The Art of Daniel Ambrose

Hauntingly Beautiful Paintings

This Beautiful Planet

by | Jul 22, 2017

unfinished oil sketch of Venice Beach, Florida. This beautiful planet. Page from Daniel Ambrose sketchbook

Unfinished sketch. This beautiful planet. Venice Beach, Fl. Daniel Ambrose journal.

“Excuse me sir. . . excuse me sir. . . Sir, sir, excuse me. . . sir were you sitting here when the maintenance people came and took my stuff?”

I was kind of hoping he wouldn’t be here today.

The sound of thunder rolled me out of bed early this morning. I decide to go to the same spot on the beach that I painted yesterday. Maybe do a color study of the morning glory.

The clouds are massive, packed and bunched up high in the sky. Thunder booms and a dark curtain of rain brushes along the horizon. I whip out my paint box to capture its color.

A lone tree down the distant shore catches my eye. A dark note. I had not noticed it yesterday. An Australian pine? This is what I was taught to call them as a child, until someone told me they are also called Casuarina. I don’t know. I don’t even know what color it is in this moist light. I see that it’s dark, a gray violet and a bit warmer on the —

“How could they have a conscience!”

The voice behind me interrupts my color thinking.

Angrier now— “You gotta be kiddin’ me!”

Oh please! Can’t you see I’m trying to order the universe over here!?

“What, you can’t even go to the bathroom, and they take your stuff. I found it over by the trash can.”

He’s just getting warmed up. Still, I take out my pencil to make notes before I forget.

“I was only gone for an hour.”

Dang it! It’s pointless to concentrate. I casually start packing while glancing around for my shortest escape route.

“You’re destroying the only house for light years around — yeah— you watch —I could be dead and gone, but you watch. I’ll be there and I’ll tell God, so look what they did and God will say, yeah — just shut up Michael and sit down.”

I ease by him. I would love to stay and talk with you, but I have to get to work.

“Well, you have a blessed day, sir.”

You too.

“That hat is got some age to it.”

Yeah— I smile. Kinda like me.

“Have a blessed day sir.”

I’ll see ya.

“God bless you.”

You as well. Mercifully, I see the white roof of my van through the sea oats.

Standing now, tanned and tattooed, cigarette stabbing the air, his voice trails me through the dunes.

“I worked. I had three kids. I don’t like being around people. This beautiful planet is gonna burn up, you just . . ”

I load my paint gear into the van.

This beautiful planet.

Yeah — this beautiful planet — In those three words, he and I have found common ground.

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