By Sarah West

Autumn hues awash with pale blues converge in the southland. Relentless winds impart winter’s chill while the last leaves still cling to near naked branches. Seasons do not quite give up. Instead the page of the calendar turns. Remnants of one season linger long into the other. Frost crystals shine and then drip from the fence line. Brushstrokes of Smalt Blue and Cadmium Yellow are broken by Sepia shadows. My morning meditations begin at dawn, first light.
Turning northward at the four-way stop, I begin my drive. The sun begins to rise, peeking through a dense and overgrown tree line. Swaths of violet cover the sky. Nature’s ode to Rothko. Words from a new poem return to me. By eight a.m. the light begins to slowly illuminate the studio. I retrieve the poem, a piece of printed folded paper amid the pages of a book I’ve brought with me. I read it again. I write down notations. I study and sketch and continue to paint.
I pause and think back in memory to when this form of meditation began. I’m compelled to question when did the pattern shift, expand to become what it now is. A ritual once deliberately formed for thoughtful dedication became a sacred space. Recognizing time and practice has reshaped and informed the process, more is achieved.
Sarah West serves the Opelika Observer as a contributing columnist, with written works of cultural arts relevance and prose. She is a preservation and conservation advocate, activist and visual artist of American Illustration with a focus on regional narrative painting. She is the founder of the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art, A Center for Cultural Arts, Smiths Station. She is the appointed official artist to the city of Smiths Station, a Lee County syndicated columnist, the director of her art center’s Cultural Arts Outreach Initiative, which partners with local schools to make the arts accessible to all. She also serves a chief curator to the city of Smiths Station, City Hall Art Galleries. She is a founding member of the Smith Station Historic Commission. She is a member of the Women’s Philanthropy Board-Cary Center, Auburn University College of Human Science. She is an elected member of the Society of Illustrators-New York City. She mentors art students of every age through weekly classes at her studio located in the heart of Smiths Station. To learn more about her work and activism visit,