My first introduction to Shakespeare was while painting at the American Players Theatre in Spring Green Wisconsin. One day it was extra hot and buggy, so I took my work to the screened-in porch where the actors were doing a quick table read, (They sit in a circle, and just read the lines.) I couldn’t decipher the old English or what the play was about. Yet, the rhythm felt familiar, and after passively listening and letting my mind wander through my own quiet rhythm of painting, a space in my brain opened up. One that didn’t try to decipher or understand, but just let new information in, and slowly the words started to make sense. The “how now’s” became hello’s and instead of tuning out, I tuned in. I’m now a fan of the Bard and the people who continue the legacy of Shakespeare for everyone. I still don’t get all the jokes, mix up characters, and sometimes fall asleep. What I do still get, is the magic of theatrical storytelling that holds true for the ages.
Last week, I felt the magic again in Griffith Park during Indy Shakespeare‘s production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream while painting plein air at dusk with Roofless Painters. I saw the moon rise with the lights of Los Angeles and heard the voices of the actors become familiar once again. It was a magical night for me, remembering all things past engaged in the present. I tried to capture it all on this canvas, letting each brush stroke describe how it feels to be where art lives and give us the space to let new ideas in.