Hiatus, February 5, 2010

Feed Store, Waxahachie Texas

The doctor has advised me not to return to work till next Wednesday.  This is very unfamiliar to me.  I never get this kind of hiatus.  Never.  The next several days were loaded, and typical of my lifestyle.  I was to transport my two aunts to a public lecture Saturday afternoon, speak from a pulpit on Sunday, teach full-time high school classes next week, and conduct a 2 1/2 hour college Logic class Monday night.  All gone–slate wiped clean till Wednesday.  Doctor’s firm advice.  I have an upper respiratory infection, low-grade fever, and, to describe the doc’s words, am “very run down.”  He has pointedly said that I am infectious, need to stay out of the public, take handfuls of prescription meds, drink plenty of fluids, and sleep a great deal.  Otherwise, he warns, I’ll get worse instead of better.

Today I have felt too miserable to read, paint, or do anything that requires my eyes to focus.  All I’ve done this afternoon is sleep, and now, late tonight, I’m tired of listening and half-heartedly staring toward the TV.  Then I remembered–I haven’t blogged today.  If I get to feeling better, sooner than later, then I’ll return to my art.  It will be nice to have some days to paint and not prepare lectures and lesson plans (seems that’s all I do anymore, around the clock).  And if I paint, then I’ll have some fresh things to post.

This, of course, is not fresh, but the memories are loaded.  This is one of my early plein air attempts during last year’s Paint Historic Waxahachie Plein Air event.  I created about seven watercolors in that stretch of time, learned a great deal by trial and error (plenty of the latter), and will always be grateful for what it offered.  This was my first attempt to paint a three-quarter view of a business without benefit of tools for linear perspective.  I tried my best to eye-ball the building, but did not get it right.  That was the least of my problems.  The major obstacle for me was breaking through that anal, detail-oriented style that had controlled my output for over a decade, and learn to trust the on-site watercolor sketch. By the time this was nearly finished (too late), I had finally loosened up and was sketching more than rendering details.  However, the details were the first things I put in–particularly the signs in front.  In fact I did the signs before I even laid in wash to establish the look of the overall building.

The bottom line–I learned a great deal, after it was too late to save the painting, and am thankful for that.  Sometimes we learn the best things after we’ve ruined a work of art.  And (funny thing) I sold the painting rather quickly at the Bob Phillips Texas Country Reporter music and art festival in Waxahachie in the fall of that same year.  It was one of the first originals to leave my booth.  And the patron seemed genuinely thrilled to have an original painting of the establishment where she had made her purchases her entire life.  Of course–why would the patron be wondering over all the things in the picture that I “didn’t get right”?

Maybe tomorrow I will feel better and be able to paint again.  Thanks for reading.


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4 Responses to “Hiatus, February 5, 2010”

  1. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    First of all, take care of yourself. Enjoy this enforced reprieve from daily life and just take it easy. Thank you for sharing so many plein air paintings and stories. I am very interested in plein air and hope to do more next year. Your experiences are very helpful and your paintings are very well done. Are we our worst critics?


  2. David Tripp Says:

    Thank you, Linda. I hope I can feel good enough to paint. It would be nice to have this kind of space to pursue it. And thanks for the kind response to my plein air remarks. I’m glad I finally started doing it, and wished I had started sooner. I hope your experience with it turns out to be as rewarding as mine.


  3. Alex Zonis Says:

    Do what the doctor says, get your rest and get better soon. These low grade infections can get rather unpleasant.

    Thank you for sharing the story of this painting. Love paintings with stories.


  4. lesliepaints Says:

    I once owned horses and goats so I know trips to the feed store. This painting brings up those memories. I like the shadows in this and how the foliage in the background pushes this building forward.
    I’m sorry to hear about your illness. GET WELL!


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