Retreat to the Wilderness

Plein Air Sketch of a Former Gas Station in Ovilla, Texas

Plein Air Sketch of a Former Gas Station in Ovilla, Texas

Once the voices inside the classroom ceased for the weekend, I cloistered myself at home and spent a quiet Friday night poring over Martin Heidegger texts.  Cleansing waves of revelation washed over me, and the late night hours were indescribable.  I have enjoyed for years reading over the general themes of existential thinkers, but Heidegger’s three-part discussion of the human condition I found so appropros for matters I have felt for years, especially these senior years.  Heidegger breaks the subject into facticity, existentiality, and forfeiture.  

Facticity is the world into which I’ve been cast, my world.  It is the world that I inherited, the world in which I find myself entangled.  Existentiality is my anticipation of possibilities.  I want more, want to be more.  Existentiality is my way of appropriating my world and transcending it.  Existentiality is my aiming toward what has not yet occurred.  It is the primal energy to push beyond these boundaries, to learn more, become more.  My art and my academic pursuits are my way of pushing beyond what I’ve inherited from my world.  Forfeiture is the reality that this world is not only the material offering itself for existentiality, but also the agent that seduces me away from my pursuits.  There are so many distractions from the enterprise that I wish to pursue.  There is the everyday call to perform duties.  I know what I want to do, but I also know that I often turn away from these exploits, and perform the everyday tasks.  I forfeit the opportunity to be more.

O.K., now that I have  dropped the Heidegger bomb, I move on to discuss the sketch posted above.  Friday night was the Heidegger delight;  Saturday was my retreat to the wilderness.  The 2014 “Paint Historic Waxahachie” assignment for this past weekend included an excursion to Ovilla, Texas to paint en plein air the sights found there.  The old downtown is quite small, with the Main Street twisting and turning, and heavily trafficked.  I had to be careful of the constant passing cars and trucks.  But my eye was filled with delight at this old structure that the locals told me was formerly a filling station and general store.  Currently a man sells resale items out of this store.  I met him and had a very pleasant conversation about his business and the general business about town.  In fact, I met a host of pleasant people as I painted the day away here.  There were half a dozen plein air painters present from the Ellis County Art Association, and all the businessmen up and down the street came out to look, to chat, and exchange pleasantries.  The day was filled with charm.

I cannot say I’m happy with this watercolor.  I overworked it, and actually it looked better 30 minutes before I quit.  I still haven’t quite figured out when to leave something alone (and may never figure it out!).  But the experience was deeply satisfying, and I’m happy that I spent the best part of my Saturday in Ovilla.  The setting and the people were very charming and memorable.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.



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4 Responses to “Retreat to the Wilderness”

  1. Xraypics Says:

    You’re not alone in wondering when to leave something be. Nevertheless, I think painting has definite phases; continue to work on it and it will come into a second “finished” phase, different from the first, but nonetheless a completed painting in it’s own right just waiting to be “overworked” – and so on. Sounds as though you’ve had a wonderful time. Cheers, Tony


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Tony. Funny thing–everyone who’s seen both my weekend paintings gravitate immediately to the gas station, ignoring the cupola. And I still think the cupola is a much finer watercolor, and the gas station is overworked. One never knows what others will see.


      • Xraypics Says:

        You’re not wrong. And other people interpret an artist’s intentions differerently too. Did i say I liked the cupola? noted your difficulty with the rusty iron, but thought you dealt with it rather well. Tony


      • davidtripp Says:

        Well, thank you. I’m clueless when it comes to rendering rusted-out corrugated iron roofs, and I’ve painted many of them. Sometimes they turn out O.K., but I really haven’t figured out a “process” for painting them. I love looking at them and would like to figure them out in watercolor. I was much happier with how the cupola turned out, and that was the center of my focus to begin with.


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