If I could make one purchase for our new home, it would be this beautiful piece of art. What is it about this that draws me in? Is it the ocean? the rich shade of wood in the floors and doors? Is it the spotlight on the small bouquet of flowers in the corner? Is it the chaise where I can imagine myself reclined and staring at the waves while the warm ocean breezes caress? Is it the sunlight streaming through the open ceiling? Or is the magic in the fact that there is no furniture in the rest of the room, and on the right in the shadows, there are two chairs next to each other as though waiting for a performance of some kind? I don’t know what it is, but this painting draws me in and embraces my senses.
I may never own this piece of art, as it is way beyond any budget I could imagine, but I love to look at it, even if it’s hidden away in my blog file. Art is so personal. To some, this scene might be too sterile or too lonely. To others, it may not have enough color. To others, it may seem haunting. To me, it spells solitude, peace, serenity and warmth.
Part of why I would like this piece is that I discovered this artist about five or six years ago in a gallery in St. Augustine, Florida. It wasn’t this canvas, but Steve Harlan, the artist, uses windows and light to capture mood, and he draws us into his scene subtly drawing on each of our own experiences. Can you hear the sound of the waves? Can you feel the sun? Can you smell the salt air?
I took the artist’s card all those years ago, and more than once, I searched for his work online, writing down the names of canvases I wanted to purchase. We never had any extra wall space, so I forgot about him, even forgetting his name. Now here we are in dire need of a statement over our couch, and Steve Harlan’s new work just happened to be displayed at a gallery down the road from our favorite beach. What were the odds that when we walked into that gallery Sunday morning that his work would be staring us in the face? Who knew he would be coming here in September to promote his art, and if I “hurry up and order this painting,” he will sign it for me and stand next to me for a photo shoot? While I was thinking about what I would wear, Mr. Wonderful was calculating the cost, and I could see on his face that this was a photo I would never see. I asked the nice man at the gallery where this guy was from. I couldn’t believe the answer, “his studio is in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.” What??? That was 30 minutes from where we lived for ten years up until a month ago.
Time to start stealing from the grocery fund and stuffing twenty dollar bills into my piggy bank. I should have enough by 2019.