Studio Solitude

Early Start in the Studio

Very well then, as you please. Withdraw from the world, wrap yourself in mystery, I won’t stop you.”

Emile Zola, The Masterpiece

In recent communications with my artist friends, I note the common thread of our talks–the coronavirus has given us the excuse to avoid public activity and to indulge in the delicious solitude of the studio, doing what we love best–exploring possibilities in art.

My plan is to show current paintings in progress as they take shape, but at this point they are still in the very early stages of construction. One of my commissions is to paint trout flies, 8 x 10″, something I’ve wanted to attempt for at least ten years but never got around to doing. And I must say, the experience has so withdrawn me into a monastic state, that I feel the taunt posted above, Zola needling Cezanne about his need for privacy.

Over the past two days, so many ideas have surged through me that I’m wanting to engage in multiple experiments. In this little project, I’ve been pulling out all the stops–spritzing the paper and adding salt and stale bread crumbs for texturing, using fine, pointed brushes, sharpened graphite and colored pencils, watercolor pencils, tech pens, masquig pens–the works! And I feel like a kid in the sandbox attempting his first intricate sand castle with multiple stories, corridors and labyrinth configurations. Right now, I’m trying to solve the puzzle of overlapping hackles–I’ve been opening my art books to study closely the way Albrecht Dürer and Andrew Wyeth handled long stem grasses in transparent watercolor. It’s wonderful having my art library in the same room as my studio, and various work stations to pursue scattered yet related projects. I am feeling confident that these experiments are going to pay off, and I’ll continue to post photos as this painting develops.

The major problem I encountered with the trout fly commission was finding photos of flies large enough to scrutinize the details. Images I Googled off the Internet and printed always pixilated horribly when I enlarged them. How surprised I was when I took my own smart phone (Samsung Galaxy S10+) and photographed a size 12 elk hair caddis from my own fly box, cleaned up the image on my laptop, enlarged it to 8 x 10″ and printed it on my own printer. The image is sharp and the color is good. So, on my drafting table, I have both the 8 x 10″ photo I made, and the actual tiny fly lying there for me to study.

I have decided to spend all day Saturday in The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine. I have missed working there and so look forward to seeing my friends again. If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you. I should be in the gallery by 10 and will stay through the dinner hour that evening before returning home.

Gotta get back to work! 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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2 Responses to “Studio Solitude”

  1. Dian Darr Says:

    This morning I am enjoying catching up with your blogs. I, too, have been relishing the time I am spending delving deep into activities I enjoy. I recognize I am extremely privileged to be retired and to have the “quarantine” time to be ensconced at home. I am taking more time with my quilting, searching for patterns and fabric, but most of all I have a renewed love for working on ancestry. I have a long basic lineage, but now I am going back to my grandparents and searching for every news article, census, and military record to piece together their lives. For one great grandfather I didn’t have much information, but after searching old news articles found that he was the oldest living glass blower in America when he died at 83. He started at the age of nine and only missed three days of work. He was an expert on blowing whiskey and rum bottles at the large company he had. Sorry to ramble, but that is just a small morsel of what I am learning as I take the time to “dig deep.”


    • davidtripp Says:

      Dian, thank you so much for spending all that time with my blogs. It’s so wonderful to be retired and experience the quality time to pursue the things that matter. In cleaning out my files last night I found my Uncle Paul’s research into his ancestry (you recall my father’s side was sketchy). He took it back to the 16th century.


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