Still Scraping for Quality Painting Time

Pushing Ahead on the Sinclair Station

Pushing Ahead on the Sinclair Station

Good evening.  I did manage to put in a little work on this painting late this afternoon, but had no time to fling it up on the blog.  I worked on the pebbly textures in the pavement, enriched the seams a little more, then reworked the shadows under the truck and refined the tires some more.  I also worked more on the shadows on the left side of the building and the white columns between the gas pumps.  I’m still trying to make up my mind about the orange sunlit backdrop, how many more trees to drop into it, and how to transition the ground into the atmosphere in the back.  I’ll get to that later, maybe tomorrow.

While reading late last night, I came across this gut-wrenching passage from the Autobiography of William Carlos Williams.  I hated to go to sleep on such a passage, and indeed it contributed to the rough morning I endured shortly after I awoke this morning.  But here it is:

I’ll never forget the dream I had a few days after [Pop] died, after a wasting illness, on Christmas Day, 1918.  I saw him coming down a peculiar flight of exposed steps, steps I have since identified as those before the dais of Pontius Pilate in some well-known painting.  But this was in a New York office building, Pop’s office.  He was bare-headed and had some business letters in his hand on which he was concentrating as he descended.  I noticed him and with joy cried out, “Pop!  So, you’re not dead!”  But he only looked up at me over his right shoulder and commented severely, “You know all that poetry you’re writing.  Well, it’s no good.”  I was left speechless and woke trembling.  I have never dreamed of him since.

How horrible.  I had trouble sleeping after that, and I didn’t awake to the best of days this morning, probably largely because of that residual memory.  I am not very far into the Autobiography, but so far I have gleaned that his father wasn’t around much, always working to support the family.  I can identify with that.  My father worked long hours, came home late, and needed his space.  And he never said much to me as I grew up.  But I recall only a time or two when he verbally put me down, but never as seriously as this.  In fact, what I recall as a teenager is my father constantly bringing his mechanic buddies into my bedroom to show them my art pinned to the walls.  He always said good things about my skills to them, though not to me.  But it was O.K.  I knew he was affirming my work the only way he knew how.  I don’t know how I would survive if he ever would have said to me what WCW encountered in his dreadful dream.

Though it’s been twenty-four hours since reading that, I’m still feeling kind of heavy tonight, unable to shake that.  I guess we all go through this, but I find myself second-guessing many ways I handled younger people in my years as a father and as a public school teacher, and tonight I seem to be remembering those bad moments more than the good.  What we say to others indeed impacts, shapes lives and has a way of living on for years in memories, theirs and ours.   Perhaps this will find me entering the classroom tomorrow more sensitive and caring than I’ve been in the past.  I hope so.

Oh well.  I still have plenty of prepping to do for tomorrow’s classes and the hour is drawing late.

Thanks always for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel that I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.


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4 Responses to “Still Scraping for Quality Painting Time”

  1. Deanna Tennent Masterson Says:

    Following you along on the Sinclair painting is inspirational…thank you for sharing with us. re the heavy feeling, this reminds me of what Samuel Hart wrote about character in his book ‘Ethics The Quest for the Good Life’.
    “Honesty, consideration, responsibility, benevolence & kindness are functional properties. Only in our actual relating of ourselves to our fellow man do we reveal our character. Moral ideas & ideals contemplated in solitude are an asset of the moral life, but, in the final analysis, it is the acting out of them which constitutes the good life”. you seem to be a man who possesses all these fine traits…..hopefully this morning you will feel lightness instead.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Deanna, for the Samuel Hart material. Excellent comment. Today things are a little “lighter” for me, but still I want to focus on those traits mentioned, and applying them to daily life. It’s good to pause and reflect on these matters.


  2. Russel Ray Photos Says:

    Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back!


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