Watercolor 17" X 11" This painting was inspired by the day I visited Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, RI for the first time. As I stepped out of the van this was the view of the lighthouse and oddly enough as I was walking towards the light a man started to play bagpipes for some people who were gathered nearby a touring bus.
It just reminded me of the gifts that surround us every day...and for free! So I named the painting after a song that is often played on bagpipes: "Simple Gifts" was written by Elder Joseph while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine in 1848. These are the lyrics to his one-verse song:
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight. When true simplicity is gain'd, To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd, To turn, turn will be our delight, Till by turning, turning we come round right.
Two additional, later non-Shaker verses exist for the song, as follows:
'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return, 'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn, And when we expect of others what we try to live each day, Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,(refrain) Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me", And when we hear what others really think and really feel, Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.