Intermission, egg tempera painting of a single bird and sand dollar by Daniel Ambrose.

Intermission, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose.

Intermission is an elegant, understated, egg tempera painting honoring quietude. The genesis for a series of quiet bird paintings that began to form several years ago with Limbo. It and Intermission reflect a momentary state of pause—a space of tranquil stillness.

Lately, I’ve been painting day and night and feeling the pressure of time. Egg tempera painting requires quite a lot of time. Deadlines are looming, yet I am taking each painting in exquisite measure to a higher plane. Or perhaps they are taking me. I’m experimenting with new pigments and layering extremely delicate hues in breathtaking tones of paint.

My heightened sensitivity to time makes me conscious of the hours I spend interacting with technology, and how interlaced it is in each hour of my day. The first 25 years of my life I got along fine without these electronic devices. I think I have become dependent on them more from habit than true necessity. Enticing screens are a procrastinators portal into a Pandora-like box full of habit-forming distractions.

In the days before computers and smart phones—living on the river then—my daily habit after arising in the morning was to take a cup of coffee outside before daybreak, and sit on the back porch with my dog, Scout. Relishing my coffee while listening to the reassuring nocturnal sounds splashing and singing along the water, I’d watch the stars fade in velvet sunrise.

Computers and change came. I moved off the river and over morning coffee I got into the habit of scanning an electronic screen instead of an enlightening sky.

Until yesterday morning.

Yesterday morning I decided to slip out of bed and into caffeine meditation. I woke way before dawn, and stumbled downstairs, made coffee and sat on the sofa, letting my eyes adjust in the semi-dark stillness. My aging, ailing cat Puppy purred beside me.

Puppy the persian cat

Puppy, 2012

My eyes casually roamed the ghostly shapes in the room while my thoughts wove through the people in my life. I meditated on gratitude. I created a space of stillness inside my heart. Then, from the rectangular window high in my southern wall, a bright light caught the corner of my eye.

A waning gibbous moon in a platinum sky. Studying it closer I noticed a pinpoint of light to its right—Mars. Then Saturn to the left and below—a sparkling star—Antares. More than 800 times the size of the sun, this supergiant star is the red heart in the constellation Scorpius. Antares is an ancient star that is nearing the end of its lifespan and will eventually terminate in a humongous supernova explosion.

As the sky lightened and the primal elements began to fade, I made this small tonal sketch…Who knows, it may be the origin of another series of paintings someday.

A meditative, universal series that takes us outside of and paradoxically deeper into ourselves.

Perhaps egg tempera paintings—gifts—to lead your heart and mind into a secure place of peaceful stillness.

 Waning moon, with Antares, Mars and Saturn, Pencil on toned paper.

Waning moon, with Antares, Mars and Saturn. Pencil on toned paper.


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