Sunday in the Cathedral of Art

We come the closest to the essence of an artist in his or her notebooks and sketchbooks, where written comments and personal notes provide an intimate insight into the magical mind of a working artist.

Eugene Delacroix

From the moment I awoke this morning, I knew I wanted to devote the quality portion of this day to visiting the Dallas Museum of Art.  They have recently opened a new drawing and watercolor exhibit: “Mind’s Eye: Masterworks on Paper from David to Cezanne.” Today I was most awestruck by the works of Jacques Louis David and Eugene Delacroix, although I know that subsequent visits will deepen my interest in the other artists represented as well.  As I stood in the first chamber, prior to seeing any of the works, reading the preliminary posted paragraphs on the walls, I felt the way many Medieval folk must have felt upon entering the narthex of a cathedral, and hesitating in a spirit of expectancy before entering the nave to feel a “presence” in the sanctuary.  

After a full hour of imbibing the collection and its historical data, I found it necessary to leave and let all this new stimuli sort itself out.  A casual stroll through Klyde Warren Park, adjacent to the museum, was what I needed.  Following a satisfying stroll, I sat in the shade of a tree and read more than a dozen new pages from my Journal of Eugene Delacroix.  I felt as though he had just accompanied my in my experience:

On entering this collection I had a feeling of happiness.  The further I went along, the more this feeling increased: it seemed to me that my being was rising above the commonplaces, the small ideas, the small anxieties of that moment.  . . . Whence comes the impression which the sight of all that produced on me?  From the fact that I got out of my everyday ideas which are my whole world, that I got out of my street which is my universe.  How necessary it is to give oneself a shaking up . . . 

After an hour of lounging in the park, I returned to the museum, spent some time in front of the Rothko and Diebenkorn paintings in the modern gallery, then returned for a second pass through the exhibit.  Again I needed to find a seat, write impressions in my journal, and sketch out some new compositions.  Then I knew it was time to return home, to the studio, to my own sanctuary.  Three hours had given me enough energy and inspiration to pursue new ideas.

Above I have posted another painting of a small abandoned storefront from Winfield, Missouri that I created a few years ago to include in the “My Town” series I’ve been contemplating.  The painting is no longer in my possession, so I am now attempting a smaller, cropped version of the same facade.  I haven’t completed enough of it yet to photograph and post (by the way, I HOPE the picture is posted above–I still haven’t solved all the “updated” crap that wordpress has seen fit to throw at us.  As I type this, the word “gallery” appears at the top of my text, no image).

While working on the small storefront watercolor, I also looked out my studio windows at the western sun glancing off the bark of a nearby tree in my backyard.  On impulse, I decided to try and watercolor/sketch it as well.  This picture I also have attempted to post on this blog, and hope it shows.

Thanks for reading.  I have plenty of books laid out that I am dying to read right now, and I need to make sure I get enough quality sleep for summer school tomorrow.

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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