The note for the previous painting mentions the enchantment of twilight, but I suspect something else was at work. I call it the Oklahoma Effect, and it has happened to me whenever I've driven across the state. A few hours on the Oklahoma highway induces such a sense of endless, rootless desolation that whatever particular things I see when I stop - weeds, fence posts, someone pumping gas at a service station, birds on a wire, chunks of gravel on the side of the road - feel wonderfully and miraculously actual and present. Dusk maybe just reactivated the effect.
The phenomenon of seeing unexpected depth of beauty in everyday things reminds me of something Joan Acocella recently wrote in the New York Review of Books:
"When critics speak of a writer's ear, this often carries a political implication, of the democratic sort. They are talking about writers (Mark Twain, Willa Cather) whose world, by virtue of being humble, would seem to exclude beauty and music, so that when the writer manages to find in it those riches, the world in question - and, by extension, the whole world - comes to seem blessed."
When that thought is enlarged to include the visual arts - landscape painting, for example - it articulates as well as anything my primary motivation for pursuing art: to attempt to cultivate and to share that kind of insight, that kind of discovery.
The underlying principle expressed by Acocella might be called "the gospel of beauty" - a term perhaps coined by Walt Whitman but most famously taken up by the early 20th century poet Vachel Lindsay, who didn't mean quite what I mean by the term. Lindsay did, however, wander the United States for a few years trading poems for food and lodging. I learned of him after I started my own project of aesthetic itinerancy. Apparently there was an American type called "the gentleman vagabond" - some mainly wanted to see the world in an unencumbered way; others were more intent on sharing something with others in ways that made more sense in the context of the road or of journeying.