A coming out party for my new art

October 15, 2016

I am taking this opportunity before the show opens to post all my recent watercolors that are going on public display for the first time. Edom Festival of the Arts is a great venue for doing this. We open in 45 minutes and I’m grateful to have some quiet sit-down time before the crowds arrive. Our forecast calls for lovely festival weather.

Thanks for reading. 

I paint in order to remember. 

I journal when I feel alone. 

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone. 

Edom Festival of the Arts 

October 14, 2016

Before dropping off to sleep early tonight, I decided to post a couple of photos of my nearly-finished booth. I’m in space #35, adjacent to the iconic red barn I enjoy gazing at while out here. 

I plan to rise early tomorrow to fine tune my booth.

Thanks for reading. 

I paint in order to remember. 

I journal when I feel alone. 

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone. 

Another One of Those Andy Warhol Nights

October 13, 2016

The night hours grow long when I find myself preparing inventory for yet another art festival. In the morning I will leave for Edom to set up for the annual Edom Festival of the Arts. I find a measure of reward, looking through the paintings I’ve done over the last several months, and then formatting and printing them for greeting cards and prints. The visual delights usually offset the agony of shortened nights of sleep.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember. 

I journal when I feel alone. 

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone. 

Art at Every Juncture 

October 12, 2016

“Art is life, an expression of life, an expression of the artist and an interpretation of life.”

Robert Henri

The predawn finds me in a local Starbucks, sipping my favorite brew and poring over this beautiful volume just purchased, Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In.

One of my precious students purchased yesterday one of my collages that hung over my teaching station as part of a trio. I chose to enter our building early this morning to fill the gap on the wall with another of my pieces, though it doesn’t fit the genre of the group. 

Traveling down the street to a local cafe, I now enjoy some quiet reading, and appreciate the testimony of Henri. In a couple of days, I’ll take my seat among kindred spirits at Edom Festival of the Arts and enjoy the miles of a community that lives to make art.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember. 

I journal when I feel alone. 

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

A Past Worth Remembering

October 11, 2016


Wayne’s Bluff


David’s Bluff

number three (2)

Ron and Dian’s Bluff

And so it is with our own past. It is a labour in vain to recapture it: all the efforts of our intellect must prove futile. The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm, beyond the reach of intellect, in some material object (in the sensation which that material object will give us) which we do not suspect. And as for that object, it depends on chance whether we come upon it or not before we ourselves must die.”

Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way

Preparing for the upcoming Edom Festival of the Arts has put me in a satisfying frame of mind. Sorting through stacks of watercolors has floated abundant memories toward the surface of a resistant consciousness–resistant mostly due to fall semester industry.  Most of these memories have been most welcome–memories spanning the splendid summer of 2016.

Pulling three watercolors of bluffs from the stack, I have chosen to name the first one after a friend of mine known since the second grade.  Wayne and I have recently re-connected, thanks to Facebook, and have spent some quality time on Missouri rivers kayaking and fishing. I miss him during the months I live in Texas, as he still resides near my home town in Missouri.

The second bluff I have given my own name.  The memory of that post-Thanksgiving morning of 2015 when I was driving through the rain still stays with me.  The memory is mostly comforting.  At any rate, I enjoy looking at this composition as the location is only about four miles from where I lived throughout my youth.

The final painting I did en plein air while vacationing with my friends Ron and Dian Darr in South Fork, Colorado.  I worked on three paintings in this genre outside their travel trailer as we ate and visited together.  Every time I look at this painting, I recall how delicious times are when spent in conversation with these two kindred spirits.

When I sit in my booth in Edom this weekend, I’ll be looking at these works, feeling gratitude for the generous hand life has extended to me.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Preparing for the Big Game

October 11, 2016


Leonardo is the Hamlet of art history, whom each of us must recreate for himself . . . 

Kenneth Clark, Leonardo da Vinci: An Account of his Development as an Artist

My distracted personality has been tested of late, with time divided between reading several excellent books, completing watercolors, grading papers for school, and preparing inventory for my biggest art show this year: Edom Festival of the Arts, to be held this next weekend, October 15-16 in Edom, Texas.

In recent weeks, I have managed to complete several works which are now being framed or matted professionally for their first public viewing:


Summer Shell (Claude, Texas)

loco (2)

Rounding the Bend (Eureka Springs, Arkansas)


Resting in the Heat (Brookfield, Missouri)


Arkansas Repose


Sleepers (Lexington, Texas)


Autumn at the Back Door

The gas pumps and bucket of apples I had completed long ago and tucked into my portfolio, completely forgetting about them till they were rediscovered yesterday.

Because of yesterday’s school holiday, and Friday’s travel time to east Texas for setup, I have only a three-day week at my school, which in many ways will make it much busier. Once the weekend arrives however, and my booth is set up, I intend to enjoy the October weather of rural east Texas, as well as the crowds that fill the rolling pastureland where the festival is held. Though the location is rural and remote, thousands of patrons pour in from Dallas, Plano, McKinney and several populous cities from the metroplex.


Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to understand.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone


Drifting Thoughts of Tintern Abbey

October 6, 2016

Abandoned Gas Station in Claude, Texas

These beauteous forms,

Through a long absence, have not been to me

As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:

But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din

Of towns and cities, I have owed to them

In hours of weariness, sensations sweet . . . 

William Wordsworth, “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour, July 13, 1798”

In these final days, while inching closer to completing this watercolor, I have found myself spending more time gazing at it than actually painting. In many ways, the closing notes to a complicated composition are the most critical, and this one has certainly given me pause, again and again, throughout the past days.

This morning, Wordsworth’s haunting thoughts revisited me as I lay in bed, slowly waking in the predawn. I could see the image of this painting in my mind’s eye as well, comingling with all the sweet remembrances of passing through this small Texas panhandle town in the heat of past summer excursions to Colorado. And, true to the lines of Wordsworth, this quiet image has remained in my mind as a sanctuary amidst my bustling classrooms throughout the morning of this day. While growing older, recollections such as this wax sweeter, especially when I find myself in the nexus of nagging deadlines and job-related expectations. Memories and painting provide a precious sanctuary.

Thank you for reading.

I paint because I want to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.



Seeking Aurora

October 4, 2016


I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

No matter how old I get, the visual effects of a bright sun will always arrest my gaze. The watercolor with which I struggle now focuses on this derelict gas station in Claude, Texas that my eye has engaged for over a decade of travels to and from Colorado. My previous attempts at painting it have been satisfying, but this time I’m struggling to catch the quality of the warm sun glancing off the gas pumps. My first wash of colors appeared too dirty and drab for my satisfaction. I’m wanting to capture that burnished glow of sun glancing off the rusty facades. As the sun waned that afternoon when I photographed them, the pumps seemed to wax. I thought that Apollo was lending his strength to any object with the stillness and strength to reflect it. The complementary clash of blue and orange has always been pleasing to me, and if I can get these pumps to complement the sky colors, then I’ll be more satisfied.

The foliage texture in the trees has pleased me, but again, the flickering fireflies of colored sunlight reflecting off the leaves didn’t happen this time either. I’m pushing myself to let the sun paint this watercolor, and so far I seem to be getting in the way.


Introducing some changes . . .

Once I got home from school, I had some more time to spend on the painting, using prismacolor pencil colors of yellow, scarlet and orange to try and bring some glow to the gas pumps and the tiled roof. I then added the concrete and asphalt of the sidewalk and street in the foreground, along with some fringe grasses.  The foliage was darkened and extended as well, and finally some deepening of the shadows beneath the roof.

Once tomorrow arrives and I can get some natural light back on this painting, I’ll have a clearer idea of how it is looking.

Thanks for reading.

A Weekend Given to the Arts

October 2, 2016


. . . there is something else in painting beside exactitude and precise rendering from the model.

Eugene Delacroix, Journal, March 5, 1849

I celebrated this first weekend in over a month when I had no work-related responsibilities to fulfill. The entire weekend was given to reading, journaling, and watercoloring, and now my soul, finally, feels restored. The abandoned gas station from Claude, Texas is coming along slowly and with much feeling, as I spend more time staring at it compositionally than actually painting. Reading the Delacroix journal this morning confirmed me in this practice, that I should spend more time contemplating my work as art instead of the craftsmanship of drawing or painting.

I spent a large part of Sunday painting all around this composition, and I believe the most satisfying discovery was the way the stale bread crumbs responded in the foliage above the roof of the station. As the paint dried around the crumbs, I continued to mist the paper with a small spray bottle given to me by a dear fellow watercolorist/friend. Thank you, Elaine! I feel that finally I’m learning how to cope with the difficulty of tree foliage and texturing.


Over a week ago, I began a smaller sketch of Queen Anne’s Lace, intrigued by the warm and cool greens that surround the blossoms, and wondering how actually to shape and render the blossoms themselves.  After alternating several layers of masquing and color washes, I finally peeled away all the masquing this afternoon and tried to go back into the composition and render the blossoms.  So far, it isn’t working the way I wish for it to, but it’s early still.  I’ll keep studying and trying new things.


I wish I could pick up the brush again in the morning, but I have a job to fulfill, so I guess I’ll see if I have any gas left in the tank after finishng my Monday classes.

Thanks for reading.

First Kiss of Autumn

September 26, 2016

When Sept. 22 arrived last week, Texas temperatures climbed to the high 90’s. We’re in the lower 60’s now, thanks to some weekend rainfall. I opened the windows to my studio for the first time since early Spring, and the cool winds filled my room with delight as I painted. 

I decided to visit one of my “sanctuaries” for some reading and reflection. The Arlington Highlands is a shopping center with a green belt that no shopper ever seems to notice. This is where I’ve chosen to pause this evening to celebrate a delicious day, climate wise. I’ve made myself a pledge thus fall not to miss out on plein air painting opportunities once the leaves begin to turn.

Thanks for reading.