Archive for October, 2020

The Hollow Men

October 14, 2020
Continued details on the Fort Worth Flatiron

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

T. S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”

My mind wanders far and wide when concentrating on minute details of a large watercolor. Waking this morning, I felt the compulsion to seek out T. S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” for quiet reading over coffee. As I read, my mind drifted to the watercolor in the studio waiting my morning arrival. I thought of the towering flatiron building on the south side of downtown Fort Worth, standing sentinel there for 113 years now, presiding quietly over passing history. And I wondered over the thousands of souls who passed by quietly beneath its shadows during that century-plus, especially in days when the south side witnessed more foot traffic.

We are the hollow men

We are the stuffed men

Leaning together

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

Those lines have always haunted me. I suppose it was during graduate school days in the 1980’s that I encountered the largest number of men around me, working on doctorates, continually complaining about their sense of hollowness and their attempts to fill the void with reservations for a racquetball court, a golf outing, or dinner somewhere with someone, anyone. I never knew those days. Financially I struggled then, and could not engage in social outings, but books were my companion, and now in better days, books remain my companion when no one is around. I don’t understand hollowness, listlessness. Even if I don’t have an art project waiting on the drafting table, I have a library of volumes I will never exhaust in this lifetime, and empty journal pages waiting to be filled. Life is full, and I’m grateful for it.

At this moment, I have four paintings laid out waiting for my attention, but this flatiron has a hard target deadline, so I know what my orders are for the days ahead. But once this painting is finished, several more are already on standby, and the books and ideas will always be swarming about me like a fragrant cloud, and for that I am grateful.

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.

Ruminations in Studio Eidolons

October 11, 2020
Second Day on the Flatiron

The quality of beauty in Hemingway’s work seems to come as naturally as the leaves to a tree.

Carlos Baker, Hemingway: The Writer as Artist

For nearly two weeks I have had rewarding morning hours in Studio Eidolons, mixing my reading and writing with watercoloring. I finished Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and am nearly halfway through Baker’s work on Hemingway’s writing. Years ago I read Baker’s major biography on Hemingway and have retrieved the volume from the bookshelf to re-read key portions I underlined. This has inspired me to write more as well, though I have yet to post the new material online. Maybe later.

While painting today I have been listening (I seldom look at the TV when it plays in the studio) to the motion picture “Papa Hemingway in Cuba.” I have paused to post something on the blog because I was overcome with sadness at the reminder of how deeply unhappy this writer was throughout his life. Having read two biographies and watched a handful of documentaries on his life, I am all-too-familiar with how unlikeable he was to people who knew him. I also know the stories of artists Picasso and Pollock, and countless celebrities who had their ways of making the ones around them nearly as miserable as they were themselves. I have no pity at all for unhappy people who bring nothing good into our society, but do feel a deep sense of hurt for the miserable ones who made contributions in literature, art, philosophy, music and film that enrich and inspire us. I am always saddened to know that they did not know the same enrichment in return.

Daily I receive in my email a word of the day from Word Genius. About once a week, the word is a timely one, and today provided such a word–desideratum. The Latin word depicts “something that is needed or wanted.” My long-time friend Wayne White (now recovering from a complicated surgery requiring extensive rehab–we will probably be hearing much from him in the weeks ahead, which is always a good thing) has shared a sentiment with me repeatedly: both of us hope our blogs fall under the category of desideratum. We truly want our words and images to matter, to comfort, to build people up rather than tear them down.

New member of the family. Meet Paddington
Two Amigos enjoying the Fall Morning

Full disclosure–one of the reasons for my blog hiatus is the new addition to our family. Paddington is a rat terrier we adopted when he was only nine days old, and waiting till he reached the age of two months seemed an eternity. At last he is in our home, and our four-year-old Patches has bonded well with him. Though I’ve stayed busy daily with my art, reading and writing, I have recently found myself spending very little time on social media, choosing instead to roll around on the floor and chase the little beasts around the house. Domestic life is bliss.

The Fort Worth flatiron building is coming along slowly, but thanks to a large flatscreen TV moved to my studio, I have the luxury of blowing up the image and seeing the details better than ever before. The November deadline will keep me glued to this painting for awhile, meaning I’ve had to set aside three other large works that were in progress before the flatiron commission arrived.

I need to return to my painting. 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 in Studio Eidolons

October 11, 2020
Inspirational Reading before Painting

The apple-crisp October morning found us strolling southbound on Houston Street in downtown Fort Worth. We walked along, talking little, letting the urban environment flood our sensations. Traffic is always moderate in this downtown, unlike the frantic flow of a Chicago or Manhattan. The scuffing of my boots on the sidewalk could easily be heard above the occasional murmur of passing cars. Picking my way through the cold shadows and warm yellow sunlight between the towering buildings, I adjusted my eyes to catch the first sight of the rising Flatiron building at the intersection of West 9th, posted like a sentry of the south side since 1907.

David Tripp, journal

Fort Worth Flatiron, Houston & West 9th

I realize a long stretch of time has passed since the last blog. Perhaps I’ll record the past week or two’s history in future posts, but for now I’ll just say what is happening now–I’ve been commissioned to paint the historic Forth Worth Flatiron building and am up to my elbows in this new 16 x 20″ watercolor.

16 x 20″ commission underway

I painted this building years ago and sold it out of the Weiler House Gallery in Fort Worth. Limited editions of the work have sold quite well and are still available at $100 unframed.

Previous painting (limited editions still available)

For my new painting, I’ve taken a fresh set of photos and have settled on a closer, lower-angle perspective. I plan to show this work in its developing stages in the days ahead. No limited editions will be available on this work, as agreed upon with the commission.

I’ll try and post again soon, and more often. 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.