Posts Tagged ‘dawn’

Winter Dawn from the “Best Part” of the World

December 6, 2013
The Neighborhood from my Front Door

Winter Pre-Dawn from my Front Door

My neighbor says that his hill-farm is poor stuff and “only fit to hold the world together.”

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, February 13, 1841.

Last night, at 7:26, my school district canceled today’s classes due to inclement weather.  I wanted to celebrate, but was already beaten down by the week.  So, I retired to bed around 9:00, and awoke this morning at 5:24 without an alarm.  It didn’t take long to shower, dress, prepare a breakfast of eggs sunny-side up, bacon, orange juice and coffee, tidy up the kitchen, and sit down to the Journals of Thoreau.  When I read the above passage from his 1841 entry, I said “Wait a minute!”  I knew I had read that somewhere in Emerson (and I’ve always enjoyed the synergy between those two kindred spirits).  It took a little while, but I found this from Emerson’s “Experience,” published in 1844 in his Essays: Second Series–

Every ship is a romantic object, except that we sail in.  Embark, and the romance quits our vessel and hangs on every other sail in the horizon.  Our life looks trivial, and we shun to record it.  Men seem to have learned of the horizon the art of perpetual retreating and reference.  “Yonder uplands are rich pasturage, and my neighbor has fetile meadow, but my field,” says the querulous farmer, “only holds the world together.”

I laugh at the truth ringing forth from that text.  That tends to be our life experience.  But let me say without reservation that I am delighted this morning to envy no one else.  I love the corner of the world in which I was blessed to awaken this morning.  The sleep was refreshing.  The landscape outside my studio window fills me with rapture.  Time spent in quiet over the texts of Thoreau and Emerson have fed my imagination, fueled my fires, and now I am ready to resume my painting, so grateful for this surprise three-day weekend. What a gift!

Dawn Outside my Studio Window

Dawn Outside my Studio Window

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

The Dawn with Henry David Thoreau

June 16, 2012

Tarrant County Courthouse

Rising at 5 a.m. on a summer Saturday morning might seem odd, but this kind of day demanded it.  I have dozens of “annoying” errands to complete before I leave in 24 hours for Eureka Springs, and I have this courthouse watercolor I would really like to complete.  So, there it is.

Mornings that begin in watercolor are better than mornings that do not.  But I chose to begin this morning with Henry David Thoreau.  I’m reading from his Journals, and was greeted with this word this morning:

The atmosphere of morning gives a healthy hue to our prospects. . . .  We enjoy a diurnal reprieve in the beginning of each day’s creation.

And so, I’m ready to go after this courthouse, and it is my hope to finish it today–I do not want to leave it dangling for a week while I’m away in Eureka Springs.  Before I close, another gem from Thoreau’s Walden:

It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do.  To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.

Thanks for reading.

I journal because I am alone;

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.


Rising Early with Henry David Thoreau

June 6, 2012

Thoreau in the Man Cave

Years ago, after delivering a sermon at a Unitarian Church, a used-book dealer approached me on the parking lot.  Henry David Thoreau had played a role in the morning sermon, and I was ecstatic when this man opened the trunk of his car to reveal The Journal of Henry D Thoreau in 14 volumes.  Within minutes, I was writing him a check.

I have one of the volumes open on my drafting table, as I have resumed reading them since school let out.  From this morning, I gathered the following:

All sound is nearly akin to Silence; it is a bubble on her surface which straightway bursts, an emblem of the strength and prolificness of the undercurrent.  . . .  Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel of all dry discourses and all foolish acts, as balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as [after] disappointment; that background which the painter may not daub . . .   (December 15, 1838)

When the poetic frenzy seizes us, we run and scratch with our pen, delighting, like the cock, in the dust we make, but do not detect where the jewel lies, which perhaps we have in the meantime cast o a distance, or quite covered up again.   (February 8, 1839)

These sentiments lie at the heart of my pursuit of art.  The silent Art lies beneath the surface of all my artwork, a rock foundation that I can never quite uncover, can never expose.  But it is there.  And all my theories scratch at the hard crust covering the Truth.  I love and reverence that silence, and feel it most profoundly in the morning, when no one else is at hand, and the suburbs have not yet awakened to make noise.

So, I’m in the man cave.  I arrived at  5:40 this morning, and I’m ready to get to work.  I love beginning my days with writing in my journal and reading something of value.  This act is not what Ian Roberts humorously identifies as “creativity rituals and altar-making and mask-making in order to get unstuck and get started.”  I highly recommend his book Creative Authenticity.  His writings often play a role in my morning watch before I get started in the studio.

Time to paint.  Thanks for reading.