Watercoloring in the Quiet Morning

Continuing the Ghost Sign

Continuing the Ghost Sign

I have no sympathy with the belief that art is the restricted province of those who paint, sculpt, make music and verse.  I hope we will come to an understanding that the material used is only incidental, that there is artist in every man; and that to him the possibility of development and of expression and the happines of creation is as much a right and as much a duty to himself, as to any of those who work in the espeically ticketed ways.

After all, the object is not to make art, but to be in the wonderful state which makes art inevitable.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I awoke at 6:51 this morning, without an alarm, and I had to rise from my bed, because I had Robert Henri on my mind, and felt that I needed to keep an appointment with him.  Long ago, I had developed a daily habit of keeping some kind of a “morning watch,” a time in which I read from my Bible, kept a journal, and tried to prepare myself to live the day to the fullest.  I still maintain that “watch” much in the same way Immanuel Kant devoted the first hour of his morning to sitting in his chair and contemplating.  I always have the journal out, and something significant to read.  And Henri has been my muse of late, stirring me in the same manner that he did “The Eight” when they gathered in his studio apartment at 806 Walnut St. in downtown Philadelphia at the close of the nineteenth century.  He read to them from Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, from Emerson, from any creative spirit he thought could ignite the artistic fires in his disciples.  And now, as I read this collection of his letters, addresses and private musings, I feel my own fires rekindling.

It did not take me long to lay the Henri volume down, pick up the brush, and return to this ghost sign that I found and photographed day before yesterday.  The quiet and sweetness of the morning has provided the perfect sanctuary for me to pore over this composition, think thoughts of art, philosophy, literature, life, and wonder what exactly this new day, this new gift, could reveal.  I so love the summer holiday from school (though I will resume teaching summer school very quickly).  Time evaporated yesterday, as I stood with my fly rod, looking into those waters, and recalling the words of Thoreau: “Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.”

I am indeed on the same page as Henri, concerning the artist.  I believe everyone has that potential to live the artful life, to think the artful thoughts, and make constructions that are unique to his/her inner life, and to express them, whether in visual art, music, journaling, blogging, or conversing artfully with the friends around.  I believe everyone has the artist within, and that that artist deserves feeding, nurturing.  This blog is part of my outlet.  But my intake today has been the words of Henri, and the visual stimulation of this commercial building standing mute with its layers of memories enfolded.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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8 Responses to “Watercoloring in the Quiet Morning”

  1. LucyJartz Says:

    I got up early to paint today, before the morning-flowers closed up.

    Before I can paint there is so much to clear away, and things that prepare my mind. I pray, visit with my husband before he goes to work at 6 am, breakfast, etc. and after that, I can paint without any nagging distraction that there was something else I needed to do.


  2. Xraypics Says:

    Hi, David, thanks for putting the picture in such high resolution I could really look at the technique and learn! I have been away at a Folk festival for the long weekend, extended even, and managed to sell two of my prints. Taking inspiration from you I showed them around and were well received. Next year I set up a stall. Glad to see you have recovered from that nasty bout of ‘flu. Hopefully the fishing will have given your immune system a boost – relaxation and recovery. Tony


    • davidtripp Says:

      Great to hear from you, Tony, and congratulations on that Folk festival success! I’m glad you’re joining the festival circuit. There is so much reward in it. I am glad to be feeling better, and back to my lifestyle of making art.


  3. Barbara Tyler Says:

    I love this:
    a “morning watch,” a time in which I read from my Bible, kept a journal, and tried to prepare myself to live the day to the fullest. I still maintain that “watch” much in the same way Immanuel Kant devoted the first hour of his morning to sitting in his chair and contemplating.
    I too believe and am striving (almost fighting) for this rejuvenation time. It’s so crucial and rewarding. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank YOU, Barbara! And thanks for coming to Waxahachie at the end of the week. It was great talking to you again. I’m in Eureka Springs now, getting ready to start my workshop in “plein air.” Can’t wait to meet the new participants!


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