Finding Sweet William Blooming by Knob Creek, oil on canvas, 20×24 in., originally uploaded by ahtravis.
This one is for you. In this painting I am remembering the day we two youngsters were wading by ourselves at Knob Creek and were totally surprised and delighted to find a large mound of beautiful blue Sweet William in fresh, full bloom. We pulled some up and took it home. Your mother planted it by the back steps where it thrived and we enjoyed it for years. Is it still there?
That wonderful creek is always close to the top of my list of wonderful places to be. I have been thrilled to learn that the state of Tennessee is planning to make it a park. It is truly a magical place. While all the other water we routinely played in and around as we were growing up (Jacob’s Creek for one), was horribly muddy with runoff, Knob Creek was clear, shallow and safe. I don’t even remember seeing a snake or thinking of one; you know they were there. I suppose we children made so much noise that they had plenty of time to move out of our way. Now I know that the deep clay gully the creek ran through was not suitable for farming and so the area around it stayed covered with vegetation and thus the water was clear.
This is my first painting of a memory from my childhood. It has grown out of a class I have been taking with Randy LeSage, “Working Toward Abstraction“ at the Worcester Museum of Art. I first made drafts in gouache on paper. Each one less specific than the previous one, finally boiling the image down to the two children, the flowers and the water. The wonderful spring day is implied.
Yes, I remember the Sweet William and our delight in finding it. The painting is beautiful and stirs my memory of the creek and the wonderful hours we spent there. I treasure those memories that we made when a day seemed to last and last.