Ongoing Search for Creative Alchemy

I am witnessing a unique physiological phenomenon: John Shade perceiving and transforming the world, taking it in and taking it apart, re-combining its elements in the very process of storing them up so as to produce at some unspecified date an organic miracle, a fusion of image and music, a line of verse. . . . Shade’s poem is, indeed, that sudden flourish of magic: my gray-haired friend, my beloved old conjurer, put a pack of index cards into his hat–and shook out a poem.

Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

A veritable bouquet of benefits sprouted from this snowbound weekend. Perhaps an early spring is on the way after all. I’m posting two watercolors that just sold over the past few days. I always take pleasure in selling my original work, but it is so much sweeter when I know the patrons as friends, and these two paintings now belong to two quality men who have brought much more than money into my life. Visiting with them has reminded me of my first love: seeking ways to blend disparate elements of this world into some kind of original artistic composition, an alchemy if you please. My passion for flyfishing made possible the two watercolors posted above. But there is so much more to this complex life than flyfishing.

Preparing for tomorrow’s A. P. Art History session on Dutch and Flemish baroque art spurred my return to a fresh study of Peter Paul Rubens. Already I have enjoyed drinking from the fountains of Nabokov’s Pale Fire, and when I came across the words posted above, I was reminded of Rubens’s rich tapestry of interests: the Greek and Latin language, classical philosophy and sculpture, Renaissance drawing and painting, travel, connecting with several dozen artists who were masters of various media. All this, accompanied by my privilege of writing a letter of recommendation for an amazing art student from my past, now accepted into the American University of Rome (wow, she will have access to those wonderful works copied by Rubens shortly after he became a master at age twenty-one).

I’m sincerely hoping to have some time tomorrow to return to the studio. After a weekend of listening to classical music, translating portions from ancient Greek and Latin texts, practicing some sketching of human anatomy, and reading from Nabokov, Annie Dillard and William Carlos Williams, I am ready to make some visual art. The hiatus has been too long. Fortunately I completed the last of my grading around 2:00 this morning, and feel that an albatross has been cut loose from around my neck. Hopefully, I’ll face a more positive fate than Coleridge did.

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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