Absorbed into the Artwork

Finally Breaking Ground on the Watercolor Still Life

Towards dawn he awoke.  O what sweet music!  His soul was all dewy wet.  Over his limbs in sleep pale cool waves of light had passed.  He lay still, as if his soul lay amid cool waters, conscious of faint sweet music.  His mind was waking slowly to a tremulous morning knowledge, a morning inspiration.

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

This sweet passage from Joyce’s novel describes the Saturday and Sunday mornings I experienced.  I would probably know such sentiments on weekdays were it not for a 6:00 alarm alerting me that I have sixty minutes to get out the door en route to school.  The fortune was mine today to spend the majority of my life in this garage studio drawing, revising, laying down my first layers of watercolor wash, and finally detailing some small areas.  I am falling headlong into this painting, and regret that I’ll have to call it off before long so I can begin my work week.  This weekend has been a Gift though, and I don’t mean to complain.  The temperatures today have remained chilly, the atmosphere outside dark and dim, and the coffee has stayed hot throughout the day.  I couldn’t have asked for a better script.

My Jumbled, Tangled Work Area

My Jumbled, Tangled Work Area

While working, I have listened to some old VHS tapes of Joseph Campbell discussing the writings of James Joyce. Though I myself have never fabricated and layed out a suitable aesthetic, I so enjoy listening to the discussions and theories of others concerning art.  Last week over lunch I was thrilled at the back-and-forth between myself and an alert student as we tried to hammer out some kind of feasible explanation of what exactly “art” is.  I often hear others say that aesthetics occur when we feel “held” by the object, when we linger.  Beauty suspends the desire to be elsewhere (I read this somewhere, it’s not my line!).  All I do know is, I enjoy making art, and unlike fishing, when I get skunked, I’m still in good spirits about the enterprise.  There is nothing like engaging in the task of making art, and this day has given me the opportunity. I remain grateful.

Thank you 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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3 Responses to “Absorbed into the Artwork”

  1. Xraypics Says:

    And…. what was the outcome of the discussion with your student? Can you distill the thoughts? Tony


    • davidtripp Says:

      Wow, thanks for asking, Tony. We took our lead from Emerson, maintaining that nature is what is, art is the mixture of our intellect with nature. We tried to get away from terms like “good” or “bad” art, and just said that the artist, poet, playwright, musician, rhetorician, etc. creates art every time s/he manipulates what nature offers as a gift. We’re still working on it! It’s great always hearing from you. How is retirement life? Hopefully, you’re getting all you desired.


      • Xraypics Says:

        Hi, thanks for such a rapid reply. What a broad definition for art – “every time nature is manipulated” – I shall ponder this in my heart… meanwhile retirement is but a word that applies to not doing what you don’t want to do. So I remain very busy but have withdrawn from the unpleasant side of work, i.e. inter- and intra-departmental politics which drives me mad. Now I watch and laugh. My Punch and Judy show has started to take off; a steep learning curve,but enjoying audience reaction – this is not native to Australia and people love it political IN-correctness and all (perhaps because of that). The creative side of the project is largely finished bar a few small things, so I can get back to doing digital art again – Gallery installation exhibition coming up in September. Cheers, Tony


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