Serene Thoughts in the Morning

Morning Bliss–Coffee, a good book and positive thoughts

My morning ritual sets the tone for the day. I seldom go into the studio until I’ve had an hour or more over coffee, books and journal in our living room reading space. This morning I’m savoring Cowboy Coffee and re-reading portions of a biography I read and relished last year, David Michaelis’s N. C. Wyeth: A Biography. I have always been inspired by the details of his life fulfilling the wishes of publishing houses, magazines and advertising agencies. His drive continues to inspire me. He was also a lover of fine literature and his frequent references to Thoreau resonate with me. The year 2020 has been absolutely horrific on many levels. Yet in the comfortable isolation of my home and studio I have been fortunate to complete nine commission paintings and have a tenth waiting in the wings. As Thanksgiving approaches, I will be offering up my heart-felt sentiments for the gifts I’ve received during this dark era.

I also have a volume of the complete letters of N. C. I’m not sure if I will ever finish this one, as it is even thicker than the biography. We have lost the art of letter writing, I fear, with the advent of email and text messaging. I’m quoting from a letter he wrote to son Andrew near the end of his life:

The week has been, to me, a singular mixture of ineffable sadness and inspiration–two moods that often happen together. But there is a persistent melancholy which I seem unable to shake off.

To circumvent these feelings I have devoted most of my spare time to reading, especially at night when sleep eludes me.–Thoreau, Goethe, Emerson, Tolstoy–all have struck me, as always, with incisive vitality and freshness. My ruminations have again been vividly stirred.

These great men forever radiate a sharp sense of that profound requirement of the artist, to fully understand that consequences of what he creates are unimportant. “Let the motive for action be in the action itself and not in the event.”

I know from my own experience that when I create with any degree of strength and beauty I have had no thought of consequences. Anyone who creates for effect–to score a hit–does not know what he is missing!

N. C.’s letters are worthy of publication, he was such a master of the word and style. I feel the fervent beating of his heart when I read the words he penned to his family members throughout his life. And it bothers me, realizing that I write such few letters to my own friends and loved ones.

Maybe I’ll finish this one today?

I’m just about ready to enter the studio, a sacred space for me. When coffee, book and writing time are completed, I rise from this reading space with a glad heart and stroll across the living room to enter what used to be a master bedroom, now my cherished creative space that I’ve christened Studio Eidolons. Opening the blinds to the morning light is about to get much better–we’re replacing these 40-year old foggy windows with new ones. Once that occurs, I have pledged to stare out those windows and devote quality time to painting the beautiful trees in our front yard along with the view down the street of our quiet neighborhood.

I just may be able to wrap up this painting today. All I have left are details on the flatiron itself. I cannot believe how many bas-relief sculptures and decorative details cover its exterior. My friends who grew up in Fort Worth tell me of their days strolling past this building on their way to the public library. For years I have enjoyed hearing their memories of this city from long ago. I’m drinking my coffee this morning from the commemorative centennial mug of Leonard’s Department Store (1918-2018) where my friends used to go when they were children.

Outside remains cold and dark, but inside I feel the warmth of friendship and good memories. I’m ready to pick up the brush and resume work on the flatiron.

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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One Response to “Serene Thoughts in the Morning”

  1. sienablue Says:

    It’s been a pleasure watching this building come to life in your painting. Is it difficult to create with no thought of consequences when you are working on a commission?

    Thoreau and Emerson are showing up in the pages of my current reading as well. I was searching my library’s online collection looking for some classics to fill the many gaps in my education, and Eudora Welty came to mind. Lo and behold a different author appeared in the search returns. I clicked into the description and the book, At the Center of All Beauty, was described as a memoir and reflection on solitude and creativity. There was a wonderful chapter on Cezanne and I have met several new kindred spirits to add to my reading list. In these turbulent 24 hour news times, reading is good medicine!


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