Accosted by a Stallion, February 1, 2010

Tack shed from Ranger, Texas

Just finished teaching an evening class in Logic.  Still have stacks of work to do for tomorrow’s Advanced Placement Art History.  But, a promise is a promise.  At all costs, I will strive to post my art with commentary every day of 2010.  This is about the only New Year Resolution I have yet to break.

I am posting something from my files of memory lane.  My wife Sandi, our friend Kat Duke, and I traveled to Ranger, Texas in 2008 on a scalding hot summer day–triple digits.  Her grandfather has property there and raises quarter horses.  Our only “plan” that day was to look for inspiration so we could write in our journals, create poetry, essay, write songs for our guitars, and just (to borrow from Kerouac and friends) enjoy some “kicks.”  We just hadn’t anticipated the kind of “kicks” awaiting us.

While walking across a seemingly boundary-less pasture, we were suddenly accosted by a very handsome stallion.  The first response of this magnificent beast was to turn his rear toward us and poop a large pile.  I thought this was O.K., but the ladies warned that he was marking his territory.  I was alright with that too.  The drift that I was not getting was that the three of us were not “invited” guests.  We casually walked away from him and he followed, closer and closer and closer.  Sandi would turn from time to time and gesticulate with her broad-brimmed sun hat, and he would wheel and turn and gallop away, but only for a short distance, and then would return.  This uneasiness persisted for what seemed a lifetime, as I thought we would never get to a fence–and he just kept coming, every time with more aggression.  Finally, the fence arrived, we were over it, and he seemed calmer without us.

Once the stallion incident was behind us, I came across this tack shed, that Kat’s grandfather built himself.  I loved the sight of it, the dark interior, the smells emanating from the mixture of heat, Texas dust and horse residue.  I took several photos and made some quickie sketches in my journal.  Once back at my studio I decided to add this Chesterfield King cigarette sign I photographed that was tacked to the outside of a restaurant in Creede, Colorado.  I also decided that the white-hot cloudless Texas sky was kind of boring, so as a last touch, I darkened it for a more overcast look.

Kat has moved on to Seattle to continue writing songs and living out the life of a folk singer.   We all miss her in Texas, but the Pacific Northwest is now much improved, having added her to their population of creative spirits.  Her mother purchased this original watercolor from me this past Christmas.  I’m delighted that it has found a home with its rightful family.  So, my heartfelt thanks goes out to Kat’s mom for the purchase, to Kat for all the memories and music together, and above all, taking us to Ranger, Texas for an unforgettable day of experiences.


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2 Responses to “Accosted by a Stallion, February 1, 2010”

  1. lesliepaints Says:

    I want to be there.Always a sign of a good painting. There is that dark doorway wnderfully placed, again and furthur enhanced by the hitching post. This one really has the character of drawn with a brush. I like that about your work.


  2. David Tripp Says:

    Thank you Leslie. When I first pursued watercolor (late ’80s) I had this theory that it was an extended form of drawing–drawing with color. For years, I pursued this idea, using the sharpest brushes I could find so I could lay down lines as sharp as a pencil. Only problem was the time it required, continually reloading that fine brush, and all the time having to change to larger brushes for laying down wash, etc. Two years ago, a Boston watercolorist opened my eyes to the Isabey Kolinsky sable, size 10. That changed everything. Now I can almost do an entire painting with just that one brush. Granted I’ll still “mop” with large flat brushes, I’m stunned at how this new brush can give me razor sharp lines for dozens and dozens of strokes, without reloading, and at the same time, can collapse into a nice large “mop” to create sudden flourishes, and even flat washes. I’ve never known such versatility in one brush before.


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