The Seer, Part 2

Re-Touched Watercolor, after Masquing Removal

Re-Touched Watercolor, after Masquing Removal

Art after all is but an extension of language to the expression of sensations too subtle for words.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

Most of what we express creatively is prelinguistic.

Ian Roberts, Creative Authenticity

Too subtle for words.  Prelinguistic.  Indeed.  I fumble for words, trying to blog what I find so appealing in these vintage doors, aside from the fact that they remind me in Proustian fashion of what I saw, visiting grandparents in rural southeast Missouri during my childhood years.  Over the past twelve years, I have acquired a total of nine vintage doors that are now hinged together in twos and threes.  They form the modular walls that shape and re-shape the space in my garage Man Cave.  I love hanging antique signs on them, attaching reading lamps to them, sitting among them reading, and for the past few months decided it was time to start putting them into my watercolor compositions.  I note with bemusement that for the past decade, as I’ve sat among them reading and journaling, I have often looked up from what I was doing, and found myself staring at the details of their abused surfaces, wondering how I could “solve” some of those textures in watercolor and drawing techniques.  I guess one could say I’ve been “composting” these recent watercolor experiments for over a decade now.

So, what is it exactly that I “see” in these compositions?  A potential sale?  A market?  A new style, new genre to pursue?  Not really.  I see character, I see history, I see volumes and volumes of stories.  When I look at the body of an abused, vintage guitar, I see stories.  I see the worn places along the neck, especially on the 3rd, 5th and 7th frets, and muse about the “boxes” this guitarist made use of when he worked on lead riffs.  I look at the cigarette burns near the nut, and realize the guitarist frequently inserted his cigarette up there while playing, a makeshift ashtray.  I have a pre-World War II Gibson archtop that belonged to my late uncle.  There are grooves above the frets, showing that he preferred the C chord, along with the G and D.  The nicks all over a guitar body tell the story of clubs, bars, campouts–all the places the guitar had visited during the player’s life.

When I look at these doors, I can tell which sides were interior and which were exterior.  I can tell which ones had a screen door in front. leaving the sun imprint as a stencil on the door.  I can see the key gouges around the locking plates, the grime on the porcelain door knobs, the dents in the metal ones.  I can see at the bottoms where they have been constantly kicked open, I suppose when one’s arms were laden with groceries or provisions.  So many stories.  So many lives.  Now they stand mute in my garage.  But I take up the brush and record their stories, adding my own as well.   And of course, I lay my memories over the tops of the stories, leaving a virtual palimpsest for readers to translate.

What I see in subjects such as these, and what I think about the art milieu are things that defy words, yet I managed to cover my blog with yet more words.  But what are my alternatives?  I love to paint, love to muse, love to stretch.  And I love to share what’s going on. I appreciate that there are those “out there” who take the time to look at these images, read these words and have something to say in return.  I’m appreciative of that as well.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.


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10 Responses to “The Seer, Part 2”

  1. Reid Rogers Says:

    Doors can be a visual metaphor for the changes we embrace or avoid in life. The word itself looks ancient to me like Chaucerian English. I really enjoyed what you had to say about guitars! My favorite subject. This painting is very well done David.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Reid. I always appreciate very much your eyes on my paintings. Your comments are always incisive, and I take them to heart. I want to explore further the western art tradition of the “open door” motif. I read quite a bit from Motherwell and Matisse on this a few years back, but not much of it remains in my memory (getting old I guess).


  2. coreyaber Says:

    There are I think several scenes in On the Road where he and Neal are listening to some jazz player and yelling from the back “yes yes go go go” or something like that. That’s what reading this post was like. This is the best articulation yet of what you’re going for. I like it!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Oh God, I almost died when I read your comment! I thought you were about to tell me that I had “it.” On the Road is one of my favorite all-time novels, and I really get excited when I read of Sal and Dean discussing what “it” is, and how they thought they encountered the same in the Bop clubs. You do inspire me!


  3. Xraypics Says:

    I’d intended to answer your question, last post, with something along the lines of – art says things (in paint, marble, insert whatever medium you like) that you can’t express in words. The particular quality of the light breaking between the twigs of the hedge that is instantly recognisable, the relationship of one object to another. BUT you beat me to it with the quote by Robert Henri, who, after all says it so concisely. I find the patina of old objects fascinating, love to see the marks made on old pieces of furniture showing how they were used. Your doors must satisfy that same nostalgic urge. Tony


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thanks for looking, Tony. I finished the painting this afternoon and flung it up on the blog one more time. I’m pleased with the experiment and ready to push further now.


      • Xraypics Says:

        I should hope you are pleased with the experiment, It is pretty good. I was looking closely at the mesh – you have a lot more patience than I! I like your choice of colours with the blues offsetting the red shadows. The impression of depth through the mesh is slightly more heightened than the coffee-can study. Thankyou, I have learned from this series. Tony


      • davidtripp Says:

        Thank you for those observations. I certainly took a lot out of this learning process as well. I’m excited about the new possibilities it’s going to yield.


  4. BJR Says:

    Been working on projects, so I’m catching up. You’ve been busy! Love what I see! This reminds me of Grandpa’s house…the moment just before the aroma of homemade sugar cookies hits! Ahh! 😉


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