K. M. Ehrenfeldt

Divine Rain

River of Life Image


River of Life

26" x 18" x 3"

Weathered slate, wooden paddle blades, and mixed media.

Hide Artist's Comments

Statement for River of Life

Created as a gift for my life partner, this piece marks an experience for an adventuresome soul and whitewater boater.

River of Life speaks to the love of adventure and its peril, both. His broken kayak paddle itself is a memory of his own survival as a boater. In that moment when he overturned in a rapid, with firm grasp of his paddle to right himself again, the force of current bashed the paddle on an underwater rock, snapping it in half, and saving his neck in the process so that he could boat again another day. The broken paddle, being too beautiful to part with, becomes art in its third life.

The blades of the paddle form the frame of experience, whose shapes have become abstract osprey, with a river hawk head carved into each blade’s shoulder. An ancestral slate roof tile, originally quarried from Chili Bar on the American River, over a hundred years ago, serves as a tablet of memory. Cradled in the curling leaf of enveloping nature, a silver boat plays upon the flowing blue strands pouring out of the rock itself.

Above this vessel of playful experience on the river, a tension of balance is marked, held taut by smooth stone, tumbled and shaped by its own experience of river, water, and time. Higher still, an unearthly totem passes, just as one passed across the sky during a boating companion’s shore side memorial, he having lost his life in the sport. Yet beautiful was his life, their friendship, and in some poetic way his transition from this life to the next; his death having taken place in the river of life itself, amidst people he loved, engaged in an activity he truly enjoyed.

River of Life speaks to the threads of adventure, and those connections of our experience when life is lived fully in the present.