Archive for June, 2014

Back to Work on Monday, with Hemingway on my Mind

June 30, 2014
Beginning of a Small Studio Painting of a Caboose in Waxahachie, Texas

Beginning of a Small Studio Painting of a Caboose in Waxahachie, Texas

Meantime he was working harder than he had ever worked in his life, often until three or four in the morning.  Then he would fall asleep, his head feeling like a frozen cabbage, only to jump awake again a few hours later, with the words already stringing themselves into sentences, clamoring to be set down.

Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story, by Carlos Baker

A part of me cautions that I am supposed to be slowing down.  It’s summer time.  My summer school only demands four mornings a week.  But I cannot seem to find a lower gear.  Last week I was continually stimulated by the AVID Summer Institute I attended in Dallas.  Following AVID I was rocked by a pair of exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Art.  All weekend I had the stirrings of art and literature continually competing for my attention.  And then, this morning we began our study of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.  Now I have Shakespeare, Hemingway, and this watercolor all wanting a piece of me, and as I worked this afternoon in the studio, I played a documentary of Cezanne on the television and could not ignore the ideas emerging from that.  I just cannot seem to “stop the machine” as they cried in Kerouac’s On the Road.  

But I like living this way.  I like being stirred up by ideas.  And I’m enjoying this studio attempt at a watercolor I did en plein air several weeks ago.  A watercolorist friend whom I highly trust gave me a plethora of ideas concerning light, shadow and composition that I want to apply to this piece.  The size is 9 x 12″ and if I get what I want from the experience, I’ll probably try it yet again in a larger format.

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.

Only the First Movement

June 27, 2014
Art, Music, Writing, Scholarly Activity--all Struggling for my Attention Tonight

Art, Music, Writing, Reading and Reflection–all Struggling for my Attention Tonight

The original idea, the sketch, which is so to speak the egg or embryo of the idea, is usually far from being complete; it contains everything, which is simply a mixing together of all parts. Just the thing that makes of this sketch the essential expression of the idea is not the suppression of details, but their complete subordination to the big lines, which are, before all else, to create the impression. The greatest difficulty therefore is that of returning in the picture to that effacing of the details which, however, make up the composition, the web and the woof of the picture.

Eugene Delacroix

Ah, Friday night at last!  I bid a cheery “Hello” to any blog readers still checking in to see if anything is happening in my corner of the world.  I have barely kept my nose above the flood of torrential waters this past week.  So much has come my way, and I am still trying to sort out and shape these ideas into something beautiful.   In a nutshell, I did make the drive south to the Lighthouse Coffee Bar in Midlothian, Texas last Friday night, and listened to a young singer-songwriter sharing his art on the guitar.  I sat in the back of the audience, and began drafting words for a song of my own.  In all my years, I have composed only one complete song for my guitar that I consider okay, so I thought it time to give birth to another.  What I scratched out at the table a week ago I’ll post at the end of this blog.  It is a rough draft, of course, but I am grateful for the Friday night experience that inspired me to give this a try.

Monday morning I had to rise at 5:30, catch a commuter train, and roll to Dallas for the first of a three-day Institute.  The program I will begin this fall at school is AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), and I fully believe in the principles undergirding this endeavor.  I will have one or two classes of 11th-grade AVID students and am thus required to train for what I will teach/mentor this fall.  The commuter train experience was perfect for me–always a thirty-minute ride making it possible to read from Henry David Thoreau’s A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.  The contrast of Thoreau’s quiet, sage-like manner over against the bustle of a convention hotel overrun with thousands of educators created a great theater for this three-day week.  I met some of the most precious souls I’ve known in years during these sessions, and miss them all already.  Their students are so blessed to spend time with the likes of them.  The general public (and especially state legislators) have no idea of the passion and good will that floods the hearts of public school teachers who live to improve the lives of students entrusted to them.  Genuine teaching is indeed the pouring out of a life, the opening of a vein, and so few of the “leaders” of our society who spend so much time in front of the microphones and TV cameras, flooding our airwaves, know anything of such sacrifice.  I receive so much more in fifteen minutes over a cup of coffee from an enthusiastic public school teacher, or from the pages of Thoreau, than I could possibly get from hours of listening to the braying of a popular radio talk show host during drive time or words from a sanctimonious legislator during prime time TV.

Thursday marked my return to the summer school classroom and Shakespeare.  The bard is (for me) the highlight of the senior English curriculum.  So I was enriched, spending five hours immersed in his soothing literary waters, always grateful to have quality seniors in my room during the summer, instead of the indolent that often enter the schoolroom to re-take a course already failed once.  As soon as I exited the schoolroom, I received a call from Trinity Arts Guild in Bedford, a fascinating group of artists that featured me for a watercolor demo last fall.  They want to schedule me for a weekend watercolor workshop perhaps as early as this fall.  The details we discussed by phone excited me to the core, and now I have that element to add to my growing list of interests.

Following Thursday’s school, I was invited to join three beautiful people (all retired educators that I have know for decades) to return to Dallas and spend the afternoon and evening at the Dallas Museum of Art.  After three consecutive days of commuter train experience, this time it was nice to carpool with folks I know.  On Thursdays, the museum is open till 9:00 at night.  We perused in delicious silence the current exhibit: “Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World”.  To date, I have not given a fair amount of space in my Advanced Placement Art History course to the Islamic tradition, and I guarantee that will change this fall.  What I gleaned from this current exhibit was a marvelous reinforcement of the ideas I had taught in the past, with amazing illuminating examples that really captured my attention this time.  Part of this evening’s activity has been given to reviewing notes from past lectures and powerpoints and inserting details I gleaned from the museum exhibit.

After a lovely time strolling the Klyde Warren Park north of the museum (above R. L. Thornton freeway), we decided to re-enter the “art cathedral” and visit the permanent collection.  To our surprise, a preview was offered to museum members of the exhibit opening Sunday: “Mind’s Eye: Masterworks on Paper from David to Cezanne.”  From the moment we entered those galleries, I was stung in much the same fashion as I had been in recent months from my repeated attendance at the “Hopper Drawing” exhibit.  I will be returning to this exhibit many, many times this summer and fall, grateful for my museum partnership that allows me to park and view the collection at no charge.  I could not begin tonight to describe how my heart warmed as I gazed at drawings and watercolors by David, Gericault, Delacroix, Degas, Cezanne and many, many other giants of art history.  And the supporting texts were as equally rich as the works of art themselves.  Part of my reading over the past months has been from the Journals of Eugene Delacroix, and I could not believe the quality of the drawings selected from his hand to hang in this show.

While at the museum, my cell phone vibrated, and lo and behold, an art sale was transacted while I stood in that museum’s corridors.  That business took a chunk out of today, but I am always thankful for a sale.  Seated at last in my studio after a week’s hiatus, I am filled tonight with a spirit of good will, of delightful eudaimonia, and am happy for the quiet space in which to compose and share these musings.  Much more will follow as I sort out all the ideas that filled my journal during this past week’s daily travels and conferences.  Taking the opening Delacroix quote seriously, I am trying tonight to shape and structure some kind of aesthetic creation over these fundamental ideas that flooded my consciousness this past week.  I close with a draft of the song I am trying to compose, that began exactly a week ago tonight:

Only the First Movement

Leaning closely over the table

Peering at the horizonless mess

The pencil carving out all the boundaries

Separating form from the formless.

How does the artificer do that?

Easier on paper than life’s skies.

On paper he does.

In life he tries.

Schools taught him to use tools,

But never to create.

Churches tried to teach how to live.

But only taught what to hate.

He can only start the first movement.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not really alone.

Watching the Changing Atmosphere throughout the Day

June 20, 2014
Changing the Atmosphere Surrounding the House

Changing the Atmosphere Surrounding the House

I read history as little critically as I consider the landscape, and am more interested in the atmospheric tints and various lights and shades which the intervening spaces create than in its groundwork and composition.  It is the morning now turned evening and seen in the west,–the same sun, but a new light and atmosphere.

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, August 7, 1841

I spent most of this day dividing my time between the writings of Thoreau and this emerging watercolor.  I love Thoreau’s analogy of regarding history as one does a changing landscape, with the focus on atmosphere, change, progression, etc.  As I watched this painting emerging from my brush throughout the day, I began to consider atmospheric changes in the surrounding landscape, and worked to create that effect. I altered the colors and textures in the distant trees, and tried to remove most of the highlights from the weedpatch in the foreground.   I’m nearly finished, I believe.  It is time to set this aside and look at it across the room for a few hours or even a few days.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to keep from feeling quite alone.

The Sweetness that Comes with the Dawn

June 20, 2014
Mornings Spent with Thoreau and Watercolor

Mornings Spent with Thoreau and Watercolor

The Vedas say “All intelligences awake with the morning.”  Poetry and art, and the fairest and most memorable of the actions of men, date from such an hour. . . . Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me.  Moral reform is the effort to throw off sleep.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I could not have asked for a better morning.  Mine began, without an alarm, at 5:40.  Since then, aside from the necessities of showering and making breakfast, I have had the luxury of reading from the pages of Thoreau and working on this watercolor, back and forth.  I am finding just as much splendor in staring into these greens and trying to capture the essence of this rural Whitesboro land as I derive from the written words of the Sage, Henry David Thoreau.  The morning has brought to me his Journals, his Walden, and his Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.  The power of his thought is sending me to other worlds.  I could not be more pleased.  I found it necessary to pause from these indulgences and send out another blog.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I am alone.

I blog to keep from feeling totally alone.

 

Transplanting Myself

June 20, 2014
An Early Morning Attempt at Watercolor

An Early Morning Attempt at Watercolor

[In Paris] I was writing about up in Michigan and since it was a wild, cold, blowing day it was that sort of day in the story.  I had already seen the end of fall come through boyhood, youth and young manhood, and in one place you could wite about it better than in another.  That was called transplanting yourself, I thought, and it could be as necessary with people as with other sorts of growing things . . .  .

Maybe away from Paris I could write about Paris as in Paris I could write about Michigan.

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Later, I will probably post about the kind of morning I’ve had, beginning at 5:40–it has been sublime.  A significant part of the morning has been this watercolor I began last night, that takes me back to a time in my life between 1986-87.  Throughout the time that I lived in rural Whitesboro, I felt that I was sucking the marrow out of the environment, though I only knew Thoreau by reputation–I was not yet reading his works.  I was not painting in those days, but rather completing my dissertation for the Ph.D.  However, I wanted to paint and write about this land, this house where I was living.  And I felt that I could not.  All I did was take many photographs and record observations in my inaugural journal pages.

Now, twenty-eight years later, I am painting it, and remembering, much (I suppose) the way Hemingway was able to write about his significant chapters in life only after geographically and chronologically transplanting himself.  As I pore over my photographs of the textures and colors of this land and house, I remember, and am glad to remember the good things.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to keep from being entirely alone.

Pausing and Waiting for the New Dawn

June 19, 2014
Beginning of an Abandoned House in Rural Whitesboro, Texas

Beginning of an Abandoned House in Rural Whitesboro, Texas

“They were miserable men who were granted a few moments of transcendence and they had the talent and foresight to grab pen and paper and write it down.”

Line from the motion picture “Liberal Arts”–Dr. Fairfield, Professor of Romantics, assessing the British Romantic poets.

I am thrilled to begin my first three-day weekend of the summer school stretch.  Finishing at 12:45 today, I went home, slumped in a chair, and suddenly had no intiative–why is it that I want to be most creative when I have a demanding schedule to keep?!  I don’t answer the bell till next Monday morning, yet here I sat, in my chair, feeling inert.  Turning to a TV recording of a motion picture I captured last week (and I absolutely love it!), I laughed at the line posted above, realizing how much truth rings in it.  I then re-opened my volume of Thoreau’s Journal to my bookmark and resumed reading where I had left off early this morning:

When my imagination travels eastward and backward to those remote years of the gods, I seem to draw near to the habitation of the morning, and the dawn at length has a place.  I remember the book as an hour before sunrise.

There it was: the dawn.  I recalled all the wonderful things I had read from Thoreau’s Walden about the dawn as a metaphor for that moment of the day when he was most (creatively) awake.  It was time for me to wake up to the dawn.  So . . . I returned to the studio and began this piece posted above.  This is the house I lived in during a 9-month span of 1984-85.  It is sadly abandoned now and ready to collapse.  I returned there a few years ago and took more than a dozen reference photos for potential watercolor studies.  Finally I am getting down to one (actually, I did paint it immediately after the photo shoot, and promptly sold the painting; and now wish I still had it).  So far the piece is moving along pretty quickly.  I don’t plan to spend too many days on it.  There are some technique and compositional matters I want to pursue, so here is an excuse.

Thanks for reading.  It’s a good feeling, being “awake” again.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

 

Meditations Ranging from Tennyson to the Venerable Bede

June 18, 2014
Small Collage Study of Charles Dickens

Small Collage Study of Charles Dickens

Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the sorm of spring, not afraid that afterwards summer may not come.

Rainer marie Rilke

I have spent a goodly portion of today in a state of suspended eudaimonia, an excellent spirit of good will.  I cannot explain how these feelings emerged, but I accept them as a legitimate gift.

Summer school began yesterday.  And in my senior years, I confess that there emerges all those usual possibiliites to waterski over this sumer task, after all, it’s summer school.  These are seniors.  The subject is British literature.  How many teenagers are going to be serious in such a study?  Yes, those feelings are real.  But I could not take the task lightly.  I had not soaked myself in the British tradition for a little over a year.  Instead of pulling out all the old, worn lesson plans, I dove into the texts with a renewed sense of anticipation.  And I wasn’t disappointed.

I chose this time to introduce the course on the first day with Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the Victorian sage, rather than Beowulf.  And when the moment arrived to lecture on Tennyson’s life and contribution, I felt that unexplainable joy of standing in that room as a connection, a conduit, joining that beautiful sage to the imaginations and sentiments of these high school seniors.  The students asked questions.  They answered questions.  The offered follow-up observations.  In short, they engaged.  And then they wrote essays from the heart, essays I read with bosom-swelling joy.

I don’t always know this kind of success.  How precious it was this time to read written confessions from young, engaged minds, acknowledging with Ulysses that “I am a part of all that I have met.”  And how touching to hear their affirmations after reading “In Memoriam: A. H. H.”  When students admit that it is “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” I can think of no higher affirmation of the educational process.  Listening to them musing after today’s lecture that no one ever gets anywhere in life by quitting, by folding their cards and saying “life isn’t fair” moved me.  One by one, they observed that Tennyson had been dealt a poor hand from the start, but he got where he did by playing his hand, again and again, willing to try again after each loss, and ultimately to win.

This afternoon, my heart was so flooded by the student responses on day two, that I could not simply dash through my old materials on the Venerable Bede.  I sat at my writing desk for hours, until the material became new and fresh to me, again.  I read, I wrote, I re-wrote, I tweaked previous talking points and lecture skeletons on Bede and his Ecclesiastical History.  And then I got stung again:

You are sitting feasting with your eldermen and thanes in winter time; the fire is burning on the hearth in the middle of the hall and all inside is warm, while outside the wintry storms of rain and snow are raging; and a sparrow flies swiftly through the hall.  It enters in at one door and quickly flies out through the other.  For the few moments it is inside, the storm and wintry tempest cannot touch it, but after the briefest moment of calm, it flits from your sight, out of the wintry storm and into it again.  So this life of man appears but for a moment; what follows or indeed what went before, we know not at all.

No doubt much of this afternoon’s enthusiasm in the study was due to my revisitation of studies I pursued during my seminary days of the 1970′s and 80′s.  But it was new today, because I am not the person I was in the 70′s and 80′s.  This is a new era, a refreshingly new chapter.  The text cited above from Bede’s Ecclesiastical History recalled a text I encountered during my dissertation days, nearly thirty years ago, from the Wisdom of Solomon:

All of them passed like a shadow and like a fleeting rumor; like a ship traversing the heaving water, of which, when it has passed, no trace can be found, no path of its keel in the waves.  Or like a bird flying through the air; no evidence of its course is to be found–but the fluid air, lashed by the beat of pinions, and cleft by the rushing force of speeding wings, is traversed.  And afterward no mark of passage can be found in it.  Or as, when an arrow has been shot at a mark, the parted air straightway flows together again so that none discerns the way it went through.  Even so we, once born, abruptly came to nought and held no sign of virtue to display . . . 

Dinnertime arrived, and I was too “wired” to retreat to the kitchen.  Instead I drove to Stovall Park in south Arlington, surprised by rainfall and cool, strong winds that pushed the thermometer down to 79 degrees.  I sat in the shelter of the pavilion, enjoyed the outside with its smells of a freshly-washed landscape accompanied by whispers of the wind and my own soul fluttering its wings of genuine happiness and contentment.  I dont’ even know how long I stayed there, but I filled pages of my journal and read with delight some pages from Julia Cameron’s Finding Water and Anthony Storr’s Solitude.  

With a quickening pulse, I push out the paragraphs on this blog, grateful to have some kind of an outlet for an event today of which no one else knew.

Thanks for reading,
I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to keep from being completely alone.

Thoreau Got Into My Kitchen

June 16, 2014
Still Adjusting the Edward Hopper Composition

Still Adjusting the Edward Hopper Composition

The fickle person is he that does not know what is true or right absolutely,–who has not an ancient wisdom for a lifetime, but a new prudence for every hour.  We must sail by a sort of dead reckoning on this course of life, not speak any vessel nor spy any headland, but, in spite of all phenomena, come steadily to port at last.  In general we must have a catholic and universal wisdom, wiser than any particular, and be prudent enough to defer to it always.  We are literally wiser than we know.  Men do not fail for want of knowledge but for want of prudence to give wisdom the preference.

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 6, 1841

While cooking breakfast early this morning, I opened Thoreau’s Journal on the kitchen counter and resumed reading while waiting for eggs and potatoes to finish.  What I read above put me in a tailspin that lasted most of the morning.  I forced myself to sit at my writing desk for hours and stay with this text, while cross-indexing with texts from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Paul Tillich.  The more I read and wrote, the more my head swam, and it was all invigorating and good.

Looking back over the past quarter-century of my own life’s odyssey, I was immediately aware of many zigzags that threw into bold relief a number of troubling failures.  And now I am glad that I didn’t dwell on those thoughts very long.  What eventually soothed my soul was the reality that over the past three-and-a-half decades, I maintained a steady course in education, navigating through three degrees, followed by a lengthy, unbroken teaching tenure.  The one constant throughout those decades was the pursuit of education, the desire to know more, to explore more, to be more.  The world has been confusingly complex, and many decisions made were not good ones, yet many of them were.  Beneath this flux of history, I now am convinced that there always remained an anchor to keep me in the center.  Paul Tillich believed that “if you know one thing completely, it serves as a center–like a magnet around which iron filings coalesce–for all your other knowledge.  Then what you learn about anything else will fall into pattern.”

Emerson, in his “Self-Reliance”, compared one’s zigzagging through life to the tacking of a ship:

There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour.  For of one will, the actions will be harmonious, however unlike they seem.  These varieties are lost sight of at a little distance, at a little height of thought.  One tendency unites them all.  The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks.  See the line from a sufficient distance, and it straightens itself to the average tendency.  Your genuine action will explain itself and will explain your other genuine actions.  Your conformity explains nothing.

Reading further in the Emerson essay, I came across these healing words:

The force of character is cumulative.  All the foregone days of virtue work their health into this.  What makes the majesty of the heroes of the senate and the field, which so fills the imagination?  The consciousness of a train of great days and victories behind.  They shed a united light on the advancing actor.  He is attended as by a visible escort of angels.

I could not have asked for better timing.  I was wearied and scarred by the close of the recent school year.  Tomorrow I begin the first day of two semesters of summer school, and I am now ready more than ever.  In addition to summer school, I am building my first online university course in Logic.  There is so much out in front of me right now to learn, but thank heaven I am ready and hungry to pursue these matters.  I just needed the voice of a sage to give me assurance and guidance.  What a gift this day has been.

Besides working on my courses for Logic, English IV, Advanced Placement Art History and Philosophy this day, I have also given further attention to this watercolor posted.  I decided to complement the yellows on the shadowed side of the house with some plum and lavender washes of color.  I also deepened the contrasting darknesses of the windows and door.  Finally, I turned my attention to the foreground, and taking a size 12 round brush, stroked line after line after line in dark violet to give shadows to the weeds.  Once that dried, I dipped my fingers in some of the neutral color mixes on my palette and left my imprints all over the weedy lawn.  Now I’ll let it all dry and figure out what to do next.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am never really alone. 

 

 

Late Night Texturing, in Company and Departing from Andrew Wyeth

June 15, 2014
Re-Working the Hopper Composition

Re-Working the Hopper Composition

I work in drybrush when my emotion gets deep enough into a subject.  So I paint with a smaller brush, dip it into color, splay out the brush and bristles, squeeze out a good deal of the moisture and color with my fingers so that there is only a very small amount of paint left.  Then when I stroke the paper with the dried brush, it will make various distinct strokes at once, and I start to develop the forms of whatever object it is until they start to have real body.  But, if you want to have it come to life underneath, you must have an exciting undertone of wash.  Otherwise, if you just work drybrush over a white surface, it will look too much like drybrush.  A good drybrush to me is done over a very wet technique of washes.

Andrew Wyeth, Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth: A Conversation with Andrew Wyeth, by Thomas Hoving

My thoughts tonight have been quite disjunctive: I’ve been sitting in my comfy chair re-reading the Basquiat biography by Phoebe Hoban, taking notes for my A. P. Art History lectures on Neo Expressionism, and flitting over to my drafting table to add more layers to my “Edward Hopper” style watercolor.  Yesterday I began the lengthy process of preparing the foreground for drybrush, taking Andrew Wyeth’s ideas seriously.  After many years of playing with this, I have parted ways with the Master on several details.  I still lay down several layers of wash before beginning the drybrush, but I also interweave several layers of masquing with the masquepen so I can get some weed-like lines to emerge eventually, ranging from the white of the paper to several off-white, wheat-colored lines from the overlaid washes.  I have four layers of wash and masquing underneath all this.  Late last night I peeled off all the masquing after putting down my first attempts at drybrush.

But because of the time constraints, I have stopped using a small brush and squeezing out all the water.  I have found this process to turn my project into days and weeks of work, and I just don’t have that, with my job and my advanced age.  So, I discovered a much larger brush (size 12 round, Winsor & Newton sable) that holds a great deal of water and still forms a razor sharp point.  I use it like a fountain pen to add dozens and dozens and dozens of curvy, calligraphic, razor-sharp lines of varying sepias and bronzes and browns, and I occasionally jam the tip into the paper to splay it into several points and keep on laying down multiple lines.  This makes the process go much faster.  Tonight I have bent over this composition and added hundreds of lines, points, dashes, scribbles, fingerprints and funky texturing patterns to the foreground, hoping that eventually it will emerge to look like an overgrown, weedy, unkempt yard.

The night is getting very, very late.  In twenty-four hours I will be forced to go to bed early to start summer school.  So . . . this is most likely my last “creative” late night episode to post, and believe me, these nights have been a genuine joy.

Working Late into the Night

Working Late into the Night

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am never really alone.

Plein Air Excursions and Thoughts from Thoreau

June 15, 2014
Finished the Haltom Jewelers Clock on the Second Visit

Finished the Haltom Jewelers Clock on the Second Visit

It is only by a sort of voluntary blindness, and omitting to see, that we know ourselves, as when we see stars with the side of the eye.  The nearest approach to discovering what we are is in dreams.  It is as hard to see one’s self as to look backwards without turning around.  And foolish are they that look in glasses with that intent.

Father’s Day, of course, gave me a full day to think over these matters raised by Thoreau.  Funny how I feel my sense of identity evaporate when I am out of the classroom, as I have been for a little while now.  I know I am a teacher by profession, but feel odd when I try to identify myself as an artist when there is no audience.  When paintings are cranked out daily, I wonder if they are compared to symphonies played in deserts or smoke signals sent from uncharted islands.  I make art because it is in me; I can do nothing else.  But quiet moments like the present can render my sense of equilibrium shaky.  Ah well, I’ll get past that one.  🙂

I returned to Sundance Square this afternoon, mostly because of the opportunity to re-connect with old friends.  That in itself was a priceless moment.  And I also got to finish this plein air sketch I started Friday morning.  I’m satisfied with it and ready to move on to the next . . .

Upon completion of the clock, I retired to the Sundance Square Starbuck’s and enjoyed an iced coffee in the air-conditioned indoors (94 degrees outside).  I was really in the mood to sink my teeth into some Emerson essays, but the crowd noise inside I found intolerable.  Funny–I can usually tune out the clatter, but not today.  The coffee shop was overflowing with intolerable verbal clatter.  I had to leave.  Coming home to the studio, I found this:

A Studio Filling Up with Unfinished Projects

A Studio Filling Up with Unfinished Projects

So . . . Emerson or more watercolor activity?  Tough choice, really.  I’ll get back to you on that later.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am never really alone.