I Took the One Less Travelled by II, ©John O’Grady
12″ x 6″ x 1.50″, oil on deep edged wooden panel, ready to hang.
It takes a spark to light a fire.
It takes a spark to start a painting too.
The main way to do this is to be present in the studio, in other words to “just show up and get to work” to use Chuck Close words.
The action of applying paint on a support will reveal the way forward.
Another way is to read poetry.
Some poems immediately bring forth a strong emotion that acts like fuel on a fire and feeds the piece I’m working on.
For instance, Edward Thomas’s poems that evoke his walks in southeast England and capture the landscape vividly or his friend, Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road not Taken’ that illustrates how hard it can be to make a choice.
The final stanza ‘I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference’ struck a deep chord.
Each painting is like an unknown road on which to journey.
By taking a step and moving along in a direction, sometimes the less travelled one, the journey will become something such as this quiet painting.
Here is Robert Frost’s poem:
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The road less travelled for me is a state of mind…it can start with a thirsty canvas and the objective is not necessarily to get a painting done but to be in a such wonderful state that inevitably you do end up with a great painting. I like your narrowing pathway John as the mind is invited along the road the eye takes you..like a more heightening of awareness and sharpening of the senses until the eye cannot see any further and you therefore rely on your imagination for the rest of the journey back to self. I really like your inspiration for this painting!
It sounds like the painting took you on a bit of a journey, with your thoughtful insights on it, that is really gratifying for me. You made me think about the road and your thoughts about the ‘heightened awareness as it narrows’ and relying on the ‘imagination for the rest of the journey back to self’- absolutely!
Your blog made me think John and I enjoyed reading Robert Frost’s poem in this context. What strikes me about this painting, as with others, is its expressiveness; I get a sense of you the artist in the brushstrokes, scrapings and the texture of the rutted path – it is your journey. I have always been intrigued by the effect a path in a painting has on me and in this one I can’t help but wonder where it leads.
Yes where it leads that is the question isn’t it, of course the only way to find out is to carry on along the path. Thank you very much Chris.
as poetry inspires you, art and music inspires me John
Yes indeed Julie, I hope your own work is going well
You are a very thoughtful and sensitive painter. Your careful choice of scenes and color palettes speak to my inner artist. Thanks for your willingness to share your world with me.
Thank you very much Yvonne, that is much appreciated. It’s great to hear that they are speaking to you