A Soothing, Late-Night Afterglow

Awarded "Best in Show" at Trinity Arts Guild

Awarded “Best in Show” at Trinity Arts Guild

We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative work in there between the domestic chores, and obligations.  I’m not sure we deserve such big A-pluses for that.

Toni Morrison

Wow, Toni, you certainly hit that one between the eyes.  For years I have languished beneath that shadow, blaming my daily job for restricting my output of artwork.  Several years ago I decided to stop using my job as an excuse, and occasionally have cranked out over a hundred watercolors per year (yes, some of them small, some of them sketches, but still over a hundred watercolors worthy of matting and shrinkwrapping).

Two winters ago, I devoted some quality evening and weekend hours to assembling large still lifes in my garage (man cave). I took the dare and painted two 28 x 22″ still lifes in watercolor, then ponied up the money to have them custom framed and matted.  One them just won Best in Show tonight at the fall juried show of the Trinity Arts Guild in Bedford, Texas.  I’m pleased that the painting got the attention of a judge, and received some recognition tonight.  Following is a short story I wrote, inspired by this particular watercolor, and now displayed on the back of a 5 x 7″ greeting card that I package and sell at my art festivals:

He’s No Longer Here

When the neighbors hammered the padlock off the deceased man’s fishing shed, they peered inside the darkened room with sadness at the world of memories their dear friend had left behind.  Guarding the assembly from its high perch, the kerosene lantern called to memory nights spent on the Mississippi River dikes, waiting for catfish that would find their way to the Griswold skillet.  The Canada Dry crate served as the old fisherman’s stool for the nightlong vigils.

Bass fishing featured the Garcia Mitchell open-faced reel and the vintage wooden plugs for the area lakes and ponds.  In his retirement years, fly fishing took over, and the old man delighted in the long road trips in his Dodge pickup to the Colorado Rockies where he would not be heard from for weeks at a time.. The battered suitcase was his lifelong road companion, as was the dark leather knapsack that he bought from an old leathershop on the dusty streets of Athens during his European excursions. 

The old man had not been heard from for more than a week, and the inquiring neighbors were saddened to enter his home and find him in his final resting place—his favorite recliner in the small front room of his ramshackle house.  His cup was still half-filled with the Dining Car Coffee he relished throughout his years working on the Frisco railroad.  Now, only his possessions remained to tell his life’s story.

Thanks for reading.  This has been a good night.

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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5 Responses to “A Soothing, Late-Night Afterglow”

  1. Martha Keim-St. Louis Says:

    Wonderful painting


  2. Heidi Russell Says:

    Congratulations! I love the painting.


  3. Skeeter Murley Says:

    Very Cool! Congratulations.


  4. Rachel Murphree Says:

    Congratulations! I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and admire your work.


  5. coreyaber Says:

    I am slow catching up on my blog reading/commenting, so I want to say a bit late congratulations on the best in show! Well deserved. The way you render so many textures and bring such life to the objects is remarkable. This is one of the paintings of yours I have come back to over time to study, even though my work recently has been shifting away from close study. I am looking forward to your winter still life efforts this year and intend to take some inspiration from what you do.


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