The island across from Jake’s Bagel has no name and most people do not give it a second glance. Some mornings I just want to get from my car to our table in Jake’s and warm up with a coffee and a bagel. Only after that first coffee do I really see the island. No glamorous trees grow on this little island or exotic grasses. It is simply a tiny island, home to scrub trees and visited by Canadian geese in the Spring and Great Blue Herons during the summer months.
That is how I always saw the island until making Jake’s a daily part of my life. My friends and I always sit at the same table near the window with the view of the island. My friend George always points out the great subdued colors on the island, but I’m more into the brighter colors. Neither of us really considered doing a painting of the island. George loves pulling paintings out of his imagination and I do the same when it comes to landscapes. Thirty years of going out has enabled me to make up places to paint.
The island has been attracting our attention more and more over the years with its array of visitors and changing colors. One spring, the island was home to dozens of nesting geese. The island is not only an island in a river, but it is an island of wild things in the middle of urban sprawl. It is just a few hundred yards from the city center, and north and south, the river is lined with development of some kind for 40 miles in both directions. Yet we see coyotes and deer on the island along with raccoons and foxes. The other day I stood in Jake’s parking lot watching a bald eagle circle overhead for several minutes then perch in one of the scrub trees on the island. Earlier that week a red tail hawk rested in the same tree.
It was the morning of the full moon that got me to pull my paints from the back and begin this little painting of the island. The moon got me to look closer at the colors there on the island. Sometimes the things that make for good painting are right there in front of us, but we tend to not see them because we are blind to the everyday things. I’ve always prided myself on seeing the everyday things as possible paintings, but somehow I missed the island.