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.

 

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Gallery at Redlands Hosting Two Artists at Work this Evening

December 2, 2022

Pastelist Grace Hessman

Watercolorist David Tripp

The weather outdoor in Palestine, Texas is dark, rainy and cold. But I’m feeling great inside The Gallery at Redlands. Tomorrow will be Palestine’s monthly art walk. Local pastelist and member of our gallery Grace Hessman will participate in art walk, and has agreed to spend an evening with me in the gallery making art and greeting patrons. I’m turning the drafting table over to her and I’ll carve out a spot for myself. It’s going to be fun making art side-by-side with a kindred spirit. If you are in the area and have time for a visit, please stop by. We stay open till 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. And coffee is always available in here!

Thanks for reading.

Pre-Dawn Stirrings

November 26, 2022

My work is like a diary.

Pablo Picasso

Waking in the darkness at 3:55 this morning with the sound of rain pounding on my second story bedroom hotel window, I was surprised to find that my mind would not go back to sleep. Over the past two-and-a-half hours I have enjoyed the luxury of showering, dressing, brewing coffee, and sitting at the dining room table over books and journal.

I am now four hundred pages into volume three of John Richardson’s projected five-volume biography on Pablo Picasso. Volume four lies at the ready before me as well. This reading odyssey began May 14, 1992 when my Humanities class at Arlington Lamar High School surprised me with the gift of volume one that had just come out a few months earlier. Before resuming my reading in volume three this morning, I read every autograph inside the opening pages of the first volume, and was once again warmed by the love and affection of that special Spring ’92 class as the school year was drawing to its end. Thanks to Facebook, I’m still in contact with some of those students. I cannot think of any profession outside of teaching that could have filled me with more warm memories than the ones created by students who genuinely respected each other and their instructor. If there is a heaven, I hope I could embrace all those souls again.

John Richardson has given us a priceless gift, and I only hope he would be allowed to live long enough to finish this magnificent task. I faithfully read the first two volumes as quickly as they came off the press. Volume three stalled at the halfway point, but now that I have purchased the fourth one, I’m committed to finishing both these works as well. And then I’ll hope the final one comes out. I’ve been immersed in the biographies of the Wyeths, Edward Hopper, Robert Motherwell and Andy Warhol. But I’ve never been afforded the luxury of ploughing through more than a thousand pages of one so complex as Picasso. Until now.

The rain is intensifying outside and the forecast calls for more of the same throughout the day. This could mean a long day of solitude in the gallery if the foul weather keeps people in their homes. And that is a good thing. Yesterday was a spectacular day of sales in the gallery, so if no one comes in throughout this day or night, it only means I could accomplish the many, many tasks that began surging through my waking mind hours ago. Creative eros makes me grateful to be alive, well, and filled with energy.

If I don’t write more later, then let me thank you now for giving me this part of your day.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

New Work in The Gallery at Redlands

November 18, 2022

The art of Amanda Hukill, new cover artist for The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine and new artist for The Gallery at Redlands is now displayed in our gallery’s lobby window.

Local artist Cecilia Bramhall has been busy with new oil paintings and has brought in those along with her new holiday themes.

The Gallery at Redlands welcomes new artist Steve Miller from Grand Prairie, Texas. His oils have been a favorite of mine for over a decade and I’m glad he’s finally in our family.

We have difficulty keeping Arlington potter Paula Cadle’s work in stock! Here are some of her latest editions to our gallery display.

Though traveling Europe, Elkhart artist Grace Hessman manages to remain prolific in her pastel output. These pieces have just arrived in the gallery.

Local artist Kathy Lamb demonstrates the perpetual artist by continually creating new oil paintings in her Nickel Manor studio down the street. We’re proud that she chooses to hang her work here as well.

The Polar Express season opened yesterday in Palestine, and I will be getting out my train themed work for the gallery as well. We have plenty of new art on display now and would love to see you when you have time to stop by.

Tribute to the Creatives

November 17, 2022

Good morning, friends of the blog. I’m releasing something I’ve been writing in my head for some days now. I still have plenty of editing to do, but have decided to go ahead and release the raw draft to let you know what I’ve been thinking and feeling of late. These memories are a comfort. I am aware that “nostalgia” comes from a Greek word that combines the sensations of pain and presence in memory. So maybe I could call this a nostalgic piece.

Tribute to the Creatives

Paint is not the only thing flowing out of the brush and onto the paper.

Every stroke releases years of tears, fatigue, anxieties and growing pains. Every stoke reveals the curiosity, study, questions and growth of time.

The sculptor at the forge pounds, bends and shapes the steel from the stress and the heat of his own arduous journey of maturing.

The finished work glows with the essence of his chiseled years and glistens under his sweat and tears.

With every stroke of the writer’s pen, a torrent of letters is released. Words. Paragraphs. Pages. Chapters. Narrated by self-doubts, rebellions, questions, studies.

You gaze upon the finished product in the gallery, the museum, the library, unaware of the wear and tear, the Sturm and Drang, the stretch, the crush, the impact that dented, chiseled and re-shaped the creator’s life.

You’re unaware of the wreckage strewn in its wake, the debris scattered from every uninvited collision. Heat searing from the series of frictions. The work of art stands mute as you gaze, glance, or merely pass by.

The work stands a stoic witness to the tragedies and depressions

Smells of rain-soaked alleys during nightly drunken walks. Paint-peeled, dingy apartment rooms with their frayed and stained carpets, streaked windows, and sounds of dripping faucets throughout the night, the running toilet that greets the morning.

The swish of traffic outside the window, splashing down rain-soaked city streets.

Stale cigarette smoke mingles with the scent of stale urine in the alley shortcut on the way to class.

Coughing and sniffing in the libraries.

A graduate student weeping softly over a graded term paper.

Another furiously scribbling with pencil on notecards. Books stacked around with three more opened and spread before him.

The giant wall clock ticks away time. Eliding time. Disappearing time. Time that always takes and never gives.

With monk-like devotion, artists, writers, scholars and musicians work away the hours in their cells, studies, studios, libraries, coffee shops and bars. In worshipful service they bow before the altars of their craft. They believe. They anticipate. But mostly, they work.

One stroke after another.

One crumpled page after another.

One hammer blow after another.

One plucked string after another.

One struck key after another.

And the words, the ideas, the visitations continue.

New Limited Edition Print Coming to Gallery at Redlands

November 17, 2022

Signing the new limited edition giclee prints

Palestine Blues, now available in limited editions. $100 unframed

Good morning. I’m proud to announce that I have signed my first seven copies of a limited edition series of Palestine Blues. The original hangs framed behind my desk in The Gallery at Redlands, but has already sold. The limited editions are a little smaller, but look great in color and sharpness. I’ll be placing them in the gallery later today (Thursday) after we arrive for another weekend of activity.

Thanks for reading.

Working Late on a Rainy Night

November 11, 2022

I’m not sure this book is for people who want to create, but don’t. It seems to me in the end, as far as expressing yourself is concerned, you just have to plunge in, fears and all. There is something courageous about it. If a person is too timid even to start, I’m not sure what it would take to get that person started. I’m not a big believer in the books and courses that advocate creativity rituals, altar making and mask making to get unstuck and get started. Maybe that stuff works. I don’t know. they just seem like more strategies to avoid getting on with it. This, then, is a book for people who are in the thick of the creative struggle.

Ian Roberts, Cteative Authenticity

The hour is drawing late at The Gallery at Redlands. Outside, the temperatures continue dropping, and the rain continues falling. I like that. I know it will keep people home and that I’m guaranteed some long overdue quiet time and space to work. Tomorrow is already used up, and I won’t be making art then. Yesterday was used up, and I couldn’t make art then. Today was exactly what I needed and wanted. After a few hours without interruption, I took a break from working on the commission, brewed a cup of coffee and sat down to enjoy some communion with Ian Roberts and this engaging book. I don’t have enough conversations with other artists about the artist’s enterprise, and I regret that. But there is that line from the movie Shadowlands that I love: “We read to know we are not alone.” During my quiet moments, I love to read from Ian Roberts, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Eugene Delacroix, Robert Henri and other artists and visionaries from the past who cared enough to write out their observations about the artist’s task.

And lo and behold, into the gallery strolled Orlando Guillen, our youngest artist/sculptor who took out a full-page ad in our latest magazine The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery. He came to pick up his bundle of magazines, but with the cold, wet weather outdoors, he chose to stay for a cup of coffee and an hour-long conversation where we covered the entire artist’s territory–inspiration, depression, successes, failures, lessons learned, personal philosophies . . . we could have been French Impressionist painters in the Cafe Gerbois. So I’ve been double-blessed; an hour’s communion with another writer followed by an hour with a live artist in my gallery. Now I can return to work further on the commission

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.

Re-Living the Wonders of the Magazine Launch Party

November 11, 2022

Palestine Blues, 24 x 39″ framed. Sold

Snow Rhapsody. 20 x 24″ framed. $400

Beginnings of a new commission (using photo of my earlier watercolor for the model, as requested)

“Mitcha, why aren’t you home painting?”

Hans Hofmann chiding Joan Mitchell for walking her dog in Washington Square Park.

I could have been the target for such a barb this past week. It feels good on this chilly, darkened and frigid rainy morning to sit at the drafting table in The Gallery at Redlands and finally get down to the business of working on a promised commission. But as I work, the Wednesday night magazine launch party at The Redlands still floods my heart with joy and gratitude. Here are some photos that Dave Shultz took at the event:

Unveiling of Amanda Hukill’s, new cover art for volume 8. Photo by Dave Shultz

The proud moment came when publisher Gloria Hood lifted the veil to reveal the cover of the new edition of The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine. Newly selected cover artist Amanda Hukill has just been added to the selection of artists at The Gallery at Redlands, and her work now adorns our lobby window display.

Magazine feature artist Amanda Hukill, now displaying at Gallery at Redlands

New look at the Gallery through the lobby window

A few changes in the street-side window as well

Artist and Publisher Gloria Hood addressing the party about the new edition. Photo by Dave Shultz

Diane Reis, President of the Tyler Palette of Roses art organization, speaks to the audience. Photo by Dave Shultz

Praise and encouragement from Neita Fran Ward, Executive Producer and Host of the Art Connection of East Texas. Photo by Dave Shultz

The event morphed into an autograph party as artists and sponsors autographed their ads by request. We had fun laughing and comparing the moment to high school seniors signing their yearbooks.

I chose to share a piece of writing I composed for this special occasion. The text is below:

Byzantium Emerging[1]

Sixth-century Byzantium emerged a center for the

arts.

Mid-twentieth century Manhattan caught the same

fever.

Critics called New York City the New Byzantium.

Twenty-first-century East Texas feels the creative

muse.

Artists, musicians, and writers adjust their sails to  

catch the winds

As together, we sail toward the New Byzantium.

Palestine emerged with the railroad.

Railroads connected communities yesterday.

Art connects our communities today.

Brace yourself.

The creative winds are bringing us together.


[1] William Butler Yeats said the following about his poem “Sailing to Byzantium”—“I think if I could be given a month of Antiquity and leave to spend it where I chose, I would spend it in Byzantium a little before Justinian opened St. Sophia and closed the Academy of Plato. . . . I think that in early Byzantium, maybe never before or since in recorded history, religious, aesthetic and practical life were one, that architect and artificers spoke to the multitude and the few alike. The painter, the mosaic worker, the worker in gold and silver, the illuminator of sacred books, were almost impersonal, almost perhaps without the consciousness of individual design, absorbed in their subject-matter and that the vision of a whole people.”

We have been saying it around here for some time now–something special is in the air, and the creatives of East Texas are enjoying this resurgence in the arts. Tomorrow morning, Sandi and I travel to Tyler, Texas to participate in their first ever art festival. We’ll be with Neita Fran Ward in the Art Connection of East Texas booth.

And then, tomorrow night we will travel to Cleburne, Texas to attend the artist’s reception at the Stone Trough Winery. I have work hanging in that show as well, and look forward to bonding with some artists I haven’t seen in awhile. Publisher Gloria will be bringing out the new edition of the magazine to share with attendees there as well.

Dave Shultz has also created a new feature video to play on the Gallery TV

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.

Magazine Launch at Gallery at Redlands

November 9, 2022

We are minutes away from launching volume 8 of The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine. The Gallery at Redlands is starting to fill, and I wanted to share with my readers the piece I’ve written to commemorate this new chapter in our lives:

Byzantium Emerging[1]

Sixth-century Byzantium emerged a center for the

arts.

Mid-twentieth century Manhattan caught the same

fever.

Critics called New York the New Byzantium.

Twenty-first-century East Texas feels the same

pull.

Artists, musicians, and writers adjust their sails to  

catch the winds

As together, we sail toward the New Byzantium.

Palestine emerged with the railroad.

Railroads connected communities yesterday.

Art connects our communities today.

Brace yourself.

The creative winds are bringing us together.


[1] William Butler Yeats said the following about his poem “Sailing to Byzantium”—“I think if I could be given a month of Antiquity and leave to spend it where I chose, I would spend it in Byzantium a little before Justinian opened St. Sophia and closed the Academy of Plato. . . . I think that in early Byzantium, maybe never before or since in recorded history, religious, aesthetic and practical life were one, that architect and artificers spoke to the multitude and the few alike. The painter, the mosaic worker, the worker in gold and silver, the illuminator of sacred books, were almost impersonal, almost perhaps without the consciousness of individual design, absorbed in their subject-matter and that the vision of a whole people.”

Another Late One in Studio Eidolons

November 2, 2022

It is closing time in the gardens of the West and from now on an artist will be judged only by the resonance of his solitude or the quality of his despair.

Cyril Connolly, Horizon, Dec. ’49-Jan ’50

One week before our magazine launch party at The Gallery at Redlands, Sandi and I find ourselves in the midst of yet another late night, working on promoting the event. We’re proud that we’ve been chosen a second time to launch The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine. Volume 8 will be brought out next Wednesday. Our party will last 4-8:00 and we’re excited at the growing number of interested participants that have notified us.

Our new cover artist is Amanda Hukill of Palestine. We’re happy that she is joining our assembly of artists in the gallery, and we’re currently working on a display of her work in our lobby window. We also welcome oil painter Steve Miller of Grand Prairie, Texas. We will be hanging three of his pieces in our collection this weekend, and party goers will have the pleasure of meeting him at the event.

We’re extremely proud that Art Connection of East Texas, under the capable guidance of Executive Producer Neita Fran Ward, has joined in on this publication effort. Their spread of pages in the magazine are exquisitely produced. A contingent of their artists will be setting up an exhibit in the lobby of our Redlands Hotel, serving as an extension of what The Gallery at Redlands has on display. The city of Tyler, Texas and its Palette of Roses possesses a body of over a hundred visual artists. Palestine is enriched to make the acquaintance of these creatives, and looks forward to working together with them as we continue this New Byzantium theme promoting East Texas as a burgeoning art community.

We just now received the digital link so we could view online the entire magazine. I’m sorry I cannot post this, since the issue won’t come out till next week’s launch. But our excitement knew no bounds as we perused every page of this beautiful publication.

Cowboy coffee has been brewed and poured into my bison mug as we continue into the early morning hours, trying to finish up details for next week’s event.

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.

Saturday in the Gallery

October 29, 2022
Saturday morning quiet

An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.

George Santayana, Life of Reason

This long, rainy, dark Saturday has afforded precious time and space for gallery work. Thanks to Sandi’s diligent focus on planning for events around the corner and Dave Shultz’s photography, we’ve managed to get some important things done.

Last night I finished Palestine Blues, and I’ll take it to the framer Monday. I’m ready now for the next challenge.

Thanks for reading.