This week’s feature piece from David Sites’ collection of landscapes, titled “Fire Flies” pays homage to summer. What is most striking about “Fire Flies” at first glance is the incredible warmth radiated from its palette of orangey yellows and lavender pinks. The canvas looks as if it could be warm to the touch. Standing in front of it, gives one the distinct feeling of needing to shed a layer – and that somewhere indoors there is a neglected summer reading list under a pile of dirty clothes. But here the world is brimming with color that speaks to the care-free vitality of peak summer.
While the colors grab your attention straight away, what isn’t immediately apparent is the technique used by David to achieve the childlike whimsy associated with fire flies or as some call them, lightning bugs. Every feature of the landscape is alive with motion. The shrubs are painted with sweeping, angular strokes that indicate the surprising energy of an evening breeze after an oven-still day. The clouds too, painted with long, horizontal strokes, are swept across the sunset sky by the same breeze. The fire flies hover just above the horizon, confidently putting on a show for unseen children who “ooh and ahh” at the erratic choreography of their fickle lights dancing across the sky – on, then off again.
What is seen in “Fire Flies” is a snapshot of summer, an abstract photograph of sorts, taken to freeze a moment in time to be savored again and again. Since David painted “Fire Flies” in 2005, summer has come and gone many times, but never has it come again in quite the same way. Although seasons follow predictable patterns, they arrive each year, wholly unique from their predecessors. It is not that that they carry with them some new and improved truth, but rather that they arrive in their paradoxical way, with the same age old wisdom, yet somehow appear fresh and peculiar all over again.