Drybrush Beginning on my Third Vintage Doorknob with Musings of William Carlos Williams

Beginning of Third Vintage Doorknob Watercolor

With daylight saving time providing much longer nights, I found myself desiring to withdraw to the man cave this evening and begin my third watercolor attempt of a porcelain doorknob from my collection.  About ten years ago, I began collecting old doors to hinge together and use as temporary walls for displaying my watercolors in art festival booths.  Because the doorknobs and lock plates interfered with folding the doors together and transporting them, I removed them all, stored them in my classroom locking cabinet and forgot about them until recently.  Now I’ve gone on this still life watercolor binge, inspired by a recent visit to the Wyeth exhibit at the Tyler Museum of Art.

For several decades, I have pored over images of Andrew Wyeth drybrush renderings of dilapidated doors and knobs, and have stared at real ones as well.  In a Proustian sense, they take me back to my grandmother’s ramshackle house that featured abused doors and porcelain knobs with skeleton key locks.  I always found them more fascinating throughout my childhood than the doors of our suburban home–brass knobs with all the doors featuring the same wooden stain.

As I worked in the studio this evening, I continually replayed the Voices and Visions VHS tape of William Carlos Williams, a family doctor who drove around his small New Jersey town in the 1930’s, taking in images all day, recording them on prescription pads and converting them to poems every evening, late.  Imagism emerged in his works, along with those of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.  “Say it again–no ideas but in things.”  Several months ago, I made a couple stabs at painting still life objects in a prosaic, commercial fashion, much as Andy Warhol did with his Campbell Soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles.  I have pulled them out recently, wondering if I should put the images on an old wooden table, or in front of one of my ten vintage doors resting in the man cave.  I’m fascinated with these images of late, staring at them, watercoloring and sketching them, reading William Carlos Williams poems and continually looking at Andrew Wyeth and Andy Warhol paintings of prosaic objects.  I am not sure where this is going to lead, but I must say I am gleaning much satisfaction, personally, from these experiments.

Thanks for reading.


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3 Responses to “Drybrush Beginning on my Third Vintage Doorknob with Musings of William Carlos Williams”

  1. Bonnie Ratzloff Says:

    Love your “doorknob paintings”…they strike something in me…”taking” me to my grandpa’s house, where I loved to go! Their doors were old…some had the knobs you’ve painted and a couple had the “crystal” kind…that shimmered when a ray of sunshine “found” them. Keep on painting what speaks to you! I love your site!! I go through it and ponder…love your words, too!
    (I’m stuck in a lupus flare!…watching life right now, but I’ll get back up in time.) BJR


    • davidtripp Says:

      You are incredibly kind, thank you. Really, words like this inspire me to press onward with these new tasks. I appreciate you, and really hope your flare up will ease very soon. I’m glad that you “connect” to the ancient doors as I have been recently. I am trying to gain possession of one of those crystal knobs. I would love to tackle the challenge of rendering one of those! Best wishes to you, my friend.


  2. Bonnie Ratzloff Says:

    I am fortunate to have a set of crystal doorknob’s. My husband found them for me at an uncle’s sale…down in the corner of a cardboard box, almost covered with other stuff. We both thought they were a “prize”. So keep looking… (I’d love to see your rendering of one!) BJR


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