Archive for September, 2018

Sunday Afternoon Musings in the Gallery

September 30, 2018

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Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself. I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks. I got up early and bathed in the pond; that was a religious exercise, and one of the best things which I did. They say that characters were engraven on the bathing tub of King Tching-thang to this effect: “Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again.” I can understand that. Morning brings back the heroic ages. 

All poets and heroes, like Memnon, are the children of Aurora, and emit their music at sunrise. To him whose elastic and vigourous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I woke this morning, hoping to salute Thoreau’s Aurora, but the sun never revealed itself. A heavy fog from the Gulf spread over this part of east Texas, and a pale, wet gray shrouded the Davy Crockett National Forest. Nevertheless, it was still the dawn, and Thoreau wrote of dawn being the heroic age–that all intelligences awake with the dawn. So, as soon as the gray light peaked through the French doors of my bedroom, I rose with a glad heart, boiled water to French-press my coffee, and soon found myself settled into the rocking chair on the veranda of the store facing to the east, and decided to spend the best part of the morning allowing thoughts to flow toward me and through me, uninhibited.

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My recent reading of biographies of Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway have stirred me to write this morning. The details of Kerouac’s itinerant life always leave me with the same kind of disturbed thoughts that I get from reading about Hemingway: these men had such a passion for disciplined writing that always drives me to find another gear to crank out work, no matter how tired or discouraged I may become in my own life and work.  They truly induce me to work even harder in my research, thinking and writing.  But the misery of both these men brings me to such overwhelming sadness. I know firsthand the double hell of self-doubt and second guessing. And when I read of those struggles of great artists and writers, I feel such grief, and often wish I could have been a friend to them in their days of conflict.

Arriving at The Gallery at Redlands in downtown Palestine, I found the town quiet and enveloped in the dark blue-gray of the low-lying clouds. With the music of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM playing softly in the gallery, I took out a stack of my old journals and several books I’ve been reading lately. And, as usual, I found the various authors addressing topics that dovetailed nicely to produce some observations about life. In addition to Kerouac and Hemingway, with their struggles over the writing process, I read about G. W. F. Hegel and his wrestling with world history to forge a philosophy of the historical process.

Hegel’s mind was Faustian in the way he incorporated and excerpted virtually everything he studied throughout his lengthy life, and then fashioned all that knowledge into a comprehensive system.  His mind reminds me very much of that of Paul Tillich, with that interdisciplinary drive, and of course I have always wanted to be that way.  Looking back over decades spent poring over texts of theology, philosophy, Bible and American literature, along with images from the history of art, I find myself continually seeking ways to weave these strands into a series of essays about life. I believe that all knowledge is connected, even though it often demands an Olympian perspective to see the connecting joints. I am always holding out hope, that over time, I will learn the art of simplifying to the point that I can recognize the connections better.

I was surprised by a visit from Ron and Dian Darr, friends of mine since the 1990’s. They drove a long distance to spend time with me this afternoon in the gallery, and we had a wonderful time over lunch, discussing ideas, reminiscing over trips we’ve made together over the past, and trips we’ve planned for the future. I’m always sorry to see them leave; there is never enough time to cover all the territory we enjoy covering while together. Thanks, Ron and Dian!

And thanks to all the rest of you, for reading.

We hope you will tune in tomorrow morning for the inaugural broadcast of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM. From 6-10:00, enjoy listening to “Kevin and Marc in the Morning”!

https://www.smoothrock935.com/

smooth rock

So . . . until next time, this is Dave signing off from The Gallery at Redlands, adjacent to Smooth Rock 93.5 FM broadcasting from the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown, Palestine, Texas.

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I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

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Sunday Morning Coffee in the Wilderness

September 30, 2018

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Coffee Always Seems to Taste Better in this Setting

. . . I’m off to the cabin–and am looking forward to the strong mountain air . . . I am working full tilt and am annoyed only by the coming semester and the philistine air that surrounds one again . . . It’s late night already–the storm is sweeping over the hill, the beams are creaking in the cabin, life lies pure, simple, and great before the soul.

Martin Heidegger, letters from his cabin in the Black Forest, July 24-April, 1925-1926.

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My Favorite Country Retreat

I closed down The Gallery at Redlands at 9:30 last night and began my fifty-minute drive to my favorite refuge in the country. Waking around 7:00 this morning without an alarm, I found a dense fog enveloping the land. After showering, dressing and making coffee, I took up my favorite abode on the veranda and enjoyed the serene landscape spread out around me. By the time I took the photos above (around 8:30), much of the mist had evaporated, but still there was a muted color on the distant horizon, and deer continually emerged from the edge of the woods to poke around in the tall grasses.

I resumed reading from Rüdiger Safranski’s Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil, particularly the portions of his residence in his cabin in Todtnauberg on the edge of the Black Forest where he did all his significant writing. As I read, I listened to the crows across the road, and occasionally looked up at the autumn fog from the Gulf lifting off the distant forest ridge. The caress of the morning breeze across my face took me to an even calmer world than what I felt in that east Texas wilderness. Before we opened The Gallery at Redlands last year, I would escape to this place, especially during the cold winter months, and enjoy days of quiet where I could read stacks of books, fill my journals and work on some serious watercolors, including some of my favorites below:

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Goods Stored on the Shelf of the Store where I Reside

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Door Separating the Store from the Residence in Back

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Where I Sat while Painting the Doorknob Above

While sitting outside, sipping coffee, reading from the biography, and scribbling scattered thoughts in my journal, I began to ponder seriously the notion of returning to this sacred space once the weather turns cold again to see what I could accomplish with some space and quiet around me for a stretch of days and nights. I have this compulsion to churn out a large body of work, and I’m happy during these post-retirement years to have opportunities to hole up in a quiet space and let my creative bliss run uninterrupted. I am always inspired by stories of Martin Heidegger retreating from the University of Freiburg to take up residence in his Black Forest cabin to think in solitude and eventually write Being and Time. Such a quiet space is a luxury for anyone wishing to create in silence, and I shall always be grateful to my dear friends for providing such a space for me.

Before closing down the gallery last night, I managed to complete a composition of the wrecked church perched on the hill of the ghost town of Terlingua, Texas where I visited last spring.

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Working in the Gallery at Night

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Completed Watercolor of Terlingua

Sunday morning is dark and quiet in downtown Palestine. The taped music of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM is filling the gallery, and I am loving the atmosphere as I work here in The Gallery at Redlands for the day. I hope you will tune in to the first live broadcast of this new radio station tomorrow morning, from 6:00-10:00. You can stream it from their website:

https://www.smoothrock935.com/

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Smooth Rock 93.5 FM–Window to the World

“Kevin and Marc in the Morning” promises to be a fun way to begin each weekday. I cannot wait to hear them for the first time.  And so . . . this is Dave signing off on Sunday morning from The Gallery at Redlands, alongside 93.5 FM in the historic Redlands Hotel located in downtown Palestine, Texas.

Thanks always for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Morning Coffee in The Gallery at Redlands

September 29, 2018

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Painting Saturday in the Gallery

When through a rent in the rain-clouded

sky a ray of the sun suddenly glides

over the gloom of the meadows. . . .

            We never come to thoughts. They come

                        to us.

Martin Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet”

This morning, I slept soundly till 8:20, and later sat outside on the veranda to enjoy the rain with a cup of coffee. It didn’t take long for thoughts to come to me, tumbling one over the other. I couldn’t scribble fast enough in my journal. Opening my Greek New Testament, I translated portions of the third chapter of the Gospel According to Matthew, and pondered the wilderness motif that I gleaned long ago from the biblical texts. The prophets Elijah and John the Baptist emerged from wilderness settings and uttered prophetic cries that roused those living in the surrounding communities. I don’t know that I have a Word for those living in the suburbs when I emerge from the east Texas wilderness, but I do know that the silence of the country, broken only by gentle rain on the tin roof of the store where I reside, and the chirping of birds, with the occasional punctuation of a crow cawing from the pastures on the other side of the muddy dirt road, put me in a serene frame of mind. I carried that delicious morning watch on my fifty-minute drive through the country to Palestine and The Gallery at Redlands. From the wilderness to civilization is an excellent transition for me–a slow, gradual transition. And now, situated in this gorgeous space, my heart has been prepared to paint. And the aroma of the coffee adds to this wonderful ambiance. 20180929_091915515477821760459128.jpg

Enjoying the Early Morning Rain in my Favorite Hideaway

I have begun a new painting of the old wrecked church on the hill behind the ghost town in Terlingua, Texas, not far from Big Bend National Park. My images are still filled with that late afternoon when the sun was altering the colors of the terrain around that abandoned structure. The studio moments have been punctuated with the splattering of paint, drawing the structural details, and experimenting with salt and a spritz bottle of water. I am slowly getting lost in this painting.

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The music of Smooth Rock 93.5 fills this gallery as I write, and I look forward with great anticipation to the inaugural live broadcast from this studio, Monday morning, October 1, at 6:00. I invite you to tune in, or if you are out of the area, to stream the broadcast from their website, https://www.smoothrock935.com/ and enjoy Kevin and Marc in the Morning.

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“The Window to the World”–Live Broadcast begins October 1, 6:00 a.m.

It’s time to return to my painting. And so, this is Dave signing off from The Gallery at Redlands adjacent to Smooth Rock 93.5 soon to broadcast live from the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine, Texas!

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Friday Night in the Gallery with Kevin & Marc

September 28, 2018

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Marc Mitchell & Kevin Harris doing mic check before going live

Dad had once said, “It takes genius to elevate the ordinary, a very ordinary genius,” and that’s exactly what I am, Frank thought, an ordinary genius. He had unlocked the secret of radio. The sport of the ordinary! Brilliant men like Reed Seymour couldn’t figure this out for the life of them! Reed was ashamed of radio. Vesta was ashamed of it. Reed wanted to do something worthy with his life, like write books. He had part of a manuscript in his desk drawer. Frank had read it. Very intense, very poetic. And very hard going. Vesta wanted to bring in the treasures of the world and display them on the air, like opening a museum and showing postcards of the Venus de Milo. No, radio was a cinch if you kept reaching down and grabbing up handfuls of the ordinary. Keep your feet on the ground.

Garrison Keillor, WLT: A Radio Romance

The late afternoon autumn sun cast its warm glow across the town as I motored into Palestine, Texas. Stepping out of the Jeep and into the cool winds felt terrific as I unloaded new watercolors for the gallery. My heart was lifted even more when I discovered my new friends, Kevin and Marc, already inside the gallery, testing out the three mics in the control booth. I was introduced to Ken, the engineer working on the finer details of the new system. I tried to take a decent picture from the hotel lobby, through the gallery door, to capture the broadcasters seated at their “Window to the World.”

En route to Palestine, I dropped by Art on the Square in Waxahachie and picked up three of the seven pieces I’ve had on display there. I thought I would see if a new venue would assist in finding homes for them.

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Fort Worth Flatiron on the Left; Waxahachie Depot on the Right

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Ellis County Courthouse, Waxahachie

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Waxahachie Depot in Foreground; Courthouse in Background

As it got closer to dark, I needed to leave the gallery to run some business errands. Kevin and Marc were still testing the mics while the station aired pre-taped music. As I was driving around town, I tuned in to 93.5 and they were live! It was so fun, listening to their on-air banter as they confessed to the listeners that they were just checking things out to make sure the system was working. They explained that the gallery studio signal went up to the second floor to another studio in their offices, and then to the antenna atop the hotel and finally out to the listeners. The broadcasters sounded like they were having great fun, and so was I, just listening and knowing the fellows behind the voices.

I brought my painting supplies to the gallery with me and plan to do some serious work tonight, Saturday and Sunday. As I work and play, I will find a way to send pictures and words out to any of you who wish to read what we’re doing here in Palestine, Texas.

And so, this is Dave signing off from The Gallery at Redlands alongside Smooth Rock 93.5 FM inside the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine, Texas.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Morning Coffee with Dave & James

September 28, 2018

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Another morning spent reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Towards Findlater’s church a quartet of young men were striding along with linked arms, swaying their heads and stepping to the agile melody of their leader’s concertina. The music passed in an instant, as the first bars of sudden music always did, over the fantastic fabrics of his mind, dissolving them painlessly and noiselessly as a sudden wave dissolves the sandbuilt turrets of children. Smiling at the trivial air he raised his eyes to the priest’s face and, seeing in it a mirthless reflection of the sunken day, detached his hand slowly which had acquiesced faintly in that companionship.

As he descended the steps the impression which effaced his troubled selfcommunion was that of a mirthless mask reflecting a sunken day from the threshold of the college. The shadow, then, of the life of the college passed gravely over his consciousness. It was a grave and ordered and passionless life that awaited him . . .

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

The abstract artist Robert Motherwell assessed James Joyce as “the Shakespeare of modernism.” As for myself, I was reading James Joyce long before I encountered the art and life of Motherwell. I read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man while dispatching for the Fort Worth Police Department. As a call taker on the police non-emergency line, there were long gaps of quiet between phone calls, and I was tethered to the work station with a headset, so there was plenty of space for quality reading and thought. The book changed my life and prompted me to keep a journal, which I have done since the late 1980’s.

Over the past few days, I have been re-reading journals of mine from years past, and an entry from December 2014 recorded the Joyce text above, and my comments about it that particular morning. What strikes me today is a recurring theme from my own past life that Joyce prompted me to recall, that notion of a “mirthless” countenance. In describing myself, I would never use words such as “ebullient” or “joyful”. I have often envied those who exuded such qualities, but always felt that if I myself tried to project such an image, I would be just as repulsive as . . . well, I won’t complete that sentence. I’ll just say that I abhor certain public figures who try to sell a particular product or lifestyle with facial expressions, specific words and general posturing that I think are phony. I never wanted to be one of those.

A friend from my past always referred to me as “that gloomy guy.” It was all in fun, and the friend respected me, knowing that I often wished I could naturally reflect a more cheerful countenance. Now, with all that being said, I don’t describe myself as mirthless, joyless, or unhappy with life. Quite the contrary. I believe that life is a precious gift, and as I continue to grow older, I am grateful for every day of it, and wake each morning, happy to be handed another gift.

Looking over my past, I am haunted by a myriad of memories of college, pastoral ministry, graduate school, and public school teaching, where I was surrounded by mirthless expressions depicting genuinely unhappy people. And I always fought aggressively against that outlook, swearing I would never let it pull me beneath the waves. I don’t believe that one’s profession in life guarantees a mirthless life; rather, I believe unhappy people tend to bring that into the workplace, into the family and into the friendship circles.

Much of my inspiration in life comes from reading, and that has been true for most of my life. Making art also brings joy that I cannot explain. Soon, I will return to Palestine and occupy The Gallery at Redlands along with the music that Smoothrock 93.5 now brings into the environment. And I look forward to picking up the watercolor brush once again. For the past two days, my life has been tied up with college grading and printing over one hundred new greeting cards of my art (I will post a couple of the cards below). I sell these 5×7″ cards (blank inside) with envelope in a plastic sleeve for $5 each or 5 for $25. Printing off the images the past couple of days has made me ache to make new work, so I plan to resume that this afternoon and throughout the weekend.

Christmas card workspace 2nd version

Dryden scan

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Morning Coffee with James Joyce

September 27, 2018

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His soul had arisen from the grave of boyhood, spurning her graveclothes. Yes! Yes! Yes! He would create proudly out of the freedom and power of his soul, as the great artificer whose name he bore, a living thing, new and soaring and beautiful, impalpable, imperishable.

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

Several days of travel and appointments finally caught up with me, and I woke this morning, not feeling very rested or restored, and I had a 9:35 Logic class waiting for me. Skipping breakfast, I went to my desk and finished prepping for this morning’s session, and, not knowing what to take along to read (I usually arrive thirty minutes ahead of class, just in case a rush hour or traffic accident delay should throw me off schedule), I pulled an old journal off the bookshelf, from December 1 2014-January 10, 2015.

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After I got to the college, I read from the early pages of the journal that had recorded a particularly bleak and cold St. Louis winter morning. Reading this James Joyce text overflowed my soul with joy on that particular morning, and it revisited me today.

Coming home to a fresh stack of college grading, I French-pressed some coffee beans purchased in Crested Butte, Colorado, went to my desk, put my head down, and plowed through the stack of documents. Before I realized it, the grading was done, and college doesn’t resume for me till next Tuesday. Wow, the weekend already! And a fresh inspiration from the precious writings of James Joyce.

Happily, I am returning to my studio to make art.

Update on the radio station: yesterday they sent me the photo of the station logo now attached to the lower part of our gallery window:

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I also received confirmation that the radio station’s first live broadcast, “Kevin & Marc in the Morning” will be Monday, October 1.

Thanks for reading

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Morning Coffee with Dave & Thoreau

September 26, 2018

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The heroic books, even if printed in the character of our mother tongue, will always be in a language dead to degenerate times; and we must laboriously seek the meaning of each word and line, conjecturing a larger sense than common use permits out of what wisdom and valor and generosity we have. The modern cheap and fertile press, with all its translations, has done little to bring us nearer to the heroic writers of antiquity.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

This morning’s reading connected in several ways with the assignment I just released for my online course in Classical Judaism. I am asking my students to read arguments from Samson Raphael Hirsch, Samuel Holdheim and Abraham Geiger, three rabbis who benefited from both traditional Talmudic scholarship and a modern secular university education. Their upbringing taught them to focus with precision on the Hebrew texts from antiquity and then later to pursue a university education and listen to their contemporary world. In their arguments, they sought to translate the heart of Judaism to the current culture in which they found themselves living and responding.

Translating requires a round trip between here and the world of the ancient text. Martin Heidegger, in his translation of Presocratic fragments, once argued that before we do any translating, we must first translate ourselves to what a document says, what it means.  We have to hear with accuracy the language of antiquity before we can return to our own time and nurture that word in today’s world. Many who have read the past have failed to listen and open themselves to the message of the past. And avoiding that message simply means they carry none of it into today’s world.

Thoreau always found difficulty finding hearers or readers when he attempted to translate his favorite book, Homer’s Iliad, the Greek text which he read annually, to his contemporary Concord environment. I find myself struggling as well when I try to talk to someone else about what I’m reading from a culture that is not Texas 2018. That is why I am grateful for dinner and conversation last night with Kevin Harris, one of the DJs for Smoothrock 93.5 moving into this Redlands Hotel. He and Marc Mitchell, both with backgrounds here in small town Palestine, Texas, have absorbed a broad worldview with their broadcast professions, and have a sensibility that goes beyond “radio talk.” They probably don’t realize how much they have helped me revise profoundly my caricature of a broadcaster. Both men yesterday displayed for me an empathy for human experience that I don’t see enough in my everyday world. Over dinner, Kevin and I were able to discuss ideas that matter to us, and that we believe are very relevant to life, even though we live in a world that appears too fast-paced and distracted to focus on fundamental values. How enriching to have a conversation over dinner that ranged over the fields of art, philosophy, religion and contemporary culture. So, to my favorite Redlands Quartet–Jean, Mike, Kevin and Marc–thanks for inviting me into your Palestine world.

The gallery is quiet this Wednesday morning, save for the soft sounds of Smoothrock 93.5 now wafting across this space. I have plenty of college grading to do, so I’m glad to be in a space where I can work.

Thanks for reading. (“And now, this is David Tripp signing off from the Gallery at Redlands, and sending you a wave from Smoothrock 93.5 FM, situated in the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine, Texas!”)

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I bog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Morning Coffee with Dave & David Henry

September 25, 2018

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Behind the Desk at Gallery at Redlands

To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object. Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written. 

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Before leaving for class this morning, I read chapter three of Walden, titled “Reading,” by David Henry Thoreau–yes, that was actually his name on the birth certificate, David Henry. While a student at Harvard, he decided that Henry David was more euphonious, so he changed his name, to his parents’ chagrin.

I didn’t really develop a love for reading till college, when I took reading the Bible more seriously. In those days, I believed that God would speak to me if I read the Bible with a spirit of expectancy, and so I developed a disciplined plan of daily reading in a meditative state, waiting for God to speak. Years later, I broadened the scope, believing that inspiration can strike from virtually any written source, if the reader expects such an encounter. So I read now more than ever before, and I  am very seldom disappointed. I am not sure if this is a Zen saying, but I have always liked the sound of it: “If you walk in the mist you’ll get wet.” And so, I read, and  expect. This morning, like most mornings, I was not abandoned. I recall Heidegger writing: “We do not come to thoughts; thoughts come to us.” And so, Thoreau’s words were read as seriously by me as they were written by him. And I was visited by a host of ideas that put a spring in my step for the rest of the day.

After class, I decided to load some large paintings and head for The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas. I was excited to see what had happened while I was away last weekend, with the radio personnel moving in their gear. I had been sent pictures of the gallery window, and was anxious to see inside the studio. Once I arrived and looked about the gallery, I came to an agreement with the others that the temporary wall I put up to separate the broadcast booth from the actual gallery was not such a great idea–it restricted the view through the gallery, from lobby window to showroom window. So, we took down the wall, opened up the space, and I then set about the task of rearranging paintings and re-configuring the gallery space.

We have added Ian Watson to our gallery circle. Ian was my student back in Lamar High School days. He took a keen interest in the Abstract Expressionist painters, reading biographies of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, as well as the collected essays of Barnett Newman. Over the years, he developed a color field technique and has recently emerged as an artist, with his first solo show in Amarillo last summer, and now he is having work accepted into galleries, ours included. I am looking forward to seeing a feature article on his work coming out next month in Accent West, a magazine published in Amarillo.

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A Pair of Ian Watson’s Acrylic Canvases Behind the Desk

Today I finally got to meet Marc Mitchell of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM. He brought me up to date on what is happening with the station. The first live broadcast should be next week, hopefully October 1. With 50,000 watts, their signal will extend across seventeen counties in east Texas. Anyone outside the broadcast area will still be able to stream the broadcasts on the Internet. The broadcast booth is nearly complete, and the view from their “Window to the World” is fabulous. Our excitement continues to build with their arrival.

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Broadcast Booth Near Completion

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“Window to the World”

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View of the Broadcast  Booth from my Desk

Thanks for reading. 🙂  . . . Until next time, this is David Tripp signing off from The Gallery at Redlands and Smooth Rock 93.5 FM, broadcasting from the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine, Texas!

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Morning Coffee with Dave and Anthony Storr

September 24, 2018

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Perusing Old Journals at Tova Coffee House

. . . the creative process continues throughout life. No creator is ever satisfied with what he has done. New problems constantly occur which compel him to seek new solutions. Completed works are but halts on the way; staging posts on a journey which, as in Jung’s picture of the development of personality, is never completed. Indeed the works of an artist are the outward and visible signs of his inner development as a person. 

Anthony Storr, Solitude: A Return to the Self

The weekend was over in a hurry, and I have a long road back home.  But first, I need to keep an appointment with a gallery to submit new work this afternoon, and while waiting for that to roll around, I may as well get some college work done. Monday always brings a new round of grading and posting new assignments online. These tasks will consume the larger part of today, but I choose to begin the morning with coffee and quiet time for reading and reflection. Reading the passage above from Storr’s Solitude drove me back into a stack of my old journals that I brought on the weekend trip with me. As I stated in yesterday’s blog, I have felt a renewed compulsion to explore some of my older journals as well as typed essays and scattered thoughts saved on a disk.

I suppose it has always been a quirk of mine that, even when I have appointments, tasks and deadlines in front of me, I can still squeeze in time for creative attempts. And once I enter that zone, the other “stuff” usually does not invade my consciousness. This passage from Storr’s book describes these gaps I manage to cram into a crowded schedule:

. . . the creative person, in the inspirational phase of the creative furor, loses his past and his future and lives only in the moment. He is all there, totally immersed, fascinated and absorbed in the present, in the current situation, in the here-now, with the matter-in-hand . . . This ability to become “lost in the present” seems to be a sine qua non for creativeness of any kind. But also certain prerequisites of creativeness–in whatever realm–somehow have something to do with this ability to become timeless, selfless, outside of space, of society, of history. 

Today is more “scheduled” than usual, with appointments and deadlines to meet. But still, I choose to pay myself first, to give myself the best of the morning hours, to feed on books, on journals, on thoughts, always looking for some inspirational boost. Delicious moments spent in these pursuits usually provide me with the energy and optimism to complete the compulsory tasks that are always waiting in the wings.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Sunday Morning Coffee with Steve Wozniak

September 23, 2018

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Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me–they’re shy and they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone where they can control an invention’s design  without a lot of other people designing it for marketing or some other  committee. I don’t believe anything really revolutionary has been invented by committee. If you’re that rare engineer who’s an inventor and also an artist, I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone.

Steve Wozniak, quoted in Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of  Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.

John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Temperatures this morning in west Texas hovered in the fifties, and I felt deep gratitude for the autumn snap in the air. This summer in Texas has been so bloody hot, that I feared I might not know cool temperatures till November. Part of today’s relaxation involved fishing in a local park, all the while marveling at how chilly and invigorating the air felt around me. I have also been laughing my way through my second reading of Garrison Keillor’s WLT: A Radio Romance, enjoying the chapter episodes and thinking with gladness over the episodes I’ve enjoyed the past year and a half in the Redlands Hotel and Gallery, and musing over what to expect when Smooth Rock 93.5 FM moves in and sets up its broadcasts. The team of Kevin Harris and Marc Mitchell offer some amazing color to our future in downtown Palestine, Texas. I look forward to returning to The Redlands soon.

Most of what I have been up to the past two days I cannot weave into a meaningful blog just yet; I have been going through countless drafts of essays composed over the past five or so years and stored on files. A renewed passion for writing has come over me, extending far beyond daily journal jottings. Quiet moments in coffee shops have provided an enriching atmosphere for musing and writing. Hopefully, some meaningful topics will emerge and I’ll gladly send them out.

Throughout today, the two posts above have flooded my imagination. Creativity has always been a solitary activity for me, and I do not wish to disparage others’ theories involving creative collaboration. But I will say this–throughout my career of teaching in public schools, there was always this push for teachers to be more “creative” in the classroom by stimulating “collaborative learning.” In all honesty, I never found success in that experiment. Rather, I only noticed “teams” allowing the “alpha member” to do all the work creating, with the team sharing in the spoils of the grade. But that’s just my perspective. Throughout my life, I have been on the side expressed by Wozniak and Steinbeck, that creativity comes from the individual, not the committee. And I am convinced that my push to create emanated naturally from the way I have lived out my life as one who spends a great deal of his time alone and quiet.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.