Archive for February, 2021

The Philosophical Light around my Window

February 17, 2021
Studio Eidolons on a Winter Morning

“And the philosophical light around my window is now my joy; may I be able to keep on as I have thus far!”

Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin, letter written December 2, 1802

Temperatures have risen to the twenties in north central Texas, but are expected to remain below freezing today as well. Texas, while perennially boasting of its energy supremacy, has become a third world country for millions this past week. We’ve been fortunate. Why, I don’t know. Hundreds of my friends who live in this same region have been without electricity for over 72 hours now, many of them without water as well.

Our neighborhood streets remain as icy sheets overlaid with several inches of snow. Fortunately, we have not had to drive, and have chosen not to for this entire week. Quality time spent in Studio Eidolons has been refreshing to me, and the Hölderlin quote above has fit my temperament. The past week has been spent mulling over writings from Heidegger, Hölderlin, Rilke and Robert Henri. All of them have filled me with a fresh vision as we prepare to open a new chapter for The Gallery at Redlands on March 20.

I finished this painting last night, and happily, it has already found a home. I already have plans for the next one and may be able to begin it later today. The first part of today has been dedicated to tidying up Studio Eidolons–I’m embarrassed that desk and drafting table spaces have become cluttered and unworkable. So much to file, throw away and put away. But it will all pay dividends.

More later. 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.

Fort Worth Tower 55 Watercolor Nearly Complete

February 17, 2021

Squealing brakes accompanied by the thundering slam of freight car couplings in the Union Pacific railyard in Fort Worth, Texas hindered Hank from sleeping soundly in the small hotel on the south side of downtown. Wiping sleep from his travel-weary eyes, he sat on the edge of his bed and looked out the second-story window of his room. February. A layer of fresh snow blanketed the parking lot, and as he gazed across the cool blue shadows from his bed, Hank once again felt that old familiar Odysseus-fueled sentiment to wander. Pulling his tattered copy of Kerouac’s On the Road from the backpack, Hank looked up the passage where Sal awoke in the Chicago railroad flophouse, wondering for the moment who he was. Smiling as he stuffed the book back into his bag, Hank reaffirmed that he knew perfectly well who he was—Hank, the wandering mendicant, exploring the world and learning its secrets.

Dawn was just breaking, and in the dim light outside, Hank was confident he could prowl undetected through the busy railyard in search of a slow-moving freight to hop near the interlocker of Tower 55. Just south of the three-story Tower, a long freight of boxcars was crawling slowly southward. Mesmerized by the slow parade, he recalled one of his favorite passages from Allen Ginsburg’s “Howl”.

who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wondering where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts,
who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward lonesome farms in grandfather night,

A closer scrutiny revealed no open doors as the train slowly gathered momentum. As Hank continued to watch, he came to the realization that rail travel was not for him. Though he enjoyed the romantic stories from On the Road, hopping a freight seemed too dangerous. Leaving the railyards, he spied the lighted sign of a Rexall Drugs and decided to go inside to look for a road atlas of Texas. Finding a Rand McNally, he paid the cashier and walked out.

____________________________________________________________________________

The 8 x 10″ watercolor should be complete after one more session in the studio. I have attached a portion of my latest story involving Hank from Turvey’s Corner. Wayne White (alias Hank) will be visiting from Missouri next month. He and I will share our art and stories March 20 as part of our Meet the Artist event at The Gallery at Redlands. We along with the rest of The Twelve are looking forward to sharing our latest with the public when the event transpires.

More later. 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.

Waiting for the Oracle

February 17, 2021
Enjoying the fire and soft music playing
Winter sotrm warnings continue till 8 tonight

We cannot will to have insights. We cannot will creativity. But we can will to give ourselves to the encounter with intensity of dedication and commitment. The deeper aspects of awareness are activated to the extent that the person is committed to the encounter.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

Rising early this morning I breathed a prayer of gratitude for shelter and warmth during this horrid winter storm. So many around us continue to suffer power outages. In the midst of this, verbal poison cascades across the airwaves from small political figures, striving to fix blame on someone else for Texas not being sufficiently prepared for such an onslaught of snow, ice and sustained sub-freezing temperatures. My only wish is that elected leaders would expend their energy fixing these problems occurring on their watch, rather than fixing blame.

Grateful for shelter, my morning has begun like most of the others–sitting with coffee, reading, thinking, recording thoughts in my journal, waiting for some kind of oracle, some encouraging word to get me going on the day’s tasks. With the inclement weather forcing us to stay indoors, Sandi and I continue to lay down plans for our gallery’s Meet the Artist reception set for March 20. The various organizational tasks add plenty of variety to the day, but again, I pledge to be just as much the artist as the gallerist.

Rollo May once again has kickstarted my impetus to roll the creative wheel further. I have always affirmed his statement that we cannot will creativity; we simply have to adjust our sails in preparation for the winds of inspiration that will ultimately blow. Now that May’s words have sufficiently stirred me to action, I quickly dash out this blog before entering Studio Eidolons. An 8 x 10″ beginning to the Fort Worth Union Pacific railyard near Tower 55 lies on my drafting table, awaiting my next move. I’m trying to find a way to work atmosphere into the composition rather than mere minute details. Somehow I hope to get fog and exhaust into the picture. I’m still experimenting. Hopefully by my next blog I’ll have more painting to show along with a piece of the new Hank narrative I’ve been working on for several days now.

I hate to disrupt the sleeping dogs and leave the fireplace, but the oracle has arrived and I am ready to respond.

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.

Musings over Winter Work

February 16, 2021

When I use the word rebel for the artist, I do not refer to revolutionary or to such things as taking over the dean’s office; that is a different matter. Artists are generally soft-spoken persons who are concerned with their inner visions and images. But that is precisely what makes them feared by any coercive society. For they are the bearers of the human being’s age-old capacity to be insurgent. They love to emerse themselves in chaos in order to put it into form, just as God created form out of chaos in Genesis. Forever unsatisfied with the mundane, the apathetic, the conventional, they always push on to newer worlds.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

The beautiful winter day has been spent at the drafting table, dividing my time between scrutinizing the details of this Fort Worth railyard setting and looking up at the marvelous white abyss blanketing our neighborhood. My only appointment for the day was canceled awhile ago, so I am more than happy to stay indoors, stay warm, and avoid getting into a vehicle to go sledding across town.

I’ve also had the privilege of communicating with several members of The Twelve (artists who will open The Gallery at Redlands March 20). Enthusiasm is already reaching fever pitch. One of them sent me this link to a video I had forgotten since it was created a few years ago, and I am posting it now for any readers interested in viewing a stunning media presentation of Palestine. If you blink, you will miss seeing me seated at the desk in The Gallery at Redlands.

The day is perfect for painting, my watercolor should be dry enough to continue, so I’ll close this and get back to work.

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.

Painting at Winter Sunrise

February 16, 2021
Days that begin with painting are better than those that do not

When the early morning light quietly

grows above the mountains . . .

                        The world’s darkening never reaches

                           to the light of Being.

                        We are too late for the gods and too

                           early for Being. Being’s poem,

                           just begun, is man.

Martin Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet”

The dogs always wake me before daylight. This morning is no exception, though it is one degree outside. After feeding, the dogs returned to bed, but it’s too late for me; thoughts move too quickly for me to return to sleep now. Studio Eidolons was dark as I resumed work on this watercolor, so I turned on a swing arm lamp and began. As I worked, I soon became aware of a change in the quality of light on the page. I looked up to see the sun peeking through the suburban horizon of trees. Recalling this passage from Heidegger, I looked it up and now share it with my fellow artists who embrace the invitation to create. And as I work, my song goes out to The Twelve, wondering if any of them found the studio at this hour. In thirty-three days we will join together to celebrate the new opening of The Gallery at Redlands. I can hardly wait for the first time when we finally get to sit together as a group and pour out our hearts in earnest conversation about the stirrings of the heart that urge us to create.

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.

Working through the Freeze

February 15, 2021
Lovely View through the Windows of Studio Eidolons

Zeus was outraged. He decreed that Prometheus be punished by being bound to Mount Caucasus, where a vulture was to come each morning and eat away his liver which would grow again at night. This element in the myth, incidentally, is a vivid symbol of the creative process. All artists have at some time had the experience at the end of the day of feeling tired, spent, and so certain they can never express their vision that they vow to forget it and start all over again on something else the next morning. But during the night their “liver grows back again.” They arise full of energy and go back with renewed hope to their task, again to strive in the smithy of their soul.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

Heavy snowfall has swallowed the Arlington neighborhoods. More is expected Wednesday. Living in Texas since 1977, I can testify that I have never seen this before down here. I’m glad to be inside with the fireplace going full tilt, enjoying the lovely views out every window of our house.

Rollo May has sounded excellent chords with his observations posted above. Late into the nights, Sandi and I have been talking over our gallery plans in the coming weeks as we prepare to introduce The Twelve on the night of March 20. There is so much to do that we find ourselves exhausted mentally late every night. Nevertheless, as Rollo May pointed out, on the morning after, I always discover my liver has grown back, and I am ready to burst into the studio and go to work afresh. Today I spent a large part of the morning writing and re-writing my latest Hank story to add to my collection. And I’m beginning a watercolor composition of Tower 55 in the Union Pacific yards on the south side of Fort Worth to coincide with the new Hank story. We have decided to add a Gallery Talk to the weekend festivities at Palestine’s Dogwood Festival, so Wayne White and I are busy talking almost daily of our new plans.

New Work in Progress

I can honestly say that the heavy snowfall that has already occurred, along with the forecast for Wednesday, keeps me from driving about town chasing down errands. I plan on using the time wisely this week to continue planning the business end of The Gallery at Redlands. Hopefully we can travel there this next weekend and pick up where we left off two weekends ago.

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.

Gratefully Snowbound in Texas

February 14, 2021
Lovely snowfall outside Studio Eidolons

So all night long the storm roared on:
The morning broke without a sun;
In tiny spherule traced with lines
Of Nature’s geometric signs,
In starry flake, and pellicle,
All day the hoary meteor fell;

John Greenleaf Whittier, “Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl”

My 1881 edition of Whittier

The weather forecast told us snow would fall throughout the night. Sure enough, when dogs woke me at 5:45, wanting to be let outside for their constitutional, I was delighted to see the lovely carpet of white across the back patio. Even more, I loved going to the woodpile to kick snow off the top pieces of wood to bring inside and start a fire in the fireplace. I had to wait for the dogs to stop frolicking in the unknown powder before going back inside.

As I write this in the afternoon, the snowfall has not abated, and is not expected to. We went to the store yesterday with all the multitudes to stock up on provisions, as we are expecting about five days of plummeting temperatures and additional snowfall Wednesday. What currently falls is not expected to go away as temperatures remain in the teens. This is highly unusual for north Texas.

I am ecstatic to announce that I have begun a new cycle of Hank stories to continue my Turvey’s Corner project. I awoke with the dogs this morning, and new Hank adventures visited me in my sleep. All day I have been typing and the pages are piling up. I am not yet ready to release the stories as they are still rough drafts. But by the time we open our Gallery at Redlands March 20, I’ll be ready to let them out. My boyhood friend Wayne White (alias Hank) will be joining us, not only to display his photography in our new showing of artists’ works, but also to join me in presenting a gallery talk on the latest from Turvey’s Corner. I am ecstatic that the public will finally meet “Hank” and get a chance to know him better and see his work along with the new things I’ve been creating. We anticipate an exciting weekend March 19-20, as this new group known as The Twelve will present the new face of The Gallery at Redlands. It appears that enthusiasm is already building in Palestine; a painting from one of our new artists sold last night. Congratulations, Cecilia!

a new sketch in progress of Fort Worth’s Tower 55 from a photograph taken in 1975 (part of the Hank saga)
newly completed watercolor from the Hank saga in an 8 s 10″ frame. $100

I am delighted to have an excuse not to get in the truck and drive somewhere to keep an appointment. With the lovely snow falling harder by the hour, I love sitting here in Studio Eidolons and watching it while writing Hank stories, watercoloring, sketching, reading, and scribbling in my journals. I cannot think of a more wonderful way to pass the day.

Thank you for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Winter Solitude and Artistic “Visitations”

February 12, 2021
Pleasing Winter Fire and Hygge Environment

All my life I have been haunted by the fascinating questions of creativity. Why does an original idea in science and in art “pop up” from the unconscious at a given moment?

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

We never come to thoughts. They come to us.

Martin Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet”

Winter weather in Texas cancelled our plans to work in The Gallery at Redlands this weekend. Fortunately, creativity is not restricted to a particular space. We now continue our gallery opening preparations in Studio Eidolons. With temperatures hovering now at 19 degrees along with meteorological rumors of snow, it was pleasing to build a fire and enjoy coffee, journals and books here in the living room with dogs sleeping nearby. Glowing candles about the room have enhanced the hygge environment Sandi and I have been reading about in recent weeks. Time, weather and space have mingled to create a lovely zone for reflection.

As a compulsive re-reader, I have re-opened Rollo May’s The Courage to Create. The author and psychologist was inspired by his mentor Paul Tillich’s work The Courage to Be, where the argument is advanced that courage is demanded to affirm life while living in a threatening enviornment. Rollo May responds: “one cannot be in a vacuum. We express our being by creating. Creativity is a necessary sequel to being.” This called up deep reminiscences of my own sojourn in this life. Though nurtured by my family, I endured anxiety throughout my entire childhood and adolescent years, feeling inferior among my peers at school. The only talent I felt I had was in art, and engaging in this activity gave me inner strength to face my small world. As an adult, self-confidence took hold, and making art fell by the wayside for the most part as I went to work the way everyone else seemed to do.

Since retiring a few years back, I have been writing my memoirs, seeking a better understanding of my past. I cannot overstate the luxury of time to think on these things and write out my perspectives of what has happened. Perusing stacks of personal journals accumulated over the years, I’ve been trying to determine when it was exactly that art came back to the center of my life. At this point, I feel that art was something I did as a coping skill when a child, then something induced by talent in teenage years, only to be dropped completely in favor of academic study during college and graduate school years. Once I entered the teaching field, art came back into my life, but it seemed more personal, more reflective than it had been in younger years.

Now, art is something I have to do. Ideas and mental pictures cascade into my consciousness throughout the day. Visions invade my dream world while I sleep. Every morning, I awake to compulsions to pursue an idea or draft an image. Echoing the sentiments of May and Heidegger quoted above, I find myself wondering over the origin of these visitations. Throughout the years I have enjoyed reading musician Neil Young’s biographies and autobiography, along with listening to his interviews with Charlie Rose replayed on YouTube, where he discusses his songwriting experiences. Frequently, Young has admitted that particular ideas and jarring images just arrived uninvited–he has no idea what prompted them to visit his imagination. That is exactly how I feel. For instance, the picture below–a couple of days ago, I “saw” this remembrance in my mind’s eye of a lone fisherman I saw many winters ago while fly fishing for trout stocked in the Brazos River beneath the Highway 16 bridge below Possum Kingdom dam. Going back through my archives, I located the picture I took of him with a digital camera years before the smart phone took over. I had to go to the drafting table and give this image a try in a quick watercolor sketch.

Life is like that, for me, and has been for years. I am excited and overwhelmed to take over the ownership of The Gallery at Redlands, and look forward to our opening event in late March. Sandi and I have been consumed with ideas for this space for nearly two weeks now. I have answered several friends who have questioned whether my new life as a gallerist will impede my work as an artist. I honestly don’t see that happening. My attention to creative pursuits has not waned in past weeks. Ideas continue to stampade through my consciousness throughout each day and night. I cannot refuse to answer the call when it comes.

Still adjusting this 5 x 7″ watercolor

I placed a mat over this 5 x 7″ watercolor sketch, but have decided to tweak it further. I have already added another framed 5 x 7″ to The Gallery at Redlands and plan to join it with this one once it’s finished.

Already on dispaly at The Gallery at Redlands

It appears that I will need to bring this meditation to a close–I’ve received another visitation.

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 Transition

February 11, 2021
, March 24, 2017–Opening Day for Gallery at Redlands, Palestine, Texas

The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas opened nearly four years ago with a three-week One-Man-Show of my watercolors. In this single chamber, 104 works of art wove a tapestry of experiences and sensations spanning my life’s sojourn, from a trolley train leaning into an urban curve to a guitar-picking bluesman perched on the shaded porch of a desolate farm house. Every painting depicted a disappearing America that thrived in the 1950’s but today leaves only a train of shells of buildings and vehicles, mere shadows of once vital homes and communities.

March 24, 2017–Gallery window from lobby of Redlands Hotel
From the window overlooking the street, I set up a plein air easel and painted the Chamber of Commerce building
The painting sold off the easel while the show was still running

The four years produced memories and milestones that I will never forget, but the time has arrived for a major transition. Beginning, March 20, 2021, visitors passing by the windows of The Gallery at Redlands will no longer see a showcase for my art, but a gallery of diverse media to satisfy a larger aesthetic appetite–watercolors, acrylics, oils, pastels, photography, pottery and sculpture will invite viewers to enter and experience a richness and variety not seen in this location before. My plan is to hang five new paintings of my own not shown before in public and to remove all the rest of my work from the Gallery to make room for The Twelve–a group of the most enthusiastic artists I’ve encountered in years.

Enter The Twelve

We are The Twelve.

Ruminating, fashioning, presenting,

Offering creations, gifts to our brothers and sisters.

Pondering our world, we re-shape,  we re-cut, we re-color,

Inviting prismatic light to reach diverse eyes.

We are The Twelve.

In quiet studios we dream, we feel, we cry.

We say Yes! to the invitation to create.

Our creator fashioned us in His image,

The Imago Dei, the faculty to create.

We are The Twelve.

Our paintings, pottery, photographs and sculpture weave a tapestry

Of collective lives, tightly woven fellowship of belief.

We are The Twelve.

Converging on The Gallery at Redlands, we join in chorus

To celebrate lives immersed in the arts,

Adhering to words of our patron Saint Matthew:

Art still has truth.

Take refuge there.

We are The Twelve.

Poem by David Tripp

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.

Early March, 2017–Installing the Signs

Inner Sanctum

February 10, 2021

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat to at any time and be yourself.

Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

I awoke early in the pre-dawn to find the quote above posted to Facebook by my blogging friend Wayne White, also my personal friend since second grade and the inspiration behind the Hank character I’ve been writing about in my Turvey’s Corner 63050 cycle of stories.

The quote took me way, way back to my lost days in high school. I have shared pieces of this personal picture before on the blog, but to say it again–I was one lost adolescent, not a rare species, but nevertheless I thought I had flaws no other adolescent had. I’m haunted every time I watch the film Dead Poets Society because I see what I was in the character Todd Anderson, played by Ethan Hawke–a student convinced he was poorly made.

I wasn’t very social in high school; I assessed my introversion as a character flaw. And I suppose that one of the good things that came out of my nearly three decades of teaching high school was my recognition of Todd Andersons/David Tripps scattered all over my classes, students unaware that they were probably much smarter and more gifted than I was when I once sat in their seats, lost. I don’t know that I offered much help to those in despair; I could only hope that with age they would find themselves as I finally did. Anyway, this is what I posted this morning on Facebook in response to my friend’s inspirational quote:

This was on a poster in one of the English classes at NHS. Though generally a dullard throughout school, I was mesmerized at the sight of it every day in class-a color photo of a contemplative girl’s countenance beneath a shade tree, the patterns of the leaves throwing shadows across her face. I was academically lost and floundering as an adolescent, but the poster gave me hope every day as I gazed up at it from my desk. It wasn’t till a few years ago when I read Siddhartha that this quote sprung off the page, and these memories washed over me again!

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.