Formations: What might’ve been shapeless


I think there comes a time in our lives when we have to let things become a part of us. When we discover the places that we’ve been are no longer just destinations for vacations. When we arrive there, then leave and return again, only to discover that, that is where the true journey began. 

I write this from my studio. I’m surrounded by works suspended in mid-progression. I mix the paint, apply a stroke or two, and everything changes. As I’ve painted these new works, my life has experienced regeneration.

I leaped from the cliff face. A sea of blue cascades swept the distant scape; they roll like waves, reaching far beyond my perspective’s vantage. Soft sheets puddle in the valley depths, and near the peaks they form creases. Light rolls in like cream, chilled by the winds. They burst, the thrill of icy air, lonesome drops cling to cold laurel leaves; and a warm familiar aroma blankets me: it’s Baby Joe Pye Weed. The North Carolina mountains are a part of me.

The navigator’s timepiece, little Liberty with her determined gaze, and a life-saver drifts upon the open sea unknowing what tomorrow’s tide might bring. All of these have changed me. The farmer’s crops fade into the horizon like my beloved blue cascades. The cool air sweeps the plowed terrain, not so different from my retreat above the evergreens. 

Like so many scenes and sensations, people too, have become a part of these scored pages. A moment taken to stop and listen becomes much more for those receptive of influence. Each being, place and object beholds great power for the one who wants to see it and feel it.

A book was once given to me, a book that changed the course of my artistry. I once visited an old house. Her walls became a fortress to which I leaned for strength and stability when I felt less certain. I climb the mountain not for adventure nor accomplishment, but to be reminded of just how small I am, yet quite capable. I look down on the world through the cloudy blanket. People aren’t visible from the distance high above, but I can clearly see how we’ve shaped it.

I return to the book, the conversation with a friend, the mountain top, the next brushstroke, or crooked path, and in that place, a part of me is renewed again. Many things are a part of us, and if we allow them, they can carve new facets into what might’ve been shapeless.




 Art is Life Expressed - Sarah West, owner of the Sarah West  Gallery of  Fine Art