Working on the Stockyards Late at Night
“A great truth is like a mountain that one walks around, and the changes of its contour as one moves his position only emphasize and revivify its majesty.” (N. C. Wyeth’s last letter to Andrew, dated February 16, 1944).
I hardly know how to describe this Texas Saturday. Rising at 7:00 a.m. to a 38-degree morning, I wasted no time in getting dressed and loading the Jeep to travel two hours east to Tyler Texas. I learned two days ago that the Tyler Museum of Art was exhibiting “The Wyeths Across Texas,” a collection of N. C., Andrew and Jamie’s work from Texas private collections. The two-hour drive may as well have been two days, as I could not seem to get there quickly enough.
I spent three hours in the midst of the exhibition that occupies three small galleries. But I only knew that because I checked the time as I exited the building. I was lost in the heart of eternity as I breathed in those magnificent pieces. I also viewed a 60-minute documentary, Andrew Wyeth Self-Portrait: Snow Hill. I could not help purchasing the DVD as it was impossible to glean all the wealth available in the presentation. I am still vibrating from what I’ve taken in so far.
Here is another fragment of N. C.’s final letter to his son:
“Great painting is like Bach’s music, in texture closely woven, subdued like early tapestries, no emphasis, no climaxes, no beginnings or endings, merely resumptions and transitions, a design so sustained that there is no effort in starting and every casual statement is equally great.”
So, with that quote murmuring in my heart, I put on a CD of Bach’s Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, and resumed my Fort Worth cattle drive, reminding myself that the close, detailed study of one longhorn was no more or no less significant than the undulating background foliage or the foreground inlaid bricks in the street, or the fleeting shadows beneath the longhorns–just one more effortless, timeless series of threads embedded in this tapestry woven for several weeks now. I no longer fret over the time spent, or the prospects stretching endlessly before me. I just paint in the embrace of Bach’s music, and the grateful memories of a day spent in communion with Wyeth’s art work.
Thanks for reading.