Returning to the Solitude Theme

Back Home, Working on a New Commission

I’ve been thinking a lot about Edward Hopper. So have other stay-at-homes, I notice online. The visual bard of American solitude . . . . Aloneness is his great theme, symbolizing America: insecure selfhoods in a country that is only abstractly a nation. “E pluribus unum,” a magnificent ideal, thuds on “unum” every day throughout the land.

Peter Schjeldahl, “APART: Edward Hopper’s solitude,” The New Yorker, June 8 & 15, 2020

After five energizing days working in The Gallery at Redlands, I find myself home once again, working on my next commission. This will be a painting of a subject I worked on several times back in the 1980’s. The site is no longer in existence: the Ozark Court Motel on old Route 66 in Stanton, Missouri. This business dates back to the 1930s and by the time I was seeing it on my annual trips between Fort Worth, Texas and St. Louis, Missouri, the site was abandoned. The iconic sign disappeared years ago, and I’m fortunate to still have 35mm photos I took of it back in the days. The patrons have a business in Missouri and fond memories of Ozark Court. Finding me on the Internet, they’ve requested a watercolor of the motel sign and I am more than happy to return to this theme.

Back in the 1990’s I immersed myself in the work of Edward Hopper and created stacks of watercolors of iconic Missouri and Texas small-town sites. Since those days, my subject matter has broadened, but I never abandoned totally these Hopperesque subjects. Now that I’m engaged in a Turvey’s Corner series, I’m finding delight in focusing on these themes once again.

During this coronavirus rampage, I feel very fortunate that work has found me through personal contacts and Internet traffic. Commissions are still stacked pretty high for me, and painting subjects that please others pleases me as well. I’ve also been fortunate to mix plenty of reading and writing with my watercoloring. Yesterday I finished Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and now find myself resuming Jack Kerouac’s Visions of Cody. A quirky reading habit of mine involves flitting from book to book, but since I am diligent with bookmarks, I’m pretty good at returning and finishing works once started.

Ideas in general have not been as fresh the past few days as I’m accustomed to, hence the gap in blogging. This morning Sandi found a good word for me from Washington Post. Among their 2019 Neologism winners comes the word bozone: the substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. So that’s it. I’ve been stuck in the bozone the past few days. Hopefully I’ll find a way out soon.

Commission Completed Last Week

I want to close this blog with a photo of the commission I completed while in Palestine last week. Friends from the community wanted me to paint this man sitting on the bench admiring the fall foliage surrounding the pond on his property. The subject reminded me of the general Edward Hopper theme, and now fortunately for me, my new patrons have requested this abandoned hotel site on route 66 for me to paint. I’m having a good time with these subjects.

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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