Rising Toward a Poetic, Divine Life

Second Plein Air Attempt at Snowscape at my Parents' Home

Second Plein Air Attempt at Snowscape at my Parents’ Home

The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life.  To be awake is to be alive.  I have never yet met a man who was quite awake.  How could I have looked him in the face?

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Today my Philosophy class discussed this passage among others from Thoreau’s Walden, and tried to describe what is meant by a “poetic or divine life.”  As the discussion ensued, my mind kept drifting back to this second plein air watercolor sketch I attempted as it snowed in High Ridge, Missouri over the Thanksgiving holiday.  As I walked about the property on the second day of the snowfall, my attention was arrested by this solitary tree bathed in winter sunlight with snow still clinging to some of its branches, and the expansive thaw on the ground surrounding the tree. I knew that sketching the tree’s structure would prove difficult enough, but my attention actually was on the contrast between the dead, ochre-colored earth beneath the tree and the surrounding drifts of snow.  The longer I looked at these, the more excited I grew, and I knew I was going to have to attempt to render it.  Most of my life I have looked at those beautiful Andrew Wyeth drybrush renderings of thawing snow on the Pennsylvania farmlands, and have always wanted to see this with my own eyes.  This is one of many reasons I regard this particular Thanksgiving season as a genuine gift to me.  I arrived in High Ridge in the fullness of time.

I have matted this 5 x 7″ watercolor in a white mat and enclosed it in a wooden 8 x 10″ frame with glass.  I’m offering it for $50.  This is truly a turning point for me in drybrush studies.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.


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