Archive for October, 2017

Festival Life

October 21, 2017

“The world is in constant flux, always expanding, contracting, budding out, falling apart in particular ways. Every particle and conglomeration is pulsating at a different frequency and harmony. All this jiggling about comprises the cosmic melody within which we too sing, however subtly. Just as our harmonies can be said to be our way of speaking, so may we say that everything in the world is speaking, broadcasting its particular frequency and harmony, emitting its characteristic energy patterns.”

Peter London, “Drawing Closer To Nature”

Setting up from 5 to 7 p.m., then rising the next morning at 5:50 and completing the job by festival start time takes a toll on my body and spirit. To say the least, it makes it difficult to find one’s harmony while everything swirls about. But cool breezes and a comfortable lawn chair have sustained me at today’s Hot Pepper Festival in Palestine, Texas. I’ve met a ton of people and managed some sales, so I can call it a good day. I plan to return to blogging, once things slow down a bit for me.

Thanks for reading.

New Series of Coffee Mugs

October 19, 2017

I finally decided to pull the trigger, and ordered my first shipment of 50 coffee mugs featuring one of my recent watercolors. These will be going on sale in a week. I’ve already enjoyed my first coffee from the prototype pictured above. 

Prices for these are starting out at $10 plus shipping. This is my first attempt to extend my art beyond the two-dimensional format for selling, and I’m excited to see what happens.

Saturday, I will set up my tent and participate in Palestine’s annual Hot Pepper Festival, 10-5:00. The Gallery at Redlands will open with Elaine Cash Jary’s One-Person-Show, and gallery hours will extend till 10 pm.

Thanks for reading.

Perhaps the Centerpiece of my Christmas Show

October 19, 2017

polar first

Recently it’s been difficult to stop and blog because my schedule is stuffed (but all of it is good, fortunately). At 10 this morning, I finally signed this piece and said “Enough!”  I was wishing to leave the right side of the composition trailing off into the void, but kept adding details to it. I’ve done this countless times before and found myself liking my paintings before they were “finished.” My biggest vice, I suppose, is overworking, pushing a painting past its prime. I certainly did not want to do it with this particular work.

My upcoming show, “American Railroad Odyssey”, is posted on my website www.recollections54.com. It will open November 11 at The Gallery at Redlands, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas, and continue until December 16. I’m excited to be putting final pieces in place. This will probably be my centerpiece: the historic T&P 610 that is housed in Palestine. Today I will take it to the print shop for photographing. I want to make limited edition signed & numbered prints available, as well as greeting cards and postcards.

Tomorrow, the painting goes to Palestine to join the rest of the collection already being framed for the show.  I’ve lost count, but I know I have over a dozen original watercolors of historic trains to put on display and sale: Texas State Railroad, Durango-Silverton, Cumbres & Toltec, and Eureka Springs, as well as other scattered paintings of locomotives and rolling stock.

Tomorrow after college, I will travel again to Palestine to set up my art booth in the streets for the Hot Pepper Festival on Saturday. I will still have work inside The Gallery at Redlands, but the Gallery is opening a one-person show for Elaine Cash-Jary, a remarkable watercolor artist that the public must see. Elaine will be greeting patrons inside the Gallery while I “work the streets” at the festival all day! Any of you reading this post who are in travelling distance will not want to miss Elaine’s show. And if you come out to meet her, don’t forget to come find me on the streets! We’re planning on a great day Saturday. The Gallery will remain open until 10 that night, as the patrons of Red Fire Grille often cross the lobby to see what we have going on in there.

Thanks for reading. I’ll try to post again once I’m on site in Palestine.

 

Another Festival in the Books

October 16, 2017

The Edom Festival of the Arts witnessed beautiful weather, large crowds and a great overall art environment. I’m exhausted this morning as I prepare to face my college classes, but am awash in warm memories and gratitude for all the new friends I made as well as my precious friends who made the journet to visit us. I plan to write more today, but here are a few photos.

Thanks for looking.

Finding Peace in One’s Work

October 11, 2017

polar express drafting

In the Studio this Evening

There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 (King James Version)

sunrise

At the University this Morning

There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual–become clairvoyant. We reach then into reality. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I don’t regard myself as naturally ebullient. I used to laugh with a friend when describing myself as a “gloomy guy.” Throughout lengthy stages of my life, I have known rage, negativity, anxiety, depression and self-doubt. And I have regarded myself as one who just couldn’t seem to get it right. Life and emotions turn on a dime. What I’ve experienced today is not guaranteed to extend into tomorrow. But I’ll still take it.

My life did change profoundly since June 3 when I retired after twenty-eight years of full-time public high school teaching alongside thirty-two years of part-time university teaching. Since the beginning of this semester, I have enjoyed a nine-semester-hour load involving one online Logic course and a pair of Introduction to Ethics courses. My Ethics classes are back-to-back Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9-10:50. That’s it. Day-after-day-after-day I have been rising between 5 and 7 a.m., grateful to the core that I’m not dashing off to a high school by 7:00 and expected to stay until 3:15. On my university mornings, I rise at 5:00, go over my lecture notes, read, write in my journal, and often head to the university, arriving by sunrise so I can sit in the Science/Technical building lobby and watch the morning colors move across the commons. By that time I still have over an hour before strolling over to the lecture hall. I took the above picture this morning while enjoying my coffee and looking once more over my lecture notes on Immanuel Kant and his Categorical Imperative.

After a full afternoon of business-related errands, I settled into some online work for my Logic class, grading exams and posting a new assignment. Then I got to enter the studio and push my “Polar Express” themed watercolor a bit further. I’m going slowly on this, because I’m looking at a picture I took of the historic T&P 610 on a sunny morning, and trying to translate it into a night scene. I’m also contemplating a snowy foreground. So many decisions still to make on it.

It doesn’t seem likely that I’ll get to touch this painting any more this week. Tomorrow I meet with some dear friends at the train museum in Frisco, Texas (I’ve never visited it), and then I have to pack and load my gear for this weekend’s art festival in Edom, Texas. The Edom Art Festival is one of my genuine highlights of the year, with a beautiful setting, great fall weather, and enthusiastic patrons. I’m sorry the event only comes round once a year.

I still have to write Friday morning’s lecture to deliver before I leave town for the art festival. Tonight is going to be a late one, but I’m feeling so positive about life in general that I’m compelled to share with you.

Thanks for reading.

I paint out of a sense of wonder.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

 

Odyssey of Wonder

October 10, 2017

believe II

Continued early morning work on the train

Strange how adrenalin comes and goes. I had trouble falling asleep last night, yet woke without an alarm at 5:30, wanting only to return to this train I’ve been pushing the past couple of days. As it continues to take shape, my enthusiasm grows. It goes without saying that playing “The Polar Express” on TV while I work in the studio doesn’t diminish my pleasure in this.

Today I shall be travelling to Palestine, Texas, which is unusual for a weekday. Since I have an art festival in Edom, Texas this weekend, I will be unable to work out of The Gallery at Redlands for the second consecutive weekend. I have a number of business items to tend today, so I’m glad to see that city today.

I just placed an order for another 1500 postcards of the image posted below:

Night Train Violet

They should arrive early next week. They also will measure 4 x 6″.

The holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas has always swelled inside my being with the most wholesome and warm sentiments. As the cold front moved into our city overnight (fifty degrees this morning, which is cold by Texas standards), I felt those wonderful sentiments again, and the odyssey of life and wonder ripened to a new day.

Thanks for reading.

I paint out of a sense of wonder.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Believe

October 9, 2017

believe

In progress work on the T&P #610

polar express

Reference photo taken Sept. 23 when the #610 was towed out for public viewing

Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.

Polar Express

Currently, I am awash in an enchanted evening. I ordered the movie “Polar Express” from Amazon and watched it for the first time (mostly listened) while working on the watercolor above in my studio. My friends who lease The Gallery at Redlands planted the idea with me last March to do something to coincide with this Christmas season’s “Polar Express” excursion train that runs between Palestine and Rusk, Texas. Our Gallery at Redlands is in Palestine, and we’ve decided to host a Christmas Railroad exhibit, hoping to encourage Polar Express patrons to visit our gallery and a host of watercolors I’ve been creating since March.

I’m enjoying the challenge of painting the historic #610. The photo I took when it was towed outdoors was taken in the bright morning sun, so I could see the details well, and yet I’m trying to place it in a composition under a night wintry sky, hoping I can pull this off to look natural enough. We’ll see how it develops. Either way, I’m enjoying the work.

Today I received my shipment of 1500 postcards with the image below:

30 finished

I’m preparing to order additional shipments with other images completed recently. Today I also visited the business that produces my limited edition giclee prints. By November, at least six of my recent Palestine locomotive paintings will be available in these limited editions. Tomorrow I’m visiting a frame shop to deliver a stack of paintings to be framed and available for the show. The season is already heating up and I’m beginning to feel the fatigue as well as the exhilaration.

It feels good to be painting again. The college season is getting busier, but not too busy to keep me from making art, one of my chief joys in life.

Thanks for reading.

 

New Work on the T&P #610

October 7, 2017

Yesterday, I began new work on the Texas and Pacific number 610 which now resides in Palestine, Texas. I spent most of the day fiddling around with the sky, first using a toothbrush to spatter masking fluid, and then, floating many combinations of Antwerp Blue and Winsor Blue (Green Shade) and Phthalo Turquoise all over the wet sky, constantly misting and dabbing with terry cloth towels and Q-tips.

And then, last night, during an art walk in Lubbock Texas, I began work on the locomotive. As the light faded, I decided to stop painting and spend more time with drawing and redrawing the locomotive. Now that I can see it under natural light, I like the way the colors are appearing, but would like to have some time to stare at it before deciding what to do next with the painting.

I am happy with what is happening so far. Thank you for reading.

The Fall Season is Picking Up

October 2, 2017

Orange diesel

30 finished

Night Train Blue

Chevron Diesel.jpg

Night Train Violet

Blue & Red diesel

610 cab

I just finished a whirlwind of a weekend in Palestine, and am finishing several train watercolors at last. I just placed my first order for 1500 postcards of the historic #30 steam engine from the Texas State Railroad. In time, I will have postcards, greeting cards, and limited edition prints of all the trains of Palestine I’ve posted above. We’re trying to put on a big train show at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas this coming holiday season. I’ve been working on watercolors for the event all summer and am getting ready to make a deal with a framer to get them ready for presentation.

Thanks for reading.