The Leap

by Sheila

First Glance, Digital photo,
©Sheila G. Ticen, 2011

It has been many months since I first I stood there on the front porch, peering through the rippled glass beside the leasing company sign.  I had shielded my eyes and leaned in, looking past the reflections of the porch columns, and the trees in the park beyond, and through my own reflection, into the empty rooms.  The morning sunlight, slanting through the tall windows, filled the living room and the dining room beyond it with a warm, honey-hued glow.

I was on a location scouting trip, looking for a space, almost any space would do if the light was good.  It intrigues me how a painting that really captures the quality of light in a place seems to relate both to a specific moment and to something larger, something more to do with just being and with the passage of time.  In fact, the more mundane the location, the more pointedly significant the quality of light becomes.  So I don’t seek out grand spaces, far from it.  I was in the area looking at industrial buildings, and it was just curiousity and a soft spot I have for grand old houses that drew me up onto the wide vacant porch.

I had snapped a few photos that day, wanting to capture that quality of light, not really knowing why.  Back in my studio over the next few weeks I kept coming back to those images.  Of the well over 100 photos I had taken that day, these were the ones I couldn’t leave alone.  So I printed them out and pinned them up and wondered why I liked them so much.  They were interesting images, full of layers and broken reflections and bright shards of color, but obviously not what I was looking for.  Obviously not.

Finally, it sunk in, and of course it was perfectly obvious.  What I really wanted was to get into that space with one or two models and lots of time and lay the ground work in sketches and reference photos for some figurative paintings.  This was a somewhat daunting realization, since I didn’t really think I’d be able to arrange it.  However, I made that leap from wishing for something to working toward it.  I went into my office, reached for the phone and started the process of research, introductions, explanations and letter writing.

Now, many weeks later, and thanks to some very cool people who obviously have a soft spot for the arts, I have an appointment to go back.  I’m going with a couple of my artist friends as models and will have lots of time to lay the groundwork for a new series of paintings.  I’m looking forward to that day immensely, both for the chance to spend some time with my good friends, and for the chance to spend a day with a graceful old dame of a house.