Closing Out a Serene Day with Good Thoughts and Artful Attempts

Taking My Time with the Hopper Study

Taking My Time with the Hopper Study

“What I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house.”

Edward Hopper

Currently, it is 9:52 p.m., and I am enjoying a refreshing night life in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square, next to the fountain where dozens of children are screaming with delight as they get hosed.  Recent rains have dropped the temperatures to the upper 70’s, and it feels quite good.  This is a fitting closure to a good day–I have come into the downtown Fort Worth night with a bag full of books, journal, sketchbook and my laptop.  Tourist season is at high tide, and there are probably 75-100 people milling about the general area where I am seated.  It is all very good.

Fort Worth is taking on the same kind of expansion and improvements as Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann’s 19th-century Paris; from Sundance Square to the museum district, one can see only progress.  Some days I wonder if I’m feeling the same inspiration and scintillation as the French Impressionists as they sketched their rapidly changing environment.  I have serious thoughts of taking out my sketchbook, but frankly, I’m daunted as I am seated immediately beneath the enormous Chisholm Trail mural that overlooks this new-look Sundance Square plaza.

Above this entry, I have posted my start of the watercolor inspired by Edward Hopper’s Marshall’s House from 1932.  Yesterday afternoon was spent doing preliminary tonal sketches of it in my sketchbook.  I chose this model for study because I recently turned on to red pigments during my Waxahachie plein air watercolor experiments.  I have also been curious about experimenting with Q-tips on my cloudy skies.  It has been a few years since I deliberately piled up clouds in my watercolor skies, and I thought it time to return to this practice and see what I can learn.  So–billowing clouds and a bright-red roof on a dilapidated building with plenty of screened-in porch and screen windows and door to study.  Below I am posting a couple of close-ups of large watercolors I did a few years ago of a 1903 structure still standing in Flippin, Arkansas.  I was pleased with how my rusted-out screens turned out in these pieces.

Detail of Large Watercolor of 1903 Cabin

Detail of Large Watercolor of 1903 Cabin

Detail of a Second Large Watercolor of the same 1903 Cabin

Detail of a Second Large Watercolor of the same 1903 Cabin

With the Edward Hopper study, I’m experimenting with graphite in the wet watercolor to see if I can simulate some screen texture.  I’m in no rush with this overall watercolor sketch, as I have already applied several layers of wash over the rooftops and facade over time throughout this day.  Tomorrow I hope to get into some serious pencil drawing over the dried watercolor.  For that, I’ll be taking out a number of Andrew Wyeth drybrush watercolor and pencil studies.

I guess I’ve reported about all I need to on this particular day.  I have the itch now to write in the journal and pursue some good reading from some good books.  Midnight is still a couple of hours away, and I’m feeling quite satisfied.  Sundance Square is a lively, delightful place at night.  I’ve wanted to do this for over a year, and can’t believe I have waited this long.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not really alone.


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6 Responses to “Closing Out a Serene Day with Good Thoughts and Artful Attempts”

  1. coreyaber Says:

    David. I am excited to see this one develop. I love the original, and did a version of it myself sometime last year. I found it even more interesting once I got into it. I like what you’re doing with the sky


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Corey. I’m not surprised to learn that you emulated this piece as well. Hopper’s early watercolors amaze me. Thank you for the sky comments. I’m experimenting with Q-Tips, dabbing, etc. I like how some of it is shaping up.


  2. Deanna Tennent Masterson Says:

    You’re having fun!


  3. rrearick Says:

    Not sure what is more beautiful…the water color or the picture of the water color being created.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for writing that. I’ve always been just as absorbed with the process as the result. As a teacher of art history, I always find myself staring at the studio environment of famous artists just as much as their finished masterpieces. The environment and sources of inspiration always intrigue me.


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