Life Surging with Details and Challenges

Small Watercolor Sketch of a Fly Fisherman

Small Watercolor Sketch of a Fly Fisherman

             He went to his library.  He sat reading for a few hours.  Then he stopped.  He stopped short, without reason, in the middle of an important sentence.  He had no desire to read on.  He had no desire ever to make another effort.

            Nothing had happened to him—a happening is a positive reality, and no reality could ever make him helpless; this was some enormous negative—as if everything had been wiped out, leaving a senseless emptiness, faintly indecent because it seemed so ordinary, so unexciting, like murder wearing a homey smile.

            Nothing was gone—except desire; no, more than that—the root, the desire to desire.  He thought that a man who loses his eyes still retains the concept of sight; but he had heard of a ghastlier blindness—if the brain centers controlling vision are destroyed, one loses even the memory of visual perception.

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

I’m surprised that I’m finding time to fiddle with my watercolor sketching, being absorbed with a novel I began reading at the end of last week.  I am about 500 pages into it and cannot seem to put it down, yet somehow I’m still preparing my classes, grading, writing in my journal and experimenting daily with watercolor in my studio.  I don’t know how this is all happening, but I’ll accept that gift with gratitude.

This is a small watercolor that I began while sitting in a festival booth a few weekends ago.  I forgot about it until last evening and decided to push onward with it.  I’ve just now peeled away all the masquing, so there are quite a few raw areas that now have to be doctored and detailed.  It looks as though the painting will have to be abandoned on my drafting table for the rest of this night, however.

I am moved by the words I’ve posted above from the novel I’m reading.  My Advanced Placement Art History students challenged me last week to read it because of our recent studies in twentieth-century architecture.  I’m finding to book to be very engaging, and am really enjoying what I read of the characters.  I shuddered this morning, before dawn, as I read this text.  The words are spoken of a successful New York City publishing mogul who at age fifty-one comes to this flat level of existence.  I would hate to come to that state of mind.  Currently I find myself wishing I could split into two or three persons so I could have time to pursue every challenge that interests me currently.  I cannot understand a sentiment of emptiness, of vacuity.  I have to leave soon for a social function this evening, and knowing that when I return I will be crowded to finish grading before bedtime, and probably have zero time remaining for reading this novel or working on this watercolor already frustrates me.  I cannot understand one’s being bored, or feeling that life has reached a stage of non-purpose.  To the contrary, my life has always had more details than I could ever chase down and solve.

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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7 Responses to “Life Surging with Details and Challenges”

  1. BJR Says:

    I’ve been enjoying all your postings and watercolors, but I just had to reply to this one. To lose all desire to do things…(or even worse!)…to lose one’s memory of visual perception would be a profound loss! Truly!! I know the feeling of no energy to draw…yet scenes I WANT TO DRAW are flying through my mind…so the desire is there, and I often jot notes, so I can remember the ideas. Lupus has stripped me of energy for a spell now…but “hope springs eternal”, not?? One always hopes for a better time…and soon. 😉 I love your watercolors and enjoy them so much…so keep on. You inspire me!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Your responses have always moved me, BJR. You have never allowed your setbacks to smother your creative impulses. Always you come back and create anew Today is a new day, a new Gift. Thank you for talking to me.


  2. sedge808 Says:



  3. Bertha Says:

    Grief is what’s keeping me from painting. I love to (or used ) love to paint, watercolors, and loved to cook. My husband died a year and a half ago and I am still struggling. Don’t paint anymore, can’t, but, as BJR, I still look at scenes, or compose them in my mind, so I know that eventually I will paint again. As for cooking, I enrolled (back) in my Culinary classes, and I am enjoying them tremendously. I already wasted so much time, and at my age (65) I can’t afford to do that. I enjoy your work and inspires me, especially all that energy that you never cease to waste. You give me hope. Bertha.


    • davidtripp Says:

      I am crushed to hear of your loss and how it has put a hold on your painting. I do believe that you’ll paint again, because you are composing works of art visually, you cannot help yourself. I’m glad that you’ve returned to the culinary arts and are finding fulfilment in that as well. Thank you so much for the things you write that keep encouraging me. It’s not always easy for me, but I’m so glad I still have it in me to create. It is my life’s blood.


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