Note: I’ll never have the artistic eye of photographer Cindy Sherman, but I do know how to take selfies with a 10-second timer on my phone. I was alone for the weekend, and the silence was beyond description.
I don’t really have studios. I wander around people’s attics, out in fields, in cellars, anyplace I find that invites me.
Since my ninth grade year, I have read of Andrew Wyeth’s focused painting adventures as a guest at Kuerner’s farm in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and at the Olson house in Cushing, Maine. Throughout my life I have been drawn to his subject matter because it took me back to own primal childhood memories of life on my grandparents’ farms in rural southeast Missouri. One of my most cherished memories was Marlin’s store, located in rural Jackson, Missouri, next door to McLain’s Chapel and across the road from an abandoned schoolhouse. The Marlin family lived in the rear of the store, and always I have been fascinated with stories associated with business owners living behind their store or filling station.
As these memories lingered with me, I always envied Wyeth for having loving friends who opened their doors to him in that way. Well, I have recently been on the receiving end of that kind of friendship. A very dear couple living in rural Texas has invited me onto their property in time past, and this weekend they invited me to spend a weekend living in the back of their restored general store. I felt tears when I first entered the front doors and saw the kind of environment that always greeted me as a small boy inside Marlin’s.
With deep-seated joy, I resided in the back of this store from Friday night till Sunday afternoon. The entire time was given to painting what I could see inside and outside the building, along with reading, thinking and journaling.
Both mornings were enveloped in dense fog till around 10:00, and then the sun came out and washed the landscape in beautiful color. Besides the interior watercolor sketch, I attempted two plein air sketches, the first in the fog and the second in the clear.
I cannot describe the beauty and serenity of the quiet countryside that was my home for the weekend, nor can I express the depths of my gratitude to my friends for extending to me this delightful invitation. My life has been enriched beyond description.
Thanks for reading.
I paint in order to discover.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.