Archive for April, 2017

Friday Evening Gallery Serenity

April 7, 2017

redlands

Lately from time to time my work up there is interrupted by long stretches at conferences, lecture trips, committee meetings and my teaching work down here in Freiburg.  But as soon as I go back up there . . . I am simply transported into the work’s own rhythm, and in a fundamental sense I am not in control of its hidden law.

Martin Heidegger, “Why Do I Stay in the Pronvinces?” (1934 radio address)

As the sun lingers a moment longer on the horizon of Palestine, Texas, I pause and enjoy the coolness of the breezes whispering across the quiet streets downtown and the voices of patrons drifting in and out of the Gallery at Redlands as well as the Historic Redlands Inn. It has been a most pleasant afternoon and evening, with friends dropping in from out of town whose company I find rejuvenating to me as an artist and lover of life. Shifting gears away from school life and into this small town and gallery life is comparable to what Heidegger described as he moved back and forth between the University of Freiburg and his cabin in the quiet town of Todtnauberg in the Black Forest.

As this evening grew quiet, I recalled enchanting hours spent on the Laguna Madre the past couple of summers, and drifted across the gallery to see the twelve framed island paintings arranged together on one of the walls.

durer

This one in particular appealed to me, because on the late afternoon I painted it, I was working through Martin Heidegger’s essay “The Origin of the Work of Art.” He quoted the Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer–” ‘For in truth, art lies hidden within nature; he who can wrest it from her, has it.” Laying the book aside, I looked deeply into the cord grasses clustered at my feet, and as I thought of the layers of color embedded in those strands of grasses, my mind concocted a scheme that involved masking, layering, scraping and drawing. I knew that the task would involve layer upon layer of work and scrutiny,  and the effort took me well into the evening hours. By the time the final layers of masking were removed and the last glazes of wash applied, I indeed felt that I had wrested something from nature that evening. Hence, I felt the need to journal all over the page before submitting the work for framing.

The hour is growing late, and I feel the weariness of today’s lengthy travel, followed by long hours in the gallery. A special thanks to all my friends who came and kept me in good company and cheer this afternoon.  I love you all.

And thanks to all of you who read me . . .

Warm Thoughts of Thanksgiving

April 6, 2017

artists

The Gang

The struggle to mold something into language is like the resistance of the towering firs against the storm.

Martin Heidegger, “Why Do I Stay in the Provinces?” (1934 radio address)

Feeling trashed-out due to long afternoons and late nights sifting through business-related data and paperwork, I’m a little thin on inspirational reading tonight, and ready for bed well ahead of my usual bedtime. But as I prepare for my final weekend at The Gallery at Redlands, I’ve received such affirming news throughout this day from friends, colleagues and students planning to make the two-hour trek to east Texas this weekend and wish me well. My feelings of gratitude are impossible to mold adequately into words, just as Heidegger stated in his radio address above.

Making art is a solitary enterprise.  No one can do it for you. And I haven’t placed much stock in collaboration on artistic work. But I know how it is to feel isolated and out of step with the world at times when I’m submerged in my work. When I find occasion to reach out an connect with other kindred spirits, I know I have found something special in this life. I’ve posted a picture of the circle of artistic spirits that I’m honored to know as dear friends. We gather weekly at a cafe on the north side of town to exchange ideas, inspiration and to build one another up. They have repeatedly turned my life and emotions around to the positive side just by their words and enthusiasm. For years, I had wished to know the kind of camaraderie experienced by the Ash Can School, the French Impressionists, the Lot Generation and the New York School as they found a cafe or bar where they could gather and flourish. Finally, I have found a place and a circle of souls to provide that nurture. So, I thank you–Pam, Kelly, Stacy, Elaine and Ian–for what you bring to the table of artistic inspiration. There are so few like you.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Pining for Plein Air Activity

April 5, 2017

South Fork Pine

Plein Air Watercolor Sketch of Colorado Pine

My one-man-show will close Sunday, April 9 at 5:00 p.m. and I hope to take a day or two to catch my breath.  Then I will dive head-first into my favorite annual plein air painting event: Paint Historic Waxahachie.  Artists who registered in advance were given the green light to begin painting April 1, but I’ve been too busy with this show and my daily school responsibilities–next week, I hope.

The watercolor sketch posted above is in my show at the Gallery at Redlands. I painted it in Colorado last summer while relaxing with daily fly fishing and plein air watercoloring. My pulse rate changes dramatically when I am in that Rocky Mountain environment, and I cannot wait to return there for an extended vacation this summer. Every time I look at this small painting, I recall those beautiful, chilly, sun-drenched mornings when I sat out on the porch of my cabin with my coffee, surveying the South Fork of the Rio Grande rolling by below.

I truly miss those days, and can’t wait for them to return.

Thanks for reading.

Thoughts Gathering in the Late Night

April 4, 2017

fishing-memories.jpg

Fishing Memories–$1200 framed

day 2b

To speak of these things and to try to understand their nature and, having understood it, to try slowly and humbly and constantly to express, to press out again, from the gross earth or what it brings forth, from sound and shape and colour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of the beauty we have come to understand–that is art.

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

I would be lying if I were to call this an inspiring day–after a full day in school, I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening gathering data, crunching numbers and doing all those things related to the business side of art.  I would always rather squint into the surface of a watercolor composition than between the lines of a spreadsheet.

Now that the hour has drawn late and I still haven’t found sleep, I thought I would reward myself by returning to some James Joyce texts. I’m more than halfway through Ulysses, and reading that has been an uneven experience.  Tonight’s reading was rather opaque, so finally I put the volume down and picked up his Portrait to re-read some of the portions I’ve highlighted from earlier readings. The one I quoted above is one of my favorites as the protragonist of the story thoughtfully articulates his theory of the art making enterprise. I find a close similarity between Joyce, Emerson and Heidegger as they describe the origin of art as springing from a struggle between the person and the natural world. In the days ahead, I hope I can spend more time working on the ideas of these three intriguing writers and see if I can explore further what they sought to expound.

But I believe I should retire to bed so that I may have some kind of a pulse when I face my classes yet again tomorrow.

The image I’ve posted above is one of my favorite watercolors that I worked on during winter months two or three years ago. It is my largest painting still in my collection and offered up for sale in the show at The Gallery at Redlands which closes Sunday.

Thanks for reading . . .

Anticipating the Final Stretch

April 3, 2017

Durango SilvertonEureka Springs Iron Horse

sandi (2)

Ridglea Theater

Haltom Jewelers

My soul overflows with feelings of good will tonight as I rest and think over all the splendor of this past weekend at the Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas.  It was the second weekend of my One-Man-Show, and we will close out the show this coming Sunday, April 9 at 5:00.  Immediately afterward, I’m anticipating a great time as I gather with some of the artists of Anderson County Arts Council for dinner and planning of future art endeavors.

I regret that I did not blog from Saturday onward, but I was covered up with patrons and friends who had journeyed a long distance to spend the weekend with me. And I’m excited at the news that other friends have expressed a desire to come out this final weekend. Palestine is a couple hours out of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, but plenty of my loving friends have made the trip and kept me in great company.

I have posted images above of the limited edition prints that all found a home this past weekend. We’re very happy with the sales and success of the show to date. When I have more concrete information, I will gladly pass it on to my readers, but some conversations have transpired over the past 72 hours that have my spirits soaring–Palestine is an historic railroad town, and I’ve been asked to take part in some very exciting art endeavors associated with their railroad history and popular local events. I can’t wait to burrow further into these possibilities in the weeks and months ahead. So stay tuned . . .

 Thanks for reading.

I make art to satisfy my curiosity.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

gallery

View from the Gallery Window

April 1, 2017

finished (2)

Completed watercolor of downtown Palestine, Texas

. . . and the philosophical light around my window is now my joy; may I be able to keep on as I have thus far!

Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin, letter to friend Boehlendorf dated December 2, 1802

Saturday morning began for me on a second-story balcony with coffee and Heidegger’s essay “What Are Poets For?” I was so enriched by the ideas from the essay that I descended the stairs and opened the gallery at 9:00 rather than 10:00 so I could enjoy some time writing at the desk, and then resume work on the watercolor I have been playing with since I started it over a week ago. I finally decided to sign off on it and offer it as a watercolor sketch, unframed, measuring 11 x 11″ for $100.

The day shortly after became busy beyond description with a steady stream of patrons in the gallery, some sales, and wall-to-wall meaningful conversation. I feel that I have made a number of new friends for life. The Palestine experience has been deeply fulfilling. I can’t wait to open again in the morning.

Thanks for reading.

Soothing Morning 

April 1, 2017

“Poets are the mortals who, singing earnestly of the wine-god, sense the trace of the fugitive gods, stay on the gods’ tracks, and so trace for their kindred mortals the way toward the turning.”

Martin Heidegger, “What are Poets For?”

After a good night’s sleep, it is so rewarding to sit early in the morning over a cup of coffee and a Heidegger essay, and wait for another opening of the gallery. Palestine is a great town for weekends, I have found out. And these opportunities to relax and chill between Gallery hours have been a salve to my soul.

After my coffee and reading, I will still have an hour before the gallery opens at 10. I think I will enjoy that quiet space to work further on this watercolor I have been tinkering with since the show opened last weekend.

Thanks for reading.