Finding Peace in One’s Work

polar express drafting

In the Studio this Evening

There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 (King James Version)

sunrise

At the University this Morning

There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual–become clairvoyant. We reach then into reality. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I don’t regard myself as naturally ebullient. I used to laugh with a friend when describing myself as a “gloomy guy.” Throughout lengthy stages of my life, I have known rage, negativity, anxiety, depression and self-doubt. And I have regarded myself as one who just couldn’t seem to get it right. Life and emotions turn on a dime. What I’ve experienced today is not guaranteed to extend into tomorrow. But I’ll still take it.

My life did change profoundly since June 3 when I retired after twenty-eight years of full-time public high school teaching alongside thirty-two years of part-time university teaching. Since the beginning of this semester, I have enjoyed a nine-semester-hour load involving one online Logic course and a pair of Introduction to Ethics courses. My Ethics classes are back-to-back Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9-10:50. That’s it. Day-after-day-after-day I have been rising between 5 and 7 a.m., grateful to the core that I’m not dashing off to a high school by 7:00 and expected to stay until 3:15. On my university mornings, I rise at 5:00, go over my lecture notes, read, write in my journal, and often head to the university, arriving by sunrise so I can sit in the Science/Technical building lobby and watch the morning colors move across the commons. By that time I still have over an hour before strolling over to the lecture hall. I took the above picture this morning while enjoying my coffee and looking once more over my lecture notes on Immanuel Kant and his Categorical Imperative.

After a full afternoon of business-related errands, I settled into some online work for my Logic class, grading exams and posting a new assignment. Then I got to enter the studio and push my “Polar Express” themed watercolor a bit further. I’m going slowly on this, because I’m looking at a picture I took of the historic T&P 610 on a sunny morning, and trying to translate it into a night scene. I’m also contemplating a snowy foreground. So many decisions still to make on it.

It doesn’t seem likely that I’ll get to touch this painting any more this week. Tomorrow I meet with some dear friends at the train museum in Frisco, Texas (I’ve never visited it), and then I have to pack and load my gear for this weekend’s art festival in Edom, Texas. The Edom Art Festival is one of my genuine highlights of the year, with a beautiful setting, great fall weather, and enthusiastic patrons. I’m sorry the event only comes round once a year.

I still have to write Friday morning’s lecture to deliver before I leave town for the art festival. Tonight is going to be a late one, but I’m feeling so positive about life in general that I’m compelled to share with you.

Thanks for reading.

I paint out of a sense of wonder.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

 

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6 Responses to “Finding Peace in One’s Work”

  1. barkleigh Says:

    I enjoy your posts very much even if I don’t often share my appreciation in a note. Thank you!

    Like

  2. Margaret Parker Brown Says:

    Your painting is turning out so well, I have enjoyed watching the progress.

    Like

  3. ryansartsite Says:

    Looking forward to the completed piece.

    Like

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