The Next Turn of the Wheel

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New Work on a Commission

There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual, such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign. It was in this hope that the arts were invented. Sign-posts on the way to what may be. Sign-posts toward greater knowledge.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

Finally, I am painting again! Nearly a month has passed since I’ve worked seriously in watercolor, as the college schedule heated up before dismissing for Christmas, and then a surgical procedure rendered me dormant for over a week.

I am writing now from the Gallery at Redlands, and listening to my roommates “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” on Smooth Rock 93.5 FM, less than twenty feet to my right. Last night the radio station hosted the Blue Santa Toy Drive with the Palestine Police Department in the driver’s seat. The evening was filled with acoustic musical performances, all of them first-rate. The lobby and gallery were filled with people all night and the unwrapped toy donations filled the space beneath the lobby tree, and then the histoiric elevator car was filled to capacity. I worked on the painting above as people moved in and out of the gallery, and our open door allowed the live music to flow in.

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Our Gallery Window, Tricked out for Christmas

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Heather Little performing in the Lobby

As warm music and conversation filled the Redlands Hotel last night, I felt the lovely spirit of Christmas joy.  Among the many highlights of my night was meeting Heather Little, a singer/songwriter from the area whose presence helped light up the night. Before she went on, she introduced herself to me in the gallery, admired my work, and visited with me awhile, answering all my questions about song writing. Her original tunes created a hush among the formerly loquacious gathering, and I am proud to insert her website below for your listening pleasure. If you are in the Dallas area, I highly recommend you checking out her venues.

http://www.heatherlittlemusic.com/

After the evening wound down, I retired to my suite upstairs and resumed reading Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, a novel I read with great fulfilment around 1987, and decided to re-read after a number of references popped up about the work and its background in my recent reading of John Kaag’s Hiking with Nietzsche. Last night the following words found their mark in my soul:

And these men, for whom life has no repose, live at times in their rare moments of happiness with such strength and indescribable beauty, the spray of their moment’s happiness is flung so high and dazzlingly over the wide sea of suffering, that the light of it, spreading its radiance, touches others too with its enchantment. Thus, like a precious, fleeting foam over the sea of suffering arise all those works of art, in which a single individual lifts himself for an hour so high above his personal destiny that his happiness shines like a star and appears to all who see it as something eternal and as a happiness of their own. 

While reading these words, I reflected over the lovely night I had enjoyed downstairs in the gallery and lobby. As the night filled with patrons and acoustic musicians, I watched from my drafting table as a world slowly emerged from my brush. Out of the white abyss, a house and trees slowly took form with layers of color combinations I had not previously used. This is the part of making art that moves me in ways I cannot describe. As I have told my friends, I love the Genesis creation narrative, of God creating a world out of chaos. Every time I gaze into a white rectangular space with brush in hand I feel a shiver as I ponder the possibilities that could emerge from that space. Watching something take shape from the tip of my brush still moves me. The Genesis narrative says God created people in his own image. I have long maintained that that “image” is the creative instinct that is inborn with all of us. Why do we create? Because we were created with that drive.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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4 Responses to “The Next Turn of the Wheel”

  1. Janice C. Johnson Says:

    I was happy to see that painting-in-progress when I stopped by today. What a lovely world is emerging from your brush.

    Like

  2. Tammy Nara Says:

    Great post. Moments of happiness flung high and dazzlingly. Absolutely. That is what it is all about. I also believe that we are created to be creators, so I appreciated that last paragraph as well.

    Like

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