Out of the Cloister and into the Stream of Humanity

Sketches in the DMA Gallery during a Poetry Reading

Sketches in the DMA Gallery during a Poetry Reading

Beauty suspends the desire to be elsewhere.

Ken Wilbur

I could not have asked for a more beautiful, satisfying Friday.  Somehow, I was awake by 5:15 a.m., and ready to scamper to school for a day of art history.  All of my classes spent the entire period examining the life and art of Robert Motherwell and the Greenwich Village culture in which he thrived.  I had an amazing lunch hour, spent in the company of this amazing nucleus of students whose lives overflow with the arts.  I always miss them before the door closes behind the last one.  This evening, I met with a gathering of artists and community art lovers to discuss ways to develop a cultural district in our town.  I felt for the first time in my life like I was connected to others much in the same way the Eighth Street Club launched the Abstract Expressionist painters in Greenwich Village.  Granted I spend most of my after-work hours in solitude, today was a good day to be surrounded by people.

Following this evening’s community meeting, I decided to return to the Dallas Museum of Art for the second night in a row.  Tonight was the monthly “Late Nights”–the museum stays open till midnight, featuring festivities of live music in the cafe, lectures in the auditorium, and poetry readings in the gallery where the Hopper Drawing exhibit is hung.  I spent the entire night perusing every gallery throughout the museum, the same as I did last night.   All of it was beautiful.  And the crowds were enormous, like a weekend shopping mall–only this was a multitude of art lovers.  And a sweet multitude it was.

In the gallery, actor Lydia Mackay was reading poetry inspired by Hopper’s work, including Joyce Carol Oates’ “Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, 1942.”  As her lovely voice filled the chamber, and museum visitors milled about, listening, I took a seat in the back corner and sketched the environment until the reading was over.  Figure drawing is my Achilles’ heel–I haven’t devoted Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hours” to the discipline, so I struggle still.  But boy, did I enjoy the process.  I enjoyed looking at every person drifting through the chamber and did all I could to capture gestures, postures, figure lines.  And I felt complete.

I’m glad I chose to stay up late, despite the early, early beginning to this day.  At least tomorrow (oops! today!) is Saturday, and there will be no alarm clocks driving me from my bed.

Thanks for reading.  I’m still vibrating from this delicious day and night.

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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