I have become use to the universe presenting me with unexpected responses to mental requests. This has taught me not to wish or even casually desire something I don’t really want. Some of these experiences strike me so odd as to merit inclusion in this section. In fact, such experiences are the cause of adding this section.
I find such experiences often when selecting and composing a painting scene. It is as though the universe had decided to allow me to alter the environment to satisfy desires for the composition of a pleine aire painting. While painting in Bolten Le Sand, on the western coast of England, I had asked my artist friend for some tips on choosing a location to paint on a Sunday morning. She pointed to a painting on her wall that she had done along the local canal. It included a bridge, the canal, and an old home. It was exactly what I was looking for, and she graciously provided me with directions as to how I could reach the site. I felt a bit guilty realizing that choosing a scene and a composition comprises a great deal of the creative work in a painting. I promised her I would not copy her picture.
Upon arriving at the site, I realized how much time Chris had saved me. One truly cannot know that a scene has the makings of a good painting until the painting has been done. I honestly have to admit that I may not have chosen this particular spot without having seen Chris’ painting first. Having seen her painting, the potential of the spot now seemed obvious. I sat and began to layout the picture.
About half way through the picture I began to wonder what things would really make my composition different from that of Chris. At that point it occurred to me that I could add a fisherman and make him the focus of the painting. I then wandered if there really were any fish in the canal. As I began to strategize on how to place an imaginary fisherman in the picture, I made a few not very satisfying sketches. My first attempts were wrong in both the scale and the type of person in the sketch. Just as I was wishing mentally that I could place someone in my scene a young boy walked up to me and said, “Sir, would you mind terribly if I fish in this spot?”
“Of course not. Go right ahead.” I responded. “Do you mind if I add you to my painting?”
And he proceeded to set up exactly in the empty spot on my canvas where I was attempting to paint a fisherman. So at that point I proceeded to paint him into the picture.