Part-Two of an interview with Jay Williams, New York City Public School Teacher, reflecting on original painting entitled “The Sands of Amelia Island”
Rosemary: Your insights are so interesting and eye-opening . What I paint is not always so ‘intentional’ in my mind. Yet I can resonate with your response.
Jay: It’s not important whether you had these motives when painting. I can’t go back and check with Leonardo Da Vinci either….but nevertheless, these are my reactions. I don’t see a smile on the Mona Lisa’s face, at all, despite what critics say. It’s up to me. Now, nobody knows what Leonardo would have said, but of course you can speak, and that may not have been your motive. But even if you tell me your motive now, it doesn’t change my response. I mean I could learn, but what I said is true. That’s how I feel.
Rosemary: This is what’s coming to you naturally and honestly. I like that.
Jay: Yes. People associate clouds with overcast, a rainy day…dismal. But that’s also a reality of life. Not to take this high-class, upper-hand attitude: “Unless it’s sunny, I’m not going”. Not that attitude. That’s what I was responding to.
Rosemary: I liked that you point out there’s nobody to observe on the beach.
Jay: No sharing.
Rosemary: No sharing, yes; but I’m sure you’d be open to sharing. But also that it didn’t cause you to focus on something else. You were able to just experience the whole thing.
Jay: Yes, that’s right. In other words, it wasn’t that I saw a man and a woman, or whether her bathing suit was yellow, I didn’t get lost in trivia. Or if they are talking or playing cards …eliminate the sideshow.
Rosemary: It sounds like you had a sense of freedom in that invitation.
Jay: Yes, because I would be there alone, to go to the water, to go as far as I want. In other words, it became my beach, if I’d step from behind the brush and started walking toward the beach. It was my experience, my beach, and sharing it with God. That’s it! And not looking and thinking ‘oh, there’s the lifeguard, that’s right, oh yea’. No distractions, in some kind of appreciation of nature, appreciation of life, even with clouds in the sky. There was no loud music interrupting, the presence of birds flying east or west, the dog, none of these distractions interfering with whatever thoughts would come to me.
It is a good painting for that reason. I did think what time of day is it, but it didn’t matter. The authenticity was there so it didn’t matter…that’s the color in Amelia Island, and I’ll explore it. But I did go through a thing…wait a minute, I’ve never seen a beach with that kind of sand and that color brush. I did like the painting after I realized its significance, that is, as an opportunity to explore something given to me in the scene. The message of the painting was ‘It’s all yours, take it”. So I think it’s a significant work.
Rosemary: Thank you Jay for that compliment and for sharing your reflections. It means a lot to me that so much of what you saw in the painting was inviting!
“The Sands of Amelia Island” (pictured above) available at www.BegleyArt.com