My ‘spousal support unit’ said that this would happen. Here I am on the
forty-sixth day of this project, more or less caught up in my output—having completed forty-three panels and begun five, with plenty more hours of evening before I crawl into bed at four or so—and I feel already the looming loss, when I
no longer have more and more paintings to produce, because my commitment, my audience, and my calling command me.
Commitment and calling just seem so bare, so inadequate, so paltry, if an audience and the resources that it conveys are lacking. Then again, keeping my fingers crossed as I imagine it, maybe someone will purchase the entire lot of the Turner outpouring, and at an equitable price, and then nothing will ever again keep me from producing, again and again and again, into the long nights of my dotage.
Anyhow, I definitely grok the idea these days that the journey is ever so much more the point than the destination. I mean, in so many ways, just taking this trek—through time and technique, along the path of pulchritude with paint—has been as cool a period of time as any twelve-thousand mile sojourn, halfway round the globe, that I’ve had occasion to take in the past.
Some of the days are so sublime that I have to pinch myself—is this really
happening to little old me? Today and Saturday both were like that. Rather than hang around our cramped little space—now rife with the clutter and clamor of prepping and pondering and painting—my sweetheart and I availed ourselves of Spring brightness luminous enough to blind an angel.
Like my husband and I, all of these people from the past—and their ghosts are palpable; that I promise—meandered along the waterways where we’ve twice recently set up shop to paint. Spring Creek welcomed us Saturday. We visited a
swimming and diving hole where—despite the recent heat wave and the dry times that the warmth induces—a Friday cloudburst had left the water level five or six feet higher than it was when, last August, both Jim and I hurled ourselves fifteen or twenty feet into the chilly depths of a deep sluice fed by and feeding melodious cascades of crashing white water freshets. Whether surprisingly or unsurprisingly, I felt a direct connection to Turner’s watery creations here; the chilly halls of British upper crust dames somehow suggested women who seemed equally at home overlooking the liquid chaos below me, as they appeared in the splendor of Pentworth-on-the-moors.
Today, we made our way to an easier jaunt along the Laurel, where I’ve
already had occasion to create an earlier panel, before Spring’s grip had appeared so certain. On this occasion, I faced a lodge where Azaleas and Dogwoods and assorted wildflowers held sway, while the rushing slosh of the Laurel slurped behind me. Jim took some photos, of course, on both days, and hunted up more wood for future projects.
The saying that his grandmother used to offer seems apt: ‘Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.’ After all, we’re halfway done, the work appears lusciously lovely, if I do say so myself, and maybe someone else with the means to put his (or her) money where his (or her) mouth is will show up and validate this work commercially.
If not, c’est la vie. The odyssey has been such a bracing expedition that I feel as If I’ve gone forth to the kingdom of heaven and had occasion to return to tell about it.