“Things Seen But Not Looked At”

Ghost Sign on S. Rogers St., Waxahachie

Ghost Sign on S. Rogers St., Waxahachie

It is often said “The public does not appreciate art!”  Perhaps the public is dull, but there is just a possibility that we are also dull, and that if there were more motive, wit, human philosophy, or other evidence of interesting personality in our work the call might be stronger.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

It was a dark, overcast morning in Waxahachie, Texas when I arrived before 8:00 to begin painting en plein air.  The seventy-degree morning was inviting, and so were the cool breezes.  I don’t request bright, direct sunlight every time I paint, the way I used to do.  I strolled four city blocks before I decided to give this ghost sign a try; I have had more problems with brick facades in watercolor than most other subjects.  Twice when I walked past this building, it seemed to “put out a call” the way it was described when Edward Hopper shambled about town, looking for a space to enter and paint.  I felt welcomed by the bricks, the message, the ghost of a business that once welcomed many customers but now was shuttered.  The street was busy with traffic and pedestrians, and all the while I sketched and painted, the building stood contrastingly mute.  To borrow the phrase from Pop Artist Jasper Johns, I thought today I would paint something “seen but not looked at.”

I posted the Robert Henri quote with tongue-in-cheek, because pedestrians had to climb a hill to see what I was doing, and many of them did, the interest always seemed genuine, and the cordiality was heart-warming.  I even had the pleasure of conversing for a little while with a reporter for the Waxahachie Daily Light, their local newspaper.  In my past six years of participation in Paint Historic Waxahachie, I have always found the public in this town very interested in art made on site, and the conversations were always engaging.

I can’t wait to return to this town tomorrow in search of another subject to paint.

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 ““Things Seen But Not Looked At””

  1. Ingidisa/Jiuhl Says:

    Simply amazing. Amazing.


  2. Linda Taylor Says:

    This is spectacular and should have been entered in the show. I’ve just found your blog via your Tribute to Dan. His daughter and my granddaughter are best friends. A sad way to find you but you have brightened my day since I am a watercolorist also. Linda Taylor


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