Rainy Day in Studio Eidolons: a mix of reading and painting

The question about Being in Heidegger’s sense means to release “Dasein the way one weighs anchor to sail out, liberated, to the open sea.” It is a sad irony of the history of philosophical effect that Heidegger’s question about Being has very largely lost this liberating, lightening aspect, and that, if anything, it has tended to intimidate and cramp thinking. It would be important to relax this cramp.

Rüdiger Safranski, Martin Heidegger: Between Good Evil

Beginning of an 18 x 24″ watercolor including bison herd

The commencement of the autumn equinox brought 60-degree temperatures and rain this morning. I enjoy the dim, gray light coming in through my Studio Eidolons windows–it seemed to make the coffee taste better and the music I was listening to sweeter.

First watercolor of bison in my sketchbook
Second bison attempt in sketchbook

For a number of years I have admired the watercolor sketchbook discipline of fellow blogger Corey Aber https://coreyaber.com/ while resisting the practice myself. Call it pigheadedness–many times when I thought I was watercolor sketching, I finished with something I deemed worth matting and sometimes even framing. I feared that if I bought a watercolor sketchbook I would tear out most of the pages, thus ending with a torn-up, tattered book remnant. Just before we left for Colorado and Utah, I decided to purchase such a sketchbook anyway, and I now see the value I was too short-sighted to acknowledge before. When working on something unfamiliar (like the bison above), I can be loose and experimental, not worrying about losing a painting. When I approach the actual painting, I acknowledge that I am usually too tight to loosen up and try something new. The sketchbook has given me new tool, and I love flipping through its pages now. The book offers me a visual diary.

The painting I am attempting now is an 18 x 24″ composition. I have stretched 90 lb. cold press D’Arches paper on stretcher bars and yesterday began the tedious task of drawing carefully the windmill in the water. I have also begun work on the forest on the horizon. I have yet to begin sketching in the herd of bison. Below I’ll post the reference photo I took last week while viewing this vista in southern Utah:

As always, I alternate reading with painting. In recent years, I walk away from the painting frequently throughout the day not only to allow it to dry, but to give myself a chance to put fresh eyes on it when I return. Sometimes the reading feeds directly into what I am trying to create visually; other times it simply stimulates my imagination.

What I do when letting the watercolor dry out

A few days ago I took up Heidegger’s Being and Time, a volume I purchased in October 2000 and started reading at least a dozen times before quitting after about a dozen pages. This time I have absorbed the first thirty, thanks to an introduction by William Blattner and a series of 28 podcasts by philosophy professor Hubert Dreyfus. For over a decade I have loved the later writings of Heidegger following his historic “turn”. He laid aside his traditional, analytical approach to embrace a more poetic one. At this time, I am working on his most famous work, which unfortunately for me, is very dense and analytical. Nevertheless, with the help of mentors, I hope I will stay with the task, believing that there is value to uncover in these writings.

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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