"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Risking myself, Watercolor

Risking morning in Taos, 5 by 7 watercolor, 140 lb. d'Arches

"Being myself includes taking risks with myself, taking risks on new behavior--trying new ways of 'being myself,' so that I can see how it is I want to be." --Hugh Prather, Notes to Myself

We live in a world that discourages risk, that wants everything to be safe and secure and successful.
But there is no success if there is no failure, and no failure if you don't take risks. And no excitement in living in a rut of routine and repetition.
I've just read Hugh Prather's Notes to Myself, from 1970, and his aphorisms and insights were just what I needed ...thoughts on living now, being authentic, on being yourself, on pleasing people, on humanity and more.
Out of that book came this painting,  taking risks every step we take, every day. My risks include standing up to paint when the spirit is dry, in attempting things I'm afraid of, in trying new things--all part of living changes and "retirement."
A  few other snippets from his book that spoke to me:
  • "Perfectionism is a slow death."
  • "Why do I judge my day by how much I have accomplished?"
  • "Dishonest people believe in words rather than reality."
  • "There are no absolutes for something so relative as human life."
  • "I like a man with faults. To err is human--I;m uncomfortable around gods."
  • "If the desire to write is not accompanied by actual wrting, then the desire is not to write."

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Southwestern sunset, watercolor

Southwestern Sunset, watercolor, 6" by 11.5", 140 lb. d'Arches 
Inspiration, like love, comes you seek it, when you work, most of all, I think, when you need.
Today's watercolor, the first of the month after July's daily challenge, comes on a rainy day, when I knew I needed to paint, for me. After a week of "vacation"--minimal writing, no blogging, no painting, but drinking in love and family and landscapes on a 2,500 mile road trip, it was time. 
Inspiration is internal. I find it many places, including the broad vistas of my beloved Southwest of rich colors and dry air, in travels, in love, and from my father.
I'd found this old pencil sketch of my Dad's, Terrence Miller Clark, done no telling how many years ago, of something he saw in his road trip travels. He saw beauty everywhere, and he could capture that beauty, in landscape, in portraits, with a talent that stuns me. I'm thankful I have a smidgen of his spirit and soul. 
This one's for you, Dad. Thanks. May we one day paint together again.
Pencil sketch, 3" by 9.5"--Terrence Miller Clark