DAWN ON THE DOM
The Novelty of Early Rises Wears Off
One morning in August 2014, I rose early to catch the sunrise on the mountains surrounding Saas Fee in Switzerland. My husband also woke early to organise the earlier-than-other-places’-check-out at 9.00am. After catching the sun’s rays spreading over the mountains, we ate our muesli breakfast admiring the view…until the others in our party made an appearance.
Let’s just say that for some members, the novelty of early starts had worn off. So, after some drama, where the morning views of the mountains surrounding Saas Fee were not appreciated, my husband, his brother and I were left to sort out the garbage. Saas Fee being a green village, had a particular protocol regarding waste disposal.
I rang the hotel management. My Swiss-German being non-existent, and my German not much better, this was a challenge to understand what we were to do with the waste. We were meant to have an orange bag for the garbage. Where was that? My husband hiked down to the hotel reception, while his brother and I vacated the apartment. We waited in the courtyard for my husband to return. He did, just before the taxi arrived—and with an orange bag.
En route to the car (being a car-free village, all cars had to be parked in a carpark outside Saas Fee), with the loads of bags the others left for us to transport by taxi, the driver stopped at a humble wooden hut. He took our orange garbage bag and, after opening the door of the hut, tossed the bag inside. I marvelled that even the garbage-disposal sites were disguised as mini alpine huts.
After finding our car, and loading the baggage into it, we walked to the cable-car station. We caught up with the rest of our party at the Revolving Restaurant at Mittelallalin. We rode the two cable-cars and then cog-wheel train which went through the mountain tunnel to Mittelallalin at 3500m. The brisk but thin alpine air, the blue skies and bright white peaks of fresh fallen snow melted the misunderstandings of morning away and peace was made.
At 1pm, the younger members of our party decided to head down the mountain and start the drive back to Wattwil and the farm. Us “oldies” stayed to investigate the ice-caves inside the Fee glacier. When we prepared to leave the mountain, we saw the line-up for the cog wheel train was wide, thick and long with skiers who had the same idea. Maybe after some lunch the crowd would thin. Not so. Lunch did nothing to thin the crowd. Took us nearly an hour, crushed in by school-age skiers and their big ski gear bags whopping in front of our faces, and slowly inching forward as we watched three cog wheel trains cram skiers and snow-boarders in and then leave without us. There was even a “ghost” train. It came. It went. Without any passengers. Go figure!
Imaginations Run Wild
I showed the photo of what I’ve called, “Dawn on the Dom” to my friends at Marion Art Group. They swooned over it and imaginations ran wild. What they would do to paint it! What fun they would have!
I had the joy. Some works I labour over. Hours upon hours spent getting the composition, values and colours just right. Perhaps, with this painting of “Dawn on the Dom”, I painted for me. Just playing around, exploring—getting in touch with my inner child. I entered the zone with the palette knife, lots of juicy globs of colour with splashes of white.
Two hours later, I stepped back. The Swiss Alps had emerged. Well, I reckon they had. And I dared not fiddle any more. Paintings can be spoiled when over-worked. It’s knowing when to stop. So I stopped. Finished.
Eye of the Beholder
So next exhibition, there hung “Dawn on the Dom”.
‘Your best piece of art work, ever,’ some of my colleagues said.
I liked it. What’s the point of painting, replicating a photo? I reckoned.
There hung my loose rendition of “Dawn on the Dom”. It didn’t sell.
Never mind. Next exhibition. Another shopping centre.
A couple came past. With knitted brows they scrutinised my “best work ever”.
I joined them.
‘What is it?’ the man asked.
‘Swiss Alps,’ I said.
The man shrugged. ‘Oh, yeah?’ and walked on.
And I stood there in front of “Dawn on the Dom”. Was it the best work I had done? I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016
Painting: Dawn on the Dom © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016
Photos by Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016