October 23, 2017
I have drawn only five postcards and only one of them has any watercolor added to it. The other five are architectural renderings that got rained out. I had the option of faking three dozen postcards to send back to the USA by chaining myself to a barstool and working from the billions of photos I’ve taken during the last four weeks. Instead, I spent an amazing morning at the Courtauld Gallery and an amazing afternoon at the National Gallery pondering my good fortune of being an artist. Rather than try to figure out to whom I should send those five, less than wonderful, postcards I’m not sending any.
One of the many things I’ve realized during this trip is that one of the reasons I’ve been so prolific is that I have spent most of my life alone. During my months in France, I am usually alone. I walk, I observe, I stop, I sketch, I paint … and the cycle begins again. I walk, I observe, I stop, I sketch, I paint. Though I have friends in Paris, I only spend an evening or two with them. The rest of the time I’m on my own, an observer absorbing my environment and expressing it with pen and brush.
In Wales it has been different. I’ve spent most of my time with the warm-hearted and generous artists who have become friends. Not only the artists, but also the friends of the artists. The circle grows larger and I love every moment of time I spend with these amazing people who share their love of the land, their passion for art and their commitment to growing and seeing with new eyes each day.
There are a lot of thoughts and inspirations for me to process when I return home tomorrow. For those of you to whom I promised postcards, please accept my apology. This has been a journey of huge growth for me, in some ways, I have returned to my roots, in other ways I have blasted out of my box. I returned to my roots when wild swimming and kayaking in the Wye River with Angela Jones. I was blasted out of my box when encountering the spirits of those who have walked before me in castles, who have stood with brush in hand before easels, who have ridden horses into battle, who have discovered antiseptic methods of surgery, who have dared to swim against the tide and made a difference in the world as we know it.
What is art? What is it that I, as an artist, can contribute to those who follow after I am gone?