Waking to a New Dawn

Presumptuous is the artist who does not follow his road through to the end. But chosen are those artists who penetrate to the region of that secret place where primeval power nurtures all evolution.

Paul Klee, On Modern Art

I woke at 6:30 this morning feeling that I could shake paintings out of my shirt sleeves. Looking out the second-story window of my dining room in the Redlands Hotel, I felt the historic Carnegie Library looking back at me, affirming and encouraging me to follow my bliss.

Before retiring to bed late last night, I read from Paul Klee’s lecture On Modern Art, and stopped on the passage posted above. The word chosen arrested my attention as I came to the realization that I didn’t choose Art. Art chose me. From my childhood, it was the only talent I had, the only interest I pursued.

I recalled the scene from “Life Lessons”, a selection from the film New York Stories. Nick Nolte stars as Lionel Dobie, a Willem de Kooning-type artist who has dominated the New York art scene for years. Now he is deviled by his attractive assistant who frustratingly wants all the art success to come to her right now. She cries out, asking if he thinks her art is any good. His answer: “What different does it make what I think. It’s yours.” He goes on to tell her that artists make art because they have no choice.

I make art because I have no choice. Taking a page from Aristotle, art is in me, and it must come out. Does the bird singing in the morning have any idea that the sounds it makes are beautiful to the human ear, or is the bird just doing what birds do by nature? Does the spider spinning at dawn have any idea of the beauty, the geometry, the symmetry of its web, or is the spider merely spinning out the essence of its character?

My own artistic impulse was set free the day I realized that the world doesn’t need my art. The market doesn’t wait breathlessly for my next piece. That is liberating. Grateful to be retired and on an adequate pension, I can pursue my own bliss without apology or permission. And as I work (play), I am not deviled by questions such as “Is this any good?” or “Will this sell?” I make art because I have no choice. And while making it, the world is better, for me anyway.

Before closing, I would like to post Paul Klee’s remarks in full, for anyone wishing to read his powerful words:

Presumptuous is the artist who does not follow his road through to the end. But chosen are those artists who penetrate to the region of that secret place where primeval power nurtures all evolution.

There, where the power-house of all time and space–call it brain or heart of creation–activates every function; who is the artist who would not dwell there?

In the womb of nature, at the soure of creation, where the secret key to all lies guarded.

But not all can enter. Each should follow where the pulse of his own heart leads.

I am David Tripp. And this is what I do. 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.

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “Waking to a New Dawn”

  1. Stacy Campbell Says:

    “Shake paintings out of my shirt sleeves” what a lovely bit of words.
    I’m extremely optimistic about art right now, and it is apparently unique to feel this way. Your passion belongs to no one but you, and thank God you have it. What a dreadful place it must be to be an artist who is frustrated, worried, always taking pause.
    I’m proud of you friend. You’re weaving the most elegant words, thoughtful quotes, poignant thoughts, with art, literature, history, and life. Well done.

    Like

    • davidtripp Says:

      I stole that quote from the aged Frank Lloyd-Wright when others thought he was too old to continue designing buildings. The words came to me as I awoke that particular morning, early. I knew I was going to create! I managed to paint a pair of 5 x 7″ bison, and pushed further into the larger church painting I started a couple of weeks ago. Thank you, always, for encouraging my work/play the way you do!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: