Downtown Ride

Acrylic on canvas

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Bicycles are a deceptively difficult subject for me to paint. Getting the perspective right with the wheels have resulted in re-sketching and repainting. Yet many have shared their favorites are the ones with the bicycles. Because I’m privileged to not be dependent on a bike in daily life, bicycling for me represents free time, being healthy and exploration. I enjoy riding my bike. The work it takes for your legs to pedal, going faster than on foot, yet slower and more able to stop then when in a car.

There are several spots downtown that have bikes you can rent. This has been a photo tucked away for awhile that I’ve wanted to paint. The bikes invite you, towards adventure, and I appreciate the trees that add life to brick and concrete. This is on Central Ave facing West in front of the downtown library. It happens to be just a block or so down the street from the other landscape I painted this week. I worked on this painting over two days and had the chance to listen to the entire “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne while painting!

Here are some details.



Market Street Cafe


Acrylic on Canvas

This Valentine’s Day we tried something a little different. My husband had the day off so we drove over to Celebration. There were a few specific shots I wanted to get, and I thought it would be fun to bike around. The Bohemian hotel has bike rentals. So we got two and started off along a path. It was a beautiful day. We saw the backs of a few large homes that had waterslides, and some tree-lined streets with great dappled lighting. (If only leaves changed colors down here, this is the season for raking leaves, as new growth causes leaves to fall. I’ll admit, I also figured the bikes would be a nice prop to any photos I took. It was a nice adventure riding and exploring.

I’d been waiting to feature the Market Street Cafe in a painting more prominently. I was pleased to see the renovations were finished and chairs back out awaiting customers. This is looking up Market Street with Lake Rianhard right behind me.

Lake Rianhard, Celebration

Celebration series #1
Acrylic on canvas

The Disney brand capitalizes on fantasy, entertainment, nostalgia, and utopian ideals. In the 1990s Disney went about planning out and building a community that capitalizes on that branding. Celebration is a small town near Disney World in Florida. Houses have porches, streets are lined with trees, and you can easily get around by bike or golf cart.

I like to focus on beauty, reflecting on our desire for wholeness. Celebration easily gives a feast for the eyes. It’s the opposite of fast-paced city life, with rocking chairs by the lake and little shops to browse in.

We visited one afternoon at the end of the day. The clouds were beautiful and the light was turning things golden. Bikes had been left temporarily as owners were probably dining nearby at an outside cafe.

I confess painting the bikes gave me a hard time. My photograph had distorted the sizing. I considered erasing them all together, spent time tracing and reworking.  After different attempts, I ended up totally repainting the teal bike. As much trouble as I had, I liked what they added to the painting, and will probably have the bikes appear in future works in this series. (You can rent bikes here too, I could pose one around town if I wanted.)

Life is usually not as ideal as what’s pictured here. Things break, plans fail, people disappoint, storms blow through. And yet, we long for the ideal, we vacation trying to capture for a fleeting moment, rest, and peace and joy. C.S. Lewis said; ” If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. ”  Disney does a great job at weaving fantasy, creating places we can catch a glimpse of what may be. (But even in a Disney built town things deteriorate, traffic backs up and neighbors can annoy.) I think one day we will be blown away by how much better our creator is at creating the perfect city, eternal, unbroken, perfect.