Yesterday I drove down to Wedron and met Brook McDonald at C&M Canoe Rentals. We spent the afternoon paddling and exploring the lower Fox River. Our plan was to stop along the way, allow me four or five hours to begin two different landscape paintings, and allow Brook time to survey aspects of the river and surrounding landscape that he seldom has opportunity to investigate. We began beneath cloudless skies and ended under near complete overcast.
Neither of us had paddled this section of the river so close to sundown and as evening approached a new awareness of landforms and river emerged under increasingly subtle condensed light. Reflections of sky and shore took on a deep resonance, emerging from the river as light might from a dark cut garnet. Clarity has many manifestations; it is not the product solely of a brilliant sun.
We are inclined to think of clarity in verbal terms. A moment of clarity is a moment of language precision, a moment of articulation. But clarity also comes when the left-brain is silenced. Perhaps our clearest moments are beyond language and mental rumination. I paddled in the bow and looked out on a luminous flood that rendered me speechless. Clarity is the only word that describes it, but clarity itself is not a word.
Written by Joel Sheesley, Artist-In-Residence for Art of the Fox, a program of the Fox River Initiative