A Day with the Romantic Poets

Pausing for Awhile with the McNeely House

Pausing for Awhile with the McNeely House

“When you become creative in any field,” [Paul Tillich] stated, “your creativity is released in all other fields at the same time.” . . . [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.

Rollo May, Paulus: Reminiscences of a Friendship

A morning spent with the British Romantic poets in a senior English summer school class fed my spirit with exquisite feelings.  We talked for a short while about Wordsworth’s sentiments when he stood in the presence of the wrecked Medieval Tintern Abbey.  Though my words probably failed me, I tried to address the dual sense of loss and presence we experience when we stand pensively in the midst of an abandoned ruin.  My own thoughts of course returned to this structure I’ve posted above–the remnants of the house where my mother lived throughout her childhood and where I visited during summers on my grandparents’ farm.  I find it difficult to describe romantic stirrings, but as the students worked on their assignments, I moved on in silence to some of the featured works of Keats: “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “Ode on Melancholy,” and “On First Looking into Chaptman’s Homer.”  From that point I turned to a chapter on Shelley in Paul Johnson’s monograph Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky.  By the time I got home for lunch, I was ready for another romp in Mehville’s Moby Dick and now have passed one hundred pages in this remarkable story.  After reading awhile, I picked up the brush and worked a little more on Grandmother’s decaying house.  Then I decided to lay it aside for awhile, and began a still life, focusing on a volume I traded for back in the mid 1970’s that was published in 1756.  I have fancied for a number of years what it would be like to do a close, detailed watercolor rendering of an old leather volume.  I’m still tinting in the darkened background, and have already applied four washes of color.  It looks like I’ll be requiring two or three more washes before I can finally get down to the subject.  It’s been a good day for reading, painting and thinking.

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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11 Responses to “A Day with the Romantic Poets”

  1. Xraypics Says:

    Looking forward to seeing the progress on your leather volume. Tony


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you. The background was nearly finished last night. It required 6 layers of wash, each needing to dry thoroughly before the next was applied. Time consuming. Ready today to start the old volume.


  2. BJR Says:

    I, too, am looking forward to seeing the old book in your watercolor. I love still life’s. (They’re my “go to” for an easy composition.) This current one is a collage…hollyhocks in the background, a bird house on an old post, an open book in front of it all, with a pocket watch, a bird’s nest and the old tatted-edged hankie. Been awhile since I’ve tackled this large of drawing. Feels so…awesome!! 😉 I feel like all my fighting back physically the past 8 months is finally getting me somewhere. (Another big smile!!)

    Your grandma’s house is lovely. I love the colors. Happy painting on the book.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Your comments are so inspiring, thank you for sharing. Congratulations on the large still life (it exhausts me to think of it). The still life I am fiddling with is only about a 10 x 12″, and may even be smaller should I decide to crop it. Enjoy what you do, and please keep me posted!


      • BJR Says:

        Have you ever drawn with a Lamy pen? That is what I’ve used for this drawing, with a soft black ink. I have an extra fine nib on the Lamy. It glides across the paper…lovely.

        I didn’t do the drawing all in one go…rather, I draw til I tire and then rest. This works best for me…and my condition. Taking it a bit at a time. Art/Creating is so rewarding!


  3. davidtripp Says:

    I have never heard of the Lamy pen. How may I see your drawing? I have no link to you when you respond. I’m delighted that you are taking the drawing in stages–I do watercolor the same way, cannot work long hours as I did when I was younger!


  4. BJR Says:

    Just wondering…do my comments show you my email address? Just pop me an email with your address. I’d be glad to send you a copy it’s copied. Just wondering…


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