Ruminations in Studio Eidolons

Second Day on the Flatiron

The quality of beauty in Hemingway’s work seems to come as naturally as the leaves to a tree.

Carlos Baker, Hemingway: The Writer as Artist

For nearly two weeks I have had rewarding morning hours in Studio Eidolons, mixing my reading and writing with watercoloring. I finished Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and am nearly halfway through Baker’s work on Hemingway’s writing. Years ago I read Baker’s major biography on Hemingway and have retrieved the volume from the bookshelf to re-read key portions I underlined. This has inspired me to write more as well, though I have yet to post the new material online. Maybe later.

While painting today I have been listening (I seldom look at the TV when it plays in the studio) to the motion picture “Papa Hemingway in Cuba.” I have paused to post something on the blog because I was overcome with sadness at the reminder of how deeply unhappy this writer was throughout his life. Having read two biographies and watched a handful of documentaries on his life, I am all-too-familiar with how unlikeable he was to people who knew him. I also know the stories of artists Picasso and Pollock, and countless celebrities who had their ways of making the ones around them nearly as miserable as they were themselves. I have no pity at all for unhappy people who bring nothing good into our society, but do feel a deep sense of hurt for the miserable ones who made contributions in literature, art, philosophy, music and film that enrich and inspire us. I am always saddened to know that they did not know the same enrichment in return.

Daily I receive in my email a word of the day from Word Genius. About once a week, the word is a timely one, and today provided such a word–desideratum. The Latin word depicts “something that is needed or wanted.” My long-time friend Wayne White (now recovering from a complicated surgery requiring extensive rehab–we will probably be hearing much from him in the weeks ahead, which is always a good thing) has shared a sentiment with me repeatedly: both of us hope our blogs fall under the category of desideratum. We truly want our words and images to matter, to comfort, to build people up rather than tear them down.

New member of the family. Meet Paddington
Two Amigos enjoying the Fall Morning

Full disclosure–one of the reasons for my blog hiatus is the new addition to our family. Paddington is a rat terrier we adopted when he was only nine days old, and waiting till he reached the age of two months seemed an eternity. At last he is in our home, and our four-year-old Patches has bonded well with him. Though I’ve stayed busy daily with my art, reading and writing, I have recently found myself spending very little time on social media, choosing instead to roll around on the floor and chase the little beasts around the house. Domestic life is bliss.

The Fort Worth flatiron building is coming along slowly, but thanks to a large flatscreen TV moved to my studio, I have the luxury of blowing up the image and seeing the details better than ever before. The November deadline will keep me glued to this painting for awhile, meaning I’ve had to set aside three other large works that were in progress before the flatiron commission arrived.

I need to return to my painting. 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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4 Responses to “Ruminations in Studio Eidolons”

  1. Barbara Says:

    I don’t know why creative people have a stereotype of a depressive nature. Their efforts seem to be motivated by and rewarded from their sad state. When I read Wikipedia’s account of Hemingway, it told of a theory that a condition of depression and suicide ran in his family, giving him a kind of medical excuse. After watching Hulu channel’s series on Bob Fosse, noting his self-esteem issues and constant worry that his work wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t that comforting to know other talented people get down too; it’s a roller coaster ride of emotions every time I start an art project! I know there are artists who are very happy to create and find joy in their process and work. That’s why your blog is so important and encouraging! Keep it coming! In the meantime, here’s a poem I recently wrote about Hemingway, an offering to all us sad creatives out there:


    One of Ernest Hemingway’s rules for successful writing
    is to keep your composition positive. Strange advice
    coming from a man who killed himself with a shotgun.

    By looking at his pre-World War I photograph
    in which he is full of handsome youngness
    and another taken five years later, just before

    he moved to Paris, a story is visible in his face, by then, that he
    had lived a hard thing or two. Enough material to write many
    successful books, but maybe not happy ones.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for finding comfort in my blog. I knew the artist’s Angst in my earlier years, especially when I thought I wasn’t appreciated enough. Now retired, I find life much easier, and seldom find myself under tight deadlines to meet an artistic obligation. And I do love the camaraderie of other artistic spirits, living as well as dead. Thank you for reaching out and encouraging me, and thank you SO MUCH for the lovely, sensitive poem on Hemingway!


  2. sienablue Says:

    Flatiron coming along well, but I am sad to see the bison put on the back burner—looking forward to seeing the final version of that.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you! I hated laying the bison aside, but this is a very good commission, and I certainly don’t want to blow it or miss the deadline. I will soon return to the bison with a heart of gladness! There is not as much pressure with the bison; I’m painting it for my own pleasure rather than a commission request.


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