An artist learns by repeated trial and error, by an almost moral instinct, to avoid the merely or the confusingly decorative, . . . to say what he has to say with the most direct and economical means, to be true to his objects, to his materials, to his technique, and hence, by a correlated miracle, to himself.
Irwin Edman, Arts and the Man
Temperatures have dropped to 29 degrees in Arlington, Texas tonight, but according to The Weather Channel, they are not expected to drop any lower. The Man Cave is filled with the chill, but a space heater at my elbow is making this environment tolerable.
I hit the wall this afternoon, and had to retire for a nap. Now, with supper in me and a full pot of coffee on, I intend to work as late as I can endure in the studio tonight. I just want to do some significant things while I am out of school. I am listening to a video I recorded about twenty years ago of Joseph Campbell discussing James Joyce. Campbell and Joyce are great studio company tonight. Funny that the discussion is Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I have had that book on my mind all day today, as I have thought back over my life (does the approaching New Year have anything to do with that) and tried to make some decisions on where to go next.
I am focusing on the Barq’s Root Beer sign and dilapidated door right now, as I work more deeply into this large still life. I am enjoying the interplay of watercolor, graphite pencil and drybrush as I work on the various textures of the aged and abused objects before me. These relics were the kinds of things that surrounded me when I spent summers at my grandparents’ farm in southeast Missouri as a young child. And during this cold night, I recall with delight those winter nights spent wrapped in patchwork quilts, seeking warmth from kerosene heaters and watching black-and-white television late at night. These are moments of Proustian delight for me. My grandparents passed from this earth forty years ago, but I still recall with gratitude those memories that they made with me, memories that I now carry in my senior years in this studio.
Thanks for reading.