A quick note of thankfulness …
So many of you have reached out through comments and hitting LIKE buttons and even LOVE buttons to let us know you are watching… and listening. They tell me that this helps with algorithms and patron outreach which is important for the business of art…but it is from the soul of the Artist I speak this morning.
I want to let you know that those words and clicks mean the world to us. Our isolated self-quarantine has been just this side of brutal, especially for Herself … my people person. We are holding tight to each other as we ride this roller coaster of a year and mostly doing just dandy…but trust me…we read and re-read every one and your kind and generous responses to the new work and the newer videos is breaking open our hearts.
So, as ever…thanks for the support.
And now on to today’s Painter’s Notes…
A Fisher of Men – 36 x 48
Oh dear soul…this is Arthur.
But it started with Rick.
Or more specifically a photo that he put up on social media five years ago.
A side shot of himself coming home from clam digging at night
with the water below him and the moon, shining above his shoulders,
caught in the wire basket he had dangling from a long clam rake.
I told him right away I was stealing it. He said it’s all yours.
A few years passed and somewhere along the way
I was watching our friend Arthur from across the dinner table
one deep winter evening and the Muses bumped me from behind.
I came home and made a quick sketch
using Arthur, in the fullness of his
seasonal whiskers, and wearing his cabled fisherman knit sweater,
as the model standing in for Rick,
with a delicate old hay rake
that I found at the local second hand store
substituting for the clam rake.
You can see it’s a pretty rough idea here …
but don’t let that fool you.
The Muses like to tease.
When the time came to pass that the Muses
were ready for me to bring this painting idea to life
I found Arthur freshly shaven so the bearded fisherman
was slightly more respectable than I had envisioned.
He did arrive at the studio with the sweater on and we quickly found him a proper cap
and out we went to find some angle of light to bring this thing to life.
I must pause here to share something of the measure of this man.
Arthur has one of the softest souls I know.
He is quiet…and patient in that stillness…
but the depth of what his eyes have seen and his heart has weathered
have molded a profoundly philosophical soul
and mellowed into a peaceful countinence
which is a great comfort to sit next to
on a wooden bench
out in the garden
on a cool summer’s eve.
So, back in the studio yard…
I ask this dear sweatered man to put that rake up on his shoulder
and take a couple determined steps.
He patiently tries to hear my direction which is muffled
by the camera in front of my mouth.
The light changes and we try the rake on the other shoulder.
I begin to see something else happening…but am fighting it.
So we take a break…
and while I head inside to look on the computer to see what the camera has captured
I can overhear Himself and Herself talking on the porch.
Arthur was describing a sermon he was going to be giving over the upcoming
Thanksgiving weekend. As a retired minister one of his abiding faiths
is in seeking social justice,
and we can go deep into many a good night…and a bottle of dry sack…
opining over the state of this most imperfect union.
But something I overheard had clicked…
and I went to the bookshelf and found my version of the King James,
Audobon’s Birds of North America,
and bade Arthur to try one more pose please…
This time with the book in hand.
I told him this was his bible.
He immediately started to page through.
No, I just want you to carry it.
The man who was kindly tolerating my earlier directions
with no real idea what I was on about
had completely changed his demeanor.
He stood taller with a visibly more confident authentic spirit and stride.
His firm grip on the book…THE book…made all the difference.
It doesn’t happen often.
But at 62 I catch it right there on the whisper now.
Something transcendent washes in
surprising even the Muses
and I jump right out of my own way.
This time it was stepping aside
and making way …
For the Fisher of Men