At Evening Time There Shall Be Light © 2013 Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
12 x 12 inches • oil on archival, museum quality cradled GessobordTM
private collection • Shreveport, Louisiana
My reference for this is a photo I took last January out in the south pasture. The day had been chilly and overcast, and late in the afternoon I was walking with Roadie (and my trusty camera!) out amongst the blooming paperwhites and a few early daffodils when, just as we had decided to head back to the house (and by “we” I mean “I” -- Roadie didn’t have much input in the decision), the setting sun broke through the low hanging clouds and shone a shaft of glorious golden light on the pond and the distant tree line.
It was one of those moments that make you: A. gasp involuntarily in awe, and B. make you extremely grateful that as you were heading out the door you grabbed your camera which just happened to be lying there on the kitchen counter.
While I was working on this several ideas for a title came to mind at various times, then, just as I was adding the final touches, the phrase I used came into my mind.
Years ago I was one of the members of the seven-woman ensemble cast of a local production of Quilters, the Tony-nominated play with music based on The Quilters: Women and Domestic Art, an Oral History by Patricia Cooper and Norma Bradley Allen. One of the really cool things about it is that it’s based on real-life accounts of Texas and New Mexico pioneer women at the turn of the twentieth century. I hadn’t even thought about it in years, but while I was painting, a line from one of my favorite songs in the show came into my head, “at evening time there shall be light.” As soon as I thought of it, I knew I wanted that to be the title.
Then, I did a search of the phrase just for fun, and I found this poem. Just perfect.
At Evening Time There Shall Be Light
The day was wild with wind and rain,
One grey wrapped sky and sea and shore,
It seemed our marsh would never again
Wear the rich robes that once it wore.
The scattered farms looked sad and chill,
Their sheltering trees writhed all awry,
And waves of mist broke on the hill
Where once the great sea thundered by.
Then God remembered this His land,
This little land that is our own,
He caught the rain up in His hand,
He hid the winds behind His throne,
He soothed the fretful waves to rest,
He called the clouds to come away,
And, by blue pathways, to the west,
They went, like children tired of play.
And then God bade our marsh put on
Its holy vestment of fine gold;
From marge to marge the glory shone
On lichened farm and fence and fold;
In the gold sky that walled the west,
In each transfigured stone and tree,
The glory of God was manifest,
Plain for a little child to see!
EDITH NESBIT (1858-1924)