It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Rarely do I retire to bed before 9:30, but I hardly remember last night. Driving through severe rain storms from Arlington to Tyler, Texas for a one-day workshop, and then driving another six-and-a-half hours to Cotter, Arkansas for a two-day workshop took its toll finally. My hosts have offered wonderful accommodations and hospitality, but finally I physically and mentally cratered. Last night I wanted to blog, and did in fact put something up, but don’t care to return and read it.
The six o’clock alarm found me refreshed, optimistic and oh so happy to go the next round. Today will be my final workshop day, followed by some days of demonstrating and judging a plein air competition, but the hardest part of the schedule is just one full day away from completion. So glad to be rested! And so glad I set the alarm for a three-hour cushion before going to class. Can’t wait to see the participants again, absolutely love their drive to paint!
Henry Thoreau is a man I wish to God I could have met and spent time with. So grateful am I that he cared enough about us to leave behind such precious words. I’m angered every time I read of how his fellow citizens regarded him as a waste of a life when he died at forty-four without ever holding down a regular job. His two books were failures in his lifetime. Yet when his family opened his locked trunk after his death, they found over four million words of publishable print. Why did he write and save all those manuscript pages after his failed publications? Because he believed he had something to say and that someday there would be grateful souls with hands outstretched to receive his message. I am one of those hungry souls. His every word nourishes me.
My waking thought at six a.m. was the quote I’ve posted above. I love carving out pieces of the world to put onto paper for myself and others to view, but wish all-the-more to carve and paint the atmosphere through which I peer daily and thereby to live a more artful, satisfying life for myself and others.
Early morning attempt
It is a chilly fifty-one degrees early this morning in Cotter, Arkansas. Yet the sun is bright and warm enough that I decided to pull up a table outside my lodge door and do a quick watercolor study of this magnificent Cotter Bridge just one hundred feet from my door. My fingers finally stiffened enough in the cold that I decided I pushed this one far enough and have a good record to take back to the studio. No doubt this subject would make a beautiful painting to frame one day.
It’s nearly time to leave for class now. Thank you always for reading and spending some of your morning with me.
I paint in order to learn.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself I am not really alone.