Not a Sunday Painter, Maybe a Sunday Draftsman?

Sunday layered shell drawings

Sunday layered shell drawings

First Sketch of a Hard Head Catfish Skull

First Sketch of a Hard Head Catfish Skull

hard head catfish

hard head catfish

The life of a wise man is most of all extemporaneous for he lives out of an eternity which includes all time. The cunning mind travels further back than Zoroaster each instant, and comes quite down to the present with its revelation. The utmost thrift and industry of thinking give no man any stock in life; his credit with the inner world is no better, his capital no larger. He must try his fortune again to-day as yesterday.

Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

Finally I have worked up the nerve to draw and paint the skull of a gaff top sail catfish, popularly called “hard head catfish”. Dinah Bowman found this skull along the shores of the island where I stayed and did my residency last month. I tried to paint it in a still life arrangement on my last evening at the island, but was really fatigued and unsatisfied with what I did. Finally this afternoon, I took a long look at the complex textures running along the surface of this bone, and thought I’d give it another try. The drawing was a pleasant experience, so I immediately stretched some watercolor paper and went to work on it as soon as it was dry. I have heavily salted the background of the skull and will need to let it set up and dry over a long period of time before working on the actual subject.

Reading Thoreau during the drying time was another pleasing experience. I am down to his final day on the Concord and Merrimack boat trip, and particularly enjoy his take on Goethe’s genius. I’ll have more to write about that (hopefully) in a future blog. For now, I’m pondering his comments about wisdom as an art of steering one’s life through these waters, bringing the past into the present. I’ve read these ideas from other great minds, but love his literary spin on the idea.

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 “Not a Sunday Painter, Maybe a Sunday Draftsman?”

  1. certainline Says:

    Superb – can’t wait to see the finished painting. The drawing is wonderful – delicate, yet showing the hard edges of the skull.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for that encouragement. I had too many other tasks to address today and did very little work in the studio, but your encouragement egged me on to focus yet more on the details at the front end of the skull.

      Liked by 1 person

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