Quality Leisure

uncas

“Uncas Slays a Deer” by N. C. Wyeth

To me, the most glorious phase of the great man’s career is that final period of divine serenity–not self-satisfaction, but at peace with himself.

N. C. Wyeth

After more than a week of events and travel, I happily stop to rest for a few days. This morning I completed my reading of David Michaelis’s N C. Wyeth: A Biography.  Much of the final chapter I savored yesterday afternoon in the quiet galleries of the Museum of Texas Tech University. Their Diamond M Collection features an entire gallery filled with original N. C. Wyeth paintings. Time seemed to evaporate while I sojourned there, gazing upon those large, colorful compositions. Finally I sat on a comfortable bench and read, enjoying the communion with this handsome body of work.

Much of this biography filled me with a sense of sadness, reading of N. C.’s dissatisfaction with his life’s work. It is not uncommon to read of one’s profound sense of unhappiness when failing to reach a particular goal. I myself did not reach the goal I had set for myself ages ago at the beginning of my profession. But honestly, I don’t feel a sense of failure. In fact, I doubt that I would have been happy and fulfilled had I reached the goal I initially set. Looking back now, I see my life as a metaphor once spelled out by Emerson–a zigzag set of tacks left by a sailboat en route to the distant shore. My professional career shifted more than once before settling into twenty-eight years at one job and then finally retiring. I look back with no regrets. The art that I now pursue was possible throughout those decades, nothing blocked my efforts. And now, I simply have more quality time for these pursuits.

Wyeth was deeply dissatisfied that he never achieved his standard. He wished to be a fine artist rather than an illustrator. He once wrote that he could have become a fine artist had he not “bitched” himself with a lifetime of illustration commissions. In my earlier years, I complained that my art was more illustrative than aesthetic. The only reason I stopped worrying over that was my discovery that Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper frequently complained that they were regarded as illustrators rather than fine artists. I found that liberating, and decided from that day on that I would just pursue my passion of drawing and painting and no longer worry over what kind of artist I am.

I have just returned from some luxurious days spent in Corpus Christi, where I delivered a pair of new paintings to be featured in a show at Castaways Gallery in Port Aransas, Texas. I am posting these along with two others selected from my collection at Bowman Design and Framing. Pictures were posted in a recent blog, but a change has been made, for the better, I believe. Here are the four that will be included in the show of “Sand Dunes”:

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The reception for the show will be Friday night, April 5, from 5-7 p.m.  The gallery is located on the premises of Castaways Seafood & Grill at 337 N Alister St., Port Aransas, Texas. I wish I could attend, but I am eight hours away from there, and have several more deadlines to meet in the coming days.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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