The Road Less Traveled
I love old trees. As a child I climbed them and hid among their branches. As a teen I sketched them. When I began painting seriously, they were my first subjects. I love them in all the seasons, but perhaps best of all in the winter --- when an intelligence beyond our full comprehension reveals the arching grace of their branches against the sky. Ever reaching for the light, these beautiful barren winter limbs are in truth quiet messengers of hope. Look up and see how even storm-twisted limbs reach for the sky and thrive. Look closely enough and you'll discover buds, little nubs of promise, even in the midst of the coldest winter, with all the intricate intelligence needed to bring them into leaf, seed and new life. We need signs like this. Read the inspiration for this, one of my favorite paintings, below. Enjoy. -- Ellen
The Road Less Traveled
30" x 20" Watercolor and Gouache and two sizes of prints
Each print bears in Ellen's handwriting just under the painting image a penciled line from Robert Frost's poem reading, "...And I, I took the road less traveled by... -- R. Frost"
Every print sold also comes with the full story of the painting and a copy of Ellen Rice's current bio.
"The Road Less Traveled By..." is one of my favorite paintings, I painted it with my mother-in-law in mind around the time she passed on. She was an angel in my life, a truly beautiful, loving spirit who brought light into the lives of many people whose paths she crossed. She loved the feeling of light I captured in my early paintings, and The Road Less Traveled By is about light... and paths.
This is one of those paintings that "painted itself." It's not a specific place, except perhaps in my heart, "the kingdom of heaven within," a place I'd like to be or perhaps somewhere I've been at some time. I started with the sun and worked out from there. A distant mountain range just sort of emerged, then a meadow, then the old oak tree and split rail fence and the highlights from the sun gilding branches and grasses.
After it was finished, I put it in the middle of a large stack of prints to flatten out ripples from the water colors, and there it lay for more than a few years, forgotten, only to reappear at a time when I needed the special feeling of light it gives me. To my surprise, the original's first showing drew a great deal of attention. It was a show stopper. After several showings, I decided to put it in print. Not everyone can afford an original, and I wanted to share whatever it is about this painting that draws often teary-eyed, emotional exclamations of "I love your tree!"
I named it after the last line in Robert Frost's poem, a poem whose sentiments strike home:
"The Road Not Taken"
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both. And be one traveler, long I stood. And looked down one as far as I could, To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair. And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that, the passing there. Had worn them really about the same And both that morning equally lay, In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood. And I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
Later, a woman who purchased a copy of my print sent me a poem the painting reminded her of. She'd clipped it from a church program many years ago, tucked it in a corner of her dressing table mirror and referred to it many mornings since. She said she wanted to share it:
"The Tree" By Sue C. Boynton
Lord, let me learn from this old tree, That there is dignity in loneliness. Beauty in broken branches, strength in twisted, storm-beaten tors. Help me to see that underneath, If roots go deep enough. Not storm can wreck the life, That from them reaches to the sky. Help me to remember the important thing... To stand where God has placed me.