Water Works

text and paintings by Jessica Stammen

In the winter I paint windows. They are images I have stored away, views that glimpse out through panes, through trees, towards water. I meditate, hibernate. I paint over old, unsuccessful scenes from the last summer season. Worn dock surfaces and stairs, early morning light, mountain reflections in Megunticook sometimes show through layers of paint like a dream that won’t quite fade, won’t quite remain upon waking.

When I take the first short, sharp breaths of the first open water swim in June it is summer. I stop painting windows because I become a window, looking, looking, looking. The earth remains forever, the eye never has enough of seeing. I swim and paint, paint and swim. Oil and water mix.

On the solstice I swim the sunrise. I return to the lake at noon for another mile. I watch the sun set in the reflection of cabin windows as I kayak into the evening, making the most of the longest day. The season is short, and the sweet pain of this knowledge sharp.

for more paintings www.jessicastammen.com