Posts Tagged ‘Harold Bloom’

Saturday Art

January 9, 2016


Perhaps tomorrow (Sunday) I will find more quality time for blogging. Today I have cleaned house thoroughly, read prodigiously, and worked on three watercolors (that hopefully I’ll post tomorrow) and barely got underway this drawing of the tops of winter trees in my own backyard,

The day has been a delicious one with temperatures hovering in the forties and then the thirties.  Tonight they are expected to dip into the twenties. The fireplace has burned all day, lending a pleasing ambiance to the living room and studio. And my reading from James Joyce’s Ulysses and Harold Bloom’s The Daemon Knows has refreshed my soul.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday Afternoon in the Studio

December 20, 2015

imageWe tend now to regard genius as the creative capacity, as opposed to talent.  The Victorian historian Froude observed that genius “is a spring in which there is always more behind than flows from it.” 

Harold Bloom, Genius

With the sinus infection subsiding slowly, I found myself working today with more energy than the past several.  While the natural light was available (though the day remained somewhat dim and overcast) I worked on a watercolor next to my windows to the north, enjoying the dynamics of the pigments playing in the daylight.  I’m working hard on a fly fishing composition, and finding myself trying a number of techniques I haven’t tried before.  It’s coming slowly, but I’m happy with the results so far.  I should have it wrapped up by tomorrow or Tuesday.

Once the daylight ended, I cozied in front of the fireplace with Shakespeare, finishing “Hamlet” with a deep-seated sense of satisfaction.  Reading Harold Bloom since late summer has led me back to a number of sources I hadn’t consulted for years, though I never ceased to praise the authors (wasn’t it Twain who said a classic is a book that everyone praises but no one reads?), particularly Shakespeare and Cervantes.  I believe my reason for feeling such a deep satisfaction from reading Shakespeare stems from the reality that I am slow and clumsy in understanding his lines, but when I linger and unpack the meaning, I always acknowledge that it was worth the effort.  There is real power and beauty in his language, and the psychology of his characters leaves me breathless.  Hamlet in particular sobered me in tonight’s reading.


Two days into my holiday vacation finds me a much happier man (aside from this wretched sinus condition).

Thanks for reading.



Pushing Aside the Traffic to Linger Over a Drawing

December 10, 2015


The mind has shown itself at times

Too much the baked and labeled dough

Divided by accepted multitudes.

Across the stacked partitions of the day–

Across the memoranda, baseball scores,

The stenographic smiles and stock quotations

Smutty wings flash out equivocations.

The mind is brushed by sparrow wings;

Numbers, rebuffed by asphalt, crowd

The margins of the day, accent the curbs,

Convoying divers dawns on every corner

To druggist, barber and tobacconist,

Until the graduate opacities of evening 

Take them away as suddenly to somewhere

Virginal perhaps, less fragmentary, cool.

Hart Crane

Being profoundly enriched recently by the writings of Harold Bloom, I am now reading Hart Crane poetry for the first time that I recall in my life.  And I find this writer connecting with me in ways I haven’t known since the days of reading Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams.  The portion of the poem above really gave me pause, highlighting the kind of days I seem to live as this holiday season draws near.  I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, and feel deeply the warm sentiments that permeate the atmosphere about me.  Yet at the same time, deadlines seem to double, meetings triple, and responsibilities quadruple.  The pace, the interruptions to any kind of flow, the rising noise about me–I find myself seeking ways to repel all of this rather than explode in frustration and petty verbal outbursts.

In the afternoons, I’m now sitting in my classroom/gallery, surrounded by my art, listening to soothing music, reading poetry and bending over the daily drawing.  The one attached above is what I did yesterday before the 4:00 hour arrived.  There were plenty of appointments waiting for me after 4:00, but the pause for reading, for music, and for art made all the difference.

And today offers the chance of being another good day.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Drawing of my Drawing

December 8, 2015


Seated in my classroom after hours, I wanted to draw, but my room has no windows.  So . . . I took out my Sunday drawing of the tree and decided to draw from the drawing.  Unfortunately, the lighting is not good for photography here, but I’m happy with the result of this drawing-of-a-drawing.  At least this will hold me till I can get outdoors again to draw from the real subject.

I will forever be grateful for Youtube!  Listening to Harold Bloom discussing Emerson in an interview gave me great company during this quiet afternoon.

Thanks for reading.

My Annual Rustic Christmas Gallery

December 8, 2015


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.