He had many of the qualities of a great poet, and was in some degree worthy to precede Shakespeare. But he seems to have run to waste for want of seclusion and solitude, as if mere pause and deliberation would have added a new element of greatness to his poetry. In his unquestionably fine, heroic tone it would seem as if he had the rarest part of genius, and education could have added the rest.
Henry David Thoreau (writing of Christopher Marlowe), Journal, 1837-1847
Reading from Thoreau early this morning stung me, and as I returned to work on this large watercolor, I could not stop thinking about the sad fate of Christopher Marlowe and Thoreau’s assessment of his gift. How many times has history witnessed the tragedy of gifted individuals who never developed beyond their native abilities because they would not nurture those skills? Looking back over my own life, I recognize that I was often a workaholic, and felt constrained to respond to every invitation to some sort of duty. In recent years, I’ve tried to find a way to slow things down and see if I could not water and feed some of the abilities I have been given.
This painting is a challenge on many fronts. At this age, I still have too many unanswered questions about color and composition, but it’s a comfort to know that I’m not working on a commission. There is no deadline. No one is waiting for this. No competition lies ahead. And school is still a few weeks away. I took this painting on my recent two-week vacation, and never unloaded it from my vehicle. I thought that perhaps I could give it some attention, but better things were offered during vacation time. Now that I’m back home, things have slowed down, my routine is beginning to emerge once again, and I’m grateful for another quiet morning to read, reflect, and work on my painting.
Thanks for reading.
I paint in order to grow.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.