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.

 

Loading Wagon for Edom

October 5, 2022
Chuck Wagon Sentiments. Framed Watercolor. 16 x 20″ $400

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

This year has been different for me. In my former (spastic) days, I was scrambling the night before to get my gear together for an art festival, sometimes staying up till 2 a.m. and then rising at 6:00 to load the wagon and hit the road. Sandi asked yesterday if I thought the difference was retirement. Maybe. Or maybe I finally figured it out the same way I did term papers in college–it pays off to keep your eye on the calendar and begin preparations well in advance instead of the day before.

Today is Wednesday. Edom set-up is Friday. Festival opens Saturday. All my work is complete except loading. Thus, I can sit up in bed with coffee this morning, think about what lies ahead, and write a blog for my friends.

I wish I spoke as wisely and concisely as Ted Orland writes. I have carried a couple of his books with me like Bibles for over ten years now, and I still go back and cull out passages that have been definitive for my life as an artist, especially the one above that I just read over my morning coffee. The sentiment of that paragraph reminds me of an airport hotel lecture I attended over ten years ago, given by Jason Horejs from Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. He told the group of artists that galleries are looking for prolific artists. Looking directly at us, he asked: “How many works of art do you create in a year?” I froze. I knew then that the answer was 10-15. I made a goal that day to create 30 works before the year was up. I created over 80. Since then, I’m sure I’ve averaged well over 100 pieces per year. It was then that I decided that if I was productive, my talent would increase, much like a guitar player improves by playing his/her guitar more. The 10,000-hour rule, expounded by the writer Malcolm Gladwell. I got my 10,000 hours in long ago, and I’m not slowing down in my senior years.

5 x 7″ Greeting cards. Blank inside, Stories on back, $5 each. 5 for $20

Over the past several days, I have printed more than 500 new greeting cards featuring my watercolors with stories on the back. Sandi has packaged over 90% of them; I helped with the last 50 or so this morning, early.

Edom Art Festival, 2021
Edom Art Festival, 2021

I have participated in many art festivals that were duds–thinly attended, mostly by those looking for hot dogs or someplace to walk their dogs. But Edom is not one of those. This will be their 50th year, and the crowds are enormous. Last year broke a record for me, and I only hope that with the promise of good weather that this year will bring in another enthusiastic throng. The time goes by so much quicker when you’re busy talking with patrons.

It’s been a relaxing morning. Coffee was good, reading was good, and I’m glad I had this chance to send up another smoke signal. I hope I see you in Edom Saturday or Sunday.

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.

Warm Remembrance of Edom Art Festival

October 4, 2022
The Shed Cafe. Edom, Texas (no longer open)

While sitting in the waiting room of the dealership waiting to have my vehicle serviced, I scribbled out a story about Edom Art Festival that is 100% true, but changed my name to Randy. I plan to edit this and include it in the book I’m writing. This is my fondest memory of the Edom Art Festival, one of my favorite events of the year. They will celebrate their 50th anniversary this weekend when they open 10-5:00 Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be setting up my corner booth on Friday and then look forward to another extraordinary adventure. I hope you will join me, and I hope you feel the bliss that this memory provides me.

Thanks for reading.

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The October morning frost brought a chill to the inside of Randy’s Jeep Grand Cherokee. It had been a miserable, forgettable year economically, forcing him to pack his entire art festival gear, including his 10 x 10′ display tent, into the Jeep and journey two hours to rural East Texas for yet another art festival. When he finished setting up last night, the sun was sliding behind the tree-lined pasture land, temperatures were dropping into the fifties, so he decided not to drive away in search of a hotel. He wasn’t sure how far away the nearest town was, and he was too weary to think about pursuing such details. Parking his vehicle between a pair of RVs, he stretched out in back of the Jeep and was soon asleep.

With the coming of dawn, temperatures had dipped to near thirty degrees, and Randy was glad he had packed a denim jacket. Pulling on his boots, he scrambled out of the back of his Jeep and trudged up the hill, between the shrouded white tents lined up on either side of the wide path, creating a long winding boulevard. In a few hours, the air would be filled with the noises of artists opening their tents, setting out their pieces, and preparing for the opening of the first day of the festival.

Turning the corner and walking through the festival gate, he saw to his delight the distant lights of The Shed Cafe. Silvery smoke curled up from the chimney, the air was filled with the aroma of bacon and eggs frying, biscuits baking and coffee steaming. Randy was happy to the point of tears. The miserable year he had endured seemed to melt away with the warmth of the food waiting for him. The festival would not open till 10:00, so he could look forward to four hours of breakfast, extra coffee, journal time, and the gift of relaxation and anticipation of a first-rate art fair. All that he could think of was . . . What a wonderful world!

Monday Morning Preparations for the Next Show

October 3, 2022
Sketch of the tree outside my bedroom window

For years, I’ve had a morning ritual involving coffee, reading and journaling. Recently I’ve determined to sketch more, so I have incorporated sketch time into my morning ritual as well. There is a beautiful tree in the neighbor’s yard visible from where I sit up in bed, and shortly after 7 a.m., the sun reaches the crown of the tree and bathes it in light. I have attempted several times with pencil to capture the tree’s essence in my sketchbook. Here is my attempt from this morning. I’m still trying to figure it out.

All week I’ll be assembling, packing and loading my gear for this weekend’s Edom Art Festival. We set up on Friday, and the show runs Saturday-Sunday 10-5:00.

I will try to write daily about the preparations, and will gladly report on how well the festival goes.

Thanks for reading.

On to the Next Adventure

October 2, 2022
Sorting through Art for Next Weekend’s Festival

We are called upon to do something new, to confront a no man’s land, to push into a forest where there are no well-worn paths and from which no one has returned to guide us.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

It is Sunday. We just got home and unloaded our vehicles from the weekend’s Art Walk in Palestine, and now I am gathering my gear for the Edom Art Festival this next weekend, October 8-9, Saturday-Sunday, 10-5:00. A part of me wants to stop for a day or two to savor what just happened, but the other voice chimes in to remind me that time is short and the weekend will be here before I know it.

Art Walk was a good experience for me personally, but I was not free to roam the city to find out how things went in all the other businesses. I taught two watercolor classes in The Redlands Hotel, one at noon and the other at 5:00. For me personally, the watercolor classes, wherever I teach, are getting better and better. The artists Saturday were called upon to render a bison in profile in bright “Southwest Art” type of colors. And they certainly pulled that off. Two of the artists actually went out and bought frames and packaged their paintings after class. I was gratified, getting to watch all this transpire. We are talking about having another class soon.

My heartfelt thanks goes out to all those who participated in the classes as well as the Art Walk artists at large. I think we just pulled off a splendid weekend.

For any of you readers in the vicinity, I hope you will be able to attend the Edom Art Festival next Saturday in Edom, Texas (town is only a crossroads; you cannot miss the festival). I will be in a corner booth, and would love to see you again!

Edom Art Festival 2021
My booth from last year
My booth from last year

Thanks for reading.

Offering some watercolor window tips.

September 30, 2022

I have a watercolor commission in progress, and while I’m waiting for my window to dry, I thought I’d share something I’m often asked. When it comes to rendering windows, I’m happy to share what I’m doing. If I find a better way in the future, I’ll share that as well.

First, I draw out the window with mechanical pencil and ruler. Then I take a 005 Micron Black pen and use a ruler to trace over my pencil lines. I never use Black in watercolor; rather I mix varying amounts of Winsor Green and Alizarin Crimson until I get a rich black. The amount I mix for each window pane will vary, as more crimson will give a warm black, and more green will give a cold black. I place a blob of watercolor in the center of the window pane, then use a 4H pencil with a good sharp point to draw the water to the edges and corners of the pane. I let that dry. Then I move to the next, mix a new color, which will not be the same black as the other, but I think that is good. When finished, I can see a variety of dark, light, cool, warm across the spread of window panes.

Thanks for reading.

Friday Morning Stirrings in The Gallery at Redlands

September 30, 2022
Seated behind the desk at The Gallery at Redlands

Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this flash is everything.

Henri Poincaré

There is little time to write, but I wanted to post the remarkable line from Poincaré I just read early this morning (why do I awaken at 4:30 a.m. after my first night spent in Palestine? This occurred last week as well).

I believe most creative minds dwell in that rhythm between ebb and flow, darkness and light, depression and inspiration–long nights of darkness interrupted by a visitation from the muse that spurs us to pick up the brush, pen, musical instrument, and begin a new cycle. But it takes a mathematical genius such as Poincaré to encapsulate that experience beautifully in a short line such as that posted above. I am thrilled every time I read a line of words that pour out of a writer that way.

Thank you, Henri. Now I am back to work . . .

Gearing up for a Big Art Weekend

September 29, 2022

Jason Jones photograph of me in today’s edition of The Palestine Herald

We hit the ground running upon arrival in Palestine today. Our monthly Art Walk is Saturday, 10-3:00, and I’ll be teaching a watercolor class 12-2:00, and offer an additional one if needed, 5-7:00 for the same price. We’ll paint a colorful bison in our two-hour exercise. All materials are provided. Cost is $35. Students and seniors over age 55 will pay $30. I’m posting the bison below, followed by the article appearing in today’s Palestine Herald. My genuine thanks goes out to editor Penny Lynn Webb, always a supportive friend of the arts, and reporter Jason Jones who interviewed me a few days ago.

Our subject for the watercolor class

The Downtown Art Walk will once again feature painting classes during its monthly event this weekend. Classes were added to the event in August and the Dogwood Art Council is excited to continue the instructional series.

The featured instructor for October is renowned watercolor artist David Tripp of Recollections 54. He will instruct classes starting at noon on Saturday, Oct. 1 in the Redlands Hotel conference room.

Tripp, a native Missourian, grew up in St. Louis and studied art in rural northeast Missouri while earning his bachelor’s degree from Truman State University.

“I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil,” Tripp said. “I was a terrible student and had zero interest in school, but my art earned me a full ride at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. Somehow during that time, I woke up intellectually.”

Tripp went on to earn his Masters and Doctorate before spending the next three decades teaching high school and college. Since retiring he has focused full time on art.

Tripp’s watercolors feature small-town American sights fading from our landscape, but not our memories.

“I like to focus my art on American nostalgia,” Tripp said. “I find inspiration in relics from the past that are still standing. Old architecture especially seems to invoke an emotional response.”

Tripp has been the owner of The Gallery at Redlands since 2021 and splits his time between Palestine and his home in Arlington every week.

The Art Walk takes place from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., but the class will be from noon until 2 p.m. Cost is $35 per person or $30 for students and seniors age 55 and above.

“We’ll be watercoloring an 8 x10 bison in bright colors, ‘Southwest Art’ style,” Tripp said. “All materials will be provided.”

Seats must be reserved in advance by calling David Tripp at 817-821-8702 or emailing dmtripp2000@yahoo.com. Seats are still available and all major credit cards are accepted.

The Redlands Hotel is located at 400 N. Queen St. in Palestine. For more information call 903-922-5794 or visit www.dogwoodartscouncil.com.

To learn more about David Tripp visit www.davidtrippart.com or follow his blog at davidtripp.wordpress.com.

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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.

Morning Sketches & Musings

September 28, 2022
Attempted sketches of what stands outside my bedroom window

The vision of the artist or the poet is the intermediate determinant between the subject (the person) and the objective pole (the world-waiting-to-be).

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

The tactile sensation of dragging graphite over a paper surface, to me, is intoxicating. I seem to fall into a trance when I attempt to render crowns of tree leaves with the scribbling of a pencil. The change in breathing I sense when I suddenly shift to the mode of scratching out the irregular surface of tree bark also sends me into ecstasy. I am alive with feeling when I engage in these tasks.

Positioning myself upright in bed, opening my sketchbook, selecting the right pencil and sharpener, and then fixing my eye on the tree, luminous and resplendent in the morning sunlight just outside my window–what a way to live! The invitation to sketch is irresistible. The image on my page never approaches the splendor of what I’m seeing and feeling, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is what happens to me while I sketch. My world suddenly improves; my life senses new hope.

Knocking Upon Silence

September 27, 2022

This morning’s view from my bedroom window

We knock upon silence for an answering music.

Archibald MacLeish quoting a Chinese poet

The wondrous light that greeted me this morning through my open window made me think of Annie Dillard’s reference to “the tree of lights” in her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. I never forgot that quote, and now that I am re-reading Rollo May’s The Courage to Create, I’m gleaning gold just as lustrous as that in the leaves above as I read his account of Cezanne’s revelatory experience gazing upon the colors of trees. I also hear reverberations of my friend Clarry Hubbard as he writes poetically about the trees he visits on his morning hikes.

I have started a commission for one of my dearest friends, and would love to post a picture of how it is coming along, but alas, the part I am working on is now covered in masquing fluid and flooded with yet another tree color. I have this feeling that once I remove the “bandages” I’m going to see something sublime, but that is not going to happen till it’s 100% dry. The problem of working on 300 lb. watercolor paper is the long drying process that comes with it.

More later. Thanks for reading.

Preparing for Saturday’s Watercolor Class

September 26, 2022
The Lone Bison

The fall art season continues to heat up. Saturday will feature Palestine’s monthly Art Walk from 10-3:00, and I will be offering a watercolor class 12-2:00 in The Redlands Hotel conference room in the lobby area down the hall from our Gallery at Redlands. We’ll be watercoloring an 8 x 10″ bison in bright colors, “Southwest Art” style. All materials will be provided. Cost is $35 ($30 for students and seniors age 55 and above). I always look forward to these experiences, and would love to see any of you in the area who would like to participate. Seats must be reserved in advance by calling me at (817) 821-8702 or emailing me at dmtripp2000@yahoo.com. I take all major credit cards. We still have seats available.

Thanks for reading.