A Narrative Emerges

The Beginning of a New Day

The narrator must seek to imbue himself with the life and spirit of the time. . . . He must himself be, as it were, a sharer or a spectator of the action he describes.

Francis Parkman, Pioneers of France in the New World

This morning, August 10, 2022, was different as I awoke. Like a lazy river, a narrative was gliding through my consciousness, and I felt the need to respond in my journal:

Rising to the strains of internal music, the artist stretched as he sat at the foot of the bed. The dim gray light of the summer morning oozing through the shaded window signaled the deep thunderstorms that lulled him to a comfortable slumber in the night.

Rising, he slipped on last night’s T-shirt and plodded up the hall and into his Studio Eidolons. Looking out the windows across his suburban corner, he admired the softness of the dim morning light and watched the young lady from next door walking her pair of border collies up the rain-drenched street. Fall was in the air and he was ready.

Entering the kitchen, he opened the cabinet and reached for the unopened bag of Durango Joes Red Mountain coffee beans. Measuring four cups of water into the saucepan, he put it on the burner and cranked up the heat full-tilt to bring the water to a boil. Measuring a half-cup of the fresh moist beans, he poured them gently into the antique coffee grinder, snapped the brass lid shut, and turned the crank for a minute or so, till the grinding came to a silence. By now, the boiling water was ready to remove from the burner to sit for a couple of minutes.

The artists’ mind wandered back over the preceding weeks prior to his illness, to a morning spent in the heart of his Colorado Odyssey. In his imagination, he could still steadily see the San Juan valley stretched out below his cabin deck, the morning sunlight splashing the sides of deer picking their way gingerly through the meadows on the opposite bank of the South Fork of the Rio Grande. The chorus of birds filled the frigid morning as the sun rose over the peaks of the South San Juan Mountains rounding out the bottom of the Continental Divide. What a luminiferous Colorado world, contrasting with this morning’s Texas limp light.

Time to pour the water into the French press, sprinkle the ground coffee on top, then poke the island of fresh coffee to sink just below the surface of the hot water, using a spatula, then cover the press for five minutes of steeping.

Walking back into Studio Eidolons, the aged artist looked with dissatisfaction at his recent start of a large watercolor depicting his view from the Colorado cabin. He still had not figured out how to enable the light to emerge from the paper through the transparent washes of color recently laid down. Always believing the paper to be the atmosphere through which the watercolor breathes, he felt that the painting was off to a lethargic, wheezing start. After the morning coffee he would pull the volumes from his shelves that needed re-study. It had been more than a decade since he had read the text of Roland Roycraft about poured watercolor techniques and achieving luminosity. The Colorado composition was going to require pouring, he decided.

Sniffing the air, he suddenly realized the five minutes were up; time to press the coffee, as the aroma had wafted from the kitchen to the studio. There would be plenty of time today to re-study the craft of watercolor pouring and see if he could rescue the Colorado composition.

That’s all for now . . . I’m excited about the start of this day. 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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