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I See That Light

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

The Lighthouse, 2005

by Bobby Padilla

Mixed media on chalkboard, 12" x 12"

The family and I have enjoyed our time vacationing in New England, particularly Maine. There's something gratifying about spending days and moody overcast evenings along the rocky coastline on the beach spending hours with the endless surf crashing into the shore. There's a particular meaning in that.

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm short on patience and emotionally combustible. I like to say I have a loud exhaust system. I flip out over not finding things that I've left in certain places, or the fact that my team's "ace" just walked the #9 hitter on a sub .500 team who's hitting .190. I know I have beautiful instruments in my life that are tuned just so, my wife and my sons. I am, on the other hand, the emotional Marshall stack that amplifies their feelings.

Don't misunderstand my impatient, short fused, demeanor over stupid day to day inconsequential things with being frazzled or shakable. I've dealt with the deepest grief through loss, losing a job I've had 15 years, and the painful task of taking a family member to Chemo treatments for months. Having the nurse struggle to find a good vein, and when they do, trying to comfort that person by holding their hand and quipping with humor as the chemical burning sensation enters their body. I've also endured the trials of 23 years of marriage and the gauntlet of fatherhood with relative grace and austerity. But not being able to find my keys when my oldest son had them last, I go atomic.

But it's that sensitivity to life's moments, that are the same sensitivities vital to being an artist. Living intensely in a moment that doesn't require intensity. I suppose this could be a rationalization for a mood disorder. Cliches aside, its noticing a ladybug on a broad leaf in a whole meadow of wildflowers or the silhouette of a starling diving through a vast orange creamy dusk.

So let's get back to the waves and their constant pulse against the rocky coastline. If I'm that bruiting sea that crashes the tide to shore, the tempest that storms the cliffs with all the reckless abandon, then Shannon is my lighthouse. The beacon I look to when I can't focus a path to the harbor. She's the bright shaft of light that signals my attention back on point.

I'm surprised lighthouses haven't been more prominent a symbol in my work as bones, crows, celestial bodies, or for some reasons umbrellas. Perhaps they will the older I get. Then again, I don't need to be as cryptic about what my wife and family mean to me.

Anyhow, here's a couple little studies of Old Orchard Beach, Maine. When I say little, I mean little (3.5" × 5").

Old Orchard Beach, The Surf, 2019

by Bobby Padilla

Acrylic on canvas, 4" × 6" (framed)

Shoreline, Geneva, NY, 2019

by Bobby Padilla

Acrylic on canvas, 4"×6" (framed)

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