Musing Over the Colorado Stay


Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery.  The surface of mystery is not smooth, any more than the planet is smooth; not even a single hydrogen atom is smooth, let alone a pine.  Nor does it fit together . . . . Mystery itself is as fringed and intricate as the shape of the air in time.

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

After a couple of days’ rest from driving 12 hours back to my home from Colorado, I’m feeling refreshed and ready to resume some ideas in watercolor gleaned during my stay in that enchanting, colorful state.  Above is  watercolor I began on my cabin porch of the stream below me, and I ran out of time.  Thanks to some reference photos I took, along with some preliminary sketches, I’m confident to resume work on this and see if I can turn it into a decent painting.  I need to figure out how to shape the foamy portions of the stream that I masqued with that bubbly fluid at the high altitude (I had quite a laugh trying to control the masquepen that bubbled and blurbed all over my paper and fingers as I tried to get it on the paper).  I also need to finish the trees I masqued as well as the highlighted portions of the grasses.

I am nearly finished with my second reading of this magnificent Annie Dillard book as well.  Her ideas have me thinking deeply about the matters I recorded in my own private journal during the week I spent in the mountains of South Fork, Colorado, and one of the many advantages of having summer off from teaching classes is this quality quiet time to think over these things in life that have become so much more precious in recent years.

Thanks f0r reading.

8 Responses to “Musing Over the Colorado Stay”

  1. Dane Shatwell Says:

    Nice work. Great meeting you. I’ll look into Annie Dillard!

    Liked by 1 person

    • davidtripp Says:

      It was fabulous meeting you too, Dane. I’m thrilled that you’re writing a play, and even more thrilled that you’re pursuing a life of the mind rather than gratuitous action in your script. Best wishes to you as you pursue your dream.


  2. Lorraine McFarland Says:

    David, I LOVE Annie Dillard. I have been reading her since she won the Pulitzer for “Pilgrim”, which I’ve read from cover to cover at least 3 times! One of my favorite parts of the book is when she describes finding her cat’s bloody paw prints on her chest after he comes in from a night of hunting. Have you read her others? “Teaching a Stone to Talk” goes with me often when I travel. I just bought “The Abundance” from Audible and am looking forward to
    * listening * to a Dillard book for the first time on my way to Dexter Michigan Plein Air next month!

    I hope you will post the finished painting. It looks beautiful so far!

    I think I need to learn fly fishing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • davidtripp Says:

      Hello Lorraine,

      So splendid hearing from you! This is my second reading of “Pilgrim.” I have reading “Teaching a Stone to Talk”, “Holy the Firm”, “The Writing Life”, and “Living by Fiction.” I absolutely love her mind and her artistic style of thinking/writing. I have read Thoreau’s “Walden” more times than I could count, and I have her on the same level as him. What gifts they’ve given. Thank you for encouraging me the way you do. And yes, I hope you do take up fly fishing. I cannot describe the deep-level satisfaction I receive from practicing that craft.

      I can’t wait for the day that I get to see you again. Best of luck in all your endeavors!



  3. Dian Darr Says:

    Good Morning from South Fork! We had torrential rains yesterday but woke to a clear, blue sky this morning. I love the work in progress. Mastering the South Fork of the Rio Grande is an awesome task. You read the river well for fly fishing, and I have no doubt you will read its ever-changing currents and capture them in watercolor. Have a wonderful Fourth!

    Liked by 1 person

    • davidtripp Says:

      Good morning, Dian, and thank you for that encouragement. I am really anticipating a good time as I pursue this stream painting, as I’m spending more time studying the reference photos and thinking about my approach than just slinging a brush over it! I have warm thoughts of what you and Ron are experiencing in Colorado (as well as warm sensations with these damned Texas temperatures hovering near three digits). Colorado is just as lovely as Texas is scorched. Don’t forget me as you and Ron experience the cool, the quiet mountains and the ever-talking Rio Grande.



  4. anna warren portfolio Says:

    I do enjoy the quotes you often use in your blog. These small snippets get me thinking. This is a particularly nice one, very thoughtful. The painting is a lovely start, I look forward to seeing it progress.


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