Whispers in the Dark

No man ever will unfold the capacities of his own intellect who does not at least checker his life with solitude.

De Quincey

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Rich Morning Reading

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Beginning of a Grand Canyon experiment–16 x 20″ watercolor

A large part of my library is in my bedroom. I love to retire to bed, and look up through the gloom at the towering bookcases. Before drifting off to sleep, my imagination often conceives whispered conversations among the volumes, dialogues between creative spirits separated by centuries and countries. They whisper softly so as not to disturb my sleep. But shortly after the morning light breaks through my windows, the whispering is interrupted by a shrill whistle from one of them: “Hey Tripp! Get up! We need to talk!”

This is how I choose to explain the phenomenon that always, always occurs within minutes of my feet hitting the floor–my mind floods with ideas from a myriad of sources. And I almost always move to my desk (also in my bedroom), open my journal, and scribble as fast as I can, trying to capture these fleeting ideas and shape them into some kind of meaningful essay.

The discussions that filled my dreams last night and continued throughout this day revolved around my high school art teacher’s theories of abstract art and composition. For a couple of days now, I have been tinkering with a 16 x 20″ stretched sheet of watercolor paper, wondering how I can capture a small piece of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and shape it into an attractive composition.

In his journal, dated September 1850, Henry David Thoreau wrote: “That I might never be blind to the beauty of the landscape! To hear music without any vibrating chord!” A few weeks ago, when I stood for the first time at the North Rim, I tried to record words in my own journal to capture what was happening to me. I fumbled and eventually gave up, closed the notebook, and just gazed in wonder at what was sprawling below me. I did get out my supplies on the spot and attempted a plein air sketch of what I was viewing. Now in my studio I am studying reference photos I took with my phone and am working on a larger composition, combining both tight details and loose interpretations with pencil and brush. And as I work on this, I recall with gladness the feelings I knew when I was on location, and continue to play in my mind the words recorded by sages I have studied who wrote so beautifully about the wonders of our natural wilderness.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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