When A River Runs Through It…

A River Runs Through It - The Bow River with Grace
Grace at The Bow River, Canmore, AB

I listen to a lot of movies while I’m painting.

I’m more familiar with the soundtracks than I am with the imagery.
I’ve got my eyes on the palette and the canvas while my thoughts and my ears are on the soundscape.

There is so much richness in the auditory narrative. The clink of a teacup on a saucer, running brooks, rattling papers…..I’d have loved old-tyme radio where my visual imagination could be free to run it’s wildest course. I love writers who can weave a story that stirs my heart and touches my soul. I wish I were so gifted with this talent.

The Artist's Daughter - ©2012 Janice Tanton. Graphite on paper. 18"x14"
The Artist's Daughter - ©2012 Janice Tanton. Graphite on paper. 18"x14"

One of my favourite movies is “A River Runs Through It”. Made in 1992, when my oldest son was just a baby, this poetic Montana story sends shivers down my spine with this beautiful quote in the opening moments of the film:

“All good things……come by grace….. and grace comes by art…. and art does not come easily.”

How can you not love that? How can that not inspire me again and again to make art?

Another “love” from this same graceful movie….

“The Lord has blessed us all today. It’s just that he’s been particularly good to me.”

Robert Redford, as President and founder of The Sundance Institute is quoted as saying, “Storytellers broaden our minds, engage, provoke, inspire and ultimately, connect us.”

“We can love completely….without complete understanding.”

My heartfelt gratitude to Norman Maclean (d. 1990) who wrote the story that Redford directed a whole twenty years ago about an age when my grandfather lived. The timeless grace of this narrative has guided me through many artful painting moments, three children, three moves and three careers…….. and the river continues to run through it.

“Now, nearly all those I love and did not understand in my youth are dead, but I still reach out to them. Of course now I am too old to be much of a fisherman and now I usually fish the big waters alone although some friends think I shouldn’t. But when I’m alone in the half light of the canyon, all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one…and a river runs through it.

The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops and under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.”

…and I am haunted by waters & barns.

William's Ride - ©2011 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 40x72
"William's Ride" - ©2011 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 40x72

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Cori Brewster

    Couldn’t agree more…and a River runs through me every day.

    1. Janice Tanton

      Yes, Cori! I was thinking about you too when I wrote this. And might I just say….what a beautiful River you have there.

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