Posts Tagged ‘David Crosby’

Morning Coffee following a Quixotic Odyssey

October 5, 2018


In a Small Town Diner this Morning

Driving out through the windmills

And some of them were still.

Sometimes it’s hard to catch the wind

And bend it to your will.

James Raymond

The road unrolled like an unending manuscript yesterday, which was a gift to me, seeing I needed plenty of time to think over some important matters. Tuning in to music, I was smitten by these opening words of a song composed by James Raymond, son of David Crosby, my musical hero since high school days. The lines remind me of Don Quixote, and all the silliness surrounding his adventures stemming from his unusual perception of his role in life. “Quixotic” is a label tossed around to describe those with exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical ideas about life (artists?). I know why well-meaning friends occasionally pin this word on me, it’s deserved.

So, while driving, I gave this plenty of thought, and probably resolved little. I am old enough to know the world doesn’t bend to my will or always conform to my hopeful anticipations. But I am also old enough to know that ideas are my most precious resource. And, when times turn gray, my ideas give my world the color needed to remain attractive. I write all this in good will, I am not complaining or in a resentful mode as I write this.

While drinking coffee and pondering breakfast options in a small town diner this morning, I turn again to Paul Tillich’s The Interpretation of History and enjoy his autobiographical observations in this text. As he portrays his life lived “on the boundary”, I am prompted to recall all the boundaries I have threaded in my own Quixotic Odyssey.

Among the many boundaries Tillich explored in his personal journey, one that particularly resonated with me was that difficult path between theory and practice. Like Tillich, I know I have always felt more connected to theory and therefore not always practical. But I took solace in these words:

In these years of practical activity theoretical work was not interrupted, although of course, much restricted. This period of immersion in practical work, however, in no way shook my basic devotion to the life of theory.

Like Tillich, I held down a number of practical professions throughout my life, and a number of them were soaked in practical details. And I gladly testify that, despite the numbing effect of carrying out mindless details in these jobs, they never took me completely out of the world of ideas. Tillich wrote that “the highest form of play and the truly productive abode of imagination is Art.” Those words I wholeheartedly endorse.

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.



Thoughts Scattered in the Winds

February 24, 2014
Trying to Get Some Thoughts to Fly in Formation

Trying to Get Some Thoughts to Fly in Formation

In a traditional school setting, intensity is dilluted by short and widely-separated class meetings, continuity is lost as everyone scatters to the winds at the end of each class period, and ideas dissipate before they ever fully develop.

Ted Orland, View from the Studio Door

Throughout my years, I have wrestled with this reality.  As a graduate student, when ideas moved me profoundly, I found myself frequently scrambling to assemble my scattered, fractured thoughts into some kind of order and save them in such a way that they would not disappear between class periods, or while sleeping at night.  I never found a “system” for organizing all that knowledge.  Years of teaching school since those days have only added to the mix.  Students stimulate me daily with new ideas, alternate vistas, novel perspectives, and every time the bell rings and they sail out the door, I find myself reaching for the journal and trying my best to record the snippets of thought as the next class files in with their new packages of words and ideas.

This evening, while working on a commission, I continually found myself stopping in the middle of a brushstroke, drawing out the journal and recording yet again.  It never ends.

Stream of consciousness
On a sleeping
Street of dreams

Like scattered leaves
Slowed in midfall
To the streams

Of fast
Running rivers
Of choice and chance
And time stops here 
on the delta
While they dance
While they dance

David Crosby, “The Delta”

I suppose I have recovered from my recent illness.  I’m thinking again.  Painting again.  And smiling again.  Maybe some of these things will assemble themselves into something sublime.  I can always hope  . . .

Thanks for reading.  Once this commission is completed, I’ll hopefully get some new paintings back online to share.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Backyard Blues, January 5, 2010

January 5, 2010

My Brother and His Guitar

I’m embarrassed that I forgot to post this (although I did, to my Facebook friends last month).  This watercolor took first place in the membership show of the Desoto Art League (Desoto, Texas) early in December 2009.  The show just closed and I got to bring it back home again.

My younger brother is playing the guitar, although I had to use a photograph taken of him in a St. Louis living room.  I’ve always thought he resembled David Crosby, in hair, mustache and weight.  The buildings I found here in Arlington, Texas, behind the Upstairs Gallery on Abrams.  This is my first attempt to render a “bluesman” outdoors in humble surroundings.  Hopefully, I will get to pursue some more of these subjects.  I would like to put a blues guitarist on the porch of my grandmother’s defunct house (posted a couple of days ago–“No Longer Home”).  I have never put a human figure with that house in all my attempted sketches and paintings.  I think it’s time.  My attempt to work on the Wyeth drybrush as well as the Impressionist plein air came together somewhat in this painting, but I still have a long way to go.  I began a sketch yesterday that attempted to merge the two techniques, and think I have found a few fresh ideas to pursue.