Describing Art for Those Unable to See

The description that follows is the result of a writing prompt I explained in this post. It was an interesting challenge and one I should consider more frequently.

”You have been asked to write a description of one of your favorite paintings for a blind audience.”

The painting is bathed in cool blues and richly textured greens. The ambient light from the room transforms the scene from daylight to dusk right before your eyes. We are never sure if it is early morning or late afternoon melting into dusk. The heavy blue clouds block the color of the sun, allowing only coolness to illuminate the bright green grass. The trees, fully leaved, cast long shadows claiming their portion of the scene. The porch is the star of the painting as if the huge house sitting just off the canvas is but a useless appendage. You get the sense this porch is where life is lived – the sharing of morning coffee or the slow sips of an evening glass of wine. The small vine-covered fence is dwarfed by the trees and you know immediately its purpose is to frame the scene. There are no barriers here other than the trees that disappear into the distance. It is easy to imagine children running barefoot in the grass full of laughter or a couple holding hands talking of times past or the urging of dreams yet realized. There is a sense of peace, of solitude, of familiarity, of belonging. This place is home, only borrowed by the viewer to lose themselves for a while.

This pastel painting is the work of Florida artist Gary Rupp. I fell in love with it because of the porch. When I grew up, the porch – front or back – was a place of gathering. It was perhaps the most valuable school room of my life. Did you get a different sense of the painting? I am curious to hear your thoughts.

Pastel Painting by Gary Rupp – Morning Light


Pastel Painting by Gary Rupp – Late Afternoon Light

A Windy Sleepless Night

The rain finally stopped sometime mid-afternoon. As the evening grew later and the temperatures dropped, the wind began.

Our house sits up on a hill and we are surrounded by natural forest. We have no yard or lawn to speak of. It is all natural terrain. When the wind blows through the trees it is loud. By the time I went to bed, the wind was loud and roaring. We could hear ranches being tossed about.

My husband is not usually bothered by the sound. He loves a fan or an air cleaner running, but I prefer it to be quiet. Tonight it is not quiet. I can hear small branches hitting the roof and the sound of the wind moving through the trees echoes throughout the house. Our bedrooms are upstairs which puts us closer to the branch level of the trees.

The wind became so loud I got up and opened the shades, thinking the trees must be whipping about but they were gently swaying instead. It all sounds much stronger than it is due to the wind tunneling through the trees.

I could not help but remember when we lived in Florida and experienced three hurricanes in one season relatively close together. The eye of the first storm, Charlie, rolled through at night about 9:00 pm. It was loud and so many huge live oak trees were pulled up by the roots. This sound reminds me of that night, but the strength of this wind is nothing in comparison. Our current winds are gusting to 20 mph. But it is loud and sounds menacing.

I remember times in the Valley when winter snow storms would come. The wind made it hard to heat the house so my step-mom and I tacked quilts in the open doorways so we could keep the heat confined to one room and stay warm.

Years before when I was first married, we lived a short time with my husband’s parents in an old farmhouse. I still recall one winter storm lying in bed and watching the snow come in through the cracks in the clapboards of the house. It’s funny now. It seems like another lifetime ago and another version of me.

When I read Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is” I remember being moved by what she said about the wind. I found this excerpt online:

”After I woke up to reality in 1986, people often referred to me as the woman who made friends with the wind. Barstow is a desert town where the wind blows a lot of the time, and everyone hated it; people even moved from there because they couldn’t stand the wind. The reason I made friends with the wind – with reality – is that I discovered I didn’t have a choice. I realized that it’s insane to oppose it. When I argue with reality, I lose – but only 100 percent of the time. How do I know that the wind should blow? It’s blowing!” [1]

Maybe it is time I make friends with the wind and try to sleep again.

[1] Katie, Byron. “Friends With The Wind.”,,