Always Something to Think and Say

Laguna Madre Painting in Progress

Laguna Madre Painting in Progress

One cannot create an art that speaks to men when one has nothing to say.

André Malraux, Man’s Hope

Something inside me warned this morning not to wait for inspiration, but to go find it. I was bone-tired, and my mind was devoid of ideas. A part of me wanted to give up and return to bed, but the better part urged me to open my current journal. Turning to pages dating from the Fourth of July, I began reading. Within five pages, my mind was surging with fresh ideas and inspiration, and the muse has remained with me throughout this day.

I stopped painting only to join Heidi Hardy for lunch. She was the radio host who invited me to take part in her broadcast a week ago. Heidi is always surging with fresh ideas and trying out new adventures. Returning to my studio, I resumed work on the piece above, and my mind stayed engaged on this notion of stirring up inspiration. I found this quote from Malraux that truly stirs my blood. I have written before, that I grew up wanting to be an artist, with no interest in academics. I hated public school, and only went to college because of a scholarship. To this day, I feel that college saved me, because in that nexus I woke up to a world of ideas and the curiosity pushed my art endeavors to the side for the next dozen years or so. Once I returned to making art, I discovered that I now had something to say, ideas worth expressing. Had the academic side not taken over my life, I would be little more than an illustrator now, a hack, with a talent to draw or paint on demand. The older I get, the less regret I feel over the past. To be sure, I’ve made many bad decisions that I wish I could redo, but I’m glad that I turned away from my study of art technique long enough to cultivate a life of the mind.

One of the reasons I love the art of Robert Motherwell so much is because he made no apologies for being both artist and scholar. In an interview, he discussed a book titled The History of Anti-Intellectualism, and the frustrations he experienced when faced with that shallow ultimatum from art dealers that he make up his mind whether he wanted to pursue scholarship or art. He always embraced both, and therefore offered up to us a marvelous body of written work in addition to his collection of paintings, drawing and collages. He chafed at the notion that an artist is a clever craftsman but the critic is the scholar who educates the public about art.

I’m starting to feel some momentum with the painting above. It is larger than what I’ve worked with recently (20 x 24″), and the sky is going to require a great deal of attention. I spent a large part of the afternoon reworking areas of the sky and rendering the field station where I lived for six days on the Laguna Madre.

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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11 Responses to “Always Something to Think and Say”

  1. Jodi Says:

    beautiful – painting and words – just looked at your website – WOW!!!!

    Like

    • davidtripp Says:

      Oh, thank you! I’ll be building a new website, but it won’t happen fast. 😦 I really appreciate your kind encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jodi Says:

        Well – as someone very new to this and trying to teach myself a teensy bit about watercolor – I SOOOO admire your talent! Any recommendations for a beginner?

        Like

      • davidtripp Says:

        I can give a ton of advice online, and answer questions. Your growth will be commensurate with the time and practice you spend. I love talking and writing about this stuff, and, of course, I have MUCH to learn still.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jodi Says:

        Isn’t that the truth?! I am so new I don’t know where to begin with questions, but one that comes to mind right now is – how important are the paints you use? I find I like Arches 140 cold press paper. I’m wondering if there are a few quality brushes I should invest in. Keep in mind, this is purely a hobby, but… I’d love to have beautiful results 🙂

        Like

      • davidtripp Says:

        I only paint with Winsor & Newton, and use only a few brushes.

        Like

      • davidtripp Says:

        I posted recently a blog article about my opinions. I told most of what I prefer there. If you don’t find it, I’ll reproduce it for you, gladly.

        Like

      • Jodi Says:

        I do recall that post and just went back to it. Need to save it and start investing in some of these items. Any online source you recommend? Blick perhaps?

        Like

      • davidtripp Says:

        Yes, Blick is my favorite. Good prices and they ship fast.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jodi Says:

        Ok – so I am preparing a list – but…. that brush you recommend…. $300!!! Any alternatives for a newbie? I am so tempted to buy it, but seriously … I am not an artist…

        Like

  2. davidtripp Says:

    Hi Jodi. I just now found your last note. I’m not urging anyone to spend that kind of money on a brush. Dick Blick has great mark downs on them, and you might want to take a look. But for detailing, I am happy with a size 6 round. Winsor & Newton or Princeton are the brands I prefer in brushes, and I really don’t buy many. I can do an entire painting with that one expensive brush, but 2 or 3 cheaper ones will do the same kind of work. And I really recommend a restricted palette. Too many watercolor artists are discouraged by dumping money on a dozen colors–totally unnecessary. Fewer colors make for a better, tighter painting. Thanks for your questions and comments. Sorry I didn’t see this one sooner.

    Like

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