Early Morning Slog

Early Morning Reading before Painting

Life belongs not to those who know, but those who discover.

Le Corbusier

My arguments with myself are long and wearisome. They involve theories that are not writable by me at least.

After all this vivid and intense introspection I have determined upon a couse that takes nerve above all, concentration and a long hard fight.

N. C. Wyeth, letter to his mother dated January 25, 1907

The early morning reading over coffee has been so satisfying that I hesitate to lay it aside. But I have commissions to complete and the patrons have been so patient. I owe them a respectable turnaround time. I have set a self-imposed deadline for the weekend, and believe I’ll get these done. Then, I have only three more to complete.

My love for N. C. Wyeth runs down a different track than my sentiments for his more famous son Andrew. The son has had the most profound influence on my subjects and overall technique, but I was never ingratiated by his disdainful remarks about those who spend too much time reading books. Thus, I find most of Andrew’s interviews very unsatisfying, while on the other hand, find myself continually bowled over by N. C.’s letters and papers left behind. N. C. was a lover of Thoreau and Emerson and showed an exquisite literary flourish in his own writings. His allusions to classical music are also refreshing. I grieve over the tragedy of N. C.’s end. He never reached the mark he wished to achieve as a painter, always being tagged as an illustrator. Though he achieved great wealth through his illustrating career, he grew increasingly morose in his final years because he could not make his mark as a free-lance artist, instead watched his son make his mark on history. Of course when I read I am always measuring my own life against the standards of the heroes I follow. I’m extremely happy that as a teacher I was able to earn an income that supported my habit, and now retired, have plenty of time to study and pursue art. Probably years ago I had dreams of being a well-known artist, but certainly found a good measure of sobriety in finding satisfaction merely with having an ability to make art and enjoy it so.

The two commissions that have my attention the rest of this week involve the one above and below. (Above): This is a home the patron wants to remember through an original painting. It is requiring a great measure of paintstaking detail, but I’m finding satisfaction in the process, slow as it may be. (Below): This is my first attempt at painting a trout fly of this size and scale. In past paintings, I have put a sprinkle of flies into still lifes, and the images of the flies have been close to actual size. Now I am called upon to present one in great detail. The process is requiring a number of disciplines I haven’t pursued in awhile, but so far, they all seem to be working out fine.

I suppose it is also time to return to painting fishing lures. I did a number of 5 x 7″ bass lures a few years back. They all sold rather quickly, and now one of them has been published on the cover of a new novel. I just received it in the mail yesterday and am posting a copy of it.

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 “Early Morning Slog”

  1. Dian DArr Says:

    I will always remember the day I stood in the Brandywine River Museum and gazed at all the NC Wyeth Illustrations of the covers of the children’s classics. I treasured many of these books and loved his art- his use of color- and the story the cover told. I learned that as he created all these magnificent works of art, he did not own them! A foundation has spent years collecting the ones they have in the museum. I hope he knew what a contribution he made with his art. I have always loved Andrew Wyeth because he was one of my mother’s favorites, but the color and intensity of NC’s works is overwhelming!


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