Archive for the ‘acrylic’ Category

No Defense Against the Dream

December 21, 2014
Pre-Dawn Companions

Pre-Dawn Companions

At 5:44 a.m., an unspeakably cruel dream shattered the darkness of my deepest sleep.  And the debris of that wretched visitation disallowed any chance of returning to sleep this morning.  There was no one I dared call in the pre-dawn–I would call that a genuine test of friendship, and I didn’t want to put anyone to that sort of test.  Turning to my bedside table, I found the kind of companionship that will not be tied to a clock, beginning with Robert Frost.

I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.

I have outwalked the furthest city light.

 

I have looked down the saddest city lane.

I have passed by the watchman on his beat

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

 

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet

When far away an interrupted cry

Came over houses from another street,

 

But not to call me back or say good-bye;

And further still at an unearthly height,

One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.

I have been one acquainted with the night.

By the time I finished reading this, I was a little better.  Reaching for my journal, I began to write things I don’t need to put into this blog.  But thanks to conversations with a friend last night, I found encouragement in writing, and the longer I mused and wrote, the better I felt.  And as I wrote, I became conscious of the ticking of my bedside clock, and Frost’s words returned:

And further still at an unearthly height,

One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.

I realized that each tick of that clock was the sound of a footstep walking away in the night, never to return.  Time leaves us behind.  Thinking on that led me to the realization that life is too brief to dwell on the demons of the night.  I was too awake to return to sleep, so I declared myself rested and determined to make this day a good one, or to quote from the bard Thoreau: “to affect the quality of the day.”  There was a still life waiting in the garage, and tools ready for my return.  Looking up at the window, I saw the grey light of dawn breaking through, and took that as an invitation to follow my bliss, and I shall.

The Studio Always Waits Patiently for my Return

The Studio Always Waits Patiently for my Return

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog as a reminder that I’m never really alone.

A Day More Proustian than Warholish

March 9, 2013
Acrylic on Canvas in Martin High School Library

Acrylic on Canvas in Martin High School Library

My Spring Break should have started yesterday at the end of school, but I believe it actually began tonight at 7:03.  That was when Something Happened (I love that title from the Joseph Heller novel, and loved the novel–it should be read by every man over 40).  Now I feel a real Break, a real potential for cleansing, for enlightenment, and am glad to have enough “juice” in me to stay up awhile tonight and try to record some meaningful thoughts.

Among the plethora of books I’m trying to read at the same time (such a bad habit), there is included the Andy Warhol Diaries.  Geez, the man can be so vacuous!  It’s been reported that he suffered dyslexia, and therefore didn’t write.  The Diaries  are actually transcribed from daily phone calls he made to Pat Hackett.

So, with feeble humor, I begin this blog in Andy Warhol Diaries fashion, and promise to do it only once:

Woke up at 8:25 this morning without the alarm.  Showered, dressed, drove to Kroger and bought basic groceries ($45.30, 4 miles).  Cooked breakfast in the kitchen.  Spent three-and-a-half hours cleaning a study that I had abandoned over a year ago (second bedroom in the house) and gathering information to file my taxes.  Watched on TV the St. Louis Blues beat the San Jose Sharks in overtime 4-3 and was glad.  Got a voice mail at 7:03.  Filled up my gas tank ($58.92) and returned some belongings to a friend ( 83 miles).  Drove home through a hellacious rainstorm.

Great stuff huh?  Imagine someone buying a book with 807 pages of that.  I just did, and I’m reading it.  To be fair, I am gleaning the occasional Pop Art history from his daily musings, but wow, I have to plow through so much vacuous verbiage to mine those facts.

And now, the actual day:

Following breakfast I settled into my comfortable living room reading chair and continued my reading of Proust (Swann’s Way).  I could not get past this story:

[Legrandin] came up to us with outstretched hand: “Do you know, master booklover,” he asked me, “this line of Paul Desjardins?

            Now are the woods all black, but still the sky is blue.

Isn’t that a fine rendering of a moment like this?  Perhaps you have never read Paul Desjardins.  Read him, my boy, read him; in these days he is converted, they tell me, into a preaching friar, but he used to have the most charming watercolour touch—

Now are the woods all black, but still the sky is blue.

May you always see a blue sky overhead, my young friend; and then, even when the time comes, as it has come for me now, when the woods are all black, when night is fast falling, you will be able to console yourself, as I do, by looking up at the sky.”  He took a cigarette from his pocket and stood for a long time with his eyes fixed on the horizons.  “Good-bye, friends!” he suddenly exclaimed, and left us.

I could not stop laughing.  To put it in context, the author thought he had been snubbed the day before outside church by Legrandin.  Now, while walking, he runs into the man again, and out comes all this verbiage over one line of a poem that is supposed to be profound, and then just as quickly, the man walks away.  No conversation.  No exchange.  Just a quick moment to pontificate, and then move on.  I laugh as I recall the many, many times this has happened in my past and present.  Not just that kind of treatment from someone putting on superior airs, but that kind of insipid advice to look to blue skies when the woods turn dark.

But the line that actually made me record this was: “in these days he is converted, they tell me, into a preaching friar, but he used to have the most charming watercolour touch.”  Ahhhh.  I spent most of the day digesting that.  I guess I’m going to adjust my goals to include some line about trying to learn to write (and blog?) with a “watercolor touch.”

Not long after Proust “tagged” me, I suddenly, while texting a dear friend, was pointed to a new direction in watercolor that had been in the back of my mind for a few days.  And after these texts settled, I suddenly “saw” what I want to do next.  But alas, it is 10:53 now, I am still in the mood to read and write in my journal, and it’s raining cats and dogs outside and the Man Cave is smelling kind of moldy.  I also don’t enjoy the garage lights too much after dark, preferring instead to let the natural light flood in through the garage door windows (or even open the door completely, weather permitting).

So instead, I post this 3 x 4′ acrylic canvas I painted as part of a series of “book covers” for the Martin High School library (where I teach full time).  And tonight, I choose to sit up late and read some more of the Nick Adams series from Ernest Hemingway, most particularly the two-part “Big Two-Hearted River.”  That has been one of my favorite short stories since high school, and though I will not be able to journey to Colorado this Spring Break to fly fish for trout, I know I will again some day.  Meanwhile I enjoy it vicariously by reading Nick’s story.

My plan is to begin this new series of watercolors tomorrow, and begin posting them as they emerge.  Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the Hemingway canvas.

Thanks for reading.

Four Days in the Studio, January 12, 2010

January 12, 2010

Hill County Courthouse, ala Van Gogh

This is a project I started Friday after school, then worked on through the weekend, and finally finished Monday after school.  La Quinta is building a new hotel in Hillsboro, Texas, and has requested that local artists submit paintings of local themes.  I was approached about creating three paintings of the Hill County Courthouse in a style reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh.  This was my best shot at it.  Watercolor is where I tend to do 95% of my work, but occasionally an acrylic on canvas assignment comes along.  It’s been awhile since I worked on a 22 x 28″ surface.  I enjoyed the freedom of movement, and the dynamics of stretched canvas provided a welcome change from the paper surface where I usually work.  This is my first attempt at something approaching a triptych.  If accepted, these paintings will be hung on a red-orange wall.  At any rate, I’m glad now to be getting back to watercolor.  It’s been nearly a week, and I’ve missed it.