Posts Tagged ‘The River Why’

Another Quality Morning with Pups and Art

December 14, 2020

A native is a man or creature or plant indigenous to a limited geographical area . . . A non-native awakes in the morning in a body in a bed in a room in a building on a street in a county in a state in a nation. A native awakes in the center of a little cosmos–or a big one, if his intelligence is vast–and he wears this cosmos like a robe, senses the barely perceptible shiftings, migrations, moods and machinations of its creatures, its growing green things, its earth and sky. Native intelligence is what Huck Finn had rafting the Mississippi, what Thoreau had by his pond, what Kerouac had in Desolation Lookout and lost entirely the instant he caught a whiff of any city.

David James Duncan, The River Why

Baby Paddington woke me the same way he does every morning–clawing at my shoulder at 6:58 a.m. He’s not going to go back to sleep once he starts that. Rising from bed, I gathered wood and got the fire started, French-pressed some New Mexico PiƱon coffee, then sat back in an armchair beneath a throw, and immediately the two pups jumped into my lap. Paddington was the first to return to sleep, and I mused at how just twenty minutes earlier he couldn’t rest till he dragged me out of the sack. Spoiled puppy, sappy old man.

But the reading in The River Why was phenomenal, and I am still thinking over the native intelligence theme. Soon I’ll be spending long stretches of time on the open road and will no doubt continue to add to this strand of thought.

Sunlit Studio Eidolons

Yesterday was dark, bleak and wet the entire day. The studio work turned out just fine, thanks to a number of lamps. But today is much better as the sun has finally emerged to flood my windows with quality light.

Nearing the end of the Commission

I’m thinking that this commission will be completed today or tomorrow. I have had a myriad of interruptions rupturing my concentation on this for three days now, but still I have managed to take small bites out of the composition, and it is finally taking shape the way I’ve wanted it to.

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.

Early Morning Meditations

December 12, 2020

The once-monthly fisherman adores his rare day on the river, imagining that ten times the trips would yield ten times the pleasure. but I have lived the gallant fisher’s life, and I learned that not fishing is crucial to the enjoyment of fishing . .

David James Duncan, The River Why

First Fire of this Winter

What a revelation these words created in the pre-dawn of the morning! For days I have been planning a return to the Guadalupe River to engage in my favorite avocation: fly-fishing. When Baby Paddington woke me at 4:40, sick, I soon realized I may not be going to the stream soon after all. I’ll know more after we visit the vet today. But the words posted above gave me exactly what I need–a fly-fisherman doesn’t reap genuine joy from a multiplicity of packed-scheduled-visits to the stream; s/he only needs enough to keep the embers burning. My experience of a few weeks ago lit a genuine fire, and it is still smoldering. I’ll get to the stream again. Meanwhile, Baby Paddington needs nurturing. I would not have exchanged this morning’s session before the fire for anything. As the dogs slept from 5:00 till 8:00, I continued my blissful reading of The River Why.

Back to Work on the Next Commission

COVID-19 has been cruel to this nation in ways unspeakable. When my art business witnessed the cancellation of my entire year of scheduled festivals and exhibitions, I assumed that nothing would happen except my quiet production of art in the seclusion of my studio. I was in for a surprise: I am currently working on my tenth watercolor commission, all of them arranged via online contacts. At present it appears that this will be my final work of 2020, and for all the business I am grateful.

The veterinarian visit has put me behind in what I had hoped to accomplish today, so I’ll sign this one off early and get back to painting. 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.

Good Morning from Studio Eidolons

December 10, 2020

A fishing prodigy, like a musical prodigy, is perforce a solitary.

David James Duncan, The River Why

Quality Journal time in the Morning

North Texas skies are dark and rainy this morning, which seems always to make the coffee taste better. The environment seems more conducive to quality reading as well. I am an unapologetic bibliophile; I could spend an entire day doing nothing but reading. Since yesterday, I have been chained to The River Why. I have thoroughly enjoyed the film, watching it countless times. And the book is almost always better than the film, I know that. But I was totally unprepared for what would happen when I opened this volume yesterday; my feet have been swept out from under me as from a tidal wave.

The sentence opening this blog opens Chapter 3b in the book. Everything preceding it managed to set the hook in me already, but the statement above found me re-opening scores of computer files of the memoir I’ve been composing for over two years. As if that were not enough, I went to the file cabinet and retrieved a stack of manila folders to go through pages stored decades ago. The “solitary” note has once again grabbed my attention.

. . . I grew up osprey-silent and trout-shy and developed early on an ability to slide through the Public School System as riverwater slides by the logjams, rockslides and dams that bar its seaward journey. It wasn’t that I was antisocial; I simply suffered from that lopsidedness of character, typical in prodigies. As young Mozart cared for nothing but keyboards, strings and woodwinds, so I cared for nothing but lakes, rivers, streams and their denizens.

I have often wished I was sufficiently financed to spend years on the psychiatrist’s couch in order to uncover the layers of mystery from my personal past. To be frank, I was not a prodigy. But there was only one thing I could do well from my childhood, and that was draw. Once I entered the public school, I found nearly all classes boring, and chose to draw in the margins of my assignment papers, tuning out teachers and class discussions. By the time college arrived, I felt I did not deserve to enter, and indeed art was the only reason I could qualify with a scholarship. Academic interests did not arrive until I had a year of college under my belt, and since those days I have fought to feed both the art and knowledge obsessions.

Amazing Morning Reading

This encounter with The River Why has reawakened my craving to return to the streams of the Guadalupe River, so at the time of this writing, I am making plans. Meanwhile, betweeen watercoloring for this commission coming due and packing my fly-fishing gear, I am enjoying quiet time over the fishing books in my studio.

I am also dashing out some quick watercolor sketches of fly-fishing subjects. All of it is turning out to be very enjoyable.

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.