Time Divided Between New Theories and Old Responsibilities

New Limited Edition of my Fort Worth Cattle Drive

New Limited Edition of my Fort Worth Cattle Drive

As I prepare for my new adventure, I want to share some good news: my new edition is coming out next week of the Fort Worth Cattle Drive I rendered in watercolor a few years back. The edition measures 18 x 24″ without the frame and will go on sale for $100. The first edition is being custom framed, but numbers 2-5 will be available in a week.

Last night at 10:02, a light went on in my mind. A text from Emerson that I had filed away in my memory years ago burrowed its way back to the surface of my thinking:

Nature in the common sense, refers to essences unchanged by man; space, the air, the river, the leaf. Art is applied to the mixture of his will with the same things, as in a house, a canal, a statue, a picture.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

For about a week, I have been wrestling with Heidegger’s notion, expressed in “The Origin of the Work of Art”, that art is generated in that rift between nature and human endeavor. Heidegger quotes from the great northern Renaissance spirit Albrecht Dürer: “For in truth, art lies hidden within nature; he who can wrest it from her, has it.” Heidegger adds these words: “True, there lies hidden in nature a rift-design, a measure and a boundary and, tied to it, a capacity for bringing forth–that is, art.” Andrew Wyeth frequently maintained that the strength of a work of art lay not in the skillful detailed work of representational rendering, but in the discernment of what to record from nature and what to leave alone:

You know, it’s very easy to deteriorate when you have nature in front of you. You lose the grasp of what you are seeing. You can lose the essence by detailing a lot of extraneous things. . . . And it isn’t because you put in every fleck on a pile of stones or every blade of grass on the hill. That doesn’t make up a powerful painting. . . . It’s got to be abstracted through your vision, your mind. It’s a process of going through detail in order eventually to obtain simplification and cutting out. And it’s a very fine line because you can’t overdo it, you can’t cartoon it. It’s a subtle quality, very subtle. And with less sometimes to work with, you gain more.

Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth Drybrush:

Andrew Wyeth Drybrush: “Flock of Crows”

As I draw closer to my plein air experiments, I am keeping this idea in front of me. Always in my past, I have had trouble extracting from the complex display of nature before my eyes a composition for a watercolor. Throughout the past weeks, I have been looking at nature differently, with a notion to create vignette watercolors with a high focus on some small area, and the rest trailing away, out of focus, and eventually into the white border enveloping the picture. I’m excited to find out how this is going to play out in the days ahead.

Thanks 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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2 Responses to “Time Divided Between New Theories and Old Responsibilities”

  1. Brien Nicolau Says:

    David, the quotes about art and nature…….that is it, what we were all feeling when we thought about this endeavor. Fantastic!


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