Here’s another one of my Washington DC Commissions, this one for a collector who joined us on the trip. He wanted this particular view of the Washington Monument and the Capitol at night, and no quote written on the painting. I love how unique each of these are turning out to be! They’re all so exciting to work on, and each so very different.
Here’s another Washington DC commission, this one for a former student who is now a lawyer. I’m so proud of her! What she wanted for her painting was the Supreme Court building and a quote from Justice Brennan about defending the Constitution. I really enjoyed working on this, and ended up looking up more quotes from Justice Brennan.
On a different note, I drove down to the Island to deliver one of the West Texas watercolors to my friend who owns Tangerine, and I’m happy to report some early bloomer bluebonnet sightings. So yes, spring is almost here, and I couldn’t be more happy about it!
Another one of my Washington DC commissions, entitled Hope is the Highest Form of Courage. This one is for a former colleague, also a Binghamton graduate, who has helped me a lot as I was starting out in my academic career. I was meant to pick the monument depicted in it, and, left to my own devices, as a scholar of social movements, I picked The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech, set against the background of the Washington Monument. I tried, however, while paying homage to an event from 1963, to give the crowd a contemporary feel, in order to illustrate how the Civil Rights movement has continued and how it is the young generation, today, as it was in 1963, that will shape the future of social justice. The painting expresses faith in this young generation, the kind of faith educators such as my former colleague must have in order to teach with passion and enthusiasm.
Today John hosted a Super Bowl party. There was a lot of good food and there were lots of fun people too. I got to properly visit with the new Escapists and that was really cool. I even hung out with them in the Chrysalis while they were painting, and I had to do something creative too, so I stole some paper from John and did a quick drawing of Bobby. It occurred to me that we are very lucky, and that’s what I said to my friend Lindsay, who’s an Escapist this year. I mean, here we are at a fun party with good food and interesting people next door, and we would rather be working because we love our work so much. That’s being very lucky indeed.
Also, I ate a lot of fried chicken and this really good melted cheese and potato dish and roast corn quesadillas. I myself brought a salad. John said that was a rude thing to bring.
Today I started working on my ten Washington DC commissions. The first one is very very special because it’s for a wonderful young lady who used to be my student and who now teaches Government at Lamar University, pretty much filling my slot. I was so happy that she requested the Lincoln Memorial for her commission. I loved the Lincoln Memorial myself, and my favorite part of American Government to teach has always been Civil Rights, a topic as heavy, heartbreaking, and challenging, as it is inspiring and ever evolving. I’m happy to pass that torch to my former student. I know she will do a wonderful job! It also makes me feel no remorse over having left my students – whom I cared about deeply. I know that they are in good hands.
This morning I got to paint at John’s. I definitely needed English Pointer therapy and then some, as I had a headache and was feeling especially neurotic. In honor of that feeling, I picked an image of Bucharest to paint that shows the combination of romance and neurosis that makes me love this city of much and identity with it. I’m so excited that I’ll get to be there this spring!
Luckily, there was no trace of neurosis tonight as my party entitled The Light Returns turned out to be everything I’d hoped for and more. The new abstract paintings really are joyful and they managed to take all my tension away. For the first time since I’ve been hosting parties in my new gallery space I’ve felt fully relaxed. I also had the best turnout of any party so far. And the weather suddenly turned warm as if my magic invocation of spring through art actually worked!