WITH SETH TUMMINS
Where are you painting from and what have you been doing to keep busy?
I am painting from the same place as always, which is to say, wherever I find myself. With a full-time job, a part-time job, and other side interests outside of painting, keeping busy is not a problem.
My indoor space is in a bedroom corner, about 1 yard square. There I have my EdgePro Gear Paintbook set up with my backpack at my feet and an Open Box M set up to my left to hold paints and brushes. To my right is a card table that holds my laptop and more paints (that Open Box M was given to me by a compassionate painter, Sheryl Hibbs, after a house fire. I have benefited from multiple instances of generosity over my lifetime. People are so kind).
How did you find inspiration from your surroundings for it?
I was ending my shift at my part-time job in the early morning and looking out the window. I stood looking out the door's window in the blue grey of morning at what looked like bare trees beside a road in a place that was so nondescript - a hillside with no story, no one looking at it or for it, no development potential, nothing lovely about it at all - except that the sun laid softly upon it.
I knew the effect would last only for a handful of minutes, so I made a couple of pictures with my phone, then went back to just looking at it. Standing in that doorway I was watching time pass, light grow, slide down, fade, only to light up another section, and it seemed to me like a dance, something fast made slow, a silent song, a drama. I didn't make mental notes, I didn't make a sketch. I made time to see it. I gave time to it. From all of these layers—the drama with no audience, my eavesdropping upon the performance, the beauty of the colors, the warmth given to a chilly morning, the short time it would last—from all of this bubbled up the idea that this was life itself. Not only what was happening on the stage (so to speak), but also my standing there so grateful for this silent stage. The light would fade from the scene, but now I carried it within me. Such is life. What we surround ourselves with matters. What we take into ourselves really matters. What we can give others is from the overflow of the heart. And so, now there is a painting in the world that would not have been - a product of the heart's overflow for quiet beauty that contains ancient lessons, ancient lyrics, made into a present melody.
What is one positive that has come from this experience for you?
There have been many, many positives that the pandemic has allowed for me. I had a month off from work. Also, participating in this project has been really, really nice, and I can't wait to see where it leads.
What is one of your favorite pieces in the collection from a fellow artist?
Out of many possibilities, I would say that Kathleen Dunphy's piece comes to mind. I love the tonality and the contrast, the dark on light, the little bits of red, and the drawing skill. But the tonality of the front goose, the closeness of the greys, the dark wingtips against the snow, and - again - the fine drawing - make that image memorable.