Guest Post (6) Dennis Sheehan

Dennis is becoming a regular on the Manicheans. Please follow him on Twitter @bydennissheehan and @dennissheehan.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dennis Sheehan!


I painted a water color on paper which I entitled “White Nights”.

I had painted many paintings before, some in water colors, some in acrylic and others in oils but none held the significance of this one in my mind. As I painted White Nights, each stroke of the brush transferred memories from my subconscious to my mind’s eye. I lost myself to a world I had left years before. As I mixed various shades of purples and diluted them in water, I became immersed in the swirls of the Neva. The cold enveloped me as it had done when I swam in the icy water. As I climbed the stone embankment, in my mind, the shades of rose and pink filled me with the remembrance of white nights in St. Petersburg.

Still standing in front of my easel in my small studio, I walked the promenade along the Neva. I saw the couples holding hands and young lovers kissing, I saw the drunks and the musicians, I heard the music and the sad romantic songs of the Russian gypsies. I was once again there.

I painted the tall steeples of St Paul’s Cathedral, the memories of old revolutions filled my mind. I was now encompassed in the red haze of Russian White Nights. I had traveled back to a time I stood in front of the Children’s Ballet and looked across the river at a scene draped in a red, the river was no longer cold and black, it was a vibrant purple with its swirls highlighted in a golden shimmer that appeared to be contrived rather than real.

With each brush stroke I went further into the past, I emerged into a day long forgotten, I walked the River’s edge along the tree lined park of the Winter Palace, I stared up at the green and gilded facade of the Hermitage which now had much deeper tones due to the strange auras of White Nights. I stood in front of the statue at the Admiralty gazing up at St. Izack’s Church. All that is good about Russia was there in White Nights.

I was cold, tired and conscious once more. My painting was done. When I stepped back to view it I realized, I had really travelled back. I saw in my painting a time and place I had been.

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