Closing out the Art Festival

May 28, 2017

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Art on the Greene, Booth #30

There are two things in painting: the eye and the brain, and they have to help each other; you have to work on their mutual development, but painter-fashion: the eye, for the vision of nature; the brain, for the logic of organized senesations which give the means of expression.

Paul Cezanne

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During a quiet moment in the festival yesterday afternoon (humidity and temperatures exceeding 90 degrees thinned the crowd), I sat in the shad behind my booth and sketched the trees above me, applying Cezanne’s two-pronged theory of making art.  My eye studied the textures and tones of the bark on the tree trunk above, but my brain knew that the composition needed more than a diagonal tree trunk.  So I selected a network of limbs from someplace else, as there were no limbs to fill out the composition I felt was needed here.

Today we close out Art on the Greene.  It’s raining this morning, but preliminary reports indicate it could quit by noon (we open at 11:00) and the duration of the day will be twenty degrees cooler than yesterday.  I’m bringing along my Cezanne biography just in case bad weather chases away patrons for the day.  We close at 5:00, and six hours with few-to-no patrons is a long stretch if one has nothing to do.

Thanks for reading.

My Own Mental Map of the World

May 27, 2017

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Art on the Greene this Weekend, Richard Greene Linear Park, Arlington, Texas

. . . we each construct our own mental map of the world, its major landmarks already drawn in at birh–coded into our genes–while vast blank areas wait to be filled in from experience.

Ted Orland, The View from the Studio Door

Art on the Greene began yesterday afternoon, and once my booth was open for business, I was grateful to have a shady spot behind my display to sit in the breeze, enjoy talking to patrons as they came along, and spend some time sketching trees in the vicinity.

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Both of these drawings are 5 x 7″ mounted in 8 x 10″ white mats. I’ve tossed them into my booth with the rest of my display, priced at $40 each. I’m bringing my art supplies and easel today, and if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll do some watercolor sketching on location.

2016 MADE Layout

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I’m in Booth #30, in the center of the park

Before leaving school yesterday to finish setting up for this festival, I was called out of my classroom, saying I was needed in the gym.  I wasn’t sure what this was about, knowing the gym was filled with the senior class, preparing for their end of the year Send Out.  As it turned out, the new yearbook coming out was dedicated to me, and the assembled senior class congratulated me on my retirement. I didn’t see this coming, and now, the morning after, I am still numb with wonder over this moment.

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Caption reads: “dedicated to dr. david tripp for his positivity, wisdom, advice, guitar skills, and coffee and round table talks”

Thank you, James Martin High School, for making me feel special on this day, and for all the positive memories of the decades.

And thanks all of you for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Opening Day of Art on the Greene

May 26, 2017

Fishing Memories

Fishing Memories–Now available in limited edition

In the artist, there are two men, the poet and the worker.  One is born a poet, one becomes a worker.

–Emile Zola, letter to Paul Cecanne

An artist is developed, not born.

–Robie Scucchi, art teacher, note written to me in my ninth-grade research paper

At 3:00 this afternoon, Arlington’s Art on the Greene art festival opens for the weekend, closing Sunday night.  I am bringing out for the first time a new set of signed-and-numbered giclee prints of Fishing Memories, the original painting now hanging in a competition at the Desoto Art League.  This print is full-size and priced at $100.  The first edition has already sold (in fact, the sale is the reason the prints are actually a reality today).

I have begun reading an engaging biography, Cezanne: A Life, by Alex Danchev.  The quote from Emile Zola came from this reading.  I’m grateful that my high school art teacher wrote to me what he did when I was so young–I never forgot that statement.  In my opinion, talent is only a small part of being artistic, and one has the capability of improving and maturing over time.

After such a spastic schedule over the past several weeks, I had a dear friend help me with the setting up of my art booth last night (thanks so much, Kelly!), so I was afforded a delicious evening of rest and retirement to bed early in anticipation of a festival weekend.  Being rested now, I am festival-ready, and enthused about how my booth is shaping up.  I’ll send pictures probably later today.

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If any of you readers are in my area, I will be in Booth #30, in the heart of the park, and adjacent to the major walkway going through the midst. I have a prime location (thank you Steve and Janis!).  We will be open till 8:00 tonight.  I would love to see you.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Reflections Over another Good Day of Painting

May 14, 2017

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One Last Waxahachie Plein Air Watercolor

Here’s a quote that I think will interest you–“Great painting like Bach’s music, in texture closely woven, subdued like the early Gobelin tapestries, no emphasis, no climaxes, no beginnings or endings, merely resumptions and transitions, a design so sustained that there is no effort in starting and every casual statement is equally great.”

But of course such depth presupposes another mode of feeling. One has to be Bach before one can paint in his power and richness. Depth of style can only spring from a deepening of our emotional life. 

Letter from NC Wyeth to his son Andrew, February 16, 1944

Today grew into a hot 91-degree afternoon in Waxahachie. Returning to the spot that I occupied yesterday, I was delighted to find “Spider”, my new musician friend, there again, playing his guitar and harmonica, and keeping me company and inspired as the temperatures climbed.

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Though I continued to withdraw further and further into the shade, there was no wind where we were positioned, so I continued to feel hotter and fainter as the day wore on. But still, I could not stop hearing those words from NC Wyeth that I’ve posted above–words I read before setting up my easel and making a second start on this ground-level series of arches and portals of the Ellis County courthouse. Like the allusion to a Bach composition, I had no particular starting or ending point or even a focal point as I worked all over this composition before me, sometimes drawing, sometimes measuring, sometimes splashing, sometimes washing, sometimes drybrushing, sometimes scraping–everything I did to this painting felt right, and I loved the intimate connection I felt with the gigantic architectural wonder rising high over my head across the street. I thought of another NC Wyeth quote:

A great truth is like a mountain that one walks around, and the changes of its contour as one moves his position only emphasize and revivify its majesty.

After about three hours of working this composition, with a lunch break in the midst. I decided to sign it and call it finished.

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Romanesque Redivivus

When 5:00 arrived, signalling the end of Paint Historic Waxahachie, I returned to the Art on the Square gallery to gather up my paintings on display, and then learned that despite a slow day of traffic (only about thirty patrons came into the gallery today), the painting above, “Romanesque Redivivus” was purchased this afternoon. That brought me great joy. Three paintings sold and one honorable mention made this show a good experience for me. Now I can perhaps find some rest over the next two weeks before I set up for the three-day Art on the Greene art festival in Arlington.

Thanks for reading. It’s been another excellent day.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Closing Out the Plein Air Event

May 14, 2017

I slept in on Mother’s day, knowing the gallery would not open until noon or later, and knowing I needed to catch up on some lost sleep.

I managed to arrive in Waxahachie by 11 a.m., set up in the same place I did yesterday, and gave this courthouse portal one more attempt. I have chosen to stop at this point.

Sitting in the shade, and reading from the letters of NC Wyeth, I came across this passage that gives me pause:

“My main impression of practically all painting today is that the grand mass of painters have nothing to say but take great pains in saying it.”

This has been an issue with me since the very first day, years ago,when I began this blog experiment. I seldom know what to say about my painting, or about my theories. I give it my best shot every time, but it does bother me to think that I could be throwing out empty words, and guilty of NC’s condemnation. The only thing I can assure my readers of is this: I am always thinking about my art, wondering if my message is conveyed through the images or through the words. At any rate, if my words don’t make sense, then I hope my paintings are good enough to view. And conversely, if my paintings are subpar, then I hope that at least my words have something to say! Sorry if that sounded catty; I take my art and my ideas seriously, and will go to every length to make them worthy of an audience.

Thanks always for reading!

Another Plein Air Attempt of the Courthouse Portal

May 14, 2017

The paint out at Waxahachie ends at 5 today. I am exhausted, but decided I would try one more painting today. Once again I have attempted to paint the arched portal entries to the courthouse, and am taking a break now to enjoy some shade and reading.

Loving the Work Itself

May 13, 2017

The week has been, to me, a singular mixture of ineffable sadness and inspiration–two moods that often happen together. But there is a persistent melancholy which I seem unable to shake off.

To circumvent these feelings I have devoted most of my spare time to reading, especially at night when sleep eludes me.–Thoreau, Goethe, Emerson, Tolstoy–all have struck me, as always, with incisive vitality and freshness. My ruminations have again been vividly stirred.

These great men forever radiate a sharp sense of that profound requirement of the artist, to fully understand that consequences of what he creates are unimportant. “Let the motive for action be in the action itself and not in the event.”

I know from my own experience that when I create with any degree of strength and beauty I have had no thought of consequences. Anyone who creates for effect—to score a hit–does not know what he is missing!

N. C. Wyeth letter to his son Andrew, February 16, 1944, a year before his death

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My entire day in Waxahachie was spent in this rapturous spot

The 40-minute drive through the country on this 63-degree morning was drenched with scintillating sunlight and excellent vibes. Artists were requested to paint on the courthouse square from 9:00-to-noon, then sell their work from their easels from 1-to-3:00. As it turned out, not many artists showed up for this event, but I was in place by 8:30, parking adjacent to the spot I had selected where I knew the sun’s angle on the courthouse would be favorable for me throughout the day.

With thirty minutes to spare before beginning, I sat in the shade on a stone bench and opened my book The Wyeths, which contains the complete correspondence of N. C. Wyeth. For years I have been enthralled with N. C.’s breadth of reading and thought throughout his years, and was excited when I found out his correspondence was available to read. When I read this morning his closing letters to his son, I was stirred to find that he read the same men that I read with profound pleasure. And I loved his manifesto which matches mine–making art has reward in itself, even if no one comes to look at it or purchase it. I was thrilled to know that this entire day was a gift, and I could do with it whatever I wished.

The courthouse clock struck 9:00, and I approached my easel with a plan–to knock out three watercolor sketches of the same subject in three hours’ time. I selected a 5 x 7″ picture plane, knowing I had three mats and picture frames in the Jeep that would accommodate them if they were worth framing.

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Candid Photo taken by my friend Pamela Brocato.  Thanks, Pam!

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In progress watercolor sketches

I drew the first courthouse cupola, then laid in the wet sky. I then turned to number 2 and repeated the process, then again with number 3.  Returning to the first one, I then painted the top part of the cupola, then moved to the other two. Returning to number 1, I fleshed out the bottom part of my building composition, then repeated with the other two. At 11:15, I despaired of finishing by noon, and set out to work fast and furiously and spontaneously on the tree cover, moving quickly from one to the next to the next. Finally, I put in whatever remaining details on the three buildings I had time to do.  At 11:55 I stopped, took the pieces into Art on the Square, the gallery at 113 W. Franklin St., inserted them into their 8 x 10″ frames and hung them with the rest of my work.

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I have priced the three paintings at $65 each framed in the 8 x 10″ frame, or $50 with only the mat. They will hang in the Art on the Square gallery until tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Making art is a solitary activity, and I don’t believe I have every complained about that. Solitude contains its own rewards, and when I feel that I have entered the “zone”, there is no such sentiment as “loneliness” in my soul. But today, I was definitely not alone. My phone jangled all day with well-wishers, online observers and all kinds of good words. Then companions began to drift in and out of my area the entire day, and it was sublime!

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Drew Minshew, alias “Spider”

A fellow about my age took his seat on the bench in the courtyard behind me and commenced playing his acoustic guitar, harmonica and singing. I seldom hear such talented musicians playing out in public like this, purely for their own enjoyment. This man was professional, and he sang and played the songs that resonate with me from my past–“Dust in the Wind,” “Turn the Page,” “Tears in Heaven,” and many, many more. He stayed until noon, as I did, playing till his fingers got sore. We exchanged business cards, and I intend to hear him perform. He stays busy with gigs. I think I enjoyed him the most, because he gets the same thrill from making music that I do from making art–the joy is in the process.

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Spider and Skeeter

Skeeter Murley, a long-time friend and watercolor enthusiast of mine, surprised me by dropping by. He had work to do in nearby Midlothian, and decided to swing by Waxahachie, knowing this Paint Historic Waxahachie was in progress. Skeeter has a job that takes him on the road too much for him to paint as much as he wishes. Hopefully, he’ll find a way around that soon.  His skill is phenomenal, and I’m proud to belong to the same Society of Watercolor Artists as he.

Cheryl Rose

Cheryl Rose and Me

I have known Cheryl Rose for decades, as we both worked in the Arlington Independent School District. She has retired, and I look forward to joining her ranks in a few weeks. She surprised me with a text that she was coming to town. Cheryl lives in Arlington, and made the 40-minute trek alone, finding no one available to make the trip with her. She came to town to peruse our gallery as well as the antique stores around the square. Cheryl has been a wonderful patron, picking up my limited editions, but today she decided to purchase an orginal.  Thank you, Cheryl!

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“Odysseus on the Rail,” now in the Cheryl Rose collection

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Cheryl Rose took this photo

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. . . and this one as well!  Thanks!

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Pamela Brocato and “Annabelle”

Pamela Brocato is one of the beautiful artistic spirits I gather with on Tuesday evenings for our “artists cafe” in north Arlington. She is a graphics design artist and pastelist, who also works long hours, travels extensively for her job, and struggles to find quality time to make art. But she is a delight in art-related conversations, and when she is in town, she joins our cafe and inspires us. She surprised me with a visit as well, and her adorable Pomeranian is as soft as a cat and just as quiet! The dog never made a sound the entire time Pam visited together at my easel. Pam also surprised me with some fabulous pics and I have to post those as well (she took the photo I posted near the top of this blog as well).

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As the afternoon grew hot and I began to feel my energy fading, I decided I might try one more shot at the courthouse, this time at the ground level.

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Ground Level Portal of Ellis County Courthouse

I worked fast on this one, as I was growing tired and the sun finally found me where I had earlier enjoyed the shade. It was time to call it a day and head back to the house.

This day has been fulfilling on so many levels. I’m happy that I ground out four watercolors, and happier that I met a new friend, and familiar friends cared enough to make the journey to spend time with me.  Thanks to all my friends, and thanks to all of you who follow me on this blog.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Saturday morning Plein Air Experiment

May 13, 2017

From 9 to 12 this morning at Waxahachie, artists are gathering to do plein air paintings to sell off the easels from 1 to 3 this afternoon. We are all located on the courthouse Square comma and I am going to try to get three paintings done by noon. So far I have three skies blocked in. I will concentrate my energies once again on the courthouse cupola.

Stay tuned!

Prepping for the Final Weekend in Waxahachie

May 12, 2017

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Honorable Mention at Paint Historic Waxahachie judging

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Sold on opening night of Paint Historic Waxahachie reception

It was a good night.  The courthouse window posted above received an Honorable Mention and a gift certificate of $100 for Jack Richeson & Co. art supplies.  And before the evening was over, my first attempt at the courthouse sold. I drove home happy, thinking about tomorrow’s endeavor.

I will participate in the town square paint-out tomorrow from 9-12:00, followed by the sidewalk art sale from 1-3:00. My plan is to paint at least three 5 x 7″ watercolor vignettes of the courthouse cupola to insert into 8 x 10″ mats and simple frames. We’ll see if they can sell. Meanwhile, I have six additional paintings hanging inside Art on the Square, 113 W. Franklin St. (on the square!) still looking for a home.

If I still have the stamina after 3:00, I plan to retreat to the scenic areas surrounding the town of Waxahachie and focus on some landscape painting. Artists who have registered for Paint Historic Waxahachie can still create new work to sell until 5:00 Sunday. I have blocked off this weekend, hoping to have enough energy to continue painting till it’s over.

Thanks for reading.

Waxahachie Paintings Completed

May 11, 2017

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“Romanesque Redivivus”

The week has been a long grind, but I managed this afternoon to complete painting #7 and titled it “Romanesque Redivivus” since the architectural style is known as Romanesque Revival. I’m too sleepy tonight to record thoughts or musings with any kind of depth or twist, but I did want to show my readers this final painting. All seven paintings are now framed and six of them will be entered into the judging tomorrow. Wish me luck, and thanks for reading!