Posts Tagged ‘Rollo May’

The Pulse of a Holiday Morning

May 3, 2013
Man Cave on the Holidays

Man Cave on the Holidays

Imagination is the outreaching of mind.  It is the individual’s capacity to accept the bombardment of the conscious mind with ideas, impulses, images, and every other sort of psychic phenomena welling up from the preconscious.  it is the capacity to “dream dreams and see visions,” to consider diverse possibilities, and to endure the tension involved in holding these possibilities before one’s attention.  Imagination is casting off mooring ropes, taking one’s chances that there will be new mooring posts in the vastness ahead.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

There were obstacles to clear before creating this morning.  I am a sucker for NHL hockey and stayed up late watching Stanley Cup playoffs last night.  School is out today for a Texas holiday, but I set the alarm for 6:00 anyway so I wouldn’t waste a good day with studio potential.  However, it is 41 degrees outside and gusting winds, and I knew the garage studio would be chilly, so I lingered awhile longer under the quilts, trying to talk myself out of getting up.  I’m glad I pushed through anyway.  A breakfast of fried potatoes, grilled onions and scrambled eggs shook loose the cobwebs, the coffee is made, and I’m ready now to face this screen door and see about redrawing the screen wire in front of the white areas of the coffee can, and then finding out how to diminish the starkness of the lighter masqued areas.

Rollo May was my companion this morning, as I reached for inspiration and camaraderie in the studio.  I’m ready to paint now.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Art Still Has Truth. Seek Refuge There

January 7, 2013
Completed Still Life

Completed Still Life

The title of this post appears above one of the portals of the Saint Louis Art Museum.  I have seen it since my high school years, and it still stays with me.  The title, cut into the stone of the building to resemble an ancient Roman inscription appears as follows:



Today, I also have the late Rollo May’s sentiment on my heart:

Beneath our loquacious chatter, there is a silent language of our whole being which yearns for art and the beauty from which art comes.

Rollo May, My Quest for Beauty

Tomorrow, I return to the classroom, and not with a heavy heart.  Teaching has been my passion for over twenty years, but I must say openly that I have enjoyed the silence of the holidays, and the long hours of solitude in the Man Cave, painting.  I have also enjoyed the armchair with great reading and heartfelt journaling.  Tomorrow, voices will begin to fill my weekdays once again.  So, it is fitting that I finished this 28 x 22″ still life this afternoon, which has marked my holiday season.  I am glad to sign it and move it aside.  There is more art waiting to emerge from the abyss.

Kindred spirits who have written me the past two days, and conversations I have enjoyed over the holiday have stirred me with a host of new ideas that I am ready to explore.  And I resolve to paint daily (also read daily), and not allow my school responsibilities to eliminate what actually renews me day by day.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday Night in the Man Cave, Painting Door Knobs

November 17, 2012

Third Watercolor of a Vintage Doorknob

The weekend has grown quiet, and I managed to find a Saturday night free of engagements, allowing me to return to my forsake man cave.  The drafting table was a mess, and it took some time to get all my debris cleared away so I could resume work on this watercolor abandoned a week ago.  School has been much too busy to my liking, and I’m grateful now for this hiatus, with Thanksgiving break just around the corner.

Though I haven’t been able to paint for a week, I have had the warm privilege of opening Rollo May’s My Quest for Beauty–a book I ordered from Amazon eons ago, that finally arrived on my doorstep yesterday. Though my jealous cat crawled on top the open book on my lap for the first hour, I did manage to get into the text late last night, and spent quite a bit of time in it today (incidentally, the cat is all over me right now, as I attempt to type this entry).

I enclose a gem from Rollo May:

My firm belief is that one paints, as one writes, not out of a theory but out of the vividness of an experience . . . Rational thoughts follow to anchor theoretically the truths that already have grasped us as a vision.

That lets me off the hook.  I cannot explain to anyone why I have attached myself to doorknobs recently.  These relics are what survive of my memories in my grandparents’ homes when I was a child.  I have dropped the Proustian line continually as I blog, and I do enjoy the shock of recognition when I see an antique that unleashes those submerged memories from my past.  Maybe some day I will be able to write eloquently about what I am painting.

Thanks for reading.

Bringing my Wyeth Drybrush Experiment to a Close

October 30, 2012

Experiment in Andrew Wyeth-type Drybrush Watercolor

“Beneath our loquacious character, there is a silent language of our whole being which yearns for art and the beauty from which art comes.”

Rollo May, My Quest for Beauty

I arrived home from school this afternoon, ready to enter the silence of my Man Cave and give this drybrush sketch a final push.  One hour later, I was finished.  I surprised myself, completing an 8 x 10″ watercolor in three hours, with no intention of doing a “speed painting.”  I suppose that my last few years of plein air experimentation has caused me to move more quickly and decisively.  But honestly, I never felt that I was rushing this painting.  In fact, the only reason I know the time invested is because of a habit of mine (begun during the plein air phase) to record my start and stop times.  Honestly, once I get immersed in making art, I have no conception of time.  Today was no different.  Whereas I listened to Blues music yesterday, today I played a VHS tape of Andrew Wyeth interviews and just listened to his voice, his words, as I painted.

Silence.  That is what I feel when I look at a watercolor by Andrew Wyeth or Edward Hopper.  Silence.  That is what I feel in my life right now, when my work day ends, and I enter the studio to explore new dimensions in sketching and watercolor.  Silence.  That is what I know in my heart when I read quality literature (and today I must certainly say that Rollo May had a wonderful calming influence on my Being as I contemplated this new enterprise.

I have turned my attention to another antique door, complete with doorknob and locking plate.  I am working on some preliminary sketches tonight, and if nothing arises to distract my attention, I shall attempt my second watercolor still life tomorrow in the man cave, of yet another antique door.  As for tonight, I still have to pull together materials for tomorrow’s Philosophy class on Ralph Waldo Emerson (one of my prime muses).

Thanks for reading.

A Little More Watercolor “Construction” on the Ridglea Theater

February 26, 2012

Work on the Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth, Texas

Good day to all of you.  I am sitting in my Garage Studio with my eyes half-shut!  I slept 12 hours last night, but only 3 the night before.  It has caught up with me on this gorgeous sun-washed Sunday afternoon.  What a tragedy.  Friday’s humanities class at my high school was an absolutely magnificent moment for me, though we also had plenty of laughs, reviewing for an exam that showed the students didn’t absorb nearly what I had hoped for them.  But Friday afternoon left me awash in desires to explore Kant, Rousseau and some of the Neo-Classical painters, which I did.  Then the urge hit late, late Friday night to do the foundational work on this full-size Ridglea Theater watercolor.  I retired to bed at 3 a.m., but rose again at 6, and went back after it.  Following that was a band rehearsal (we have an engagement in a week), then more work on the watercolor, and then a late Saturday night.

My third cup of coffee isn’t doing it for me.  I’ve been reading extensively from Rollo May’s book on Paul Tillich, titled Paulus: Reminiscences of a Friendship.  Here is a portion of the text that resonates with me right now:

Such intensity of consciousness is a real problem.  One cannot have peak experience all the time, nor does anyone want to.  Hence the infusion of Hindu meditation in our culture to give a constructive tone to solitude and to stop the machinery for a little while.  Alcohol also serves to do this; it is a requirement, as Harry Stack Sullivan put it, of an industrial civilization, where it sets up a state of a partial withdrawal from the mechanical pressure. 

So.  I’m pursuing neither Hindu meditation or alcohol.  Just reading, journaling, listening to the gentle breezes outside my open garage door, and chipping away further at this Ridglea Theater watercolor.  It is a most beautiful day out, and I am “amost” out, sitting 10 feet inside my open garage door with the sun beside me, jazz music playing on my stereo, Paul Tillich’s ideas surging through my being, and a watercolor emerging beneath my excited brush.

Hopefully, I’ll post more later today.  Thanks for reading.