the beginning

reserved for h. malcolm & t. farrell

this morning, i awoke inspired by last night's reading on edward hopper. Awestruck by the simple technical elegance of his watercolor landscape paintings, i decided to venture out to my front bench for today's muse. there, i sought to paint little downtown edison, in all of its sopped in, fog laden glory. i bundled up, donning my trusty old stocking cap and hot cup of earl grey, and brought my setup outside to work. honestly, i've never had much of an affinity for plein air painting, yellow-jackets curiously buzzing 'round, wind blown hair in my eyes and in my mouth,the light changing moment by moment in an attempt to confuse the eyes: it has a tendency to test my patience. i was determined to try anyways, seeking an epiphany of sorts, in an attempt to conjure the "spirit" of hopper's painting style. as i plugged away at my sketch, big daddy treetops stopped his car to say hello and offer words of encouragement, driving away with a cryptic "you are the artist and the art." the sun began to peek through, eventually burning off the cottony blanket of fog, and i reveled in the sun's warmth on my face.

finishing the book on wayne thiebaud the other night, i couldn't help but feel like i'd just graduated. the last pages served me up with some much needed insight. I saw myself heading off on another distracted tangent, and i needed someone like thiebaud to tell me to wake up and focus. "The artist...has to be as disciplined as a mathematician. Discipline is not a restriction but an aid to freedom...an artist needs the best studio instruction, the most rigorous demands, and the toughest criticism in order to tune up his sensibilities." and further... "If you stare at an object, as you do when you paint, there is no point at which you can stop learning about things. You can just look and look and look." I love the idea that learning can be a continuous pursuit, and so can growth. "I think of myself as a beginner," he says. "Sometimes that's the whole joy. If you could just do it, there'd be no point in doing it."


  1. i think this idea- that creativity often takes work! - is something essential. i used to think that if i couldn't do something brilliantly at the first go that i wasn't "good at it." it wasn't until i started working with clay that i began to really surrender to the joy of creating while pushing myself to try something new, different, more challenging.