Read, Write or Paint?

Winfield angle

Winfield, Missouri, signed & numbered limited edition 13h x 11w” $60

The minute I began to write I felt a tension between reading and writing that, instead of abating, has grown more intense with the shortening of my life’s horizon. I’m now in my sixties, which means that I’m looking at a maximum of about thirty more years of life. Which should I do? Read, or write?

Larry McMurtry, Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen: Reflections at Sixty and Beyond

As an avid reader, I plough through stacks of books every year, and some of them deserve re-visiting. This volume by Larry McMurtry I read quickly a couple of months back, and have packed it on my trips ever since. I just keep going back to his words. And the ones posted above definitely resonate with me, because my life at sixty-five is always torn between reading, writing, thinking, journaling, drawing, watercoloring. When I’m doing one of those activities, my mind continually drifts to the others. My artist friends tell me I have Attention Deficit Disorder and they are probably right. But I found great relief when reading Water Isaacson’s recent biography on Leonardo da Vinci, because that wonderful Renaissance spirit was also distracted throughout his life. I find him good company.

The painting above I have attempted on four different occasions. Two of the paintings have been made into signed & numbered editions. I took pictures of this abandoned store in Winfield, Missouri, a small Mississippi River town north of St. Louis on Highway 79. It was summer 2009. The sun had just risen, and I pulled my Jeep over and took a number of photos from different angles. This proved to be one of the best unscheduled stops in my artist life.

A few years ago, a woman called me on the phone who had seen my work on the Internet. She told me fascinating stories of this place which had been formerly owned and managed by her grandmother. Adjacent to the store was an old service station whose owner kept a German Shepherd in his business. Patrons would put a 50-cent piece in the dog’s mouth, and he would trot to the store next door, rise on his hind legs and drop the coin on the counter. The grandmother would turn around, take down a can of dog food from the shelf and place it in the dog’s mouth. The happy Shepherd would then carry his booty back to the service station where the owner would open it and dump it in the dog’s bowl.

The Larry McMurtry book quoted above laments that story telling has largely disappeared from our culture today. I sadly agree, and will always be grateful to the lady caller who passed this delightful story on to me, putting genuine emotion into my painting.

Thanks for reading.

Shultz reduced


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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