To Sleep, To Dream VI, egg tempera painting of a sleeping bird by artist Daniel Ambrose

To Sleep, To Dream VI, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose

When I began making paintings, I only saw the appearance of things; a majestic landscape, marvelous architecture, a powerful beast or blameless face. I believed in these things as true expressions of reality.

Photo of artist Daniel Ambrose and Florida panther

Observing and drawing life closely for decades has shown me truth often lives beneath a veil of words or smoke clouds of appearance. There is a kind of truth told, and a certain truth lived.

Ideas about beauty are easier to know. Beauty is available now. Beauty is in your heart, words and deeds. Beauty is the countless biological processes working autonomously to keep us alive. Beauty is miraculous connections.

Beauty resides in the variegated light released from a string of pearls, the wildness of tawny curls, a bird alight on the beach, a liquid ribbon of fiery gold gilding an evening marsh. The sound of beauty appears in the first breath of a newborn baby as she emerges from her mother’s womb.

Profound beauty is born in the soothing quietness of human touch.

Contemplating the concept of omnipresent beauty, at times overwhelms me with its awesomeness—makes my heart tremble like a rabbit caught in a rainstorm.

Life can be long but life is only one breath away from eternity. So I try to find and hold a certain beauty in each encounter. Pocketing it like the treasures of a child delightfully gathered in secret. Save it in visual memory before it disappears, like rain falling into the sea.

In daily encounters, in a glance or a deed, I find beautiful gifts of inspiration. How do I honor this miracle of life? How does an artist paint the potentiality of things?—express the inexpressible blue fires of love or the silence of an iron bell imprisoned in the forge?

I reflect on these things while I walk the beach after yoga—following the tracks of birds until they suddenly vanish. Painting sublime hues in my mind, painting more than I can ever say.  Walking the silver line, traces of my passage, in time, will disappear in the tides.

The truth of beauty envelopes our lives. To be aware, be engaged with what is happening around us right now, at this moment is beauty. The most beautiful thing we can leave behind are our gifts of love.

This egg tempera painting, To Sleep, To Dream VI, is one of mine.

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