David Tripp, Artist in Residence. Really?

When I was in my third year at the university, pursuing my art degree, my school hosted Jack Tworkov as Artist in Residence. I was not familiar with the title “artist in residence” and knew that Tworkov had recently retired as Chairman of the Art Department at Yale. During the week or so that he visited our campus, he shared with us his current work, and spoke of his years spent with the other Abstract Expressionist painters, and I was amazed to be standing in the presence of such an historic man. In the years since, I have always wondered how it would feel to become an “artist in residence” at a university.

I am about to find out–after a series of negotiations and correspondence of the recent past, I was today informed that I will be Artist in Residence for Texas A&M University Corpus Christi–the “Island University”! This summer, I will be taken by boat to their Laguna Madre Field Station to spend ten days watercoloring en plein air, journaling, blogging, and salt water fly fishing. A one-man show will be scheduled after the residency, and I am available for anything else they wish from me. A plein air watercolor workshop has been suggested, as well as other possibilities.

I was so numbed by the announcement that I hardly remember anything at school after 10:08. When I was free this afternoon, I thought hard about what I could do that would be appropriate for this news. Realizing I had not visited Fort Worth’s Japanese Garden in over a decade, I drove there, arriving at 5:00 and staying till they closed at 7:00. I thought I would immediately find a bench and just sit and write, but I strolled for nearly forty minutes before finally sitting, breathing deeply, journaling, and feeling good feelings.

I threw a little celebration with the koi. They ate well!

I threw a little celebration with the koi. They ate well!

Usually I would celebrate an announcement like this by throwing a party. So, looking at the waters below me brimming with koi, I decided to stick quarters in the vending machine and dump pellets into the water so they at least could celebrate with me. They seemed happy and grateful. Some of them may have even clapped fins.

Looking at the Japanese bridge made me pause and think of the lovely gardens Claude Monet planted at his residence in Giverny. Too bad the Japanese Garden does not allow paint on the premises. I’ll have to work from a photograph on this one.

Before darkness descended, I did attempt a quick sketch of one of the lovely structures placed in the Garden. I plan to come back and try to capture some of the others as well. This is a marvelous place for reflection and peace.

It’s been a wonderful day. Thank you for sharing it with me.

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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12 Responses to “David Tripp, Artist in Residence. Really?”

  1. Xraypics Says:

    How wonderful! Congratulations! Well deserved I’m sure. I’m looking forward to seeing the pictorial results of this post. Tony


  2. Cheryl Rose Says:

    Congratulations, David! Can’t wait to read your blog from Texas A&M.

    Cheryl Rose


  3. Barbara Tyler Says:

    Congratulations! I can tell by your choice of celebration location that you are already preparing for the artistic journey that awaits you this summer. Looking forward to reading all about it!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thanks so much for responding, Barbara. I’ve already carved out a new idea tonight of another perfect place to sit and think over what comes next . . .


  4. Ryan Miller Says:

    That is amazing. To think, I had imagined commissioning a painting this Summer. You’ll be out of my price range (not to mention enjoying the coast, enjoying the fishing, enjoying your students, and unavailable) for sure, now!

    That being said, I don’t think I can adequately express my admiration and congratulations.

    But.. here is my feeble attempt. At the risk of turning this response into a “blog” post of my own (and honestly, after several glasses of well-deserved Scotch):

    I wish the best and continued success for you. I continue to be stunned that such a gifted artist (not to mention philosopher and teacher) sat only one room away from me in my High School days, and that I actually never took a class that you taught!

    I’ve been following your blog (and Facebook posts) for only a few months (I don’t actually follow a whole lot of people, so I do see every post, every time). Which I think is a rather asymmetrical online “relationship” because I think that you might barely remember me (if at all) as a slacker of an Art Club president at Lamar (which is about as much of your available memory as I deserve)!

    I believe my senior year was literally your first year teaching.

    If you don’t already know, my classmates were RAVING about your humanities classes, and that was in your first year! I’m sure things have not changed at all.

    I wanted to take your class, and in retrospect I would have gotten more long term benefit from it than I did from Lost-Wax casting jewelry in my Senior year… But having Mrs. Midgett invent an Advertising Art 2, or an Art 3 curriculum seemed like a surer bet to raise my GPA at the time (and I was honestly, a VERY lazy student who needed GPA help).

    Anyhow, as the (unfortunately many) years have passed, and as I have continued to drift from the life of the artist I really believed as a student was my destiny… It was apparently not to in the cards. (I am referring to “VERY lazy” above).

    You see… Everyone told me how hard it would be to make it as an artist in the “real world”. Nobody actually said: “it takes dedication, talent, and a lot of hard work”… They just said “it will be hard.” And when you are a teenager with the attention span and “future planning” faculties of a fruit fly, sometimes you need things spelled out a little more clearly.

    Still, your blog posts and artwork put me in such a nostalgic and fill me with such admiration, that I look forward to every one, and read them all.

    This well-earned success makes me extremely happy.

    I’m as happy as a non-student-who-regrets-that-status can be for you.

    I look forward to your blog posts from Corpus, and *WILL* catch you at an upcoming art festival before you go (unless you are forced to change your schedule because of this good news).

    Sincerest congratulations again.

    (and when I saw your picture of the bridge in the water gardens, it didn’t just remind me of Monet… I thought it WAS Monet at first)


    • davidtripp Says:

      Ryan, of course I remember you, and wanted you to be in my classes back in the Lamar days! I’m really glad you found a way to re-connect with me, and am shocked that you still remember me after the passing of decades. Thanks so much for sharing your continuing interest in the arts, and I hope to see you again. I’ll be doing the show at the Levitt Pavilion in Arlington Memorial Day weekend. Please stay in touch, and thanks for all the humor in your post–you gave me some great laughs shortly after waking this morning. Few things are funny at 6 a.m.


  5. Botanic Bleu Says:

    Congratulations, David. What a wonderful honor for such a deserving artist. You have been James Martin High School’s Artist in Residence for many years.

    Judith Stringham


    • davidtripp Says:

      Judy, your comment made getting up before 5 this morning all the better, thank you. Affirming words such as yours make all the difference on those days when effort seems to drain the reward.


  6. Marty Coulter Says:

    Congratulations, David! It was a pleasure meeting you in Cotter Arkansas during their plein air event, and I look forward to our continuing friendship.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Marty, it is a pleasure knowing you! I really hope you make the Eureka Springs event I would love to spend more time talking with you and looking at your work.


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