Posts Tagged ‘Cloudcroft New Mexico’

Portals and Thresholds of Wonder

June 9, 2018

cloudcroft

Our national parks are blood. They are more than scenery; they are portals and thresholds of wonder, an open door that swings back and forth from our past to our future.

Terry Tempest Williams

Greetings from Cloudcroft, New Mexico, elevation 8,663 feet. Temperature at 6:38 a.m., 54 degrees and lovely. Walking this quaint mountain town last evening was a chilly and exhilarating experience. My plan later this morning is to journey into the surrounding mountain ranges, not visible from where I’m residing. I did step out this morning at first light, though, and do some sketchbook drawings of some of the tree tops against the dawn sky. Eventually, I stretched two 9 x 12″ sheets of watercolor paper and sat down to dash out this quick study of one of the tree tops in the neighborhood.

As I sat and sketched, the words posted above from Terry Tempest Williams soaked in my consciousness. I liked the idea that I read years ago from James Joyce about the artist encountering portals of discovery in his book Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. And this is what I anticipate during my brief mountain sojourn–some kind of portal of discovery as I continue to explore watercolor and plein air possibilities. I am so ecstatic to leave the city behind and range about in these wide open spaces.

I brought on my trip a biography on Joseph Mallord William Turner that is providing a wonderful read. I’m amazed that the young boy of fourteen managed to obtain entrance to the Royal Academy and in his very first year exhibited one of his watercolors in the annual juried exhibit. He was the youngest student to be juried into the show since the Academy’s inception. I’m drawing inspiration from his disciplined use of the sketchbook as a tool for his watercolor work, something I have never faithfully practiced, until this morning. I pledged before falling asleep tonight that I would never approach plein air watercoloring without working in a sketchbook at the same time. If all goes to plan, this discipline should yield some results in my work as it progresses.

Thank you for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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