West Texas Watercolor Excursions

Coca-Cola Ghost Sign in Lubbock Texas

Coca-Cola Ghost Sign in Lubbock, Texas

Drawing and color are not separate at all; insofar as you paint you draw.  When the color harmonizes, the more exact the drawing becomes.  When the color achieves richness, the form attains its plenitude.

Paul Cezanne

I responded to an invitation to journey to Lubbock, Texas this weekend, and celebrated the end of the school year by drawing, painting, reading, journaling, antiquing, and conversing with a kindred creative spirit.  I posted my earlier attempts of a watercolor sketch of this ghost sign on one of the main drags of Lubbock.  I’m still not quite finished with it, as there are a number of accents I still wish to put in–brick details, more power lines, and window detailing.  I’m still not quite satisfied with the Coca-Cola logo or the tree in front.  But I’ve laid it aside for now.  I have two workshops to conduct in the next ten days, and it’s time to switch gears.

My friend planted this idea of traveling northward to Amarillo Palo Duro Canyon for some plein air activity.  So, I opted to stay an extra day and spend Monday in the canyon.  The temperatures reached 105 degrees, and I was astounded to find out that I could not work wet-in-wet!  Impossible!  The high winds felt like a hair dryer, and the water dried on the paper as fast as I could apply it.  No matter how wet the wash, as soon as I put the brush into the palette to reload, the “puddle” on the watercolor block had disappeared.  This was indeed a different kind of experience for me.  Both sketches posted below were done very quickly, as I knew it was unwise to be out in the direct sun under such harsh conditions, and it was difficult, keeping my left hand on the easel at all times, knowing the canyon winds were trying to turn it into a kite.

Amarillo Palo Duro Canyon in late afternoon

Amarillo Palo Duro Canyon in late afternoon

I keep thinking I may re-work this composition, and try to detail the trees and rock textures better.  It was hard making those kind of decisions under intense sunlight.

Amarillo Palo Duro Canyon in Early Evening

Amarillo Palo Duro Canyon in Early Evening

I was abe to stand more in shadow as I worked on this bluff in early evening.  But the winds worsened, and I could not let go of the easel for fear it would fly out over the canyon and descend somewhere into its depths.  I may return to this in the next week or two, look at the photos I took, and see about adding more texture to the rocky facade.  I would not have traded this pair of plein air attempts in the canyon for anything, even if the heat was intense and unpleasant.  I was fascinated at the dynamics of the rocky facades with the winds chasing the cloud shadows across the craggy faces.  I felt that French Impressionist plein air tension, with Claude Monet on the one hand captivated by the fleeting effects of light playing off surfaces, and Paul Cezanne on the other extreme, contemplating the eternal form beneath the changing light.  It was Cezanne who said he wanted to make of Impressionism something enduring, like the art of museums.

Thanks for reading.  I’m not sure how effectively I’ll be posting during the workshops, or how accessible Internet services will be in either place.  But I promise to store up the photos, the memories, the stories, and bring them online as soon as I can.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel that I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.


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10 Responses to “West Texas Watercolor Excursions”

  1. Trapper Gale Says:

    Beautiful. I personally think watercolor is difficult to work in and yet you seem to have mastered it.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you. I find watercolor to be quite a challenge, but I love grappling with it, and really love it when I feel that I have turned a corner and improved.


  2. Xraypics Says:

    What a difficult yet stimulating experience. Lovely sketches, though very spontaneous and small masters in themselves. I’ll be interested to see what you produce in the studio using them as a starting point. Tony


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you. Though it’s been several days, I’m still thrilled by what happened at Palo Duro Canyon, and cannot wait to follow up on those painting attempts.


  3. chelsey701 Says:

    Fantastic. I love the amount of color you can achieve, yet keeping the painting light. I’m also in aw of the amount of different texture you have in you’re painting. I’m a new blogger for my art and when I landed on yours I was very inspired, thanks.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you so much for your comments. I’m finding ways to improve in watercolor, and starting to make fewer mistakes. I’m happy now to be following your blog. Keep up the excellent work.


  4. Carissa Says:

    I’m originally from the Texas panhandle, and I know how those hot winds can take it out of you. But I’m sure glad to hear you enjoyed the Palo Duro Canyon. That place is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for your blog. I’m one of those that reads it all the time, but just haven’t ever sent a comment. I really love your work, and so enjoy reading your blog. I hope you keep it up for many many more years.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Carissa, thank you. I have been encouraged so much on this blog that I cannot foresee ever letting it go. Thank you for the Palo Duro memories connection, and for all your kind comments. I can’t wait to go back there!


  5. Thom Hickey Says:

    Thanks. Really pleased to have found your blog. Good to treat the eye! Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (drop a nickel).

    Liked by 1 person

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