God, Goats, and Pickup Trucks
Maurice Schmidt’s Visions of Texas
Harvest of the Sea
2007, Oil on linen
“The rolling away of darkness from before light on the open water is a glorious metaphor for the Creation. A great curtain is raised up by the sun and beneath are the light, the wind, and the water. Creation yawns away the dawn and earth, sea and heaven embrace. This painting is two views: one side shows ocean, shrimp boats, sky, lamp and sea; the other side shows the fisherman standing over the shrimp. The way our eyes see it in life, is refocusing a vision away from the elements of the entire scene, to the narrower plane of the fisherman focusing on his shrimp catch.
This cubistic trick is in real life what we do a lot when scanning scenes. We focus on a whole space and then refocus on parts of the scene. Our vision is a tremendous gift, allowing our mind to work like a zoom lens hopping around near and far, high and wide, up and down, without confusion or turning any knobs. This gift is the source of how our memory works. Otherwise, we would only remember events in terms of rolls of single pictures instead of emotionally-charged memories. The size of Harvest of the Sea is a “golden section rectangle”, a square with one half of its measurement added on – a square and one half, making the “golden section”, such as a 3” x 5” index card. It is known as a “harmonious proportion” from ancient times. Architects, carpenters, builders, and painters have used it. It is said to have originated in ancient Egypt and is a fascinating and mathematically endless study used in building and furniture by Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.”