Monday, February 05, 2007


February, the Short Month

Wow, it's blustery and freezing out. Is it spring yet? No. Though the daylight is longer now, which helps my state of mind. Warmer on Saturday so I had a busy day in the shop and then I closed early, so no time to post. I spent most of the weekend at my sister Kate's house, eating good pre-stupor-bowl (no Patriots this year...sigh) food and generally being enchanted by her lovely baby boy, who is over six months old now and very interested in chewing on board books as I read them aloud to him. He is already a genius - he knows sign language for milk and is beginning to recognize the hand signs for mother, father, and diaper. Genius! The next Great American Novel is imminent! I came home this morning with new baby pictures for the kitchen table for the random moment when I need to smile.

What's next on the reading list? I don't know yet. Homer is still on the bedside table. Late last week I finished artist Anne Truitt's final memoir, Prospect. She's got an intellectually lofty tone from time to time, but then certain bits shine like gold:

" all ardent readers, I have friends whom I have never met, friends who keep me grand company." (p.182)

"...the spaces of an artist's imagination can spark comparable secret, sacred memories in a viewer. People who can receive the presence of a work of art may find themselves restored to selves they have half-forgotten." (p.189)

"The market for art is artificial. Art is not. The urge to differentiate what is personal from what is universal, and to express it, is a human imperative." (p.213)

Statements like those keep the painter in me feeling well-fed and content. I managed to complete six paintings in January, and now I'm hunting for more artists' memoirs to read. I don't think I'll worry much about finding more books, though, because they seem to find me. Funny how that works.

I enjoyed "A Chronicle of Friendships" by Will H. Low. When my wife and I were in Paris in 2005 we visited Musee D'Orsay and I kept exclaiming: "this guy was in the book and this one and this one..."

Dan, I've heard of this book but have never read it. It's now on my list, thanks!

Last night I read most of Kandinsky's little treatise "Concerning the Spiritual in Art" and I'm about to start a memoir by Dorothea Tanning - surrealist, widow of Max Ernst, all-around incredible personality.

I'm reading all this because I'm very interested lately in the hows and whys of art - how artists and writers managed to live and get their work done (or not, more often), and why they felt it was important - crucial, really - to do so. You know, the easy questions: why are we here? what does it all mean? why bother? who will care?


(NOT a Walmart smiley face)
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