Rainy Morning Cogitations from Studio Eidolons

Reading and Sketching while it Rains

Rubens is a remarkable example of the abuse of details. His painting, in which imagination dominates, is everywhere superabundant; his accessories are too much worked out; his picture is like an assembly where everybody speaks at once.

Eugene Delacroix, Journal, October 10, 1853

Texas apparently received the memo that September arrived. Temps yesterday and this morning have been in the low 70’s with plenty of scattered rain. What a relief, after all those triple-digit temperature days. I failed to blog yesterday, because the entire day was consumed with appointments. Today offers a clear calendar and the morning has been sublime. “Jazz for a Rainy Day” has been playing on my Youtube channel the entire morning, and I am certainly in the mood to create something.

The quote from Delacroix’s journal has once again seized my attention. My entire life has been consumed by details in drawing and painting, and critics have frequently commented on my paintings that lack a center of focus. I am reminded of early days playing guitar in bands where every member crowded everything s/he could into each song, thus creating a great wall of sound with no room for a soloist or even a lead guitar riff. I am planning a series of sketches today in my small watercolor sketchbook, each one with a center of focus with the rest of the composition fading out.

This morning, as I engage in art activity, I am concious of this unbroken chain of artists, a warm fraternity I’ve been invited to join. For several decades, it has been my pleasure to teach art history, not for the sake of accumulated knowledge, but for the rich sentiment of camaraderie that I feel among the great divines of history. I recall the line from Walt Whitman “the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” I am honored and humbled to engage in the daily kinds of activities that drove the imaginations of the Leonardos, the Raphaels, and the Courbets.

I absolutely love reading biographies, but how much more my blood is stirred by the words of those artists who could actually write, and cared enough to leave their own printed words behind for us to read, to hear as we read them aloud.

I have read in their entirety volumes contributed by Robert Henri, Paul Gauguin, Eugene Delacroix, Barnett Newman and Robert Motherwell. All those men had remarkable scholarly intellects, but also hearts that beat with passion, and their words continue to stir me. As I work in the studio, I feel their approval and am warmed at the thought that I am welcome to pursue the same activities they did.

Time to get back to 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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