Posts Tagged ‘Palestine Herald Press’

Six Subjects in Search of a Painter

July 27, 2022
Six Subjects in Search of a Painter, 33 x 40″ framed, now at Baron’s Creek Tasting Room & Wine Lounge

I’m leaning forward with anticipation to the Artists’ Reception Saturday, 4-7:00, at Baron’s Creek Tasting Room & Wine Lounge in Granbury, Texas. Publisher Gloria Hood has organized an exhibition of larger works by artists featured in the latest issue of Eyes of Texas Fine Art Magazine. I have decided to hang the above work in the show, because I’ve always wanted to see it in a large venue (our Gallery at Redlands is smaller and more intimate).

Baron’s Creek Tasting Room & Wine Lounge, 115 E. Bridge St. (on the town square), Granbury, Texas

This will be my second exhibition in this location, and I’m always happy to enjoy a glass of wine and good conversation with artists and art lovers at this place, particularly on weekends.

I’m still working on a book of short stories I’ve written along with illustrations from my own watercolors. I’m attaching the story that goes with the painting above, because I spent a meaningful winter in my garage studio (man cave) working on this piece and composing the story:

Night descended and Hank was up late again, bedding down in the storeroom of Jerry’s Texaco.  He had closed the place at dark but was too engrossed in his college studies to pack up the books and head for his garage apartment in the next county.  So, with Jerry’s permission, he would spend another night in the back of the station amidst the smells of gasoline, oil, pit grease and the grime that had built up over two generations.  Interstate commerce had sharply diminished the vitality of this sleepy town, and as soon as Hank graduated from the community college, he would depart as well.  Local townspeople and patrons had no knowledge or regard for the things that stirred the soul of this young man.  His volumes of Thoreau, Frost, Whitman and Twain had opened to him worlds beyond this small, stale community. 

His few camping possessions stored in this room (Griswold frying pan, stove top percolator, kerosene lantern, Maxwell House tin) were the tether that kept him bound to the wild.  He would be packing up his gear soon and leaving without notice.  It was time to emerge from this cocoon and embrace the world calling out to him.

I hope you will be able to attend our opening Saturday. 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.

Expanded Horizons: the New Byzantium

July 26, 2022
Robert M. Rogers Nursing & Health Sciences, Tyler Junior College

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand;

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight . . .

William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”

Rising at 5:30 this morning, Sandi and I made preparations for a life-changing Odyssey into East Texas. We had been invited to meet Neita Fran, a major mover and shaker of the Tyler, Texas area art scene, at Tyler Junior College where I’ve been invited to hang one of my watercolors as part of a six-month exhibition.

The beautiful “garden area” of the Nursing and Health Sciences building.
My watercolor “Trinidad Coffee Morning” waiting to be hung in the show

Touring the lovely facility of the Robert M. Rogers Nursing & Health Sciences facility (where the new exhibition is hanging), we learned of other exhibitions Neita has been organizing for the future. The University of Texas Tyler College of Pharmacy will be hosting a new show in the near future, and The University of Texas Tyler will be building a new School of Medicine to be opened in 2025. This new venue is also requesting art to display on its campus. We’re excited to join Neita’s group of artists already planning for these future events.

Tyler Museum of Art

Our next stop was the Tyler Museum of Art where we were introduced to the Executive Director of the past ten years, Christopher M. Leahy. Chris has shown remarkable energy in networking with artist groups across east Texas, providing accommodations inside the museum for Neita and her circle of artists to hold their planning meetings. As the director showed us about the facility, we learned of his connection with the City of Palestine, most notably with the legacy of Palestine’s celebrated artist, the late Ancel Nunn. I nearly fainted when Chris mentioned his visit long ago to Ancel Nunn’s studio where he viewed the large advertisement on his interior wall.

Apparently noticing my expression of recognition, he asked incredulously, “So, you’ve seen it yourself?” My answer had to be “No.”

The roof has long since been destroyed, and in the years following, the mural has disappeared from the wall. Chris was heartbroken on having learned this, and, taking me to his library, showed me from one of his volumes the mural advertisement as it had looked in better days. Our ensuing discussion of ghost signs and billboards made me think of the theme I’ve been pursuing for quite some time now: ideas and dreams buried in history only later to be re-born. “Nostalgia” is from a Greek word signifying the pain of remembering.

So now I finally come to the point of this blog post: I’ve been working on this idea of East Texas as a New Byzantium, following the inspiring work of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats. He believed that 5th/6th-century Byzantium was one of the most remarkable eras in history as art, religion and civic life combined as a single force that drove a creative society. In the poem cited above, “The Second Coming”, Yeats addressed the “Spiritus Mundi” (the Great Memory):

Before the mind’s eye, whether in sleep or waking, came images that one was to discover presently in some book one had never read, and after looking in vain for explanation to the current theory of forgotten personal memory, I came to believe in a great memory passing on from generation to generation . . . Our daily thought was certainly but the line of foam at the shallow edge of a vast voluminous sea.”

For over a year now, I have been working on this vision of East Texas as a “New Byzantium” as small communities from town to town are experiencing a renewed interest in art, music, literature and the performing arts. Now, they seem to be finding ways to “network” thanks largely to social media, and our ability also to travel from community to community to form new friendships and alliances. Sandi and I have in the past year experienced the joy of gallery ownership, participation in a new magazine publishing venture, new exhibitions opening in wineries and university facilities, and even more exciting news on the horizon.

So why am I now intrigued by this notion of “Spiritus Mundi”? Simply because I realize that we are an extension of a great, creative tradition that spans millennia–revivals (renaissance) of creative expression that return to us often in fragmented ghost signs. We have read of the Golden Age of Athens, of Byzantium, of Renaissance, of The New York School. What all of these movements have in common is the sense of incompleteness–there was always something left on the field, something that never managed to come to fruition, a dropped vision, a neglected dream. All of these movements had more ideas than they could bring to light. And now here we are, ready to pick up new visions, new ideas, and perhaps also recover some of the inspirations dropped in the past. We are ready for a fresh exploration of creativity, and invite others to join us in catching this fever.

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.

Sacred Space (or “Executive Time”?)

July 1, 2022
In The Gallery at Redlands

A man should keep for himself a little back shop, all his own, quite unadulterated, in which he establishes his true freedom and chief place of seclusion and solitude.

Michel de Montaigne

I am laughing at my gallery desk this morning as I write this. Having just spent a week at the old country store I was afforded the time and space for quiet reflection and writing, a habit ingrained in me since the mid 1980s. Recently, much has been published about “executive time,” a practice of some famous CEOs who find ways to carve out space during the work day to be alone, allowing them to engage in creative efforts important to them, and to reflect over life and what they genuinely want to make of it.

Over the years, I have watched and re-watched “Mad Men” on TV, starring Jon Hamm. Recently, I got a kick out of the episode involving Ida Blankenship (played by Randee Heller), an aging executive secretary who had been with the advertising firm for decades. She passed away at her desk, and one of the senior partners, Bert Cooper (played by Robert Morse) was tied in knots, trying to write an obituary for this loved one who had been so close to the team for so many years. In a moment of frustration, unable to organize his thoughts, he complained loudly:

“And I have no office in which to ruminate!”

I still laugh when I recall those words. How many times have I shouted these words in my mind when caught in a situation where I needed time, quiet and space–and none of it was available to me. My friends laugh with me over this notion of “executive time.” I recall from my college days, when affiliated with the Baptist Student Union, we called it “Quiet Time”, dedicating a portion of our daily schedule to Bible study and meditation and prayer. Sometime in the midst of my graduate education, I began keeping a journal–not a diary of personal, emotional stories, but more of a daily digest of what I was reading and thinking. That journal now occupies about 200 volumes in my personal library, and I love dipping back into many of those tomes and read hastily scribbled thoughts I don’t recall thinking!

My daily habits remain largely unchanged–I collage the opening of each new day, like a new chapter, then take off, scribbling out ideas either popping up spontaneously in my imagination or spawned by something I’m reading at the moment. Today I’ve been writing about “sacred spaces”, recalling all those years I stopped in special places to think, to reflect, to write, to plan. I recall with warmth the 100-year-old house where I lived in rural Whitesboro, Texas where I wrote out most of my doctoral dissertation by the light of kerosene lamps at night (those journal pages resonate with me much more than my dissertation ever has). I still recall the sanctity of my doctoral carrell in the seminary library, of the study carrels on the third floor of the Texas Wesleyan University library during twenty-two years of my adjunct work there. My current Studio Eidolons in my own home in Arlington, Texas, of park benches, coffee shops, hotel lobbies. Next week I’ll savor the sanctity of the porch deck of Brookie Cabin in South Fork, Colorado, where I have filled many watercolor journals and writing journals with my thoughts while gazing out at the mountain stream whispering down below.

Sometimes while engaged in “executive time” I appreciate the quiet or the white noise of my surroundings; other times I pull up YouTube on my laptop and play something similar to the New York City ambience (pictured at the top of this blog), and listen to the sounds of traffic far below. I also appreciate the many, many YouTube videos of cafes either with jazz music playing or the white noise of espresso machines and customers in conversations. These kinds of sounds aid my concentration during such times.

Perhaps executive time isn’t for everyone. But it has been my life’s blood for four decades now, and I see no reason to reject this gift.

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.

Leaning Forward to the Next Adventure

June 30, 2022

Signed, Sealed & Delivered
Downtown Crockett, Texas. Goliad & 5th.

There was heat in us, a core and a drive that was gathering headway upon the theme of a rediscovery of a primary impetus, the elementary principle of all art, in the local conditions.

The Autobiography of William Carlos Williams

Return to the Gallery

The evening finds me back inside The Gallery at Redlands, thinking fondly over the events of this past week. My friends Wade and Gail Thomas, who opened this gallery in 2017, invited me to paint a life-size Davy Crockett image to welcome tourists to the town of Crockett, thirty minutes from here. Designing the figure and scaling him from a sheet of paper to a life-size format proved quite the challenge, but the good news was that the sun would not find me till noontime. Tuesday-through-Thursday proved sufficient time in the mornings to get this one done. My friends are still musing over possibilities for a background; thoughts now include a foggy bank of east Texas pine trees along an old road fading into the distance. Perhaps an old sign announcing the number of miles to San Antonio. Legend has it that Davy Crockett, en route to the Alamo, stayed the night in a pine forest here in Crockett.

As I painted this week, my mind frequently drifted toward the darkness of our frontier hero’s final week in the Alamo. In those horrible closing nights, he could not have possibly envisioned a city one day taking his name, citizens requesting an iconic image of him welcoming visitors. People wishing to stand before him and be photographed with him. I’m deeply thankful for being invited to be a part of this.

Heidegger’s Hut

Among the rich rewards of making art in Crockett was the accommodations. Since 2016, I have relished my stays at an old store in east Texas. The dirt road, the absence of cell phone service, the abundance of deer–a perfect environment where one could sit for hours and just watch the thoughts drift by. I call this place Heidegger’s Hut because of Martin Heidegger’s cabin in the Black Forest where he would retreat to escape the frenzy of city university life in Freiburg. He wrote all of his great published works from that cabin, drinking deeply from the solitude. I have found such a respite at this old country store, where I have done some of my best work, writing and painting, in this tranquil environment.

The idyllic country store
A visiting dog is always a comfortable companion
. . . and the occasional curious fawn

I’ve managed to read over 200 pages of WCW’s Autobiography. The text posted above resonated with me deeply. I have known time and again that “heat” and that “core” that has driven me to discover new paths of expression. The more I read the recorded memories of William Carlos Williams, the more I am stirred by his passion and invited to jump back into that refreshing stream to see where I can be carried next. As I expressed in the title, I lean forward with enthusiasm to what lies just around the next bend.

This Saturday is Palestine’s monthly Art Walk. This time I will be making art inside the Gallery at Redlands rather than in one of our downtown businesses. I prefer this actually, though I’ve always wanted to be a presence anywhere the organization found the city short-handed. My thanks continues to go out to all the local businesses that requested my being on the premises to demonstrate. This time, I’m glad to be “home” during this important event.

Thanks for reading. If you’re in the vicinity, stop by and say “Hello” on Saturday. We’ll have the gallery open from 9 till 9.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Fly Fishing Retreat

June 25, 2022
Largemouth Bass Prior to Release

Rising at 5:30 was worth the effort as I prepared to journey north for forty-four minutes to join my new fishing buddy and Queen Street Grille’s chef extraordinaire, Joe Massa. We began rigging up our flyrods around 7:00, and had our lines in the water shortly after. Joe was immediately pulling up all manner of bream, many of them frying pan size. The temperature was 79 degrees and we knew we had only a couple of hours before the Texas heat would drive us away. I only managed to land one of the three bass that hit my assortment of woolly buggers and San Juan worms; one of them got loose as I half-heartedly set the hook, the other broke me off despite my giving him a good thirty seconds to tire out. He was a strong one, and I hope one day to get a closer look at him. The excitement of watching him zig-zag through the waters before breaking free still stirs me hours later.

Tomorrow begins a new adventure. I’ve been invited to participate in a mural project in downtown Crockett, Texas, and I’ve been chomping at the bits for the day to arrive. I’ll have more to share as the task unfolds. Most of all, I’m excited to see that part of the Texas countryside that I’ve been away from far too long.

The Gallery at Redlands is quiet at this point of Saturday evening, and that is a good thing for me; I’m still trying to iron out final details for the Crockett project, and the quiet is soothing.

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.

Clawing my Way Back

June 24, 2022
Surprised to find this on Facebook! My gratitude to artist Dale Diane Hedgecough

What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music.

Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or

My sincere gratitude to those who’ve reached out to me in past days/weeks to find out if I am OK. I am. I haven’t been active on social media. There is a simple reason: I’ve been flat. Not depressed or unhappy, just not creative. Instead, I’ve been drifting/slogging through my days. I’ve been absent from The Gallery at Redlands for almost two weeks. This afternoon I returned and found myself so exhausted that I went upstairs in The Hotel Redlands to take a nap; I didn’t want to see or speak to anyone. I’m glad I took that step. As soon as I re-opened the gallery at 5:00, everything and everyone began to happen at the same time, and I’m so delighted that I am awake and grateful for all of it. In short, I’m glad to be back and am ready to face new creative challenges.

For starters: I was stunned to scan Facebook and find the drawing above! The artist, Dale Diane Hedgecough, is a key player in an artists circle in Arkansas that I had the pleasure of meeting years ago during workshop and plein air activity, and I’m fortunate in getting to meet up with some of those artists in Mountain Home, Arkansas later this fall for a plein air adventure.

I’m always touched when I find myself the subject of someone else’s artwork, but even more so when the artist selects me while in my “element.” The setting for the picture above is an old general store in east Texas where I often resided when I needed a weekend getaway from my teaching job. I spent long weekends there during my final year of teaching high school before the owners opened this Gallery at Redlands in 2017. I haven’t stayed there for a couple of years or more, and am pleased that I may get that opportunity in just a few days. Hence, the timing of the pencil drawing stunned me.

Heidi (playing guitar) accompanying her student at piano

The activity in The Redlands Hotel is heating up. Heidi Mays, a music teacher, opened a studio upstairs next door to us. Tonight her students are holding their first recital. The music is filling the hotel lobby and the audience is loving it! I need to get some pictures . . .

What a terrific event! I got to hear a young fellow who plans to take sketching lessons from me in the near future. Since he is here on Thursdays for music lessons, we’ve worked out a schedule where he can take some art lessons on the same day while his siblings are taking their own music lessons.

I’ll keep the gallery open till 9:00 tonight. Then, at 7:00 a.m., I’m going to join up with our chef, Joe Massa, for some fly-fishing in Athens, Texas. Joe is not only an outstanding chef; he is a genuine man with an abundance of interests, including fly fishing. I was excited when he invited me for tomorrow morning’s adventure. I’ll have plenty more to say about that tomorrow. And then . . . I’m going to have to wait to tell you what’s coming down the pike Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday! My adrenalin is already surging. More later . . .

Thanks for reading. It feels good to come back.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Finding Ground after the Travels

June 10, 2022
Awash in Patti Smith and Martin Heidegger ideas

Like Sartre, Heidegger is prepared to see the human situation in terms of ontological homelessness, meaning that on this earth we have no abiding home since we are not embedded in the world as a part of nature.

George Pattison, The Later Heidegger

Finally rested from my ten-day St. Louis odyssey, I’m feeling genuine serenity, seated once again in Studio Eidolons, looking out my windows across Mister Rogers’s Neighborhood while reading, journal scribbling and collaging. While in St. Louis, I purchased a pair of Patti Smith books. I finished her Just Kids during my return drive home, stopping at rest areas and truck stops along the way. I am currently about halfway through her M Train, drawing just as much inspiration and sustenance from it as from the first volume. I’ve also enjoyed reading The Later Heidegger as I find the author writing with great lucidity about this philosopher’s “turn” following his Being and Time magnum opus. After repeated attempts over the decades, I’ve drawn very little from Being in Time, but the writings of the later Heidegger I cannot lay aside. Whether he translates the Presocratics, writes poetry, addresses language, lectures on Nietzsche or discusses the nature of creating art, I find Heidegger most engaging.

Morning Journal Musings

Reading from Homer’s Odyssey during my St. Louis travels has also been profoundly enlightening. I often mused over the Greek texts rhapsodizing about Odysseus sailing over the “broad back” of the open seas, and found myself driving over the broad back of our U. S. highways, gleaning parallels with the wanderer as he sought his way back to Ithaca. With my sentiments passing to and fro from my current home in Arlington, my second home in Palestine and my childhood home west of St. Louis, I have been writing extensively in my journals about where home actually is for me. I’ve not yet been able to draw a satisfactory conclusion; that is why the quote opening this blog arrested my attention over morning coffee today.

During my decade of pastoral ministry, I grew familiar with the New Testament texts addressing the Christian as not having a real home in this “present age.” I’ve also studied the Jewish Bible, gleaning their longings for their homeland. Yet in my preaching I never could really address these themes, because I didn’t really identify with them. It’s only been in recent years, while attempting my own memoirs and writing this book I started twenty years ago that I have come to understand the restless feeling of not having a home, but driven to perpetual wandering.

Journal Collage

I feel blessed finally to reach this stage in my personal life where I actually have a home, a family, and can wander safely, knowing I always have a place to land. I haven’t been in Palestine for several weeks and am glad to have this extended weekend to spend in The Redlands Hotel and The Gallery at Redlands. This morning is quiet and I’m getting plenty of things done that needed tended. And I still have time to read and reflect. My plan is to make art during the evening hours, keeping the gallery open till 9:00.

Thanks for reading. It’s wonderful to be back . . .

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Sailing to Byzantium

May 14, 2022
Completing the Early Morning Walk

Therefore we value the poet. All the argument and all the wisdom is not in the encyclopaedia, or the treatise on metaphysics, or the Body of Divinity, but in the sonnet or the play.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”

Waking early this Saturday morning to the soothing thoughts of Emerson induced me to step out into the city and take my walk about town, enjoying the sounds of a village waking up and re-hearing in my mind something William Butler Yeats wrote concerning why he wrote “Sailing to Byzantium.”

I think that in early Byzantium, maybe never before or since in recorded history, religious, aesthetic and practical life were one, that architect and artificers spoke to the multitude and the few alike. The painter, the mosaic worker, the worker in gold and silver, the illuminator of sacred books, were almost impersonal, almost perhaps without the consciousness of individual design, absorbed in their subjectmatter . . .

As I continue to work on this new vision in the weeks ahead (now that I’m nearly finished with the semester), I hope to write more about my ideas of Palestine emerging as a New Byzantium. I am meeting so many creative people lately, in the visual arts, music, theater, literature, and cannot wait to see if we can in some way consolidate our endeavors and alert East Texas to the growing enthusiasm for the arts.

Palestine: A Railroad Town

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.

Mothers Day in the Gallery at Redlands

May 8, 2022
Lobby Window to The Gallery at Redlands
Newly Completed Watercolor in 11 x 14″ frame. $125

Drybrush is layer upon layer. It is what I would call a definite weaving process. You weave the layers of drybrush over and within the broad washes of watercolor.

Andrew Wyeth

Sunday rarely finds me still in Palestine as every business downtown closes and rarely does anyone come into the Gallery. However, today is Mother’s Day and the Redlands Hotel is offering a special Mother’s Day brunch and ninety reservations have been taken. Therefore, we thought it best that one of us remains in town an extra day. It is nearly time for people to start arriving, but I thought I’d take a moment and share yesterday’s painting endeavor during our monthly Art Walk. I painted in the Co-Ed Shop from 10:00-3:00 and managed to kick out this watercolor study of Palestine’s Chamber of Commerce building visible from our Gallery window. I have painted this scene five times now, and never tire of it.

While working with the painting yesterday, the words of Andrew Wyeth continued to flow through me as I continually wove back and forth between dry brush and wet-on-wet techniques. The result was a multi-layer piece that I enjoyed more and more, the longer I lingered over it. I framed it this morning and set it up on display in The Gallery at Redlands for people to see as they come in. I could not resist including the Jeffie Brewer “Bunny” sculpture in front of the Chamber, also visible from our window. I’m thinking about offering up some additional Palestine downtown paintings with Jeffie’s works visible in the cityscape.

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.

Packing and Loading Day

April 28, 2022
Organizing paintings on panels

Friday we rise at 5 a.m. to drive to Dallas for a 6:00 load in. Times like now make me glad this is not my first rodeo. In former years, I would wait till the day before to prepare for an art festival. For Artscape 2022, preparations were underway a month ago, and every day this week has had quality time set aside to tend “last minute” details. All that remains today is to decide which paintings go on which panels. I have one set up that I use for that arrangement (the other six remain in the garage). The process: hang the paintings, take the picture, pack the paintings into my vehicle, then repeat the process six more times. The final result: Paintings are loaded and panels are still in one place to be loaded. Once I arrive in Dallas we’ll set up the tent, install the panels, then look at my phone at the pictures to know what hangs where. This leads to a much more leisurely set up at the festival site. No decisions left to be made, just follow the prearranged instructions.

“Executive” time

I regret that I didn’t blog yesterday, but I had a morning class at the university, and then the rest of the day got away from me as we did enough organizing to guarantee that today, our last day before showtime, wouldn’t be chaos. I’d like now to share the best of what happened yesterday morning and this morning during “executive” time. I still laugh at that word, because I’ve read articles published by CEOs that I’ve found invaluable, about how they set aside quality time daily (at least an hour) to settle their minds and spirits and contribute to a “better” day at the office. I’m not an executive, but I like to refer to this quiet moment as Executive Time.

In my early days in the ministry, we used the word “Quiet Time” that now passes for “Executive Time.” It is still the same. A minimum of one hour of solitude to precede a day that could likely be filled with appointments, tasks and deadlines. I practice this hour religiously, and have for most of my adult life. And this is what it involves: Morning Pages (suggested by Julia Cameron). This is twenty minutes to fill three pages with all the negativity, rot, stinkin’ thinkin’, and wastful thoughts. This is how I prime the pump. Emerson wrote that a pump first brings up dirty water before it brings up clean. That is how I feel about my writing. I don’t want my journals filled with sludge; I like to go back and re-read what I’ve journaled in past years, and I don’t want to waste time reading negative whinings. So the Morning Pages are three pages not to be saved. Three pages of junk to prime the pump.

After those twenty minutes I am ready. If my mind is overflowing with quality ideas, I scribble them out in my journal as fast as my hand can write. Once that stalls, I open a book. I love to read, always have. And I keep my reading fresh, and nearly every morning I am recording quotes in the journal and/or responding to the quotes. I read poetry, novels, essays, philosophy, theology, history–I love it all.

Yesterday and today I’ve been reading John Cowper Powys’s A Philosophy of Solitude, published in 1933. I purchased it in 2003 at Booked Up Inc., when Larry McMurtry was still living and working in that store up in Archer City. Now is yet another example of my purchasing a book that sits on my library shelf for years before I finally take it down to read. And the timing could not have been more perfect.

A well-managed solitary life, whether surrounded by people or protected from people, is a very delicate and a very difficult work of art.

Routine plays the leading part. . . . Without routine all is lost. Just as without some kind of rhythm all is lost in poetry. For routine is man’s art of copying the art of Nature. In Nature all is routine. The seasons follow one another in sacred order; the seed ripens, the leaf expands, the blossom and the fruit follow, and then comes the fall.

Routine is the rhythm of the universe.

I guess what I’m admitting is I have a routine. My mornings, usually beginning at 7:00, commence with French-pressed coffee, then propping in bed with books and journal for at least an hour (even when I have a morning college class). Sometimes the hour stretches into two or three. I always know when it is time to get up, shower, dress and get on to the rest of the day. But that morning routine–quiet time, executive time, solitary time–sets the tone for the day. If the day is filled with Quality, I can chalk it up to a good beginning. If the day is Rot, I can at least say one good thing happened, and it happened first.

Time now to shower, dress, hang paintings and load for the festival. 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.