Need Solid Stone to Polish

Continued work on the Arkansas Cabin
Practice sketch of Chair

You write like you got no balls at all. You need some solid stone to polish. You’re not a Flannery O’Connor, you’re not James Joyce, forget it. I would like you for once to put some words on paper that actually matter to you.

William Cotter Murray’s challenge to Bruce Dobler, Iowa Writers Workshop

I’m thankful for this winter interlude to re-focus on what I wish to accomplish in 2022. The calendar is already filling with spring watercolor classes, a university Ethics class, a demonstration before an arts society, and two art festivals (between now and May 1). Meanwhile I’ve wanted to be like a farmer in winter who performs maintenance on fences and tractors, orders feed and supplies, and tends the daily feeding of livestock. The farmer works year-round; only the tasks vary. Same with the artist. Seasons and weather set the agenda for what we do, and when it is too cold outside and holiday shoppers alike cool off in January, February, March, I find it useful to make art and tend the calendar so as not to be hit broadside when the action arrives.

There are a number of painting and sketching projects already filling my portfolio and littering my studio. Before going back to The Gallery at Redlands on Thursday, I am hoping to get some more creative tasks accomplished.

The quote above from William Cotter Murray sounded in my inner consciousness while I was tentatively poking at this cabin watercolor. Suddenly I was tightening up on the watercolor, and voices from long ago began to invade: Murray chiding Dobler, along with my own painting professor snapping at me in class: “Loosen up!” Taking out some books of Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper drawings, I decided it best to take out the pencil and try to sketch loosely the chair I’m planning on inserting into the cabin watercolor. As I drew and later painted, I decided to put on the DVD of Stone Reader so I could listen to writers and critics discussing the dynamics of writing (much of it parallel to painting). I decided, “True, I am not Andrew Wyeth, I am not Edward Hopper. What I need to do is put something down on paper that actually matters to me.” Forget style. Just render the cabin. Remember the solitude. Recall the silence. And paint away.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.


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2 Responses to “Need Solid Stone to Polish”

  1. Teresa Says:

    I love your thoughts in the end. ❤️


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