Contemplation

18 x 24" Watercolor in Progress

18 x 24″ Watercolor in Progress

No one can get anywhere without contemplation.  Busy people who do not make contemplation part of their business do not do much for all their effort.

Robert Henri seemed the perfect combination of thought and action.  We read about how much of a fireball he was in his studio at 806 Walnut Street in Philadelphia.  Students from the Pennsylvania Academy of Art filled his apartment and hung on his every word as he read to them from Whitman and Emerson, challenging them to find a style all their own.  The Ash Can School emerged from this leader and his band of disciples.  I had always known Henri from history as a man of action.  But now on my second reading of his book The Art Spirit, I am continually shocked by his erudition, his depth and breadth of thought.  Such powerful ideas as his could not have been drawn from a life on the run.

This week’s schedule is horrendous.  It is our last week of high school and the beginning of Paint Historic Waxahachie.  I am teaching school by day and dashing forty minutes south to Waxahachie to create plein air paintings in late afternoons and evenings.  On top of that, I have some studio projects that must be completed as well.  Today during lunch, I chose to go home and work on this 18 x 24″ watercolor of a nineteenth-century historic home in Louisiana.  I spent the first half of the lunch hour working on some of the small details, then decided to sit in a chair with my journal, a good book and a cup of coffee.  Henri’s comments about contemplation affirmed what I have believed for decades.  We need to stop in the midst of the hustle and let our thoughts even out.  I tossed the watercolor into the middle of my living room floor so I could look up at it occasionally from my book.  Andrew Wyeth always put up his works in progress so that he could catch glimpses of them “from the corner of the eye” when leaving or entering a room.  The first time I looked up from my book, I uttered “Wow.”  This painting was much better than I thought.  I had only been looking at it from a very close and tight focal point.  I was unprepared for how it actually looked from across the room.  Now I cannot wait to get to the end of it.  But  . . . I have another high school class to conduct and a trip to Waxhachie for the purpose of making another painting.

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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