Big Bend: Turning Points
On the last day of my first visit to Big Bend, I saw something beside the remains of one of the old houses that took me back in time. The sun was very low in the sky, and the light raking across the ground gave definition to every detail. It revealed a series of ridges in the dirt, about two feet apart, like the rows of a kitchen garden plot. This domestic detail let me step into the shoes of the original gardener and feel what it must have been like to cross the doorway of that house and work that soil.
In subsequent trips to the park, I began to paint both the striking landscape and the old buildings of the settlements from the early part of the last century. What would these scenes have meant to the people who lived there then? The earlier paintings focused on places as landmarks: a destination, a measure of distance, or a place to make a turn.
In the newer paintings each location became significant because of a personal moment that might have occurred there. Any spot might have been a turning point in someone’s life: the scene for a moment of attentiveness, resignation, or memory. Painting the place where such intimate things happened gives me the same experience I had in the abandoned garden. I feel like I can know what it is like to be someone else.
© all images copyright Robyn Jorde
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