Sentries in a Quiet Space

Abandoned Gas Station,  Revisited

Abandoned Gas Station,

Today we do not know how much we owe to Shakespeare. His work is no longer confined in his writings. All literature has been influenced by him. Life is permeated with the thoughts of Plato, with the thoughts of all great artists who have lived. If you are to make great art it will be because you have become a deep thinker.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I could not have scripted a better Good Friday, rising at daylight and getting many domestic, business and bookkeeping chores accomplished as well as finding some quality time to focus on this watercolor with no classes to teach or meetings to make. As the hours stretch deeper into the night, I am now filled with a deep sense of satisfaction, sipping my coffee, listening to Mozart’s Symphony 34, and poring over this watercolor to discern what to pursue in the morning when the natural light returns. This is one of those times I’m choosing not to paint under house lights. The northern lights bathing this watercolor over the past week have given me a different perspective of the dynamics of watercolor on paper.

The Henri quote above resonates with me. Throughout my schooling, I was a plodder when it came to thinking, often considering myself inferior to my peers. None of it came easily for me. By the time I was finishing my Bachelor’s degree, I had acquired an unquenchable curiosity and could not seem to learn fast enough. None of that has changed over time. For a number of years, I have mused over developing some kind of theory, a personal aesthetic to guide my art endeavors. I have created and organized a myriad of files on art theory, mingled with my own essays on the subject, and can honestly say I feel no closer to figuring it out than I did five years ago. I just love to watercolor, and when I’m focused on a subject, eveything else seems to melt away, most of all time. And as I paint, ideas emerge from the gloom and comingle with others. I love thinking over things I have read in philosophy, theology, literature and art history. And I love the feel of my mind moving through those subjects unbridled as the brush continues to work its way over the surface of the painting. Sometimes I fantasize that the two sides are playing off of each other.

I am referring to his pair of abandoned gas pumps as “sentries” because I see a certain personality, or demeanor in their posturing. And I’m trying to find a way to make a pleasing complementary color scheme with the green foliage behind the red staging area. I’m still not sure if I’m going to keep the Texaco oil can that I inserted on a whim in the window (I still laugh as I recall N. C. Wyeth taking Andrew’s brush and scrubbing out an unnecessary object in his painting under construction, brusquely saying: “You don’t need that.”). And there are still matters to figure out with the shadows and contrasts, as well as the balance of warm and cool colors. All kinds of technical details crowd into my consciousness, but I feel that in the end all that is going to matter is whether or not this painting finds a way to resonate with an audience, beginning with me. These are good things to ponder, and I’m glad I still have a couple of days in front of me this weekend.

Thanks for reading. And speaking of such, I haven’t gotten to read all day. I shall attempt that now.

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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18 Responses to “Sentries in a Quiet Space”

  1. Foghorn The IKonoclast Says:

    I actually was looking at those old filling stations made of metal when I was a kid. Simple and utilitarian but now more a fast food place, I miss those old toys. When being young didn’t need a power plug necessarily.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for mentioning that. I deeply dislike the convenience store/gas stations we encounter on today’s American highways. Perhaps that is why I paint so many filling station relics from the past. I really miss them. I miss the truckstop diners of those days as well.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Foghorn The IKonoclast Says:

        Yes, so much truth in that because you get the feeling you are getting sold watered-down coffee that the stores call premium blend. A deal at lesser quality and quantity and that includes snacks and fuel.


      • davidtripp Says:

        Boy you sure nailed that one! On all-night road trips, I just detest that antiseptic smell and those blinding lights when I walk into those establishments. On those rare moments when I enter a mom-and-pop’s establishment, I don’t want to leave.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Foghorn The IKonoclast Says:

        And the feeling of welcome at the small place as opposed to curt employees with colored hair and nine inch nails…


      • davidtripp Says:

        We notice that the ones who own the independent business, and are proud of it, usually show the genuine courtesy, as opposed to those dissatisfied with their job.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. jenniferalicechandler Says:

    Very poetic!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. createarteveryday Says:

    Beautiful painting, too. This one is progressing so nicely. I hope you found a chance to read as well.


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