awake, alert, and aware of gentle stirrings that seemed to bypass my brain. The small simple paintings became heart-filled responses to an anxious sleepless night, a line of poetry, the song of a bird, or the whisper of the wind. What was common to all was an absence of thinking and planning.
The results of those morning moments are collectively some of the purest and most honest paintings I have ever done — simple, spontaneous, and highly personal. When the opportunity came about recently to revisit an exhibition time at Glass Growers Gallery, I knew that I wanted to share them. My hope, my prayer, is that they will communicate between my heart and your heart and that they will stir something in you and bring you some of the peace they brought me as I painted them.
I am grateful to Debby Vahanian and Glass Growers Gallery for giving me this opportunity to share these paintings with you, to have this “heart to heart” conversation. In my nearly 40 years of painting and exhibiting this may be the most unique exhibit I have ever had. Thank you for joining with me on this journey.
This exhibit is now over.
Marie Spaeder Haas
August 1 – September 8, 2020
Glass Growers Gallery, 10 E. 5th St., Erie PA
gallery hours: 11-3 Tuesday through Saturday; Monday by appointment (814-453-3758)
I’ve been working small during these days turned to months of the pandemic. I work fast too without analyzing or questioning the strokes that find their way to the paper. Some times it takes days or longer for me to understand what my hand has revealed. That was the case with this painting. It came after a particularly dark and depressing morning news. We have a lot of those lately. I felt rather down with it all, with thoughts like “why art?” “why bother?” creeping into my thinking. This morning I looked at it again and the words of Wendell Berry came to mind….”In the dark of the moon, in flying snow, in the dead of winter, war spreading, families dying, I walk the rocky hillside sowing clover.” A friend reminded me that clover nourishes the soil. Ah, yes, I said. And art nourishes the soul.