Afterglow from Yesterday



Plein Air Demo before High School Students

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the valley of fear
To a river so deep

And I’ve been searching for something
Taken out of my soul
Something I would never lose
Something somebody stole

Billy Joel, “River of Dreams”

Recently, quality time for blogging has been scarce. Between spending hours behind a windshield in addition to processing hours of business affairs on the computer, I have felt my soul drying up. I love making art, reading, writing and blogging, and it’s been about 48 hours since I have been able to pursue those necessities that nurture my “real” life.

But for now, I need to push away the business paperwork so I can at least respond to a most precious moment I experienced during the first half of yesterday. Cindy Thomas, a public art teacher colleague I have known over twenty years, has also retired and taken up a part time position teaching art in a private school (smaller, more respectful classes and much larger studio space). She invited me to visit three of her classes yesterday and demonstrate watercolor en plein air. Their high school campus had a beautiful outdoor garden area and the weather was sunny and cool–just perfect for such an occasion.

I am anxiously waiting for the video her film classes produced of this event. In three separate sessions, I had the privilege of demonstrating and fielding questions from art and film students, roughly ten students per class, just the right size for direct, intimate conversation. Though I don’t miss full-time high school teaching, it was refreshing beyond words yesterday to see the students’ eyes light up as we discussed the profound joys of making art while surrounded by a natural environment. The questions covered art theory, history, philosophy, journaling, sketching practices, and the necessary steps for getting one’s art out into the public eye. Though twenty-four hours have passed, I am still warmed at every remembrance of this special encounter. Thank you, Cindy, and Pantego Christian Academy.

One of my best remembrances was the scripture passage above the door of the studio from Ephesians 2:10–

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

From my years in graduate study, I recall two notable ideas from this passage. First, the word translated “handiwork” is from the Greek word poiêma. Our word “poem” comes from this, and the word basically refers to a work of art, a creation. The passage sets forth humanity as God’s work of art. The close of the passage speaks of an advanced preparation for humans to do the good work intended. Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Four Causes sets forth the argument that our good works are already present within us, and they will issue forth. I tried to urge it upon the students in our discussion that they already have artistic tendencies in their essence, and this artistry is intended to come forth, whether they do it in visual, literary, musical or political arts; they already have that capability within themselves. Now, in their educational arena, they have that opportunity to cultivate those gifts.

Reluctantly, I have to return now to the business affairs of my art. Hopefully tomorrow I can emerge and get back to what I enjoy the most. Meanwhile, I wanted to share with you the joys of yesterday.

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.



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6 Responses to “Afterglow from Yesterday”

  1. Sandra Conner Says:

    What a truly lovely experience it must have been for you. And I’m so thrilled to hear what you told those students about their creativity. I always tell my creative writing students the same thing. I do believe it’s very important for them to BELIEVE that the Lord has put His creativity and His gifts into them, awaiting the time when they recognize that fact and act on it.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Sandra, thank you for writing! I love this feeling of reliving yesterday, and so appreciate that others can relate to it. These are indeed the words students need to hear during these times.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. diannmeynor Says:

    What an Amazing Experience you provided for those students! Thank You for Inspiring the “next generation” of Artists ❤


    • davidtripp Says:

      Dian, thank you so much for responding!

      Liked by 1 person

      • diannmeynor Says:

        Thank You for sharing your story. Sometimes as an Artist and Teacher, I forget what an opportunity we can provide for our students. Often times, overwhelmed in crowed, underfunded public school settings,…… the GIFT of your experience is DREAMY! Cheers! and Prayers.


      • davidtripp Says:

        Thank you again, Dian. I had very few of those kinds of “highs” when teaching art in public school–small rooms, crowded by large enrollments and a cheap budget for supplies. No respect from the administration perspective. Moving to art history was my salvation. But wow, what an exciting, enthusiastic atmosphere I experienced with this small cluster of respectful, eager learners!

        Liked by 1 person

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