|Everything I've sorted so far pales in comparison to the business of sorting paintings with a critical eye... there are works that aren't mine, works I can't assess the quality of, and works I hope to finish some day.|
The Duchy is perched on the side of Rochester’s only hill. This makes it prone to short bursts of flooding. Given the monsoon-like rains of this week, Coach and I suspended our regular workout in favor of clearing storm drains with a hoe and a trowel.
|Too much of a good thing leads inexorably to trouble.|
New York is lush in late spring, and the Duchy tends to go for over-the-top horticultural displays. I confess I’ve contributed my share of them, having designed and planted St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church’s gardens as well as growing a profusion of roses, peonies and ornamental trees on my own small plot.
|Blossoms, seed pods, soil, mulch, and clippings... all creating concrete in the storm drains.|
Of course, a surfeit of good things can be as troublesome as any bad thing. The Duchy’s trees are lavishly shedding blossoms and seed pods. That has combined with soil, mulch and clippings washing down from gardens and along the gutters. Now, blossoms and seed pods and soil, mulch and clippings are all great things, but in excess they’ve packed the storm drains up like concrete.
|Winnowing is an ugly job... but absolutely necessary.|
This brings my thoughts inexorably back to my own studio. There are stacks and stacks of my field sketches, and paintings by my students, and unfinished canvases for which I still harbor some hope, not to mention art supplies that I may use someday. All are unabashedly good things, but taken as a whole, they’ve blocked my studio up as surely as those storm drains.
|The hidden stashes don't count if they're in a dark closet, do they?|
This, then, is the next big step in the winnowing process.
And if you haven't signed up for my Rochester classes or Maine workshops, what on earth are you waiting for? August and September are sold out for my workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME... and the other sessions are selling fast. Join us in June, July and October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.