A Weed by the Wall


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.



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.




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.


Queen St. Grille, Adjacent to The Gallery at Redlands


New Installations at Queen St Grille




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.


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.


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4 Responses to “A Weed by the Wall”

  1. Aaron White Says:

    Dr. Tripp! I was your student at Lamar in the mid-90s, and by student I mean I skipped most my other classes to do art and Humanities all day. I was terribly afflicted by social anxiety and you may remember the time I was on the Hot Seat and just replied “I don’t know” to every question, even though I knew the answers. Hopefully you don’t, as that is embarrassing now, but sure made the classroom laugh! Anyway, finding your blog brings me a lot of joy – your teaching at the time really inspired me and still does. I still employ a lot of the lessons from your class and find it incredibly comforting to see you’re still creating beautiful work. Along with your art instruction, your general mentorship in areas like critical thinking and really “seeing” a subject when drawing it, instead of drawing the “idea” of a thing, really stuck with me. I am passing those things on to my daughter as well. She is as outwardly anti-enthusiastic as I was at 16 but I’m sure some of it is sinking in for when the attitude fades. I remember a lot more, but just wanted to send a note. I also gave you some cigars once.

    Liked by 1 person

    • davidtripp Says:

      Aaron, hello! Yes, I remember you, and I remember the cigars. 🙂 I also remember your day in court on the Hot Seat and never understood why you responded with I don’t knows. I had a feeling you did know, and now, decades later, you admit such. Thanks for sealing that chapter! Above all, thank you for remembering good things about me–that’s all I wish, having retired now and replaying the memories. I’m delighted that you are passing important things on to your daughter and especially appreciate your patience when she doesn’t respond as expected. I think I was able to survive low-key responses from some of the students by recalling that I was very mentally lazy at that age. It wasn’t until college that I woke up and cared about ideas. Maybe teaching high school was my karma. At any rate, thank you so much for finding me. Things are splendid now. Retirement years are much, much better than high school classroom years. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wer ruft an Says:

    Your blog is full of deep thoughts and emotions. I found you accidentally. You cannnot imagine how happy you’ve made me that moment. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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