Heaven Scent, Plein air oil painting by Lee Boynton
Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
They feast on the abundance of Your house;
You give them drink from Your river of delights.
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light. Psalm 36: 7-9
The story behind this painting:
I took a class on writing memoir this past winter. We were given the assignment to write a short piece that would evoke emotion through the description of a place.
by Martha Boynton
“You were heaven sent!” The words echoed in my mind.
The pressure was on. It was the opening day of Paint Annapolis 2012, the last year the annual plein air painting competition was held downtown during the month of September. I could picture the woman saying those words, her hands on her cheeks, eyes wide, as she watched Lee paint the view of Spa Creek from her dock: "You were heaven sent!" And I pictured Lee painting. He was in “the zone,” he would say, a perfect oneness with God, light flowing from his brush. He painted with all the confident flare of a maestro conducting Beethoven’s Symphony #9: Ode to Joy.
He was so excited to bring the painting home to show me later that morning. He propped it up on the back of our couch, and we stood back together to admire it.
"Wow! The river of delight. In His light we see light," I said, quoting one of our favorite Scripture verses. "We should call this painting Heaven Scent. We laughed.
The painting won the People's Choice award at the exhibition at the end of the competition, but it didn't sell that night. We brought it home and hung it above our couch where it could bring heaven to earth in our living room.
Heaven sent. Heaven Scent. The painting galvanized my attention the first time I entered our living room knowing Lee would never again stand beside me for an unveiling. And I would never again hear his voice. My eyes clung to every detail he had captured so effortlessly that brilliant morning. The subtle harmony of peaches and lavenders reflected in the water, the stillness, the American flag hanging limp in a pool of first light, a sailboat at rest on a mooring, two people in a kayak, the trees in full leaf, and St. Mary's steeple pointing upward, like a compass needle.