Above: “Falling Through Space,” painted March 16, 2018
“The sun, the moon and the stars, the grass, and the water that flows round the earth, and the light air of heavens:
To You, greeting, I too stand behind these and send you word across them.”
Edward Carpenter, from his long poem Towards Democracy.
After 10 years of recording books for LibriVox, I have found that, in terms of what people download and presumably listen to, there have been distinct “winners and losers.” By far, the most popular book I have recorded has been Alfred East’s Landscape Painting in Oil Colour (recorded 2015; 263,001 views). At the opposite extreme, virtually my least popular recording has been the English intellectual Edward Carpenter’s autobiography, My Days and Dreams (recorded 2014: 2731 views as of 09/01/2020).
In terms of impact on my life in retirement, Carpenter and East have been equals; they’ve both inspired me towards creativity–recording, writing, painting, keeping a website alive on the internet– to act on impulses that I might have hesitated to realize in earlier days.
Amid all the turmoil and the care–the worry, the fever, the anxiety,
The gloomy outlook, fears, forebodings,
The effort to keep up with the rush of supposed necessities, supposed duties
The effort to catch the flying point of light, to reach the haven
of Peace–always in the future–
Amid all, glides in the little word Now…
Alfred East, in his Landscape Painting in Oil Colour, writes: “Be not ashamed to do the drudgery of constant practice… You are responsible for your work done, and you only… Have your eyes and your heart open, always working… A landscape painter must have enthusiasm, and no shame in speaking of the pleasure he feels in his work.”
It’s for certain I’ll never become a great landscape artist, but one of my goals for 2018 has been to paint a picture (almost) every day, and hopefully, thereby, to improve my technique as a result of constant practice! In March, 2018, I set about implementing this resolve in earnest.
Listen to what Winston Churchill had to say about “Painting as a Pastime.”