Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Wolfe’

Thomas Wolfe Home AshevilleDuring our stay in Asheville our hotel was located directly next to the Thomas Wolfe house and memorial.  Our room looked directly down on the roof and you had the sense of hovering over it like a ghost or angel flowing over the landscape.  I wished I had heeded the advice of my high school creative writing teacher who had pointedly suggested that I needed to read Wolfe, specifically Look Homeward Angel. Of course, I had other concerns, other fish to fry, and the book sat on my shelves for over thirty years. So I stood at my hotel window, perched above his home, wishing I knew a little more about him and his life.

So I did a search and the first quote I came across struck me immediately because it spoke of exactly how I feel about effort and talent.  Talent is only valuable when used to its fullest. His quote:


If a man has a talent and cannot use it, he has failed. If he has a talent and uses only half of it, he has partly failed. If he has a talent and learns somehow to use the whole of it, he has gloriously succeeded, and won a satisfaction and a triumph few men ever know

                  – Thomas Wolfe, The Web and the Rock                                                                                           

There is a book out that I referenced in my gallery talk, titled Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  He states that a common trait among highly successful people is the 10000 hour principle.  To reach the farthest reach of their talents, each put in 10000 hours at their skill, making the absolute most of their abilities.  He uses examples such as the Beatles, Bill Gates, and others.  There may be flaws in the premise and in the book itself but I think the principle is a good example of Wolfe’s quote.


Read Full Post »

A Time to Return

Well, I am done with the show, except for packing them for delivery.  Always a little bittersweet, as I’ve noted before.  As I wrap the work I get to take a last look at each one, for many probably the last time I really get to look at them.  I think I’ve said this before in this blog that when you first start showing your work you want everything to sell just as a matter of validation.  But as times passes, you begin to secretly wish that certain pieces don’t sell, that they return to the studio at some point to stay.  There are different reasons.  Some are reminders of hard work and effort put into making something from nothing or recovering a piece from a mistake such as spilled paint.  Some have some meaning in the subject.  Some are the products of a moment of grace, when everything is in sync and the painting literally falls from the brush and there is a natural flow and harmony in the work.  It sings.  

There are more reasons to want to hold on to the work but in the end, you let them go, let them find new homes and different eyes to see different things in them.  Sometimes things I never dreamed.  And that is the payoff, knowing that perhaps someone will find something in the work, even in the smallest sense, that will affect them and let them see something in a new way.  Knowing that makes letting go much easier.

The piece above is titled A Time to Return and is a 6″ by 12″ canvas.   To me, this piece is a prodigal son kind of piece, about the return to ones place of birth, ones home.  Maybe it’s fitting that this piece is heading to Asheville where Thomas Wolfe wrote of just such things.

Anyway, the show is titled Now… and will be hanging in the lovely Haen Gallery in Asheville, NC, opening Saturday, November 22.  Hope to see you there.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: