Lunch at a Romantic Mountain Town Getaway

Romantic Musings

Pausing for a romantic luncheon in the historic business district of Eureka Springs, Arkansas last weekend, my wife and I could not stop gazing down at Spring Street  below us.  The more I looked, the more I thought of Edward Hopper’s birds-eye views of New York City that he painted so enchantingly.  I realized that I had never tried this, so it was time.  I have posted a link to the Basin Park Hotel, where we enjoyed lunch, and this fabulous balcony view.  The link shows the flat-iron building across the street that anchors this composition.

I am so pleased to get in-and-out of a small painting so quickly (this one is 8 x 10″ and will be available for $300 unframed).  I never thought it possible (for myself) to get so much minute detail crammed into such a small working space, and to be nearly finished this quickly.  I began on Sunday afternoon (the day after the luncheon), and have posted the picture as it appeared Tuesday.  I have yet to finish the handrails in the foreground, and still have some decisions to make on the overall composition (perhaps some broad darker tones in the background landscape, or the row of brick buildings–I don’t know yet).

My wife has suggested a diptych, again, something I have never tried in watercolor groupings.  I like the idea, so now I have the second one underway of the flat iron building, viewed from the end–an extreme low-angle view (worms-eye?).  The wet and sloppy sky is still drying, hence I pause to blog for a bit.  This second one is also 8 x 10″ and will be extremely, minutely detailed (I hope).

My poetic muse companions the past three days have been Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot and William Carlos Williams.  I’m filled with a sense of wonder as I contemplate their theories of Imagism (Williams: “No ideas but in things”) and for the moment am attempting paintings of subjects that have no long-term personal history with me (The first time I visited Eureka Springs was last summer) but nevertheless arrest me with their grace and beauty.  In the cities I have always been fascinated with the co-existence of cosmetically beautiful objects and utilitarian ugly ones.  Ezra Pound noted in one of his literary essays that James Joyce juxtaposed the beautiful and the ugly in his stories.  Pound referred to these as the “bass and treble” of his arrangements.  Thus, in this painting (and the next) I am trying to present the  objects in which the tourist’s eye takes delight, as well as those which are either abhorred, or not even noticed at all.

One final thing I wish to point out–on that particular day in Eureka Springs, it was cold, windy, overcast, and there was absolutely no light or shadow to pick up on the objects.  I photographed it all anyway, and have chosen to paint it anyway.  Though the afternoon was a romantic one, it was nevertheless the last day of winter, and winter weather was in the air.  I tried to capture that gray, overcast, chilly atmosphere in the painting.

Thanks for reading.


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4 Responses to “Lunch at a Romantic Mountain Town Getaway”

  1. lesliepaints Says:

    I think you captured the late winter cold day, perfectly, David! Good job on getting detail in a small area!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Leslie. I wondered if I could pull off the trick of detailing a tiny composition without turning it into a cartoon–and still I think it looks rather cartoony, but oh well! I was hoping that the composition would reflect a cold climate, so thanks so well for responding to that. I haven’t been able to return to the studio until today (Sunday) and already I’m tired! The last 3 days have delivered a beating to me. I’m resting now, hoping to recoup some energy for working this evening. I really have the desire.


  2. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    I am amazed at the detail you achieved in this relatively small painting. Really well done. I like the moody sky contrasted with the strong brick walls. Very nice. I am reading William Faulkner right now. When my brain rebels I set it aside and go to O magazine!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Linda. I wondered for awhile how to set up contrast, since the overcast day showed so little of it. I’m still musing over whether to leave it or work on it some more. Faulkner is one of the greats that I still haven’t given a fair amount of attention to. I’ve read several of his short stories (love “The Bear”), but haven’t read a single one of his novels. I don’t even know where to start with such a giant.


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