I seem to have only been like a boy playing on the seashore, diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Putting more space between tonight and my recent illness, I am finding a renewed delight, tinkering with watercolor projects. The shock of discovery is returning, and I feel like a small boy again, oftentimes my eyes widening with suprise at what comes out of the end of my brush, or what pools up on the watercolor page. And all the while I work on this watercolor, I feel ecstasy in knowing that I am a part of an extensive tradition, an endless line of creative spirits. In the stillness of this studio, I work while listening to the voices of Robert Motherwell, Willem De Kooning, Andrew Wyeth and Joseph Campbell on the VHS and DVD documentaries that I have stockpiled over the years. I love being a part of something much larger than myself, something much larger than this moment. I sense an immortality in all of this. I have read, over and over again, Julia Cameron’s work The Artist’s Way. Writing from her Upper West Side Manhattan environ in that day, she pushed out these words: “Artists toil in cells all over Manhattan. We have a monk’s devotion to our work–and, like monks, some of us will be visited by visions and others will toil out our days knowing glory only at a distance . . .” I love the sanctuary feel that floods my studio space in the night when things get quiet and I have only my thoughts moving about as I bend over the watercolor and explore its dynamics. There is so much waiting to be explored, that I keep coming back to Newton’s testimony that the small boy turns over pebbles while the ocean of truth waits beside.
ART STILL HAS TRVTH. TAKE REFVGE THERE. These immortal words of Matthew Arnold are chiseled over the portal of the Saint Louis Art Museum. I have read them on repeated visits to that “cathedral of art.” And I take them to heart tonight. My working art space has become the cleft in the rock, the shelter from the storm, the safe haven, my refuge. Life has had its difficulties lately, but I’m grateful for sanctuary this night, for the quiet hours to pursue art, while outside the temperatures continue to drop and the rain continues to fall.
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.