Saturday, October 27, 2012

Walk a Mile...

Each year, in late fall, I awake to the sounds of gunshot coming from Kitty Hawk Bay, and I feel sick to my stomach. I envision birds dropping out of the sky just as they are seeking refuge and rest from a long flight. The idea of killing anything is repugnant to me. I'm the type of person that will capture a moth or spider in the house and release it outside before Buddha and Erb have their way with it. But recently I have walked, or rather waded in another man's boots, having come to the unpleasant realization that although I value all life I am a hypocrite, dining on a burger as long as I don't have to do the dirty deed myself.

V. and E. have been my friends for as long as I have lived here. Both are incredibly talented artists, able to "pull" birds out of pieces of wood, carving the most wonderful creations, many of which decorate my home. E. in fact, made the sign for The Crooked Little House which hangs over my front door. And in the off season, V. is a hunting guide as was his father before him. When they approached me about working on a project with them based on hunting, my first instinct was to refuse. But I have learned to take some time to think when making any decision. I struggled with this one, weighing my friendship with my principles and the fact that things aren't always black and white. There are more than 50 shades of gray!

So over dinner one evening, I listened to V. talk about his love of the land and his experiences with his dad. He shared with me his extensive knowledge of the marsh and took me out in his boat to see the creeks firsthand. I focused on listening and tried to keep an open mind as he told me about the grueling schedules and upkeep of the blinds. I came to the conclusion that V. is much more honest in his way of obtaining food than I am. I not only treasure his friendship, I respect his way of life as well.

Will these experiences make me a fan of hunting? Never. I couldn't take another life. But they remind me to keep an open mind. So try putting the ego aside and stop talking yourself, and listen to those with different opinions. It helps to view things from a new vantage point that will either reinforce your own beliefs or give you tools to explore new ideas or another way of looking at something. You don't have to change your ideals or opinions but at least acknowledge that everyone has valuable input to share.

And yes, I agreed to work on the project.

finished painting



So this week I'm adding several photos to show how my sketches aid me in creating finished paintings.
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finished painting

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finished painting





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"To be able to listen - without presupposing, classifying, improving, controverting, evaluating, approving or disapproving, without dueling what is being said ... such listening is rare."     - Abraham Maslow

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