8×10 oil on linen
Those of us who live in south central Montana are well acquainted with Swingley Road, a winding, rutted, dirt and gravel road which connects the town of Livingston to the Main Boulder Road outside of Big Timber.
It is not for the casual driver, especially in rain or snow. There are no guard rails and in the rain Swingley will wrap your vehicle in a mud facial that only power-washing will remove. In the winter, your car could slip off a cliff. In the summer, the dust is so thick, you have to put your windows up to avoid lung irritation, but in the spring all is perfect on Swingley.
The first place we take our family and guests is on Swingley to Livingston. The vistas of untouched Montana land, mountains, streams, forests, and draws are guaranteed to evoke tears and or awe.
Despite the ruts, the bumps, the dust, and the mud, Swingley Road is a marvelous way to regroup. Any anxiety, angst, or confusion about the beauty or intentions of the world are erased by the trip to Livingston ( or back ).
Locals tell me they still feel the feelings I have written about today.
I am currently working on a suite of small paintings of a Swingley spring when the grass has grown and greened but the mountains steadfastly hold on to their snow, when the clouds and the mountains turn into one white view, when birds and bears, antelope and elk, deer and doves all congregate on Swingley Road as if to say, ” Not much has changed in Nature.”