An Artful Respite

Although I grew-up on the Monterey Peninsula, I chose to attend Saint Michael’s College in Vermont, a small liberal arts school located near the shores of Lake Champlain. I sought frigid weather, covered bridges, and green mountains and that’s what I found! I majored in English Literature and I enjoyed reading the works of the 19th Century American Transcendentalists and the 18th and 19th Century British Romantics, especially Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and William Wordsworth. It was special to study their works in the same region of the country where Emerson and Thoreau lived and in a similar setting as Wordsworth’s Lake District. 

As a senior in college, after I had made the decision to attend law school, my advisor suggested that I take an art history class. His daughter was an attorney and he thought that in addition to being able to discuss literature with each other, lawyers should also be able to discuss art. I fell in love with the Hudson River School painters, a group of 19th Century American landscape painters who lived in New York City in the winter but who traveled to the Catskills Mountains of upstate New York and other parts of the Northeast with their easels in tow. I recognized the same themes in the paintings of Thomas Cole, Jerome Thompson, and Asher B. Durand as I had studied in the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, and Wordsworth. 

Interestingly, there is no evidence that the painters and the writers knew of each other’s work even though they were contemporaries and seemed to be communicating the same ideas. If I had to do my senior thesis again, this would certainly be my topic! 

After college, I immediately enrolled at U.C. Davis School of Law. The first year of law school is always the most challenging and I had trouble adjusting. Although college was rigorous, the rigor was tempered by the flowery language and warm ideas of 19th Century writers and poets. The study of law can be much more rigid and technical without any tempering factors.  

One day, when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed with my law school studies, I wandered into the university’s main library. I found myself in the art history section. I pulled a book from the shelf about the Hudson River School painters. As I looked the pictures of the paintings of Cole, Thompson, and Durand, I was immediately transported to the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, and Wordsworth. It was a restorative respite and one I would repeat throughout the rest of my law school career. 

Recently, I purchased reproductions of two of my favorite paintings, The Oxbow by Thomas Cole and Belated Party on Mansfield Mountain by Jerome Thompson, for my office. When I need a brief respite from drafting trusts or answering clients’ questions, I take a moment to look at these paintings, recalling the themes and ideas of my favorite writers, and I become refreshed and ready for my next project. 

KRASA LAW, Inc. is located at 704-D Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, California and Kyle may be reached at 831, 920-0205. 

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only. Reading this article does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before acting on any of the information presented in this article, you should consult a competent attorney who is licensed to practice law in your community.