Retreat to the Wilderness–Archer City, Texas

Private Entrance, Archer City, Texas

Private Entrance, Archer City, Texas

I will write on the door of my studio: School of drawing, and I will make painters.  Drawing is the priority of art.

Copy, copy simply, wholeheartedly, abjectly that which you have before your eyes; art is never so perfect as when it resembles nature so closely that it might be mistaken for nature herself.

Poussin often said that it is in observing objects that a painter becomes skillful.

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

The three-day weekend from summer school has been so therapeutic for me.  So many ideas have been flowing through my consciousness that I hardly know where to begin.  Drawing has been on my mind ever since I bought the new sketchbook and the Fluid watercolor block prior to the pair of workshops I conducted recently.  Though I am cranking out watercolor sketches daily, I am spending more and more time drawing, studying tonal values, textures and line qualities.

I took a quick trip to Archer City, long overdue, to see what was left of Larry McMurtry’s used book store for hopeless bibliophiles–Booked Up Inc.  The inventory has been reduced to a couple of hundred thousand volumes, mostly in one building now, instead of four, but there are no plans to close the store.  They just launched a new website.  I limited my purchase to two books, but absolutely love what I have been reading from Elizabeteh Gilmore Holt’s From the Classicists to the Impressionists: Art and Architecture in the 19th Century.  The quotes posted above from Ingres gave me great impetus to do some sketching and plein air watercoloring in Archer City, even though temperatures climbed to 105.  

I photographed several structures that I plan to paint very soon–the Royal Theater (site of  the film The Last Picture Show), two defunct gas stations, and several aged doors.  The sketch of the door above I began on site.  I found it between a real estate office still in business and an antique store no longer in business.  This particular door perhaps leads to a loft or attic above, and as I looked upon it, I was sorry to see the padlock, to me an indicator that whatever was behind the door was no longer in use.  I fantasized about having a studio there, or an apartment, or a study with all my books.  I didn’t know if the door opened to a flight of stairs or into a chamber.  And I suppose I’ll never know.  But the awning kept the sun off me, and I began a careful pencil sketch of it, then laid in some washes, followed by some drybrush texturing, and finally some more pencil detailing and rendering.  Finally it got too hot for me to continue.  I had drunk an entire bottle of water, then a jumbo-sized iced tea from the Barbecue place a few doors down from this site.

Once back home, I looked at several close-up photos I took of the door, and used them as models to finish this out.  I think I am nearly done–I may perhaps indicate the recessed panel in the upper right portion of the door.  This will be a 10 x 8″ composition inside a 14 x 11″ mat and plastic sleeve.  I’m going to offer it at $100 for anyone interested.  I’ve gotten attached to it already, though I only spent a little more than an hour total on the entire piece, maybe two hours.

Thanks for reading.

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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8 Responses to “Retreat to the Wilderness–Archer City, Texas”

  1. Xraypics Says:

    Hi, David, I did enjoy your little picture – such economy of technique. Meanwhile i have started reading The Art Spirit after your comments about it previously, and the number of times you lift quotes. It is an amazing book, but irritating. I only say that because Henri is so full of insight that I continually have to stop and ponder over the last sentence to ensure I “get” what he has said. It looks as though it is one I shall return to regularly. Thank you for stimulating me to read it. Tony.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Tony. I’m so glad you found The Art Spirit inspiring. I finally finished the book while in Eureka Springs, but am still going back into it and writing things in my journal that were provoked by Henri’s words. The guy was a real mover and shaker. Still is.


  2. Playamart - Zeebra Designs Says:

    This past week found me with spare time and zero paints or decent paper. Remember, I am in rural Ecuador! I bought little hobby containers of acrylic paints (one dollar each) and found very little in paper options, so bought a flimsy little ‘poster’ type paper with a bit of tooth. i bought paper-sized Styrofoam panels then cut the paper to just larger than that and taped it to the panels…

    the paper was very bright white, the only good thing about it, and of course it buckled and attempted to discourage me.. but i ignored its attempts and followed through with two little watercolors…

    Be thankful that you have easy access to good materials!!!! i am now back home and have my ‘stash’ of good materials! Net time I will tuck them into my bag – so easy to do, and so silly of me to have forgotten!



    • davidtripp Says:

      Oh Z, I have known that frustration of not packing my art supplies when going somewhere. I’m glad to have good stores around here, and good companies from whom I can purchase online.


  3. lifeofawillow Says:

    I think this is lovely. Gently symbolic. I like it so much…


  4. anna warren portfolio Says:

    This is a beautiful, delicate painting.


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