Welcoming 2019

January 1, 2019


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.



Sunday Evening Musings in Studio Eidolons

June 4, 2023

Working on watercolors while it pours rain this evening

There’s a pervasive myth, shared by artists and non-artists alike, that art is a product of genius, madness or serendipity. Wrong. Art is not the chance offspring of some cosmic (or genetic) roll of the dice. Art is mostly a product of hard work. When you look back on the results of a lifetime of artmaking, even the role that talent played is insignificant. Living life productively, however, is very significant. If you learn to live your life productively, your artwork will take care of itself. If you do not live your life productively, nothing will save your artwork–not even talent. One of the less-advertised truths about artmaking is that it’s more important to be productive than to be creative. If you’re productive, your creativity will take care of itself. If you are not productive–well, if you’re not productive, then how exactly is it you intend to be creative?

Ted Orland, The View from the Studio Door: How Artists Find their Way in an Uncertain World

Occasionally I sit in a rocker and stare at the memories I’ve gathered over the years

Today, Sunday, was restoration day for Sandi and me. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we only managed three hours sleep before rising Saturday at 5:30 a.m. to journey two hours to Palestine for the Dogwood Art Council’s monthly Art Walk. We arrived back home last night around midnight. So, today, after a long sleep, we decided to take a road trip to Thurber, Texas and enjoy a meal at the Smokestack Restaurant.

Returning home, still tired, but hunger satisfied, we napped into the late afternoon, and now, with a driving rainstorm outside my Studio Eidolons windows, I’m ready to relax into my next adventure. I have French-pressed coffee and poured it into my Stanley for an evening of coffee and art-blissing in the company of my studio companion Paddington.

Paddington will always drop into the studio for a visit

A 16 x 20″ watercolor started a month ago, still waiting for closure

Years ago, I took Ted Orland’s words to heart which I’ve quoted at the head of this blog entry. Now enjoying my senior years of retirement, I no longer have to worry whether or not I’m good enough to be making art to put on the market. And I now compete very seldom in art circles; I don’t need the prize money, the recognition, or the headache of wondering whether of not the judge will value my submission.

About ten or so years ago, I registered for a conference at an airport to listen to Jason Horejs, gallerist from Scottsdale, Arizona. I wanted to be successful, hanging my work in galleries. Jason looked at the crowd and emphatically testified that the most important information for a gallerist reviewing a portfolio was the question: “How prolific are you? How many works do you crank out in a year? If we sold your entire portfolio to one collector, how many pieces do you have in reserve, framed, and ready to hang?” I sat there stunned. I knew the answer to the first question–I was creating about ten watercolors a year. I set a goal that day to finish the year with thirty. I finished with nearly eighty. Since then, I have easily created a hundred pieces per year, from 5 x 7″ to full-size. I now have enough work to hang in a number of galleries. I can easily enter an art festival and fill a 10 x 10′ tent with my work without stripping the pair of galleries that now carry my work. I have a public library show scheduled for September/October of this year and already I have set aside the framed pieces I’ll hang in that show.

I’m inspired by Andy Warhol’s “Factory” environment of the sixties, knowing that I always have a handful of watercolors in progress at the same time, and when I finish one, there are a number of others lying nearby, ready to be resumed. The church painting above has been waiting a month for me to return to it, and I just may get around to that one tonight.

Artist Steve Miller setting up for plein air oil painting in downtown Palestine

Completion of Steve’s second plein air oil painting

My own plein air set up for the morning’s activity

Watercolor in progress

The Art Walk yesterday turned out to be fun, for me. Steve Miller (we’re proud that he has joined our Gallery at Redlands) set up across the street from our gallery, and I set up on the corner just outside. I have known Steve since the days we both competed in Paint Historic Waxahachie. That was my introduction to plein air painting. Every May, about fifty artists would descend on the city of Waxahachie to paint for a week and compete for awards and enjoy brisk sales. Hundreds of paintings would fill the Chautauqua structure in the heart of Getzendaner Park, and patrons would overflow the center, taking out wallets, purses, cash, credit cards, and scooping up the paintings. Steve turned out to be a perennial winner, and took home a pair of awards a few weeks ago at the competition. He managed to sell his first painting off the easel yesterday to a family visiting Palestine from Oklahoma City. I’m seriously considering our city in Palestine hosting a plein air competition. I know a large number of plein air artists, and believe I could get answers to all my logistical questions by talking to the Waxahachie hosts. The Ellis County Art Association has hosted this competition for nearly twenty years.

I’m finally nearing the finish of my large watercolor posted below. The day David Crosby died, I decided I wanted to do a third painting of this Palestine series and insert a composition of the youthful Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young super group. These men turned my head as a guitarist in 1970 when I first listened to their debut album released the previous year. I had just acquired my first 12-string acoustic guitar and wanted to play and sing like David Crosby, and surround myself with voices comparable to that musical group. My dream has been fulfilled as I’ve immensely enjoyed performing “Helplessly Hoping” and “Southern Cross” with like-minded musicians years ago. I knew David was living on borrowed time for years, but I still was not ready for him to leave us. So . . . this watercolor is my loving tribute to him in appreciation for all the decades he enriched my musical life.

Nearing the finish of this full-size watercolor project

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.

Drawing Closer to Nature

June 2, 2023

Working on two watercolors in Studio Eidolons this morning

Go into Nature raw and simple and just sit quietly doing nothing other than allowing Nature to become accustomed to your presence.  Soon enough, often just beyond what you had taken to be the threshold of your patience and perception, Nature steps forward and begins to reveal its features to you. Rush it and you will never see it. Grab for it and it will give you nothing of its real self, only what you set out to grab.  But wait a while longer, and the place begins to breathe audibly, to creep and flutter, beat, to speak in a thousand ways.  You listen.  That is today’s conversation.

Peter London, Drawing Closer to Nature

My reading enrichment of late has traveled two disparate paths: The Warhol biography drives me into his “factory” mode where I find myself churning out work and watching it roll off the assembly line. In the past two weeks, I’ve finished over a dozen pieces begun over the past six months. The other thread is the Peter London book that makes me stop, breathe, look, ponder, and then paint. Now that I’ve gotten past the scary part of painting four guitarists in a cluster, I’ve been looking closely at the color patterns and textures of the grasses running across the front of the old Pearlstone Grocery. Mixing the hues has been a very satisfying experience, as I’ve finally gotten the courage to experiment with blending colors that I haven’t used before. I like the new look it’s producing.

Tomorrow, Sandi and I leave early for Palestine to take part in the Dogwood Art Council’s monthly Art Walk. Our Gallery at Redlands serves as a staging ground as the city’s artists of the day come by to pick up their name tags, maps, assigned locations and words of encouragement. We’re proud that three of our Gallery at Redlands artists will be participating as well. Cecilia Bramhall be inside the Gallery with Sandi, working on her latest inspirations, while Steve Miller and I set up easels outside to pursue plein air experiments. Kathy Lamb will be set up with her easel at The Co-Ed Shop on 203 W. Main Street. The event will run from 10-3:00, but our Gallery will remain open till 10:00 that night. We’re looking forward to a dramatic day of making art and greeting visitors.

Steve Miller

Cecilia Bramhall

Kathy Lamb

Thanks for reading.

Some New Endeavors

May 31, 2023

I paint so I’ll have something to look at. I write so I’ll have something to read.

Barnett Newman

It’s a rare moment to be in Studio Eidolons this time of night. But I cannot stop thinking about this day. Time spent in Studio 48 was enriching enough that I’m convinced to continue doing this on Wednesday afternoons. I only stayed two hours, but the time flew quickly as I found myself immersed in this large watercolor. This is my third in a series of Palestine settings, the first two centered on Lightnin’ Hopkins. This one features Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. I began it a few days after the passing of David Crosby. I suppose while I’m at it I’ll go ahead and post the earlier two.



Today also found me reaching back into a novel I’ve been writing, featuring Hank and Randy. I’m thinking of the life and friendship I share with Wayne White from Missouri whom I’ve known since second grade. Wayne remains the brother I’ve never had. We’ve enjoyed life as an odyssey and share many stories back and forth. These memories have spawned this book. I’m posting the rough draft of another piece I just fleshed out day before yesterday:

Finally, standing before his first university class, Randy stood behind the podium, opened his folder, looked out at the expectant faces of the students on the first day of the semester, and began . . .

“Welcome to the fall term. And allow me this moment to introduce myself and this course of study.”

Stepping out from behind the podium, he continued:

“I am the school within the school, much as eighteenth-century European Pietism sought the church within the church, ecclesiola in ecclesia. As you pass through the halls of this university, you may have difficulty sorting the rivers from the tributaries. My elective courses appear in the catalogue as tributaries. I assure you, they are rivers. Indeed I am the main channel.

“I am a university man. My very lifestyle is that of a scholar—a perennial researcher. Daily my mind sifts, sorts, and discards data from books, professional journals, and yes, even the Internet. And what I bring to my courses, every bit as important as the subject matter, is the Love of Learning.

“If you choose to walk with me this semester, or even throughout this year, I will take you through the Great Conversation. I will toss you into the river of ideas that has surged with unbelievable force and increasing momentum these past 2800 years. I will sit you at the conference table in the select company of thinkers, writers, artists, musicians—those creatives whose collective vision has shaped this present world.

“I will grant you the opportunity to put your foot into that Mississippi River and feel the pull of the undertow. I am the institution of learning. I know what I speak. More importantly I know what I don’t know.

“I am the school within the school. We are the school within the school. You have no idea what awaits you this semester. I know some of it because I have taken this tour before. But I am going to tour some streets where I have never before visited. I don’t know what awaits all of us there.”

More to come. 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.

Gallery Work

May 31, 2023
In progress

I spent 2 hours in Studio 48 this afternoon blocking in a setting for the musicians. Managed to put a platform beneath them, tone the wall behind them, then plant grass beneath them. Now they’re anchored into the painting, finally.

A New Chapter

May 31, 2023

#3 of my recent series on “Palestine Blues”

I am quite aware of all the jokes that appear in The New Yorker and elsewhere showing the artist sitting disconsolately in front of the easel, brush in passive hand, waiting for the inspiration to come. But an artist’s “waiting,” funny as it may look in cartoons, is not to be confused with laziness or passivity. It requires a high degree of attention, as when a diver is poised on the end of the springboard, not jumping but holding his or her muscles in sensitive balance for the right second. It is an active listening, keyed to hear the answer, alert to see whatever can be glimpsed when the vision or the words do come. It is a waiting for the birthing process to begin to move in its own organic time. It is necessary that the artist have this sense of timing, that he or she respect these periods of receptivity as part of the mystery of creativity and creation.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

Rollo May has offered a sweet communion in Studio Eidolons throughout this morning. I nearly regret leaving him behind, but I’m excited at this new direction I’m getting ready to take: I’ve decided to designate Wednesday afternoons to working in Studio 48, our new gallery inside Gracie Lane Boutique at 4720 S. Cooper here in Arlington. I’m offering watercolor classes there, one Wednesday a month (my next one will be June 14), but think it might serve us well if I have a presence there on Wednesdays. So, today will be my first attempt, from 2-4:00. My work here in my home studio has been rewarding throughout the morning, and I’m looking forward to this afternoon’s new environment.

If you are in the area, stop by to say Hello, and enjoy all the new work hung by our new artist team. I have seventeen framed pieces hanging here as well.

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.

Shauna, this Blog’s for You

May 28, 2023

My Favorite Table Returned to Studio Eidolons

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.

2 Corinthians 4:7

How satisfying to sit at this small, sturdy table once again! This was one of my favorite pieces of furniture in Studio Eidolons, but when we took ownership of The Gallery at Redlands over two years ago, we really needed furnishings, and this table went down there. I have missed it so! Yesterday, I finally brought it back “home” again, and this Sunday morning, with a grateful heart, I sit at it and work on this blog.

WARNING–This blog will be confessional. I’m usually not comfortable going into this mode, but what I’m about to write has flooded my thinking for several hours now, and I’m writing it for me. You of course are under no obligation to read all of it, or any of it. I’m writing for me . . .

I treasure every moment of my life when I’ve experienced a flood of inspiration from someone’s public speaking or presentation. My journals are packed with recorded notes of these sacred revival moments. And as a teacher and public speaker, I’ve always wished for that gift of inspiring others, touching others, as I have been touched. We don’t really know how to describe “presence” or “impact”. We just know it when it happens. Frankly, I’m a quiet guy. I’ve always wished I could fill a room with presence or electricity from the voice or physical gestures. But I’ve always known that I don’t really have that “It” factor. I even purchased Chris Anderson’s Ted Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking. I used it several times for college lectures, hoping to add some kind of “punch” to what I was trying to communicate. I have no evidence that any of it worked. My epitaph should read I TRIED.

Now I must confess that I have files filled with letters from folks who have told me how much they were moved by something I said in public. I take those out and read them from time to time, and I’m touched to know that sometimes what I presented made an impact.

Now I want to share one of the most precious memories from my life of teaching. I frequently volunteered to be on the program for teachers’ In-services in our school district. Most of us chafed at attending those mandatory sessions, and I thought maybe I would enjoy some of them more if I just got to “talk” instead of sitting for hours listening to others “talk.” Over the years, I presented many, many of those sessions, most of them forgettable, to me.

But one day in the fall semester of 1996, I received a manila envelope in my teacher’s mailbox, and found within a typed letter from Shauna Carroll, an English teacher in my district. I will share that letter in full at the end of this blog.

The letter launched a friendship between the two of us that didn’t last enough years. Though we taught on different campuses, we looked forward to every district event so we could seek out each other and catch up. She was truly an electric individual. About three years after we met, I still remember the first day of summer school when an administrator came up with the brilliant idea of switching out some classrooms. I gave up long ago any attempt to understand some of these administrative decisions. I was to trade rooms with an English teacher across the hall. Why? No one knows. So. As I hurriedly gathered up the course textbooks for my English subject, I heard this voice behind me shout: “Move your ass. This is my room!” It was Shauna. We laughed. “Did you request this change?” I asked. “Hell no,” her response. And that was that. But it was a fun moment.

A week later, Shauna died while driving to summer school. She suffered a heart attack behind the wheel of her car, drove into someone’s front yard, and died seated in the driver’s seat. My guess is that she was in her forties. No one saw this coming. I cannot describe the crush that overcame me that morning as I received the news. I don’t remember that day in the classroom. Or the next. But I do remember her funeral. The testimonials coming from her students still fill my memories with profound gratitude. She was loved. Adored. And funny. And the students were so pure in pouring out their sentiments that day that frankly, I remember nothing of the eulogy.

What Shauna wrote carries much more firepower than what I am able to write. So, if you’re still with me, I’ll now let Shauna speak to you.


Dr. David Tripp

Martin High School

Date: Beginning of the new school year

Place: Lamar High School, English Teacher’s In-service

When: I don’t know, a couple of weeks ago. I’m just now doing this.

Why: Listen. Because.

You’ve been there.

You know how you feel on the morning of in-service days, like a day-old doughnut languishing in a cup of warm milk. Weak. Coffee seems to be brewing somewhere else, tantalizing your senses, not available to you, even if you don’t want it. “How will I endure the mundane? Well, I’ve got to do it, so let’s go.” You are expected to listen. You expect boredom. You anticipate mediocrity.

But I really, surprisingly, enjoyed your in-service on teaching philosophy in literature. I really needed some umph, a bagel with some substance and a whole lot of garlic, cream cheese, chives and salt. Here’s a more realistic appraisal than the “scale of 1 to 10” form that we were given that day. Go back to the experience with me from an observer’s perspective.

You are truly irritating enough to elicit this response. Good for you. I’m proud of your audacity.


There is a strange note in the air. Handel’s water music drips somewhere in my head, waiting to start. But it is really the sound of communication within the room. I’m hoping. I’m wondering.

A stray note on the board says, “Listen and Silent have the same letters.” Too cutesy. Too annoying.

It is not a note from our presenter, because we know that he doesn’t believe in this. We didn’t come here for this. We are borrowing this room for one hour. The inhabitants don’t like that concept on the board. But we have to endure the over-crowding, the restlessness. We talk. We listen. We exchange.

More chairs are hauled into the room. More teachers than the teacher-in-charge expected, than the administration that designed this holocaust-of-a-room expected. (Did they not have anything larger? What were they thinking? Do they not believe that there are so many of us interested in teaching philosophy in the classroom?!)

A small wrinkle appears on the presenter’s forehead; a wry smile, puzzled at the enthusiasm in the room, and we wonder, why? We all know why we are here, doesn’t he? Apparently he doesn’t believe in himself, because there weren’t enough copies of the outline to pass out to the participants. We chose this lecture, this in-service, because we want to know truth, that last horizon of philosophical endeavor, and how to teach it in today’s society within our curriculum. How to open-up kids’ intellectual curiosity.

But the room fills up quickly. Heat rises, that ghostly glare surfacing, dancing, from a black-top pavement in Texas August heat.

Page 2

The room is restless. Demanding.

Who would expect that there would be so many teachers interested in this particular style of teaching? Today, forty, fifty tops in the whole district of secondary education in Arlington. 52,000 students. We know that we are rare. We actually like questioning, answering, questioning again. We work a program that doesn’t have anything to do with a lesson plan. In fact, I call my lesson plan book a history book, because I write down what we have experienced that day in the classroom. Yes, we follow the curriculum guide, sort of. All of the sacred “Essential Elements” are there. But we teach to the students’ interests, abilities, expertise, desires. We care about their future. We want to see progress, and feel it and hear it, and ultimately sense it. It is there in our classrooms, and want it brought out.

We also know that we were right, because our students have increased their TAAS scores, that last bastion of credibility in Texas, particularly at Barnett Junior High, where we were awarded the mega-bucks to continue whatever it was that we were doing right. TEA didn’t know exactly what it was that we were doing or how we did it. We were just one of those schools that received this honor in Arlington. Non-specific encouragement. Just a lump-sum that said, “Oh, yes!” $20,000.00. OOOsh. Apparently, philosophy does matter in today’s materialistic society, and, in a spooky way, they are combined.

We care. We listen. We believe. We, in fact, Demand dialogue within the classroom.

Not silence.

The board that we are borrowing says, “Listen and Silent have the same letters.” It doesn’t know that it echoes ominously in our collective souls. We want to attack it. We’ve already said, “We don’t believe this.” We don’t agree with this philosophy. We expect a constant challenge that defies all odds, all principles. I’m antsy, write that preposterous slogan down on the back of my packet, and attack it with little dots from my pen. Disgusted with myself at that mindless activity, I look around the room at the other creatures. Who are we?

We came here today to hear a lecture on philosophical communication in literature. We don’t understand this concept of silence. We talk incessantly.

Because we don’t teach silence in our classrooms; we don’t adhere to that principle. We don’t even understand that anyone could teach this way. We are an annoying bunch of people that the administration doesn’t particularly understand, nor necessarily respects. To them, Aristotle is dead; Oh well. But to us, his brilliance is alive and intact. We don’t care about any negative attitudes that feed down to us when it comes to encouraging students to think, because we came into this profession knowing that what we wanted to do would not always be accepted, but that we had a goal a belief. If the administration believed in us, then we would believe in them. But ultimately, we needed for them to understand.

Page 3

I realize that I lucked out. The administration at my school is very positive. Glasser-oriented. They actually care about our classroom environments, and what we can achieve. My principal puts notes in our team’s boxes, saying, yes, you can order pillows for reading time if that keeps the students more focused and into reading and will ultimately improve their TAAS scores. She’s supportive. I have an Assistant Vice-Principal, that puts notes in my box on ways that I can better communicate with my students from a philosophical perspective. We communicate through the newspaper, magazine articles, essays, editorials, that we share with one another, and ultimately, with our students. We all actually believe in reading. We, as teachers, are given positive encouragement to work a program that is interesting, successful, and that broadens the minds of our students. We feel empowered to help our kids achieve.

I see my classroom now, before school starts. Within my room, there is a library of reading material, from science to math to history to foreign languages to government to origami to classical literature. There is a reading time, a moment in our day at school, structured in, when everyone drops everything and picks up a book to read. Mandatory reading. What a novel concept in education. Again given to us by the administration. Yep, I’m lucky.

If we talk about duality in the mainstream of life, about the need for harmony (“Practice Peace” poster in my room), and the conflicting need for uniqueness (multi-colored penguins that point to our own individuality, also in my room), then we ultimately come to some convergence in our literature, and hope that the concepts will blend. In 8th Grade mandatory-literature texts, there is a duality in harmony vs. individualism, and I see this in the literature of TOM SAWYER, FLOWERS FOR AGERNON, DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, and CALL OF THE WILD.

8th grade stuff.

No, college-stuff. Because these little 8th grade students are really young adults, and are figuring out their individuality (their need for acceptance as well as their rule over mankind), and their need for the pact mentality of the wolves in the CALL OF THE WILD. A blend. A wholeness.

A communication, borne out of the past, brought into a spiritual future, that has the audacity to combine that duality into the present.

And in my mindless ramblings that day that involved the charged atmosphere around me, you begin your presentation, and almost instantaneously, it ends.

Like a brief glimpse of a comet. I just thought, Wow. I felt small, like the time I was able to capture a double-rainbow on film, I wanted to be on those rainbows, both, but couldn’t. I wanted to ride on the comet, but knew that I couldn’t catch its tail. So now I am frozen in my chair, wondering how I can incorporate philosophy into my classroom.

But then I realize, I already have. Because I like conversation, dialogue, I turn to the nearest person and start talking, And in the back of my head, I begin to hear the students talking, my future students blended with the past, and know that I am now ready for the first day of school. I can’t wait for the process to begin.

Page 4

I ultimately realize that all I am doing is helping the students process information in an organizational way based on their heritage, their background, their goals.

Listen, can you hear them talking? Because I can.

They are the voices of tomorrow, and we should hear them.

Listen, can you hear them talking?

I will accept nothing that resembles silent. I adamantly refuse it.

“The two roads diverged in a narrow wood, and I, I took the one less traveled,” (Robert Frost)

I seriously believe in their future, and my own, in the cyclical rather than linear nature of life, and through as much chatter as I can irritate out of them.

Thanks for the wow. I needed that.

And I’m not even sure I understood all that you said. It was just an inspirational for me, a spur, I’m ready to go to class now.

Shauna Carroll


Barnett Junior High

Thanks for reading.

I’m Back

May 27, 2023

My latest work, now in The Gallery at Redlands

Don’t think about making art. Just get it done. Let everyone else decide whether it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they’re deciding, make even more art.

Andy Warhol

After a month’s absence, it feels good to be back in The Gallery at Redlands. And even better to have heart-to-heart talks with residents I’ve missed desperately. One of my gallery artists confided this morning that she feels as lost as I when it comes to deciding what to do next, creatively. I’ve lived long enough that I’m no longer surprised by dry spells. Nor discouraged. The creative winds will blow, and when they do, we’ll be ready. Artists make art because it is in them, and we cannot step back for very long. I’m grateful for the Warhol quote, because too often I wonder over whether or not I am making something that anybody out there would want to purchase. The only thing we can do is continue to turn the crank, and believe that what we do has quality.

My work area in the Gallery

I enjoyed our watercolor class today as we painted a bison. My demo is nearly complete, and I intend to do some more work on it tonight before we close at 9:00

Watercolor class working with studied discernment

Time to get back to painting. Thanks for reading.

Sunday Morning in Studio Eidolons

May 21, 2023

Half the world wants to be like Thoreau at Walden, worrying about the noise of traffic on the way to Boston; the other half use up their lives being part of that noise. I like the second half.

Franz Kline

I love the tension between wilderness and city discussed by Kline above. I have missed the wilderness of late, yet have enjoyed the quiet tranquility of my home and Studio Eidolons during this quiet Sunday. I managed to finish a commission I started recently, and as I worked in silence, I recalled a line from Julia Cameron that I read years ago and continue to cherish:

Artists toil in cells all over Manhattan. We have a monk’s devotion to our work–and, like monks, some of us will be visited by visions and others will toil out our days knowing glory only at a distance, kneeling in the chapel but never receiving the visitation of a Tony, an Oscar, a National Book Award. And yet the still, small voice may speak as loud in us as in any.

So we pray. Fame will come to some. Honor will visit all who work. As artists, we experience the fact that “God is in the details.” Making our art, we make artful lives. Making our art, we meet firsthand the hand of our Creator.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Thanks for reading.

A Good, Working Saturday

May 20, 2023

Saturday evening in Studio Eidolons

We cannot will to have insights. We cannot will creativity. But we can will to give ourselves to the encounter with intensity of dedication and commitment. The deeper aspects of awareness are activated to the extent that the person is committed to the encounter.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

After days of frenetic appointments and activity, it was nice to awaken to a morning where no demands were made on me throughout the day. Settling into my studio, I enjoyed my coffee, reading, journal scribbling, and finally this chance to sit down at the drafting table and concentrate on a new commission to paint a cutthroat trout and fly rod. It has been a long time since I’ve tackled this kind of a subject matter, and it feels good to return to it.

The Rollo May quote worked for me today. I put myself in the position to make art, and the inspiration and enthusiasm soon arrived.

Thanks for reading.

Picking Up the Pieces

May 16, 2023

Working at my Desk this Morning

Throughout his life, he expected much . . . and throughout his life he was disappointed . . . . But he believed deeply that the existence of art–and especially the creation of it by himself and others–was a way of embracing and yet transcending what William Butler Yeats called “the fury and the mire of human veins.” The question was: As an artist, how to be enmeshed in the human experience and yet transcend it? How is it possible to cope with the disastrous aspects of one’s own personal experience and at the same time rise above the suffering that it produces? For Motherwell, the answer lay in his art. He was quite literally kept alive by the act of painting.

Jack Flam, “Introduction: Robert Motherwell at Work,” Robert Motherwell: A Catalogue Raisonne, 1941-1991, Volume 1: Essays and References

Those who follow my blog are aware that I spent the past sixteen days in St. Louis, tending my father in St. Louis University Hospital. The struggle has been exhausting for him, both in and out of ICU. He has improved somewhat but still has not been released for rehab. I had to return to Texas because I could not let my business slide any longer. I cancelled two important events and am now feeling the pinch from those decisions.

The Robert Motherwell reference above soothed my spirits this morning, as I acknowledged about ten years ago that art, for me, was more than a hobby, more than a vocation. Throughout my St. Louis sojourn, I realized more than ever how much art feels like my life blood, my very oxygen. Picking up the brush when I returned home gave me a sense of strength and hope and a connection to life that I haven’t felt for a couple of weeks.

Completing New Work at the Drafting Table

Paddington Still Likes to Lounge in the Studio as I Work

Completed 8 x 10″ watercolor of one of my favorite New Mexico scenes along Route 66

Completed 8 x 10″ watercolor of my Friend and Fishing Buddy, Ron Darr

I managed to complete a pair of small watercolors I had started as demos for classes taught recently. I now have them in frames and ready to present to the public. I have also returned to Studio 48 here in Arlington, and replaced eight of the nine pieces I had hanging on display since the gallery went through its transformation last month. I have a watercolor class scheduled for June 14 in this gallery, and look forward to working with others in this medium.

New Display of my Work at Studio 48

The rest of the Display

There is so much still to do that has laid dormant since my departure. It feels good to put the word back out to the public that I am once again open for business and am glad to be back at the task.

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.