Archive for October, 2019

Harvest Time

October 27, 2019

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Six New Watercolors Completed. $100 each

One of the thrilling benefits of planting, watering and weeding numerous paintings together is that occasion when several come to fruition the same day. Last summer, while vacationing in Sedona, I began about twenty 8 x 10″ watercolors of the view behind the rental where we stayed. This morning I finished six of them, signed and harvested them, installing each in an 11 x 20″ white mat. I’m leaving them in the Gallery at Redlands for the time being.

I am happy to announce that I have a new website under construction which will launch within the next thirty days. Stay tuned for more details . . .

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.

Saturday Night in the Gallery

October 26, 2019

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Palestine Victorian. 8 x 10″  $150 with white mat

It’s not what you put in but what you leave out that counts.

Andrew Wyeth

Palestine, Texas has been chilly all day, but the crowds still came out for the annual Hot Pepper Festival. I chose to stay warm inside the gallery, and brought this 8 x 10″ watercolor to a close. After spending hours detailing the part of the Victorian home that most commanded my attention, I decided to fall back on my favorite Andrew Wyeth compositional dictum that the strength of a composition depends on what you omit, allowing the viewer room for imagination in viewing. Frequently I choose to leave the peripheral elements blank, believing that the viewer will then focus on the portion of the subject that first caught my eye and held my fascination.

The Redlands Hotel has already installed many of my watercolors in the Queen St Grille, across the lobby. Tonight they have selected three more to hang in the side room of the Queen St Bar. I’m proud to see my work hanging throughout the hotel now.

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Tonight as I paint in the gallery, I am listening to an adaptation of the original broadcast of H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.  This 1938 CBS radio broadcast is being reenacted before a live audience at the Nickel Manor down the street from the Redlands Hotel. Smooth Rock 93.5 is carrying the broadcast and Alan Wade is in the studio now making the sure the radio signal is steady. Listening to this chilling broadcast is quite an experience and makes me wish now to re-read the novel. Having read it in junior high, I’m confident that there is so much more I could enjoy from the text in my later years. Here is the link to the Palestine broadcast event:  https://www.visitpalestine.com/events/2019/hg-wells-the-war-of-the-worlds-live-radio20191026_19453156590346373319748.jpg

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While listening to the broadcast, I’ve been chipping away at a number of compositions begun this past summer while vacationing in Sedona, Arizona. The gallery has experienced quite a number of patrons passing through, and the conversations have been most enjoyable.

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.

Re-shaping my Subject

October 25, 2019

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Friday Night, Painting in the Gallery at Redlands

Three dimensions have been flattened into two, light has been exchanged for paint, the whole scene has been knowlingly composed. Art, Cézanne reminds us, is surroundeed by artifice.

Jonah Lehrer, Proust was a Neuroscientist

Eighteen months ago, I began an 8 x 10″ plein air watercolor sketch of one of Palestine’s historic Victorian homes. I found the house several blocks beyond the railyards that separate the old downtown where the gallery is located and one of the city’s older, well-preserved neighborhoods. After working on it for about half an hour, the sun grew hot and I brought it to the gallery. It was then, studying it closer, that I noted several mistakes made. I stopped working on it, stored it with other discarded works, and soon forgot all about it.

Yesterday, while packing to come to Palestine for a four-day stay, I came across the abandoned painting and tossed it into the Jeep with my other art supplies. Today, I decided to push it further and see if i could shape a decent composition, even if the work is architecturally deficient. So far, I am happy with the way the composition is taking shape and just may have a painting to frame after all. I should know by tomorrow.

The Hot Pepper Festival is all day tomorrow (Saturday). I plan to work in the gallery, as I have all day today, taking occasional breaks to cruise the streets and see what the vendors have to offer. If you are nearby, come see us at The Redlands Hotel. The newly-opened Queen St Grille and Bar will be open and ready to receive you. And I, of course, would love for you to visit our Gallery at Redlands. We are planning for a spectacular day.

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.

Layered Mornings with Einstein

October 25, 2019

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Morning Watch with Einstein Reading

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

Albert Einstein, letter to his son, February 5, 1930 (thank you Walter Isaacson!)

Twelve years ago. Summer 2007. Heavy rainstorms pounded Leadville, Colorado. Safe inside the Mountain Laundry, I inserted coins into the washing machines to clean two weeks’ worth of clothing during my trek across Missouri, Kansas and Colorado. The storms chased me off the headwaters of the Arkansas River in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. While the laundry churned and I plotted the remainder of my trip across Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, I opened a volume I had just purchased: Walter Isaacson’s Einstein: His Life and Universe. Not only did the book convert the coin laundry into a sanctuary that dark stormy morning; it kept me company the rest of the trip. But by the time I reached home, I put it back on the shelf, having read only the first 108 pages. So I reopened it this morning (Wednesday) and decided to begin from page one and finish the work. Every biography from Isaacson is a true gift; I have read in their entirety his works on Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci. The Benjamin Franklin tome met the same fate as Einstein, but I intend to go back and finish that one too.

The quote above about riding the bicycle resonates with me at this moment in life. The past couple of weeks have been frenetic as I have moved from demonstrations to workshops to art festivals to private art lessons. A few days of rest intervened, and I feel much renewed from that dormant period. But now it is time to kick it up once again; I have the Hot Pepper Festival this weekend in Palestine, followed by a workshop, followed by a plein air event. Finding the balance to continue on this bicycle has not come automatically for me, but I am focused on the effort.

Einstein horizontal

Reproduction of my 1990 pen & ink drawing/collage

5 x 7″ in white 8 x 10″ mat–$20

In my earliest years of teaching high school art, I created a pair of pen & ink drawings of Einstein partial portraits and then completed the works as collages. I gave them away as gifts, but photocopied them before letting them go. In the decades since, I have digitized them and sold them as greeting cards for $5 each or placed them in a good framable size mat to sell for $20. After all these years I am still proud of the pair of works, and now that I am immersed once again in this biography, I intend to begin a new series on Einstein.

Today is Friday. I am settled into The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine for the weekend’s Hot Pepper Festival. My friend Patty, a marketing specialist who has an office in this hotel, told me that her husband Tim had a drafting table he was willing to pass on to me if I had use for it. Enthusiastically, I received it and now have it next to my gallery desk near the window so I can work on art here in the gallery without converting this nice desk into a work table. Thank you Patty and Tim!  I hope to begin some new Einstein-related art in addition to my watercolors in progress throughout this weekend’s festivities in Palestine.

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View of the Gallery through the Lobby Window

Einstein long face

Reproduction of my 1990 pen & ink drawing/collage

5 x 7″ in white 8 x 10″ mat–$20

My renewed reading in the Einstein biography has flooded me with new ideas that I am transferring to my world of art from his world of physics and music:

Music continued to beguile Einstein. It was not so much an escape as it was a connection: to the harmony underlying the universe, to the  craetive genius of the great composers, and to other people who felt comfortable bonding with more than just words. He was awed, both in music and in physics, by the beauty of harmonies.

I was always a poor student of science, but reading this biography allows me to transfer some of Einstein’s ideas to my own creative world. Because of this reading, I am renewing my studies in aesthetics, seeking to understand better the laws of composition lying at the foundation of good art.  As I look over these composite drawings of Einstein from 1990, I intend to begin a new series in the Gallery today. Waves of enthusiasm are sweeping over me as I prepare these new materials.

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Kevin Harris doing the Morning Show

I always enjoy mornings with Kevin while he does his radio show on Smooth Rock 93.5 FM. He invited me into the studio this morning to pitch this weekend’s activities with the Hot Pepper Festival that runs through Saturday. I will work in the Gallery as before, and take a few trips out into the streets to meet the vendors, always in the hunt for local artists to promote. Festivals always excite me, and I of course am glad to have a permanent headquarters inside this gallery. I won’t have to travel and set up a temporary festival booth until December, I am happy to say.

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“Thinking of Jack Kerouac”

30 x 24″ framed watercolor–$400

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1902 Cabin from Cotter, Arkansas

24 x 30″ framed watercolor–$300

I have put out two new large framed watercolors in The Gallery at Redlands. In addition to these, I have a number of works in progress that I intend to resume today, covering subjects ranging from historic landmark homes to landscapes. In addition to the composite Einstein pieces and some new railroad themes, I should be pretty busy with the creative process throughout the weekend.

Jean Mollard, owner of The Redlands Hotel, always introduces me to her guests as the “artist in residence.” I have always relished the sound of this introduction, since I first heard it in 2015 when Texas A&M University Corpus Christi named me their artist-in-residence for that week-long Laguna Madre excursion. Prior to that, I was stirred by the sound of the title during my university years when the institution brought in an artist for a short series. But here at The Redlands, it is so much more. The community has embraced me, making me feel a genuine part of these surroundings. I cannot express in words the absolute beauty and class of this hotel and I am humbled to dwell in it.

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The New Queen St Grille Bar now Open for Business

The Queen St Grille, across the lobby from The Gallery at Redlands, had to wait for a liquor license before opening the bar. The process was completed last week, and now this beautiful space is open. The bar area is small and intimate, with access to the Queen St Grille to the left and an additional room conducive to meetings to the right.

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To the left, the bar has direct access to the restaurant

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To the right, a meeting room is being prepared as well

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My Attempt at a Panorama

Activity is beginning to heat up at The Redlands Hotel. It is now Friday nearing noon and the sounds of people are beginning to fill the lobby. Time for me to get back to work. Following Einstein’s dictum, I need to keep this bicycle moving if I hope to sustain any kind of balance.

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.

October 19

October 19, 2019

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Sundance Square. Fort Worth, Texas

The sunwashed cool days of this weekend have been so satisfying. I feel that I am finally rested from the past couple of weeks of activities requiring constant travel. Sitting outside at a Starbucks in downtown Fort Worth, I read through a journal of mine from the winter of 2015-16. Finding notes I took on N. C. Wyeth, I rediscovered the historical events that all occurred on today’s date–October 19.

On this day . . .

. . . 1902. N. C. Wyeth arrived in Wilmington, Delaware to study under the illustrator Howard Pyle.

. . . 1932. Andrew Wyeth entered the studio of his father to begin his apprenticeship as an artist.

. . . 1937. Andrew Wyeth opened his one-man-show in New York City. It sold out the following day.

. . . 1945. N.C. was killed along with his grandbaby, struck by a freight train when their car stalled at the crossing.

I feel that I’ll never see October 19 the same again.

Thanks for reading.

A Weed by the Wall

October 16, 2019

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Saturday at Edom Art Festival

To-day I am full of thoughts, and can write what I please. I see no reason why I should not have the same thought, the same power of expression to-morrow. What I write, whilst I write it, seems the most natural thing in the world: but yesterday I saw a dreary vacuity in this direction in which now I see so much; and a month hence, I doubt not, I shall wonder who he was that wrote so many continuous pages. Alas for this infirm faith, this will not strenuous, this vast ebb of a vast flow! I am God in nature; I am a weed by the wall.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”

This morning, while reading Harold Bloom’s The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime, I came across one of my favorite Emerson musings from his engaging essay “Circles.” Not long after his 1836 catapult into the spotlight of American fame, he began writing about these rhythms, the ebb and flow that creative spirits know so well. We cannot be in that creative flow all the time; there is always the balancing rhythm of repose, stagnation, or stasis. I know that experience in creative rhythms as well as emotional highs followed by exhaustion.

Looking back over my blogs, I realize that I last posted on Friday, while waiting out a rainstorm so I could set up my booth for the Edom Art Festival. Now, four days have passed, and it seems like only a matter of hours. Yet, I feel that I packed a month’s worth of experiences in those few days.

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Two Views of my Booth

I cannot say enough about the loveliness of the festival and the gorgeous weather both days–bright sun and cool temperatures. What pleased me the most was that my booth was packed most of Saturday during business hours. Generally, during a festival, there are those down times when no one is dropping by to shop. But Saturday, the booth was occupied nearly the entire day with anywhere from two-to-eight shoppers, and my heart overflowed with good feelings, knowing there was some kind of meaningful connection between the viewers and my paintings.

Since the festival, I have already been back to Palestine, home to Arlington, over to Fort Worth to teach my Tuesday morning Humanities class, and now I’m back in the gallery in Palestine. There is much to do, but it feels good this morning not to be chasing a deadline. The only major chore before me is putting the gallery back together as I have unloaded my festival gear and paintings. It is time to make the gallery look like a gallery again instead of a storeroom in need of tidying.

The text from Emerson is very timely this day. In recent weeks I have vacillated between creative explosions and hiatus. Right now, I feel that I am at rest (and gratefully so) but at the same time feel this surge of ideas waiting for new expression. There are a number of watercolor and drawing ideas in me that I would like to get out, and hope to, as soon as I put this gallery back together. I always loved the Frank Lloyd Wright remark, boasting that he could merely shake buildings out of his sleeve. There are times when I feel that about paintings, and it’s a sublime feeling. Yet, at my age, I also am very aware of those dormant periods, and they no longer trouble me. I know that the body needs rest as well as exercise, sleep as well as travel. Likewise, the creative bursts will naturally be balanced with times of repose.

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I usually enjoy a good book while sitting through seven-hour days at art festivals. On Saturday, the booth was filled with patrons all day, so reading was out of the question. But on Sunday, during church hours, the festival grounds were quite empty, so I opened my backpack to discover that I had not packed any books! No art supplies either. So . . . with a ballpoint pen I entertained myself the first few hours by scribbling out tree sketches in my journal while posting random thoughts. It reminded me of a recent pledge to try and push myself in the Leonardo da Vinci direction of keeping sketchbook/journals. Maybe I’ll get there. I like the way my mind wanders back and forth between ideas and images, and hope that I’ll develop a habit of moving back and forth between drawing and writing. At any rate, it was a wonderful way to pass the time for a couple of hours Sunday morning.

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Queen St. Grille, Adjacent to The Gallery at Redlands

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New Installations at Queen St Grille

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I am honored that The Redlands Hotel has invited me to extend my gallery work into the restaurant across the lobby. Jean and Mike have been gracious in allowing me to store my excess paintings on the fifth floor of the hotel. Now they will have better exposure hanging in this lovely dining area. The Gallery at Redlands is also getting a facelift as some water damage was sustained on one of our walls due to an air conditioner malfunction. Today will be divided between repairs and reinstallation in the gallery and the new possibilities excite me.

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Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Waiting out the Rain at Edom Art Festival

October 11, 2019

The Shed Cafe

Watercolor of my “Second Office”

Outisde it is 45 degrees and raining. Fortunately for me, The Shed Cafe is adjacent to the festival grounds, so I have a warm, dry place to wait for the rain to subside before I set up the tent for this weekend’s Edom Art Festival. Forecast calls for 0% precipitation tomorrow, so my heart is gladdened. Today’s rain is expected to stop in the next hour or so and I can get back to work. Meanwhile I am enjoying this coffee on a cold morning.

I am adding an artist’s chapter to my cycle of paintings and stories for this new series Turvey’s Corner 63050. Following is my true story to accompany the painting above:

At sixty, the artist came to realize that life comes heavier and wearier. The Edom Art Festival offered to him his first crack at a juried, high-end art venue. Setting up his booth on a chilly October Friday, he thought over all the ways he could trim expenses for the weekend. By nightfall, he decided to postpone hotel rental until the final night, thus guaranteeing a good night’s rest before breaking down at festival’s end. So, tonight he would sleep in the back of his Jeep Grand Cherokee parked on the perimeter of the festival grounds, at the edge of the deep forest. The Jeep did not offer the most comfortable sleeping accommodations, and most of the night was given to tossing and turning before the sleep of exhaustion finally conquered his constitution.

Waking at dawn, he stumbled out of his vehicle and trudged up the hill through the darkened festival grounds. The morning was chilly and foggy as he walked past row after row of shuttered booths. Rounding the privacy fence at the end of the pasture, he entered the parking lot of the Shed Café and his heart leapt with joy at the sight of the eatery silhouetted against the dawn sky, smoke billowing from the chimney, and the crisp October winds bringing to him the aroma of coffee and frying bacon. What a splendid morning to encounter! With breakfast finished, he found a comfortable seat on the Shed porch, opened his journal and poured out his gratitude on the pages while watching the sun rise over the distant tree line. The festival was going to be a sublime experience.

photo of early morning Shed

The Shed, Photographed years ago when I Rounded the Privacy Fence

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Lunch at The Shed today, waiting out the Rain

All my years spent at the Edom Art Festival and The Shed are warm memories indeed, and I am grateful to be invited back this year for another round. The rain outside appears to have stopped, so I have a house to build!

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.

 

Festival Season has Arrived

October 10, 2019

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Reconnected with Christy Town, my Former Student

Go into Nature raw and simple and just sit quietly doing nothing other than allowing Nature to become accustomed to your presence.  Soon enough, often just beyond what you had taken to be the threshold of your patience and perception, Nature steps forward and begins to reveal its features to you. Rush it and you will never see it. Grab for it and it will give you nothing of its real self, only what you set out to grab.  But wait a while longer, and the place begins to breathe audibly, to creep and flutter, beat, to speak in a thousand ways.  You listen.  That is today’s conversation.

Peter London, Drawing Closer to Nature

Today (Thursday) is a genuine gift to my exhausted life. For days I have been driving long distances on the road, keeping several engagements as promised, and now am happy to have an entire day to relax and enjoy the environment in The Gallery at Redlands before loading up for tomorrow’s festival.

After teaching my class Tuesday at Texas Wesleyan University, I loaded the Jeep and headed for Palestine so I could pack up all my supplies for the following day–an all-day plein air presentation and demo at the Central Texas Watercolor Society in Waco. Rising at 6:00 the following morning, I made the two-hour journey and was deeply moved to see  Christy Town, a former art history student of mine from the Martin High School days of 2005. She went on to become a teacher and artist and I found it so humbling that she chose to spend a day with me in this session. She has posted a lovely account of the day on her blog: https://theartlabtx.com/2019/10/09/plein-air-painting-day/

As if meeting Christy wasn’t enough of a shock, I then was greeted by Trish Poupard, a fabulous west-coast watercolorist now living in Texas. She attended my presentation recently in Fort Worth at the Society of Watercolor Artists meeting, and decided to make a two-hour drive here to see me again. You can view her remarkable body of work at https://trish-poupard.format.com/#4

In the morning, I shall leave for the Edom Art Festival, now in its 46th year. The event will be held 10-5 on Saturday and Sunday, and the art work in the booths is high end. This is one of my two top festivals of the year, and I am looking forward to the lovely weather and crowds of art lovers with high expectations. You can learn more about this event by checking out their website: http://visitedom.com/edom-art-festival/

This festival will witness the first showing of my newest series, Turvey’s Corner 63050. I have four new watercolors for this series, in 16 x 20″ frames and ready to sell:

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church hotel watercolor

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The lovely Redlands Hotel has been my welcoming home this week as I’ve juggled my tasks between Waco and Edom. My morning walk today provided a lovely 72-degree temperature with cool breezes and bright sunshine. The hotel was magnificent in that light.

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The Redlands Hotel, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas

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So Many New Businesses Added the Past Year!

Approaching the side entrance to the hotel, I stopped to marvel at all the new occupants I’ve come to appreciate over this past year of growth. What once was a quiet hotel has now turned into a humming beehive of activity even on weekday mornings. I keep the gallery door propped open, enjoying all the ambient sounds emanating from the lobby traffic. And of course, I love chatting up the patrons who drift into the gallery for a look.

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The New Queen St. Grille, Lovelier than Ever

Jean and Mike have now taken the ownership of the restaurant formerly known as Red Fire Grille. The chef and staff have remained on board, so the food and service are still the epitome of fine dining, and many more patrons are now finding their way to this location to enjoy the best food. The rib-eye I chose last night capped the end of a perfect day.

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The Finest 12 oz. Ribeye

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Kevin and Alan in the Morning

Kevin and Alan were at the top of their game this morning with Smooth Rock 93.5. I’m proud to know I may be in America’s only art gallery that includes a radio station broadcasting live. These fellows are the most pleasant roommates I could ever hope for in the mornings. When you get the chance, stream them live on your phone, computer or tablet. They broadcast live from 7-10 weekday mornings. The station continues to play smooth rock 24-7 after the morning show ends.

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Kevin Harris Top of the Morning

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Alan at the Top of his Tech Mastery

I regret to close out this morning’s blog, but I have a ton of packing and loading to do before heading out in the morning for the Edom Art Festival.

Thanks for reading, and if you are in the area, I would love to see you in Edom.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.