Big Time. Small Time.

By Joanne Tarlin | December 10, 2020

A year ago, my husband and I were preparing to move from Massachusetts to Maine. I was organizing my painting studio in preparation for closing it, visiting with friends for holiday parties, and finalizing last-minute details for my daughter’s wedding. It all seems a very long time ago.

Now, settling into our new home near Casco Bay, we find ourselves—like so many sequestered—looking out of windows, a lot. Our immediate environment is rural, abuts the sea. Small time for us is counted in 24-hour-and-50-minute cycles, a lunar day, which includes two sets of rising and falling tides. Bigger time, days and seasons, passes and can be noted by the changes in light and pairs, flocks, gaggles and clouds of aquatic fowl. Intrigued by our feathered friends’ activity, we began viewing them with binoculars and monocular spotting scopes.


Joanne Tarlin, “Patience,” Oil on Linen, 30″x30″


Looking through windows and lenses, and rambling about the coast, inspired these paintings made during the past year. Watching the birds, learning their names and those of plants and trees in my new surroundings, were refreshing things on which to focus. They were my respite from the endlessly streaming and nerve-wracking news; they helped pass the time away from family and friends.


Joanne Tarlin, “In a Fog,” Oil on Linen, 30″x30″


Joanne Tarlin, “Endless Streaming,” Oil on Linen, 24″x24″


Recently we acquired a telescope and began learning about really big time. With light traveling at 186,000 mi/sec we view Vega, which according my cursory search on the web, is 25 light years away and at 50,000 miles an hour, would take 117,600,000 years to reach. It gives one perspective. We are living in an infinitesimal period of time. As my late father, who lived during the Great Depression, used to say, “This too shall pass.”


Joanne Tarlin, “Submerged,” Oil on Linen, 24″x24″


Copyright © 2020 Joanne Tarlin
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  1. C. J. Lori on December 19, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Beautiful! What a huge change in your life, and good timing to explore a whole new world. At least you aren’t stuck in the same old same old like many of us. I often think we would all be happier if we just turned off the news, but I have found that impossible to do.

    • Joanne Tarlin on December 23, 2020 at 7:55 am

      Thank you. Tuning out to tune in is easier than you think- just unplug and shut off anything electric for an hour a day and take a walk.

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