If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to dedicate this post to a friend of mine who’s going through a difficult time right now. Ernie Ochsner is an extraordinarily talented artist from here in Aurora whose paintings and photographs have inspired me for years. More importantly, talking to Ernie always makes me feel better about the world. He is incessantly curious, thoughtful and kind. I’ve seen very little of him in recent years – my fault, not his – and I’ve missed his energy and conversation.
Ernie is a first rate explorer of both landscapes and philosophy; he chases skies and truths. Some of the most thought-provoking discussions of my life have been with Ernie, largely because his explorations have given him an expansive view of life and spirituality, and he is excited to share what he’s discovered. However, many of our conversations have started by him asking, “Did you see that sky last night?” Every time I look out my window and see gorgeous clouds and light above town, I assume Ernie is out with his camera, trying to find a foreground to put in front of that sky (and he usually is). His landscape photographs are wonderful, and his paintings are sublime. There’s no mistaking an Ernie Ochsner painting – he has a distinctive and beautiful style, characterized by colors that jump off the canvas.
I tend to look down, rather than up, as I walk prairies with a camera. However, when a sky is striking enough that it causes me to lift my head and gaze at it, I often think of Ernie. Today’s post includes photos of some of those skies. I hope they give both Ernie and you some joy.