Every Brushstroke Matters

Work on a Vintage Jeep

Work on a Vintage Jeep

Every sentence is the result of a long probation.

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, February 28, 1841

But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made.  I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry.  You have always written before and you will write now.  All you have to do is write one true sentence.  Write the truest sentence that you know.”  So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there.  

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Writers inspire me as an artist.  They have for years.  I feel their struggle as they grapple with words just as I struggle, grappling with images.  Today is the fourth consecutive day of painting in the studio for me, and fatigue is trying to set in.  I know that is true when the breaks I take for household chores become attractive and I find more tasks to perform.  Sometimes it is hard to keep the artistic juices flowing, and I am always grateful when a kindred spirit reaches me through the printed word.  Thoreau wrote something in a Journal that I read and posted previously and returned to this morning to re-read and write in my own journal.  His comment led me to recall a similar sentiment from Hemingway during his early Parisian days as a struggling writer.

“Every sentence is the result of a long probation,” muses Thoreau.  So also is every brushsroke of a watercolorist.  Currently working on an 8 x 10″ piece, I feel a bit of a squeeze, knowing that brushstrokes have a much smaller stage and are more easily exposed than when woven into an 18 x 24″ composition.  It is in these small pieces that I remind msyelf of the importance, the strength, the expression of a single stroke, and follow up with the realization that I can do this.  I have done this for years, and will again today.  Make each stroke direct and true, as Hemingway did each sentence.  Realize, like Thoreau, that I have a long history in each stroke, a long regiment of training and rehearsal.  This is not new.

I just needed a jolt from the writers.  I am grateful for them today.  And grateful for this day, this space, this time.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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