Archive for March, 2020

Kiowa Centaurs

March 9, 2020
2nd attempt at painting a Native American (in progress)

A word has power in and of itself. It comes from nothing into sound and meaning; it gives origin to all things.

N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain

3rd attempt at painting a Native American (in progress)

My blog has fallen silent in recent days due to my recent absorption into Native American images. This all began in Ransom Canyon around Feb. 25 and I posted a pair of blogs describing my feelings as I attempted some plein air sketches in the base of the canyon.

Ransom Canyon has been completely reshaped into an enormous subdivision, and my attempts to paint the more scenic bluffs are rebuffed by the realization that I would be stepping onto some homeowner’s property if I attempted to set up an easel and paint. Parking is another issue–where do I put my vehicle when the road has no shoulders? There is, however, a “memorial chapel” built in the heart of the complex with about 4-5 parking slots, so I have been able to park and hike on public land, and set up the easel on church property, so far without anyone raising complaint.

As I gazed at the canyon walls and imagined what it must have been like 500 years ago when Teyas Indians roamed this geological marvel in search of buffalo before confronting Coronado or aggressive Apache tribes.

My imagination while painting led me to the writings of N. Scott Momaday, a writer I had known about since the mid-1990’s but never bothered to examine. I read The Way to Rainy Mountain in its entirety, and am now about halfway through The Man Made of Words. What I read about the Kiowa migrations from Yellowstone to western Oklahoma fired my imagination, inducing me to attempt a few watercolor sketches of an Indian on horseback on the canyon walls I painted.

Initial attempt of Native American on horseback, 14 x 11″ framed–$200

As I read the accounts of the Kiowa migration, I drew frequent comparisons to what I’ve been studying with Homer’s Odyssey and was inspired to resume work on my own memoir.

In a few days, I plan to travel to Broken Bow, Oklahoma and, weather permitting, engage in some plein air studies of that region. As I paint those surroundings, I anticipate writing the section of my memoir that engaged with Choctaw descendants when I was in the sixth grade. And hopefully I’ll come up with some more images to pursue in watercolor. The Native American tradition I have never touched with my art until now. This is completely new to me, and I feel an excitement with the new discoveries pending.

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.

The Velvet Silence of the Night

March 5, 2020

Disclaimer: Monday I posted a blog covering several days of meaningful events, and a few hours later deleted it accidentally while trying to correct a typo using my phone. Several days later now, going back through my journal and archive of photos, I have reached a decision to take this string of sausages and try to reconstruct the pig as best I can:

My Favorite Retreat for Solitude

When I cross the porch of this old, refurbished store, I bring my whole life with me. The anxious world appears to pause in this quiet space every time I pull back the screen door and enter the dim interior to put down roots for a day or two. The philosopher Martin Heidegger retreated to his cabin in the Black Forest to do his best thinking and writing, away from the city and university. And so I find myself content in the midst of these east Texas woodlands to find peace and quiet and pursue my best work. Henry David Thoreau had his Walden, Heidegger had his Todtnauberg, and so I have my Davy Crockett National Forest and wonderful friends who have made it possible. A spirit of well-being envelops me as the night now advances. I find this a perfect setting for reading and scribbling out pages of thoughts in my journal.

Arriving late last night, I was exhausted, but still managed to relax awhile for reading, writing and reflection. Later I turned out the light and slept a deep sleep till dawn. At first light, I rose refreshed and immediately sought out my favorite rocker on the porch. The morning was chilly and windy, but that seemed to make the coffee taste better.

The Thoughtful Cup

I frequently laugh with friends over a line from the Saul Bellow novel Herzog. The aging professor Moses Herzog was described once as lingering over a “thoughtful cup of coffee.” While ruminating over my own cup, my mind gratefully returned to last night as I was closing The Gallery at Redlands. A lady, after looking through my collection in the gallery and then the restaurant, retrieved her husband, and when it was all said and done, they purchased a pair of my paintings of Sacred Heart Church that stands across the street from the hotel. I’m pleased the paintings found a home and realize it is time now to create some new works of this majestic structure.

Faith Glowing in the Storm
Sacred Heart in the Morning

Once breakfast was finished, I began rearranging furniture to turn this bedroom into a studio, taking advantage of the natural light flowing in through the French doors. For a couple of days, I have been working on a small watercolor of a Missouri mine. My friend from school days, Wayne White, sent me a number of photos that he has taken of these subjects.

Indoor Studio

After a few hours of tinkering with the painting, I decided to seek out a restaurant recommended by a new friend I met last night in the hotel after closing the gallery.

Larry Bruce Gardens

Larry Bruce Gardens is located in the middle of nowhere: 3198 County Road 4600, Kennard, Texas, but wow, was it worth the drive! I don’t recall how long it’s been since I encountered a Sunday lunch buffet as fresh and exotic as this one. Live bluegrass music played throughout mealtime and the atmosphere was just as savory as the food.

Luxurious Buffet

Returning to the store after lunch, I felt the need to walk off the meal. Rigging up my flyrod, I hiked down the hill across the road to a large body of water on the property of the store owners. It must have been a long winter, because the bass were hungry and eager. I landed 27 fish, mostly largemouth and a small assortment of panfish. The winds were up, making it difficult to work the fly line, but the fish were nevertheless more than enthusiastic to meet me halfway.

First Fish of 2020
27th Fish of 2020

The evening was spent in sweet solitude as I read a great deal from Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and Carlos Baker’s Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story. Sitting on the porch rocker, I felt intoxicated by the sounds of the steady winds whispering through the leafy trees and the constant chirping of the bird choruses. As the light dimmed, deer emerged from the surrounding forests and moved noiselessly across the fields and the yard surrounding the store. It was a perfect world.

Second Morning

Retiring to bed for an exhausted, heavy sleep, I awoke surprisingly at 5 a.m. and could not shut down the thoughts surging through my mind. I thought of Carlo Marx in Kerouac’s On the Road shouting in the darkness: “You can’t shut down the machine!” So I rose from my bed, and after a “thoughtful cup of coffee” on the porch, moved my studio outdoors and returned to work on the abandoned Missouri mine, eventually finishing and framing it.

Studio Moved Outdoors
Finished the Missouri Mine

Meantime he was working harder than he had ever worked in his life, often until three or four in the morning, Then he would fall asleep, his head feeling like a frozen cabbage, only to jump awake again a few hours later, with the words already stringing themselves into sentences, clamoring to be set down.

Carlos Baker, Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story

The past couple of days have been heavenly as I have moved back and forth between painting and reading/thinking/writing. From the drafting stool to the rocking chair, from the plein air easel to the writing desk. Back and forth. Painting, reading. Drawing, writing. Drafting, thinking. The rhythm I find very satisfying.

Hemingway searched for his one true sentence.

John Nash searched for his governing dynamic.

Thoreau searched for the hard bottom of reality.

And I continually search for an aesthetic, a style, an identity to my own creations.

Hemingway once wrote that “a writer is an outlier like a Gypsy.” I suppose all of us who strive to create question ourselves: are we outliers? Solitary, yes. Unconventional perhaps. As for myself, I can honestly say that during these years of retirement I have enjoyed a life on the road, a perpetual journey, an odyssey. While traveling, I have enjoyed changing perspectives that have prevented me from rutting, from becoming mired in sediment. Life has remained multi-faceted like a rare gem. And in that I have found perpetual delight.

Thank you for reading and please check out my website www.davidtrippart.com

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.