A visit to my sister's home in Cody, WY to see the total eclipse of the sun led to a silk painting of summer sunflowers and a magical moment of totality.
My patient sister, Chloe, has waited for years for me to follow through on my promise of her very own silk painting. It takes a particular type of mood and focus and moment of inspiration for me to make a landscape painting. And the knowledge that it would be a gift for my sister and her boyfriend, Eric, to hang on their wall where it would be seen every single day, made me wait until I was certain that I had chosen the right subject. I captured the photo below on a trip to Cody to see the solar eclipse and am quite pleased with how the painting turned out! This is the reservoir park where they often take Luna the dog to run alongside their mountain bikes like a gazelle chasing rabbits and hares.
Chloe and Eric
My sister and Eric have been together for about five years now and spent the last 3 years living in the small historic western town of Cody, Wyoming, home of the famous Buffalo Bill.
The two are a perfect match for one another. They both are avid outdoors-people, "gotta get the gear! gotta get it!" They have a ridiculous obsession with their odd, neurotic, reservation rescue dog, Luna, who has recently developed a flight response to cameras. They back-country ski in the winters and skin up the slopes to catch a few runs in the off-seasons. In the summer it is really difficult to get a hold of them because they are usually hiking or mountain biking or camping with Luna or out drinking lots of good local micro-brews and watching rodeos. Chloe is a true ADVENTURE gal. And in typical Thornton Girl fashion, she is a fabulous musician who plays French Horn and subs with Billings Symphony periodically.
Total Eclipse of the Sun
On August 21st, 2017 there were two very important events. One was magical space phenomenon and the other was our dad's 75th birthday! So we joked that we had ordered up a total lunar eclipse for dad's birthday as a special gift. We had to drive a few hours south of Cody to get within the boundaries of "totality" but it was well worth braving the desert heat and traffic to get to the viewing field. It was truly remarkable to feel the temperature drop from 100 degrees to needing a sweater, all within an hour. I didn't know that the world would grow so dim, like twilight, with light still glowing in all directions along the horizon line. Bats came out and flitted around and we began to see stars twinkling. The sun looked more and more like a Cheshire Cat grin until it was nothing more than a sliver. And then suddenly it happened! For 3 minutes we took off the solar eclipse glasses that looked like something from an old 3D movie, and we could look directly at the sun which became a black orb with white light spectrals flowing outwards in all directions. It looked like the eye of a god and I suddenly understood why ancient civilizations developed their legends and religions and myths of supernatural beings. We danced around in the dusk and hooted and hollered and stared at the white ring in the sky and then suddenly the sun's light pierced through on one side and looked for an instant like a diamond ring before the light completely swept over the field and we threw on our protective glasses again. The heat came back remarkably quickly, as did the light. And we enjoyed birthday cake and treats and went running around looking for our dog Robin who had R-U-N-N-O-F-T during the whole ordeal. We found him luckily...it was a terrifying moment for us, but not nearly as terrifying as the eclipse had been for him. What a dog must think of the whole thing.
Dadzo enjoying his birthday eclipse!
A collection of future silk paintings
My computer tends to run a little slower each and every time I come home from my travels. I love to take photos and in my head that little voice is ever present, "Oooh this would make a GREAT silk painting!" Wyoming is a beautiful but wild and harsh landscape. Cody smells a bit sulfuric at times since it is a volcanic area with natural gas seeping from the ground. But it is a rich environment filled with tough wildlife and cacti and wild rivers and canyons. Cody has a marvelous Buffalo Bill museum and endless outdoor activities and western celebrations. I'll write another post sometime soon with some recommendations if you find yourself visiting this tiny and exciting town in the middle of nowhere.
Happy adventuring and may the sun always shine on your path... unless there's a solar eclipse!