Friday, April 27, 2012

Morning Sun

Complexly wrapped up in his thoughts, Michael stepped off the curb in front of his office building and started walking. He thought of his job, his work-load, the man he had to meet in the courtyard, his upcoming plans for the weekend, his upcoming vacation, the plans he was working to put together for the summer, his search for a new home, and much more. Scurrying between each thought letting one iota lend to a subject change and then on and on, Michael felt exhaustion creep up his body. He wasn't about to let it get any further, however, as his mind had to stay sharp. Everything just meant too much to him.

As he stood next to a statue, he paused for a moment to breath in the crisp, clean air and gazed up at the sky. It was wonderfully blue with clusters of white, misshaped clouds and suddenly, everything began to fade. He commented to himself how peaceful things were at the very moment and thought about how he wished the weather would pause and stay the way it was. His tasks, his adventures, his worries all seemed to drown out in the wake of peaceful beauty that swept over. Despite it all, he remarked to himself from somewhere deep inside, "This is a good day."

Hoping he wouldn't lose the moment, Michael reached for his cell phone and snapped a few pictures. He was always one to stop and share moments like these with others not because they were badges of honor for him to wave around, but hopefully moments others can glean from and therefore find their own moment to escape binding monotony. In his heart, he knew it was all relative and when you get right down to it, his life was pretty good and he was enormously contented. The fury of each day's unrelenting waves of responsibilities really weren't that bad when he put things into perspective and for this one moment, he hoped others could feel the same way he did.

Morning Sun, by Edward Hopper (1882-1967), is the oil-on-canvas painting of a middle aged woman blankly staring out a window while the (aptly named) morning sun splashes her face and fills the room. It's a very simple piece using warm colors, subtle lines, medium brush strokes, brilliant use of shadowing, and wonderfully avoids complexity. The woman is scantily dressed yet void of any implied sexuality; she just seems to be lost in the moment, escaping her otherwise involute life for the sake of her well-being. Yet upon closer inspection, the one curious aspect about Hopper's work is the woman's blacked out eyes which seem to suggest she is feeling truly isolated both mentally and physically.

It is said that Hopper used his wife Josephine as the female subject in many of his works and in this particular one, I don't feel the audience even needs to know this. And despite having just shared it, think about how nice it is to have this nameless person gracing the center of this warm piece because she does not diminish the all too real feelings the rest of us experience. All of Hopper's work is conscious of this, as a matter of fact, which is partly the reason for his rise to fame in the 1920s.

And in this very moment, I can sense you are relating to the moment captured here and the very same feeling. You are thinking back to moments in your life where things became overwhelming and you too found something to stare at blankly getting lost in the purity of the moment. These are wonderful moments I know I cherish, and much like Hopper's paintings to the world, I try to take them and pass them along so others can be reminded that we all need them from time to time. For it is poetic and beautiful that hectic periods in life can be aesthetically escaped when nature and simplicity surround you. Embrace them all and do mankind a favor by sharing.

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