Welcoming 2019

January 1, 2019

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The passions are a kind of thirst, inexorable and intense, for certain feelings or felt states. To find or invent ‘objects’ (which are, more strictly speaking, relational structures) whose felt quality satisfies the passions,- that for me is the activity of the artist, an activity which does not cease even in sleep. No wonder the artist is constantly placing and displacing, relating and rupturing relations; his task is to find a complex of qualities whose feeling is just right – veering toward the unknown and chaos, yet ordered and related in order to be apprehended.

–Robert Motherwell

What an exhilaration to awake to a 19-degree winter morning on New Year’s Day 2019! With no appointments on the books, I felt a soothing calm as the day presented itself with leisure and books. Reading passages from Abstract Expressionist artist Robert Motherwell put me in the frame of mind to explore drawing with renewed vigor. He defined drawing as a method for organizing space on a two-dimensional plane.

The first day of the new year often witnesses a different trajectory in my art. Currently I am working on commissions, and will begin posting them, but I also laid down a New Year resolution that I would draw more. So . . . a few years ago, I drew one winter tree per day for the month of January, then matted each 5 x 7″ drawing, framed a few, and sold a large quantity of them. This year, I’m not thinking about the sale, only the hope to improve with the careful discipline and repetition of drawing. My intention is to spend January with a focus on drawing nature.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Eudaimonia

October 20, 2021

In Studio Eidolons Between Classes

“Excuse me. Aren’t you a religion professor here? Tripp, right? I think I had you in class years ago. I saw you walking the other day and said, ‘Hey, I know that guy!'”

That was my highlight of the morning. I’m taking the October Challenge sponsored by my fitness club (10,000 steps a day through October–so far, I’m on it!), and in the midst of my walk across Texas Wesleyan University this morning, I was stopped by this young gentleman who turned out to be director of one of our university’s departments. I of course am delighted that he actually remembered me (I’ve been an adjunct off and on here since the year 2000). As a full-time high school instructor, I enjoyed that special bond you develop with adolescents as you see them several times a week. But at the university that hasn’t happened, and frankly, I’m shocked that any of my college students remember or speak well of me.

On top of the recognition, this young fellow had something else to add in parting: he thanked me for what I contributed to his education. In recent years, I’ve been surprised to hear words directed at me that have heretofore been reserved for military and first responders–“Thank you for your service.” They deserve that. But I myself never expected to hear those words directed at me. In recent years it’s been happening (a State Trooper as he handed me my traffic warning, a grocery checkout clerk, seeing my college faculty I.D. still dangling from a lanyard, a gallery patron on learning that I had taught school as a career). I’m being thanked for my service, and I’m touched by this.

This morning’s Ethics class focused on Aristotle. Before beginning, I asked them to write out (during Roll Call) their own definition of ethics. Following that exercise, I probed the students to find out how many had defined ethics as a matter of treating others well. I then asked, “Did anyone say that ethics involved how you treat yourself?”

I decided at this moment it was time to share my own position. I believe one should consider two things: 1) treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself (the Golden Rule), and 2) always remember to pay yourself first; if you aren’t happy and fulfilled in life, then how much good can you do for those around you? The class seemed to grow rather quiet and heavy as I continued: “You can give all you’ve got, and they will take it from you. And when it’s all spent and you have nothing left, there will still be those who say you didn’t give enough, they expected better from you.”

It was time to introduce Aristotle’s eudaimonia–spirit of good will, the good life, happiness, etc. This sage from Macedonia had plenty to offer anyone thirsty enough to find out if there is more to life than making a living, building relationships, and acquiring wealth. When class ended, I felt like something good was in the air, I hope so anyway. Two students lingered to offer good words that I’m still digesting in today’s journal and may (or may not) share in future blogs.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Preparation for Art Walk

October 16, 2021

Set Up at Wells Creek Crossing, 305 E. Crawford St., Palestine, Texas (10-3:00 today only)

How often must we learn this lesson? Men cease to interest us when we find their limitations. The only sin is limitation. As soon as you once come up with a man’s limitations, it is all over with him. Has he talents? has he enterprise? has he knowledge? it boots not. Infinitely alluring and attractive was he to you yesterday, a great hope, a sea to swim in; now, you have found his shores, found it a pond, and you care not if you never see it again.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”

Saturday found me waking at 6:00 and stepping out into the darkness of a 52-degree morning. I’m grateful for the overdue season change. The Texas heat and humidity got old in July and hung around till yesterday. As I stepped around down the dark streets of Palestine, I heard this Emerson passage in my head and had to go back to the Redlands Hotel and look it up. “Circles” remains one of my favorite Emerson essays, and it haunts me the most as well. In these senior years, I feel the slow down, the lag, the inertia, and find myself pushing considerably harder to spring fresh ideas. But they are always worth the extra push. When I read the passage above I think of the myriad of times that I’ve been surprised and disappointed by the dullness of a man or woman whom I had known in youth as the portrait of vigor and enthusiasm for life and its offerings. When I see boredom settle down over folks I once knew as hungry for life, I ask Why? What happened? I often hear: Life Happened. No. To me, that’s death come early. I cannot tolerate the thought of that. On some days I wish I had the energy and freshness of ideas that I knew earlier in life. Then on other days I realize that I still have something in the tank, that in fact I often seize upon ideas and creative moments that I didn’t have the maturity or courage to face in earlier years.

I am thankful for another day. Another chance. Another turn of the wheel. Another stone to lift and peek underneath to see what’s there. At Wells Creek Crossing today, I think I’m going to return to the bison theme. I have painted five of these 5 x 7″ compositions and have only one remaining. I think there are better colors waiting to be born here. Maybe I’ll find them on this chilly Saturday morning. I’ll be painting at my easel inside Wells Creek Crossing and there is a table of my art pieces set up next to where I’ll be working. If you are in the area, please stop by and say Hello. There will be over twenty businesses in downtown Palestine with artists and their creations in place waiting to greet you. Palestine is always fun on Art Walk days.

Return to the Bison Theme Today

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Into the Night . . .

October 15, 2021

Gallery at Redlands Friday Night

Too long have I longed and looked into the distance. Too long have I belonged to loneliness; thus I have forgotten how to be silent. Mouth have I become through and through, and the roaring of a stream from towering cliffs: I want to plunge my speech down into the valleys. Let the river of my love plunge where there is no way! How could a river fail to find its way to the sea? Indeed, a lake is within me, solitary and self-sufficient; but the river of my love carries it along, down to the sea.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Wow, what a passage to read while sitting alone in a gallery on a Friday night! I had to take a break from the university grading (just read a remarkable essay from one Humanities student discussing Achilles and Odysseus from Homer along with the escaping prisoner from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave–truly enriching! I just had to stop and pour another cup of coffee!).

Lecturing on Nietzsche recently has been so rewarding for me as I encounter a growing number of intellectually hungry and curious young minds at Texas Wesleyan University. And the words quoted above remind me so much of those dark years in the 1980s and 1990s when I felt that no one, absolutely no one out there was listening to what I was trying to say. Though lacking the elegance of Nietzsche’s pen, I nevertheless screamed out countless pages of script night after night in my personal journals, to be read by no one, or even cared by no one. Never in my wildest imaginings could I have conjured up settings that I have enjoyed for years now such as this one tonight. Classic hotel, the sounds of guests and diners in and out of the lobby, doors opening and closing, traffic outside, and cool winds now drafting through the gallery when an outside door stays open more than a few seconds (temperatures are expected to reach down to the fifties tonight–let them come, please!).

I am happy that after all these years, I have finally found a niche that fits. Retired (sort of). Artist. Gallerist. Professor. Very, very happy in my efforts. Tomorrow will be our monthly Art Walk from 10-3:00. I am having a change of venue, and will this time set up my watercolor easel at Wells Creek Crossing, down the hill in Old Town Palestine. There will be heavy traffic down there, and I invite that. And I will be painting indoors in an air-conditioned establishment. We set up my display and easel this afternoon at closing time. Carol Moore plans to report to The Gallery at Redlands at 9:45, and I should be in place at Wells Creek Crossing promptly at 10:00. If you are in the area, I’d love to talk with you. Come by and see us!

Display at Wells Creek Crossing
305 E. Crawford Street, Palestine, Texas

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Friday Morning in the Gallery

October 15, 2021

Quiet Friday Morning in The Gallery at Redlands

Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”

Good Day, from Palestine’s Gallery at the Redlands. I was fortunate to arrive early yesterday morning and the Friday is quiet enough (so far) for me to finish my university responsibilities with little interruption.

Tomorrow we will enjoy our monthly Art Walk in Palestine, with over twenty businesses downtown displaying the works of local artists, many of the artists themselves present to greet patrons. I will spend the day painting inside Wells Creek Crossing in Old Town Palestine, and Carol Moore will run our gallery during business hours. Come out and see us and enjoy the arts from 10-3:00.

Some of the quality of today involves researching and writing the lectures for Monday’s Ethics classes at Texas Wesleyan University. Approaching mid-term, I’m deeply gratified to see a host of students “waking up” to fresh ideas and new vistas. One of them told me Wednesday that, as a business major and required to take Ethics, he was not enthusiastic, thinking he would be schooled in business law, tax codes, and a host of “ethics-related” business matters he had no interest in pursuing. He has become excited, reading the works of thinkers like Aristotle, Kant, Bentham and Nietzsche, and thanked me for opening the doors to these refreshing minds. That conversation alone made the entire semester worthwhile, and it makes it much easier to sweat my way through continual lecture preparation.

It’s time to get back to work in the Gallery. Thanks for reading.

Working late at The Gallery at Redlands

October 14, 2021
New Window Display at The Gallery at Redlands

The life of man is a self-evolving circle, which, from a ring imperceptibly small, rushes on all sides outwards to new and larger circles, and that without end. The extent to which this generation of circles, wheel without wheel, will go, depends on the force of truth of the individual soul. For it is the inert effort of each thought, having formed itself into a circular wave of circumstance,–as, for instance, an empire, rules of an art, a local usage, a religious rite,–to heap itself on that ridge, and to solidify and hem in the life. But if the soul is quick and strong, it bursts over that boundary on all sides, and expands another orbit on the great deep, which also runs up into a high wave, with attempts again to stop and to bind. But the heart refuses to be imprisoned; in its first and narrowest pulses, it already tends outward with a vast force, and to immense and innumerable expansions.

Every ultimate fact is only the first of a new series.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”

Finally, I return to The Gallery at Redlands for a weekend of study and work. We have our monthly Art Walk on Saturday, and I will be happily painting on the premises of Wells Creek Crossing from 10:00-3:00. Last weekend I was privileged to participate in the 49th annual Edom Art Festival. I am still glowing from that experience, and am itching to start my next piece of art. I still have plenty of college grading to complete, but anticipate that I will wrap that up tomorrow, and, to use Emerson’s words, will push out a new circle of creativity on Saturday when I paint during Art Walk.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday Morning, Edom Art Festival

October 10, 2021

Little do the people comprehend the great–that is, the creating. But they have a mind for all showmen and actors of great things.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

The morning is cool and serene, and the “art village” is slowly waking up an hour before we open. I was fortunate to arrive 90 minutes early, and after opening my booth and tweaking the display I had the delightful experience of wandering around the festival grounds, watching artists open up and re-assemble their tent displays, all the while conversing pleasantly among themselves. The white noise of an art festival during the arduous process of setting up or breaking down really is pleasant, always. And it goes without saying that the general noise of the festival in progress when the area is packed with visitors is pleasant also.

The Nietzsche reading has been rewarding the past several days. The passage above made me think of an art festival and our mixed crowd of artists/artisans, all of them creative spirits and some of them better “showmen” than others as they stand in their booths and greet the patrons. I’ve never been able to assume the role of a carnival barker, and always hope that my sitting outside in a director’s chair doesn’t signal my indifference to the crowds. I love talking to anyone interested about the processes of making and selling art; I have no secrets. And yesterday was certainly a fabulous day for visiting with patrons. I hope we have a repeat of all that as today unfolds.

Thanks for reading.

First Day of Edom Art Festival in the Books

October 9, 2021

The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be.

Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

Saturday evening finds me smiling as I sit in The Gallery at Redlands to finish out the night. The first day of the Edom Art Festival was 10-5:00 and I feel the fatigue, but it could have been worse. Yesterday after setting up, I was thoroughly whooped. I found myself retiring to bed in the Redlands Hotel at 10:00 and setting the 6:00 alarm for a guaranteed eight hours’ sleep. When I awoke with the alarm this morning, Leonard Cohen’s words rang musically in my ears, and I rose from my bed smiling, believing.

Arriving at the festival grounds by 8:00, I tweaked my tent display, finishing 30 minutes before the festival opened. The first patron who entered my booth took one look at my work and asked: “Are you the artist?” When I answered Yes, he continued: “Congratulations. These are beautiful.” That man probably has no inkling of how much his words lifted me, the first words of the day. And then, for seven hours, I sat in my chair outside the tent and witnessed it filled nearly the entire day. COVID cancelled our festival last year, so this year the public came out in full force and it felt wonderful being in the art circuit once again.

Though I stayed busy most of the day, I still found time to think over some art-related matters while watching the patrons entering and exiting my booth. My recent readings of Heidegger’s lectures on Nietzsche have called to mind a passage from Emerson that echoes what both Heidegger and Nietzsche are discussing in their own separate musings:

One moral we have already deduced, in considering the circular or compensatory character of every human action. Another analogy we shall now trace; that every action admits of being outdone. Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”

As I sat in my booth today and shared with patrons my own artistic odyssey, I felt an emotional tug as I recalled the constant push to create better. At this stage of my life I feel that I am learning so much more about making art than at any other time of my journey. I love Emerson’s essay “Circles,” particularly the part where he creates this powerful visual picture of a person pushing out from him a creative force that piles up like a berm surrounding him. The next push has to be harder, so the material can go over the top of the berm, spreading the circle further out and higher. And with each successive push, more force is required to expand the circle. This is how I feel as an artist these days. I want every painting effort to exceed in quality the one spent on the last painting. I love that sense of challenge. As soon as the festival ends tomorrow and I catch up on my college grading, I intend to pick up the brush and get back to work.

The day has been filled with wonder. Thank you for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

He’s an art festival is open and already filling up with people.

October 9, 2021
David Tripp Booth #34

Things are already busy in Edom Texas with the opening of the 49th annual Art Festival. We are open Saturday and Sunday 10 to 5. If you were in the neighborhood, I would love to see you!

Edom Art Festival Starts Saturday!

October 8, 2021
Friday all-day setup

It is getting late Friday night. I’m sitting in The Gallery at Redlands, preparing to close for the night, go upstairs, and get a good night’s sleep before journeying an hour back to Edom in the morning.

I have posted a pair of pictures of my tent which is just inside the main entrance. Covid canceled the Edom Festival last fall, so we are all more than a little excited to get back in the action again. We will open Saturday at 10 and run until 5. The same hours will be run on Sunday. No rain in the forecast, so we are very happy in anticipation of this event. I hope to see you!

Another Good Saturday in the Gallery

October 2, 2021
Cecilia Bramhall Exhibit

To be an artist is to be able to bring something forth. But to bring forth means to establish in Being something that does not yet exist.

Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche

Cecilia had a fruitful day in the Gallery at Redlands today, painting in oils, greeting patrons & selling art. Her exhibit will remain in place all week and she will run the Gallery next Friday and Saturday while I occupy my booth at the Edom Art Festival.

Thanks for reading.