My husband likes to fly fish, and we carved out time to fish and paint together. We are so fortunate, that we live near such beautiful places to do what we both love. Carving out the time together is the task, and then we wonder again why it took us so long. . . anyway, what he usually does is cast, catch and release. What I do is cast and try to capture! I laugh often at his ability to give up so easily what he has worked for, but then I often end up doing the exact same thing. We are both on a silent quest. This activity is much more than the result that either of us comes home with. I love this photograph my husband took because even here he is selecting and searching, more like an artist then a fisherman. I am in the center background sitting on a rock, working on a small watercolor sketch. He composes his photograph nicely, such good color too! The image says a lot more to both of us than a viewer might see.
An art critic I resonate with, James Berger, says this same thing better when he defines the act of drawing. “Drawing is a form of probing. And the first generic impulse to draw (to fish? to paint?) derives from the human need to search, to plot points, to place things and to place oneself.” We are in fact both doing just that when we go out and work: searching, selecting, plotting and placing. That is why we can come home filled even when there is no concrete result. The activity is accomplishing something deeper.
This past week also, I attended the art showing mentioned in my last post. Stephen Wicks, curator from the Knoxville Museum of Art gave an engaging talk about the collection he had assembled, and even highlighted my two pieces with prescience. I spoke with him afterwards to thank him and gained even more, for he said something like this ‘Your work is not just about the collection of color, isn’t it; there is something much deeper going on.” Oh! How encouraging for me, he could not have said much else to propel me further.
Meanwhile, the watercolor piece I laid out, painting by the stream has since been gessoed over. (The paper was worth more than my result that day!) But the morning was memorable, marking both of us. We were both casting for what we knew not. I think we captured something that day; nothing got away.