Egg tmepera painting of cow and hayble in a psture by Daniel Ambrose

Pilgrims Way Home, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose

For a time this painting was known as Haybales and Cow Trails and shown in Crossnore gallery. Though it received a lot of interest, no one took it home.

So I did.

Paintings are like people connections; needing that special person to find each other.

It was hanging on the dining room wall until my son and I took the wall down.

I set it on a easel and studied it over coffee—relived that June afternoon. I’m sitting in the pasture beside a hay-bale painting a small study…sunlight streaming across the hills, that 65′ Mustang tucked in a hay barn, a rusted tractor, the girl…pastoral peace.

I was in between places, leaping from an entrenched way of life into the excitement of an uncertain future. I was plowing in deep, fully committed. Yet, situations lay fallow—waiting for time—the true arbitrator of life’s unsettled questions to resolve. But I knew peace lay in that pasture that afternoon.

Art is best if it begins with an idea. Some Art is better if it pours from the gut. Let the heart be your guide instead of your head. Internal not external impulse guided my brush. I can direct or observe my thoughts, but I cannot deny them.

Initially, I thought the painting was about hay-bales and distant cow trails. On the next go around, I added a cow and wood smoke and lovingly got lost in painting the mystery of shadows.

I texted the image to a trusted friend, who said. “Is it about the cow or the hay-bale.” Neither one, I replied, as I considered the changes I had made. It’s not about the cow or the hay-bale. I have no idea what it’s about, but the cow and hay-bale are part of my not knowing. They belong together—integral—balancing each other.

This painting is special to me. One of the first egg tempera’s I painted after moving off a Florida river. So much I wanted to say—indeed, more than I could say.  Reflecting on it, I know I said it in paint. Thinking  more deeply, I realized the painting never was about hay-bales, or cow trails, pastures, or even mere recording of shadow and light. Maybe it’s about everything.

Maybe it’s about being mindfully present in a geographic place in a space of time. Maybe it’s about the journeys in life, leaving one home and searching for a new one. A momentary pause…

Maybe it’s only about a fine day shared with another soul.

Two pilgrims asking the way home.

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