Christopher Kovacs - Fine Art
May 21, 2024   10:49 pm NL Time

Beware of Cliff

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Beware of Cliff


Status of Original Painting – For Sale

All prices are in Canadian dollars

Size: 13.25 x 20  inches

Price: Inquire

Medium: Watercolour on 300 lb Arches


The 2.5-mile coastal hiking trail in Chance Cove winds its way through forest with sudden gaps that provide spectacular views of ocean, rocky landscapes, birds, and sea life. This is one such striking view, with a “Beware of Cliff” sign to remind mesmerized hikers that they’re standing on a precipice. It was a delightful and perfect September day when Lisa and I hiked there and we took many photos.

But there’s another aspect, another precipice, that makes this painting evoke especially poignant memories.

It was a Sunday at midday. I was alone in the house and working in my art studio. I’d just finished roughing in the sky and started on the water when the phone unexpectedly rang. It was the surgeon phoning to tell me the bad news that a biopsy had shown prostate cancer. This is a moment frozen in time: I was holding the phone in one hand and a wet brush in the other, looking down at the “wet on wet” mode of painting I’d begun that is best carried to completion before the paper dries. I made a quick decision, put the phone down on speaker mode, and continued painting. The surgeon went on tell me the various treatment options and complications of each, with his recommendation for major surgery rather than radiotherapy or surveillance. During our twenty-minute conversation, I listened, asked questions, and sought clarifications with one side of my brain while the other side continued to watch the brush dance across the parchment, seemingly on its own accord. With the discussion concluded and questions exhausted, I thanked the surgeon for relaying the results promptly and taking the time to discuss things fully with me. After the call ended, I kept painting for another hour or more, after which the sky was finished, and the water had been worked on as much as possible before the parchment needed to be allowed to dry.

That’s when I realized a remarkable thing. I felt refreshed and relaxed, with a calm acceptance that I need to have surgery, so let’s get it done. It was very clear to me that the act of creating the painting had been the perfect antidote for receiving bad news. If I hadn’t been painting, the news would have put me into a funk, and I wouldn’t have felt like doing anything all day. But the energy and joy of painting buffered me through that interval and left me in good spirits.

I still had to break the news to my loved ones, but at least I felt fine.

When I look at this painting, I can recall exactly where my brush was when the phone rang, and the flurry of energetic creativity that followed. The title “Beware of Cliff” also reminds how unexpected news and events can change one’s life in an instant.

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