Posts Tagged ‘Ernest Hemingway’

Settling into the New Studio

August 3, 2020
New Studio Taking Shape

It was wonderful to walk down the long flights of stairs knowing that I’d had good luck working. I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day. But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that you knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple, declarative sentence I had written. Up in that room I decided that I would write one story about each thing that I knew about. I was trying to do this all the time I was writing, and it was good and severe discipline.

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

My Writing Desk

With enthusiasm I post today’s blog from my renovated studio space. This project has been ongoing for months, and finally it nears completion. Decisions are still being made about lighting, and books are still not in order on the shelves, but I’m really close. I now have four work stations arranged about the spacious room–one roll top desk, one reading table, and two drafting tables. Each space is designed for a specfic project I’m working on, and I’m thinking of giving each space a special name. This morning I’ve worked at the roll top desk, calling it my Hemingway space. This is where I do most of my daily writing in the journal and composing on the laptop. Today I rewrote three chapters of my Turvey’s Corner 63050 stories that I hope will one day turn into an illustated novel. I posted the Hemingway quote above because it has continually granted me encouragement when stuck during the writing process.

View from where I’m working now . . .

In future blogs, I’ll share detailed pictures of my new studio surroundings. I close today with my revised Introduction to Turvey’s Corner 63050.

Foreword

Nice town, y’know what I mean?

Nobody very remarkable ever come out of it, s’far as we know.

Thornton Wilder, Our Town

Like domestic coffee, rural towns in Midwest America percolate daily with lives destined for obscurity. That formidable fact however fails to suffocate the aspirations of romantic souls convinced that their corners of the cosmos experience an infusion of divine energy unrecognized in other quarters.

Turvey’s Corner, a fictional Missouri town, lies midway between where I grew up (High Ridge, 63049) and the town where I attended high school and church (House Springs 63051). Turveys Corner, twenty-three miles southwest of St. Louis, Missouri, and a few miles south of historic Route 66, emerged from an underground spring of memories and imaginings.

The cycle of stories includes a host of fictional characters, sketches drawn from my personal life as well as the lives of my family members and friends. Native American writer N. Scott Momaday, a lover of words, presents his literary works as “pieces of a whole, each one the element of an intricate but unified design.” He calls his stories “facets of a verbal prism, if you will, patterns like the constellations.”[1] My hope remains that the cast of characters from Turvey’s Corner will present a constellation triggering similar memories from the reader.

[1]N. Scott Momaday, The Man Made of Words, p. 1.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel I am alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

The Soothing Sweetness of the Morning

July 12, 2020
Gathering Ideas and Images for the Day

Ernest Hemingway was dedicated to the proposition that each day should be rewarding in some way.

A. E. Hotchner (friend)

Yesterday witnessed a full day of painting at this dining room table, the enthusiasm fueled mostly by a pair of Youtube documentaries on the life of Ernest Hemingway. As a biography addict, I am thinking of reading for a second time in its entirety the Hemingway biography by the late Princeton Professor Carlos Baker. I have not read enough of Hemingway, only his Moveable Feast (twice), The Sun Also Rises and about a dozen of his short stories, my favorite “Big Two-Hearted River” Part Two.

As I’ve shared before, my inspiration to make art is fueled mostly by the works of famous artists and writers. And I am just as much an addict of their biographies as I am their primary sources. Yesterday my attention was split between painting and reading Emile Zola’s The Masterpiece. The book called to memory a myriad of details of the life and work of Paul Cezanne. While painting, I let the laptop fill my ears with details on the life of Hemingway.

Hemingway’s life inspires and saddens me simultaneously. I’m inspired by his drive to write, every morning at 5:00 until noon, and no, there was not a bottle of scotch at his table during these sacred hours. That always came later, unfortunately. As a former English teacher, I frequently told my students I would fail them if they turned in short stories with the spare vanilla sentences Hemingway was known for using. I never could explain to students or friends why I liked reading him, because those sentences alone certainly did not inspire me, though I’m always intrigued by his testimony that “all you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

I am deeply saddened that this decorated writer who lived life to the fullest did not live to be as old as we expect to live these days. Already at age sixty-six, I have outlived him by five years. What saddens me even more was his state of mind when he decided to take his life. Electric shock treatments for his depression rendered him incapable of writing. It has been said that he would sit at his writing table and nothing would happen. I don’t know how I would handle it if the day came when I could no longer record my thoughts in writing or express myself with a painting.

After all these years, mornings are still sacred to me. Currently house sitting, I’m glad that the five dogs are currently in the backyard where I can see them from this dining room window running wildly all over the property, burning off the fuel they consumed from their bowls a few moments ago. With the house quiet, I can now turn the spiggot with the push of a button on my ballpoint pen and watch my thoughts flow out onto the pages of my journal. Even if the words are no good, at least I still have living thoughts and energizing ideas that give me assurance that another good day can be lived. I just feel sad for anyone who has lost that feeling as well as for those who never know it.

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 about Getting it Right

January 29, 2020

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As January nears its end, I pause during a break this morning to revisit my New Year resolutions drafted about a month ago. I suppose the reason I pursue this annual habit of Resolutions is the hope of “Getting It Right” this year. I like the idea of resolving to improve life every time we close an old chapter and open a new one, even if it does seem artificial to do it January 1.

Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered an historic address at a Harvard commencement titled “The American Scholar.”  That speech remains one of my favorite writings of all times, and I continue to read it more than once a year.  In that day, Emerson addressed an American consciousness that was still trying to define itself. There would be those today who say such days are long behind our nation.  I am not so sure.  In fact, I am less sure today of our collective identity as an American people than I was a few years ago.  But this is what Emerson said as he marked that graduation anniversary as a transitional time for the American Scholar between past and present:

Year by year we come up hither to read one more chapter of his biography.  Let us inquire what light new days and events have thrown on his character and his hopes.

I like the childlike wonder that marks the New England Transcendentalists of the nineteenth century. At ages 30, 40, 50 and beyond, they remained curious and optimistic about life’s possibilities.

Let me take you back to a scene from our American heritage last century: It was a stifling hot afternoon in the offices of Hartford Insurance in Connecticut.  The oscillating fans were perpetually whirring, driving documents and memos all across the desktops, across the floors, into wastebaskets.  The adjustor, sweating inside his collar, was hurrying down the corridor when suddenly the Vice President stepped into his path, and said “Brownie, could you step in here for a moment?”  Surprised, Lynn Brown stepped into the spacious office, and stood hesitantly before the V.P. who merely sat on the corner of his desk, staring fixedly into space, saying nothing.  The adjustor just waited, nervously.

“Brownie, do you have any ideas on what ‘imagination’ means?” asked the V.P.

After an uncomfortable silence, Lynne replied, “Not at all.  I have no ideas on that.”

Silence.

“Well.  Why don’t you give that some thought in the next day or two and we’ll talk further.”

Years later, recalling that day, Lynne Brown told a reporter.  “He never brought it up again, and frankly, I’m glad.”

That Vice President of Hartford Insurance made a good income for his Connecticut family, benefited from his Harvard law degree, and maintained his spacious home and manicured lawn.  He walked two miles to his office every day, and walked home.  And as his mind explored during those walks, he spun the ideas into poems.  That aging Vice President who just wanted to talk to someone about “imagination” was our American poet Wallace Stevens.

Robert Henri, the American artist who founded The Ashcan School, was like an aging prophet as he continued to inspire the seven young newspaper illustrators who gathered in his studio at 806 Walnut Street in Philadelphia as the twentieth century dawned. Throughout his prolific life, he not only painted, but wrote, taught classes and gave public speeches. His electrifying book, titled The Art Spirit contains these words:

When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressing creature.  He becomes interesting to other people.  He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and he opens ways for a better understanding.  Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it, shows there are still more pages possible.  The world would stagnate without him, and the world would be beautiful with him; for he is interesting to himself and he is interesting to others.

Wallace Stevens and Robert Henri in their later years relayed a message in stark contrast to the one given by our writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew Bible.  I also like that writing and have drawn from it in previous New Years’ meditations.  But the writer of Ecclesiastes has grown quite old and cynical and argues that “there is no new thing under the sun.”  He’s convinced that he’s seen it all.  As he develops his argument about how the world continues to do the same weary routine, he laid out the words “the sun also rises.” Those words were snatched up to become the title of the first novel of a young American writer Ernest Hemingway. But as this young writer fought back depression in his early years in Paris, struggling to find a new voice, he wrote the following, which didn’t get published till years later, after his death:

. . . sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’ So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there.

Emerson’s argument is that yes, the world, and all that is in it, is millions of years old—there is nothing new under the sun.  But we are the ones ripe for new experience, new adventure, primed for a New Year.  There is much left for us to discover, about life and about ourselves.

I like that sentiment.  And it stirs me each New Year.  And I think New Years resolutions are offered with the sentiment of trying out new things, but also that constant, nagging rejoinder to get it right this time.  And it’s that itch of “getting it right” that carries the tinge of guilt and regret.  I mean—why cannot the New Year be embraced solely as a new tack, the next mile of the journey, a different window through which to peer?  Can it not contain suggestions of a different collection of books to peruse?  Promptings to a change of activity?  A change of scenery, what the painter Henri Matisse called “cleansing the eye.” A new hobby?  A different kind of work?  Or, if you please, less work and more rest?

Do you not notice that the notion of “getting it right” has that all-too-familiar ring of “karma”?  I frequently told my high school students that public school was my karma, because when I was a teenager, I hated public school every day of my life, and couldn’t wait to get out.  Then once I finished all my education and joined the work force, where did I end up—high school.  The Karma complex.  High School was my Karma.  I believed I would remain there till I got it right.  In 2017, I dismissed all that as myth and just retired anyway—let someone else get it right.

How easily we drift to the negativity when we fret about “getting it right.”  It doesn’t have to be that way.  I don’t recall Benjamin Franklin being a dour sort of fellow, all the while he was tweaking his daily self-improvement lists.  I don’t recall Thomas Jefferson being embroiled in negativity throughout his mature life, though he chose to spend every night’s final hour or two in bed reading only texts that would elevate his soul and put him to sleep in a sublime state, so as to lay a proper foundation for the following day.  I see those acts as positive and constructive and forward-looking, at any stage of life.

The New Year is for looking forward.  Emerson once wrote: “why should you keep your head over your shoulder?  Why drag about this corpse of your memory?  . . . live ever in a new day.”  As we explore a new calendar year, it is a good thing, I believe, to recap where we’ve been, evaluate the good and the not-so-good, and look forward to anticipation of a new chapter.  And when we resolve to “get it right” this time, I really believe it can be out of a spirit of wishing to improve an already-good life, to make a good thing better.  Life is a gift.  Exploration of the future is an invitation.  We’ve been given an opportunity to grow another measure, to explore new vistas, and to enjoy the journey.  And what better way to start off this new era than to come to peace with what is now behind us.

Roshi Jakusho Kwong,  in his work “As It Is,” in A Man’s Journey to Simple Abundance, reminds us that every time you use a calculator, you have to clear it.  If you don’t, you’ll have all these old numbers superimposed on your present reading.  So also, when the complications of the past are superimposed on the present, one can only imagine all the distortion, confusion, and suffering that arise. We must find ways to hit the reset button as we move into the new era.  We have to clear the mechanism.  We have to make peace with our demons, as Paul Tillich used to urge.  Accept what is past, embrace what lies before us, and realize that success is the quality of our journey, not just the completion of goals.

I still remember the announcement April 12, 2006, when we lost William Sloane Coffin at the age of 81.  He had been a Presbyterian clergyman and former Yale University chaplain.  He was arrested at least three times as a Freedom Rider, was also prosecuted by the U. S. government for aiding and abetting disobedience to the Selective Service Act.  He later would be a minister at the historic Riverside Church in New York City’s Morningside Heights.  I was saddened by his death.  Just two New Years before his passing I had read his last book CredoIn the book, he recorded these words: “Clearly the trick in life is to die young as late as possible.”

I close this blog with my favorite words from his pen, as he offered perspective on life as something not snatched, but rather given, and he echoed beautifully that enigmatic New Testament passage that says “Whoever loses his life shall find it.”  Quoting him now:

There is in other words a difference between having a friend and being a friend, between having success and being successful, between getting an education and becoming learned.  If we use knowledge, music, art, sports, and eminently others—if we use them just to enrich ourselves, then paradoxically we impoverish ourselves, at least at our very core.  For all things then become as clothes: they cover but they do not touch or develop our inner being, and we become as those who believe they can only become visible when something visible covers the surface.

But if we give ourselves to art, music, sports, knowledge, and eminently to others, then we experience that biblical truth that ‘he who loses his life shall find it,’ shall find life being fulfilled, and find that joy is self-fulfillment, self-fulfillment is joy.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you will check out my website www.davidtrippart.com.

I makShultz reducede art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Morning Coffee with Dave & Ernest

August 30, 2018

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I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

I felt that unusual sense of being “blocked” creatively this morning, perhaps because I have finally completed a watercolor that has been front-and-center of my studio attention since mid-summer. Now it is time to move on to the next. In the past, I have avoided these kinds of feelings, because I generally have several pieces in progress, so that I never find myself with nothing in front of me. But this time, with school starting up, I finally came down to one large watercolor in progress, and never started any others, choosing instead to bring this one to a close. The feeling of closure is excellent, but then again, starting a brand new piece with no others alongside it is daunting. The first revolution of the wheel takes the most energy, as I’ve been told.

I have commissions waiting, but feel that I need to push out something creative, and regain that momentum. So. There it is. I am unsure of what to pursue next. I am not as uptight about this state as I was in my earlier years; I suppose experience reminds me that I have seen this many times, and I have always managed to start a new circle. At any rate, this is the reason I pulled A Moveable Feast from the shelf. I am inspired by Hemingway’s reassuring words that if we have created before, we shall create again. All we need do is start with what we know.

I have my final Logic class just around the corner, and then I sail into a four-day weekend, thankful that Labor Day has arrived. I have no class to teach until the following Tuesday. And I intend to do something creative during that hiatus. As I think of the new project, I’ll think of the Hemingway context of the quote above: him sitting before the fire, squirting orange peels to make it flare up as he figures out what to do next in his creative pursuits.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Re-Stoking the Fires

January 1, 2018

high ridge

I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day. But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

The first day of the New Year is a sluggish one for me, as I’m still shaking off this nagging respiratory infection that saps my energy. I’m spending more time in front of the fireplace under a blanket, watching TV when I would rather be reading, writing or painting. But I just don’t seem to have the energy or drive to be creative.  The Steve Jobs biography is still exciting to me, yet fails to fire my own spark plug of creativity. I did pull out an old watercolor abandoned from a year or two ago, and I worked on it for over an hour, but I never felt much of a rush or thrill, which is so unlike me when I’m painting. Nevertheless, I’ve posted a photo of its progress above.

I wish all of you the happiest of new years, as I myself am anticipating many new adventures. Meanwhile, I’m just going to keep taking it easy until my strength returns.

Thank you always for reading . . .

Not the Rooftops of Paris, but Dark and Rainy Nevertheless, and Quite Good

February 20, 2017

 

grandma

Second Day on a 20 x 16″ Watercolor

But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the litle oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made.  I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now.  All you have to do is write one true sentence.  Write the truest sentence that you know.”  So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there.

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Waking early this morning to a dark and rain-soaked world, I was glad not to go to work but to do as I please for the entire day.  Late last night I had begun work on a new watercolor of a Blues theme that I used to pursue fervently, but had stopped doing in recent years.  Soon I’ll release details on a new One-Man-Show that has been offered me, and I would love to complete some Blues art to hang in this venue.  I chose as a backdrop for the painting my grandmother’s abandoned house.  Then I took some selfies in my backyard, holding my late uncle’s pre-World War II Gibson archtop guitar.  I have high expectations for this composition and have already enjoyed a full morning of layering washes and drybrush details into the piece.  I’m taking my time with it.

As I worked, I dialed up on Netflix “Papa Hemingway in Cuba.”  When I’m painting, I love listening to movies, documentaries, and YouTube lectures.  They keep my mind engaged. And as this film rolled, my mind went back to some intense reading I enjoyed a few winters ago: Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and Carlos Baker’s Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story.  And as I worked, I thought of all those times when I’ve struggled over whether to make art, read, or write when I had time to myself.  This weekend has produced another one of those environments for me that I love so much–what Paul Tillich referred to often as “creative eros”, an urge to create, period.  And when I find myself unable to resolve whether to paint, draw, read, write, or just sit in a comfortable chair with coffee to think and do nothing else–I realize that life could not possibly be better.

desk

Working on a New Lecture Series

Just before the weekend arrived, I discovered that among the post-retirement options offered to me this coming fall is a chance to teach Ethics at the university for the first time. Pulling from my shelf a volume from The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, I was surprised to find myself absorbed in a very lengthy History of Ethics article.  This came as a surprise because I seldom find myself interested for very long in an encyclopedia entry, particularly one that goes on for page after page after page, four columns staring back at me every time I turn the page.  But this article has really taken me in new directions.  For decades I have been interested in the history of philosophy, but usually focused on metaphysics and theories of knowledge, never ethics.  Now, as I read the ethical portions of these philosophers and schools, I am amazed at the new ideas I’m grafting onto the structures already learned.  The new directions are quite exciting.

Reading this article has also led me back to a famous book that I have never successfully stayed with over the decades: Paul Tillich’s The Courage to Be.  Now, having read twenty-seven pages and scribbling out a pile of notes, I feel that I am finally into this book as well. The reading of just these two sources has already produced pages and pages of journal entries, paragraphs, diagrams and illustrations of new ideas waiting for further development.

creel-redone

“Thinking About the Next Catch”

Last night I received my email notification that the piece pictured above has been accepted to show in the 32nd Annual Texas & Neighbors Regional Art Exhibition to be held at the Irving Arts Center April 29-June 3. There were 585 pieces juried, and 75 selected.  Over the years, I have visited this show and always wished to participate, but continually missed the application deadline.  Thanks to an artist friend, I met the deadline this year, and now am very happy for this opportunity of hanging one of my pieces with works selected from Texas and several neighboring states.

The weekend has been full and rewarding.  Thank you for reading.

I make art in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Entering the Portal of a New Year

December 30, 2016

door-friday

I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

As 2016 slowly slides into a chain of memories, I’m happily painting my way into a New Year, hoping to make new discoveries. Returning to this watercolor begun last week has not been without its interruptions and now that I have a couple of days left before this holiday ends, I’m glad to come face-to-face with the composition, yet feel somewhat lost and out of practice.  I suppose the momentum broke. I paused late into this evening to re-read a book by Hemingway that I have always loved. This passage I’ve cited is one of my favorites. The setting is Paris in the 1920s when the young Hemingway was seeking his literary “voice” and seething in self-doubt. I love this soliloquy and have claimed it as my own. Yes, I’ve done this kind of work before and I shall again. All I have to do is begin with the simple, honest strokes that I have known for decades. To me, drawing and watercoloring can be simple and direct. Upon that foundation I’ll return to form, I’m confident. I love the subject I’ve chosen this time, and am looking forward to entering through this new portal and seeing what happens when I come out the other side.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone. 

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

My Annual Rustic Christmas Gallery

December 8, 2015

image

But in the end, in the end one is alone. We are all of us alone. I mean I’m told these days we have to consider ourselves as being in society… but in the end one knows one is alone, that one lives at the heart of a solitude.
Harold Bloom

Too many of my friends regard a quote such as the one above as depressing.  I don’t see that at all.  Looking back over my life span, I have felt alone, even while in the midst of rich relationships.  My recent reading of Harold Bloom has opened so many avenues of thought, that I find it fortunate to have some “alone time” to sort through them all.  And I like it.  In the final week before Christmas, I will introduce my Philosophy class to the thought of Paul Tillich, a philosopher/theologian who had much to say about the qualities of being alone.  He called the positive aspects of alone-ness “solitude” and the negative aspects “loneliness.”  I can appreciate that difference, and have known both worlds.

The part of my life given to making art, reading and writing is a solitary enterprise, as far as I’m concerned.  And I find those moments to be sublime, not lonely or depressing. When reading Hemingway’s comments in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech (“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.”), I’m saddened to think of those who suffer loneliness when engaged in creative acts.

Above, I have posted a photo of my classroom gallery that I set up the final two weeks before dismissing for the Christmas holidays.  When the gallery is in place, I stay in my classroom until 4:00 every school day.  Since I finish teaching at 12:20, it makes for a long and solitary afternoon if no one comes into the classroom.  But that is time well-spent as I catch up on my reading and sketching.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to understand.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not really alone.

Perfect Response to a Cold, Rainy Dawn

November 29, 2015

imageThen there was the bad weather.  It would come in one day when the fall was over.  You would have to shut the windows in the night against the rain and the cold wind would strip the leaves from the trees in the Place Contrescarpe.  The leaves lay sodden in the rain and the wind drove the rain against the big green autobus at the terminal and the Cafe des Amateurs was crowded and the windows misted over from the heat and the smoke inside.

Ernest Hemingway, “A Good Cafe on the Place St.-Michel” in A Moveable Feast

The weather turned nasty over the past several days of the holiday, with rain continuing, floods abounding in north Texas, the skies darkening and temperatures plummeting.  Waking at 6:50 this morning and feeling rested, I decided to lower my thermostat to 65 degrees, pull a sweater over my denim shirt, enjoy the coffee, read and see if I could make something good of the cold, wet day.

breakfast

After a satisfying breakfast, I sat at my writing desk for a few hours, and enjoyed a smorgasbord of reading, from the diaries of Andy Warhol and Henry David Thoreau (quite a contrast) to some translating from my Greek New Testament.  I opened Paul’s Letter to the Romans and worked over the text of the opening six verses, enjoying the language, and reading remarks from Karl Barth’s Commentary on Romans as well as the exacting work of C. E. B. Cranfield in the International Critical Commentary.  After writing several pages of ideas in my journal, I then turned to my bank of digital images of fall scenes taken over the years, particulary during rainy weather.  I decided to attempt a steep hill and cut-out rocky bluff between High Ridge and House Springs, Missouri, where the highway blasted through rock, cutting a swath between the towns.  I had taken several pictures of this area during heavy rains over the past several autumn seasons, and decided I would give this one a try.

bluff wc

I began by laying down a large wash of lime green and bright yellow.  When it dried, I masqued as many leaves as I could over the light colors, then poured a mixture of violet, crimson and other colors over the dried masquing.  Once I stripped that away, I attempted the rocky bluff below and the tree line above.  I’m not getting what I want just yet, but perhaps in the days ahead I can push this painting in the direction I’m hoping.  At any rate, it was a good dark, cold afternoon for being indoors painting, and it felt good to be in the studio again.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to learn.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Settling into My New Writing Sanctuary

November 23, 2015

desk

A Most Precious Gift–a New Writing Desk

desk library

My Newly-Designated Writing Area

“Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there.  It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that you knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

The most frutstrating part of being ill the past couple of weeks was the inability to use my eyes for reading, writing or making art.  For months I had been toiling over a manusccript describing my experience painting and journaling on the Texas Laguna Madre last summer.  During the struggle I took Hemingway’s words to heart, refusing to succumb to writer’s block, and refusing to think my writing was garbage. As the manuscript grew and became more unmanageable, and as the school semester became more demanding with its unceasing deadlines, I pushed the manuscript into a drawer and decided to let the ideas “compost” awhile. Then I got sick!

Now I’m better, and a most wonderful gift was given to me that I shall always cherish–a rolltop desk. Designating a corner of my bedroom as my writing area, I’ve dedicated a part of every single day to sitting here and reworking the manuscript I began last June. I have always loved the writing process and now will seek a way to strike a balance between my writing and painting studios. I’m grateful that life is abundant enough to support both endeavors.

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.