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Walk With Me

Walk With Me

Friends –

This painting was completed to fulfill a heartfelt request from a special individual.  She had seen a photo of my painting for the Carmel Art Festival, ‘Steinbeck’s Pastures’ which had already sold and had been long-searching for a painting of the rolling, golden hills of California.  ‘Steinbeck’s Pastures’ fit the bill for her for many reasons.  Because I avoid replicating paintings, we discussed painting a similar view from the same area.

But let me back track a bit…. 

When I drove to participate in the Carmel Art Festival, I arrived in early May at my friends’ home in Monterey.  One of the first things I did was ask for their advice regarding where I should paint.  They had many coastal suggestions for me, and one  which was away from the ocean in a general area known as Corral de Tierra.  My friends informed me that one of John Steinbeck’s first novels had been written about that area, and I felt a strong desire to go there, in spite of the beauty of the coastline.

I did go to Corral de Tierra and painted on a spot along a side road there.  I painted alone with only the company of mooing cattle, cooing quail, soaring hawks and a gorgeous view of rolling California foothills.  It was later that I learned that my spot on unpaved Underwood Road was the exact location mentioned in a poem that had been written by my Monterey friend.  Could this be a coincidence? 

My friend had written the poem to read at a memorial service for his wife because the particular road was one that he and his wife often used to walk together and enjoy the natural beauty.  Their daughter, who requested this painting, has deep and tender feelings for the times that she also walked with her mother along that road. 

Moving forward to the present…..

It was a while after the Carmel festival before I was able to start the new painting request – several weeks, in fact.  As is my custom, I share photos of the painting with the requestor to ensure that I am headed in the right direction.  Later that evening of June 14 - the day I began - she replied.  It seems that very day is her mother’s birthday.  This was stunning and wonderful all at once.  Was it something more than another coincidence that lead me to start on that day?

Two or three days later, I finished without questioning whether or not I was done. There is no doubt, there are few paintings that I have worked on in which I get as emotional in the process as I did with this one.  The brush and colors seemed to create their own demands and moved in the rhythm to some music – real or imagined.  I could only follow through with the impulses that struck me. 

Why was this?  Is it because it represented a remembrance for someone’s dearly-loved mother?  Is it because my own mother is nearing the end of her days?  Is there some un-diagnosed bond that connects the spirits of daughters who have lost their mothers that made this magic happen?  You can be the decider.


As befits the Donation Art project, the creation of this painting will benefit the Sacramento Physicians Initiative to Reach out, Innovate and Teach (SPIRIT) program.  SPIRIT recruits physicians to donate medical services to the medically indigent, uninsured, and undocumented residents of El Dorado, Sacramento and Yolo counties.   It also provides a scholarship to deserving medical students who have graduated high school in El Dorado, Sacramento, or Yolo county. My requestor is Executive Director of this program. 

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