"From dawn to dusk, winter to spring, summer & autumn; the contrasts of nature refresh the mind & renew our sense of balance."
- Phil Harding,
British field archaeologist
After recently painting this sunset over the water, from a photo taken years ago in Utah while at Antelope Island State Park, I got to thinking about balance. My thoughts about balance were inspired by the 90 degree plus heat we were experiencing at 6200 feet, which just seemed out of balance to me. The sun in the painting seemed like the sun we were seeing - searing, drying, and so hot. With smoke in the air from distant - and not so distant - wildfires, the sun seemed threatening.
But the sun also provides the means for growing things, and is a necessity for life. And that's where the balance comes in.
There's a reason for the phrase, "too much of a good thing." Although the sun provides life, too much of that sunshine can also take away life.
Although the water in this painting looks warm with the sunset's reflection, painting the water to balance out the sun's heat comforted me. The water balances out the heat and sustains life. Sometimes in the dryness of our summer I wish I could just paint in the water we need. As I set out sprinklers in the garden and the grass, I guess I am sort of "painting" in the water needed on our landscape.
But water can go from sustaining life to killing it as well, when there's too much. We see that with the hurricanes and storms that create flooding and destruction with too much water. I see it when the butterflies, moths and mice drown trying to get water in the horse water tanks and dog water bowls.
Sometimes, a lack of a good thing causes us to pursue too much of it and it becomes a bad thing for us.
I think of this, as I strive to balance the water and dryness in my painting. Too little water and I lose the energy in the painting. Too much water and it loses it's brilliance and detail.
How do we find the right balance in our own lives?
How much of a good thing is too much?
What is too little to sustain us?
There is no one answer. It is an art to find the right amount of that which we need to keep us energetic, brilliant and growing.
Find the balance.