Rising Above the Swamp

Late Night "Bedtime" Sketch

Late Night “Bedtime” Sketch

In the morning, sitting in the forest.  I was thinking of those charming allegories of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, those cities of God, those Elysian fields full of light, peopled with gracious figures, etc.  Isn’t that the tendency of periods when beliefs in higher powers have preserved their full strength?  The soul rose ceaselessly above the trivialities and miseries of real life into imaginary dwellings which were embellished with everything that was lacking around you.

It is also the tendency of unhappy periods when dreadful powers weigh upon men and cripple the flights of the imagination.

Eugene Delacroix, Journal, May 22, 1847

I cannot describe this “transcendent” feel that I have when I’m in my element.  Throughout my years of life, I have seen more than I like of the oppressive side of the world in which we live.  But something always manages to buoy me above that dismal swamp.  This is not to say that I don’t experience seasonal moods of depression–I do.  But days like today, when all seems right in my corner of the universe, I find myself filled with a gratitude that cannot be couched in words.

My Saturday began with the reading of fine literature, journaling, thinking, exploring memories and experiencing gratitude.  I later entered the Man Cave and kicked out a charcoal compositional sketch that I did not like.  So, I just walked away from it, thinking I would just redirect my attention back to reading and journaling.  But less than an hour later, it suddenly dawned on me that I was trying to conquer a composition by drawing–something I do not practice enough– and composition is complicated anyway.  The word came to me: simplify.  Returning to the Cave, I picked up the charcoal again and concentrated on just one still life object, then another.  Things improved.  I realized composition would come later, when I was ready.  When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

Sitting later in the open doorway of my garage, I enjoyed the cool breezes of the late afternoon, and felt my body cleansed by the auburn glow of the waning sun.  I returned to my reading of Eugene Delacroix’s Journal and the passage posted above just seemed to pull my day together perfectly.  Aside from one more quick sketch right before bedtime (posted above), I just gave the best part of my evening to reading and reflection.  Perhaps tomorrow I will get an early start on the day.  I have done enough today to fill three days with a sense of accomplishment.

Thanks always 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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