Resuming Work on the Watercolor while the Light is Good
What deep in our breast was thus inspired,
What shy lips babbled in a quiet hour,
Clumsy perhaps, and rarely as desired,
Is swallowed by a savage moment’s power.
And years may pass before it has acquired
Its perfect form and opens like a flower.
Glitter is coined to meet the moment’s rage;
The genuine lives on from age to age.
Sunday in The Gallery at Redlands has been quieter than the previous two days, though I’m pleased that there were still sales. The streets of Palestine are quiet, but patrons have still come to purchase and converse. The day has been lovely, and my spirits are soothed as closing time draws near.
Awhile back, while spending a restful weekend in the old country store that I love, I managed to read Faust for the first time. During this weekend of the gallery show, I’ve had the chance to return to this amazing text. The passage above prompts me to think of my efforts over the years to express my feelings artfully, efforts often characterized as “clumsy” and “savage.” And I think of how many years it takes for a quality piece of work to open “like a flower.” Repeatedly this weekend I’ve been asked: “How long have you been doing watercolor?” It’s difficult to answer that question adequately. The oldest piece in this show was created in 1999. My first “decent” watercolor was created in 1988. My degree was completed in 1976. The year I decided I wanted to master watercolor was 1971. So, how long have I worked on this craft? To be precise, I have only addressed the medium of watercolor, rather than the broader aspect of making “art.” In thinking over the latter, I realize that my training goes far beyond training in the artist’s craft. My ideas have grown from literature, art, philosophy, history, travel and personal experience. So I guess my truthful answer is that I have been training nearly sixty-three years to do a decent watercolor. And it has been a wonderful sixty-three years.
Right now, as the late afternoon sun slants through these gallery windows and onto my easel, I am filled with deep appreciation that I have been allowed to live long enough to enjoy the things I do now. This has been a rewarding weekend, and I look forward now to the next two. A special thanks to all my loving friends who made the long trek to come out here this weekend and make a good life even better. The conversations were so affirming and I cannot express the depths of my appreciation.
In the Still of the Night (framed watercolor) $900
This remains my favorite “doorknob” painting to date. I began it late at night in the “store” where I love to retreat on free weekends. I put a spotlight on the knob, positioned a desk lamp over my easel, turned out the house lights, and worked late into the night on it. I had to come back a few more times before I actually finished it. Funny thing–the “selfie” I painted that I title “Heidegger’s Hut” was painted from a photo I took, using the ten-second timer. Across my lap is the painting of this doorknob in progress.
Heidegger’s Hut (framed watercolor) $900. Limited editions available for $100
Trinidad, Colorado (framed watercolor) $1100
This summer I will journey to Colorado again for fly fishing and plein air painting. I always pass through Trinidad on my way to my vacation site. A few years back, I stopped and photographed this Savoy Hotel and Cafe with its ghost sign, and completed a large watercolor that won Best of Show at an annual show in Desoto, Texas. I am happy with the painting because I think I could title it Anywhere, U.S.A.
Time to wind this up and send it out. Thanks always for reading, and for your gracious comments of encouragement.
I paint in order to discover.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog, reminding myself I am not alone.