Retirement Ruminations

bonne terre

My fishing buddy Wayne and his grandson preparing to launch

Taine has the admirable ability to teach others today what he did not know himself yesterday.

Goncourt Journal (observation concerning Hippolyte Taine, Professor of Aesthetics at the École des beaux-arts during the time of Paul Cézanne)

I posted above what I just read from Cézanne: A Life, by Alex Danchev, because it reminded me of what I’ve known throughout twenty-eight years standing in classrooms–that I frequently shared information just gleaned from my own studies.  As a teacher, I always had homework.  Today I still shake my head in wonder that I managed to survive, and at the same time recall with gladness that “the truly educated never graduate”–I am a student for life.  Hence, while on vacation, my reading of this engaging Cézanne biography.

I am overflowing with profound gratitude that I have finally retired; I will not return to my high school classroom of twenty-eight years when the fall arrives.  Visiting my parents and siblings in the St. Louis area has brought a delicious sense of leisure. How satisfying it is to do as I choose now, with no scheduled appointments or apologies.

As posted in the last blog, our recent river trip was fraught with difficulties and comedy, and we had to abort two days ago.  Yesterday we made up for it by fishing a public lake in Bonne Terre, Missouri on a seventy-degree day. I posted above the picture of my high school buddy Wayne preparing to launch with his grandson.  I chose this time to stay on the shore and keep dry.


Fly fishing produced a few of these . . .

channel cat

. . . and bait fishing later produced one of these.

The day blossomed into a beautiful one, with long hours stretched out on the grass under the shade of large trees at lakeside, and frequent laughter as we shared reminiscences of high school foibles.  Soon, I will reunite with Wayne and Mark for another river adventure, hoping to post more success on that one than the trip we just attempted.

palestine loco

I didn’t rush this 8 x 10″ watercolor of one of the Palestine, Texas locomotives I photographed during a recent visit.  I have embarked on a large-scale Christmas holiday project involving watercolors of train subjects and have been gathering material for this over the past several months.  Now that I have officially retired from my full time job, I anticipate more focused work on this project.

I started this watercolor a few days ago, and have chipped away at it in a leisurely fashion. Though it is now signed, I am looking at it and feeling it needs some more fine tuning.  I seem to have trouble letting a watercolor go. The most challenging part of this composition was the shadow side of the locomotive.  I would normally just cover it in dark washes, but as I studied the photograph I took, I was intrigued with all the reflected light on the metal surface, and wanted to capture those geometric shapes of subtle colors as best as I could. I’m not sure if I’ve been successful on this venture, but I’m convinced that I’ll take shadows more seriously in future watercolor attempts. I think I’ve found new territory in this regard.

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.




2 Responses to “Retirement Ruminations”

  1. anna warren portfolio Says:

    Congratulations on your retirement, it sounds as though you are really well prepared. Having your art will be a wonderful way of settling into your new life, especially when the school holidays end, and you would normally be heading back to school.


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