Archive for March, 2021

Morning Serenity in Studio Eidolons

March 30, 2021
First Early Morning Peek into Studio Eidolons

Yes, to paint is to love again, live again, see again. To get up at the crack of dawn in order to take a peek at the water colors one did the day before, or even a few hours before, is like stealing a look at the beloved while she sleeps. The thrill is even greater if one has first to draw back the curtains. How they glow in the cold light of early dawn! Another hour or two and they will already have lost some of their gleam and sparkle. Coming on them by surprise this way they give the impression of having slept all night with their eyes open.

Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Working very slowly and deliberately on my newest composition.

After a full day of rest from my crazy On-the-Road experiences of the past couple of weeks, I finally settled down late last night to my drafting table in my home studio. Before retiring to bed, I read the words posted above from my beloved Henry Miller gift book (love you, Stacy and Leigh!). Waking at dawn, I had to walk into the studio and steal a peek at my work in the morning light. And now, with a shower, fresh clothing and modest breakfast with coffee behind me, I am eating up the precious experience of leaning over my newest piece and painstakingly working with pencil, drafting tools, watercolor pencils and large washes of Winsor & Newton pigments. Slowly the image is taking form, seen perhaps the same way a dark room photographer once saw as s/he leaned over a tray and looked at the film shimmering below the liquid surface.

I won’t be leaving for The Gallery at Redlands till early Thursday morning, so I still have two complete days with very few appointments to get my affairs in order and enjoy this new experience painting in the studio. I fully intend to take this new watercolor with me, although I was unable to work on it at all until late nights in Palestine, the gallery had an abundance of traffic, which we appreciate very much.

16 x 20″ framed special edition giclée print of Burleson, Texas railroad setting. $225

As we approach the third and final weekend of Dogwood Festival, we continue to add new work to The Gallery at Redlands. This morning I framed one of my special edition giclée prints of a Union Pacific diesel rolling through Burleson, Texas. We also welcome new artist Kathy Lamb, who has a pair of framed oils now displayed in the lobby window of our gallery. As soon as I hit town Thursday, I will photograph and post those to the blog.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.


Ready to Paint Again

March 27, 2021

I remember well the transformation which took place in me when first I began to view the world with the eyes of a painter. The most familiar things, objects which I had gazed at all my life, now became an unending source of wonder, and with the wonder, of course, affection. A tea pot, an old hammer, a chipped cup, whatever came to hand I looked upon as if I had never seen it before. I hadn’t, of course. Do not most of us go through life blind, deaf, insensitive? Now as I studied the object’s physiognomy, its texture, its way of speaking, I entered into its life, its history, its purpose, its association with other objects, all of which only endeared it the more.

Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Henry Miller has left artists a precious gift with this book. My friends Stacy and Leigh surprised me with it a week ago, and it has traveled with me across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas these past four days. Now I’m relaxing in The Gallery at Redlands with more time to pore over these pages.

The drafting table that Tim and Patty Smith gave me a few years ago has been moved back into the gallery and I am delighted to begin work on the ghost sign advertisements that grabbed my attention in Hot Springs, Arkansas Wednesday morning. Encountering the building and signage was a remarkable accident. I was depending on GPS to find a pancake house, and I failed to make my U-turn when commanded. I drove another block before the next one came up, and as I completed my turn, I saw out of the corner of my eye the ghost signs. I couldn’t stare because I was driving in tight traffic. But throughout breakfast, I could only think of what I had seen out of the corner of my eye. Artist Andrew Wyeth frequently spoke of subjects that became his famous paintings because he glimpsed them out of the corner of his eye and later had to return to look at them because he could not erase the memory of the encounter.

Sure enough, when I walked to the location after breakfast, I was wearing a short-sleeved Tshirt in 40-degree weather and was very uncomfortable. Nevertheless, once I found the building I had to stand there and gaze at it, taking several photographs. Someone once said that beauty was what suspended the desire to be somewhere else; we are held in place and cannot walk away from what we’re viewing. I knew that I had to paint this subject.

I am going to title the painting “Palimpsest” because during my seminary days I was always fascinated with ancient manuscripts which were re-used, a new text written over the old. As centuries wore on, the original text had a way of reemerging and co-mingling with the later text. Gazing at the layers of advertising all over the side of the building, I felt myself drawn into the history of the building, musing about the products advertised, the people walking or driving buy who connected with the message, and the changes that that part of Hot Springs endured over the years. Staring at the signage, I realized that we ourselves have layers of history stacked one on top the other. Our memories may fade somewhat, but still they push their way to the front of our consciousness and once again seize our imagination.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Unwinding after the Show

March 25, 2021

To paint is to love again. It’s only when we look with eyes of love that we see as the painter sees. His is a love, moreover, which is free of possessiveness. What the painter sees he is duty bound to share. Usually he makes us see and feel what ordinarily we ignore or are immune to.

Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Rolling across Missouri, I will attempt to voice text this blog. I am peering through a windshield at a soggy terrain with intermittent rain. Two days ago, Wayne and I set out for the long journey home, stopping at Beavers Bend State Park to fly-fish, then drove all the way to Hot Springs, Arkansas to stay the night. The following morning, I found the subject for my next watercolor in downtown Hot Springs. The words of Henry Miller came back to, compliments of the lovely gift Stacy and Leigh gave me the night of our gallery opening. When I’m driving across several states, my eyes are constantly soaking up the world beyond the windshield, and I am automatically painting the passing scenery in my mind, puzzling over how to render certain color combinations and figuring out compositional problems. For me, “to paint is to love again”, and what I try to capture on paper I definitely feel “duty bound to share.”

After taking the picture we set out for Wayne’s home in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Before saying goodbye, we decided to fish some more, since we had no luck at Beavers Bend. We managed to land a few small ones, and felt that we had at least accomplished something as anglers!

After spending the night in High Ridge and getting to visit with my parents and siblings, I now begin the long journey home.


After several days of trekking across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas, I’m thrilled to be back in the Gallery at Redlands for the weekend. New work has been hung to replace what sold last week, and tonight the Redlands Hotel is extremely busy with two tour buses and folks soaking up the second weekend of the Dogwood Festival. Since we’re busy tonight, I’ll postpone beginning my watercolor of the ghost sign-covered building from Hot Springs until the morning. It’s too hard to paint when people keep dropping in, and the last thing we wish to do is appear too busy or preoccupied with other tasks. I have decided to pursue a palimpsest theme once I get started on the Hot Springs building with ghost signs. Already I have scribbled out some broad themes in my journal and have begun another Hank and Randy story to accompany the new painting. Friends have asked me since we took over the gallery if I would stop painting. Absolutely not! Tune in tomorrow . . .

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.

Basking in the Afterglow of the Reception for the Twelve

March 22, 2021
With everything in place, Sandi waits to greet the Crowd

Constable described it like this: “I should paint my own places best. Painting is but another word for feeling.”

We’re still catching our breath, more than forty-eight hours after our reception at The Gallery at Redlands, where we introduced The Twelve. Wayne (alias “Hank”) is back in Arlington with me while Sandi continues to tweak the gallery and close out some business details. The Constable quote greeted me this morning, after a good night’s sleep, like a breath of spring air. Soon, Wayne and I will head to Broken Bow, Oklahoma to relive some childhood memories as we fly-fish the Mountain Fork River. And I will also plan my next watercolor compositions and short stories while we explore that familiar stretch of land and water. With his photography and my watercolors, along with our imagination, we hope to create new art charged with feelings and memories.

Dian Darr presents Wayne “Hank” White with a special gift

My long-time friends, the Darrs, paid us a special visit. Not only did Dian bake two large platters of cookies for our reception, she also presented Wayne (alias “Hank”) with a limited edition cast iron lidded skillet made by Camp Chef. She and her brother have attended several National D.O.G.(Dutch Oven Gathering) events. Recently in Canton, Texas, Dian won this skillet in a contest, and on this day presented it to Wayne (himself a Dutch Oven expert) as a special gift.

Posing with my Friend Ron Darr

Ron Darr taught me to fly-fish in the year 2000 and changed my life forever. Our bond has remained unbroken over the past two decades and I’m always sharing with him my fun in watercoloring fly-fishing scenes. He has one of mine that is similar to the one pictured above.

New Buddies at Breakfast: Stacy & Wayne

One of the many pleasures of this weekend involved relaxing with my artist friends. Wayne, Sandi and I arrived in Palestine Wednesday and Stacy Campbell joined up with us Thursday. Lorraine McFarland arrived Saturday, and the five of us shared a suite in The Redlands Hotel. Here is Stacy and Wayne sharing swapping tales and having a good time over breakfast at The Birds Egg, one of my favorite haunts in this town.

Lovely pair of books featuring poetry and photography of friend Barbara Tyler
The artistic card accompanying the gift, also by Barbara Tyler

Outside the gallery prior to the reception, I was stunned to see Barbara Tyler crossing the street. This remarkable artist has been my friend since our teaching days at Martin High School (she student taught there, then became my favorite subsitute before Utah took her away from us). Her twin daughters, both artists, were students of mine in Advanced Placement Art History, and daily wowed me with their intertwined sketchbook drawings and copious notes and comments. Barbara is a remarkable photographer and poet as these volumes display. Her watercolors are also a treat to viewers. Last and certainly not least, I am amazed at her creative skill in designing greeting cards, including the one above that came with her pair of books.

A difficult, emotional moment–introducing those who made this night possible

Words needed to be spoken to initiate the night’s event, and though I taught for nearly three decades, I found it difficult to speak without choking with emotion. I have come to love The Twelve along with Wade and Gail Thomas, the initial visionaries who gave birth to The Gallery at Redlands. They opened the gallery in March 2017 with an invitation for me to kick off a three-week solo show. This was a real honor following years and years of grinding it out with art festivals and sporadic gallery ventures. For four years I experienced the joy of sitting in this space, never dreaming that one day it would be handed to me to carry on. Thank you, Wade and Gail, for making all this happen.

Wade and Gail Thomas (original owners) with Sandi Jones and David Tripp

Wade and Gail handed the gallery off to us, but this night would not have happened without Sandi’s disciplined handling of detail. I had no idea of the depth and breadth of planning that this enterprise would demand. Technically, Sandi is a co-owner, but in all honesty I feel more and more that I am her assistant; her energy supersedes mine in every way.

Hank & Randy

My friend Wayne continues to fuel the inspiration that creates the stories surrounding “Turvey’s Corner.” I’m convinced that the watercolors and stories can produce a decent book and I’ve resumed planning for that as my next adventure. (By the way, I’m Randy in the stories).

Tripp standing with Cecilia Bramhall and Dana Morgan

Cecilia has also poured a great deal of work into this adventure. She has worked the gallery on a couple of occasions when Sandi and I were back in Arlington two hours away. Under her dedicated watch, several pieces have sold already. Dana Morgan, an artist friend we’ve known for twenty years who used to show in the same Hillsboro gallery as I, pleasantly surprised us when showing up for our reception. She drove many hours to get here.

Artist Tommy Thompson I have known since our days at the Fort Worth festival known as Jazz by the Boulevard (an event that has long since ended). We frequently showed up to display in the same festivals in Arlington. I’m delighted he said Yes to joining up with The Twelve. His New Orleans themed watercolors have successfully sold for decades.

Flowers from Stacy and Leigh
Our photographer friend Ian McVea captured this candid moment of Stacy and Leigh presenting me with a gift

A short while ago, Stacy and Leigh learned of my pursuit of this rare book by Henry Miller. Discouraged by its high price on Amazon, I resigned myself to finding it one day in a public library and checking it out. Just as our reception was underway, these two dear friends called me out into the lobby and presented me with this gift, and I couldn’t hold back the tears. Our mutual friend and teaching colleague Ian McVea was standing by with his camera to capture the unveiling.

I couldn’t believe my eyes! This rare book I have coveted for some time
Hug of Gratitude for the gift

And then Wayne White captured the moments following. I’ve been staring at this pair of pictures for two days now. Love you all!

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Tommy Thompson found patrons this night. His New Orleans and botanical subjects resulted in two sales that accented the beginning of our reception.

Opening night brought a flurry of sales for which the gallery remains grateful. Here is Tommy sharing in the celebration.

It’s early, but they’re already arriving

In the center, a pair of pastellists meet and converse for the first time as new friends and members of The Twelve. On the left (masked) is Lorraine McFarland from Rolla, Missouri. At right in the hat is Grace Hessman from nearby Elkhart. Both artists are avid plein air enthusiasts.

More coming in . . .
Spilling out into the lobby now
Wayne’s Fractured Glass Photograph of the river where he kayaks and fishes in Missouri
Wayne’s Photos on the Left; Lorraine’s Pastels on the Right
Ian Watson’s Acrylic composition in the center; Stacy Campbell’s Acrylic works on either side
Deanna Pickett Frye’s large floral compositions on the sides; Elaine Cash Jary’s Iris in the center
Deanna Frye’s four-foot oil on display in the gallery window facing the street
Deanna Frye with her work at the VIP party of Art Alley the night before our reception
Cecila Bramhall under the Tent at Art Alley

Tripp under the Tent at Art Alley
Sunrise stroll the day after the Opening
Departure time, group hug: Stacy, Wayne & Leigh

The morning after found all of us exhausted to the bone, but filled with gratitude for new friendships formed and warm bonding among The Twelve. Above is a photo of Wayne saying Good-bye to his new friends Stacy and Leigh. And I now say Goodnight to The Twelve and our faithful readers. You’ll be hearing more from us soon.

Thanks for reading.

Gallery at Redlands introduces The Twelve Tonight

March 20, 2021

It is difficult dictating a Blog on the phone with all the business going on around us. As I voice text this, I am sitting in my booth Under the Tent. Tonight we hold a reception for The Twelve in The Gallery at Redlands. Our event will be from 7 to 9, and we hope you will be able to make it. Refreshments and door prizes will be a part of the evening as well as a chance to meet and visit with the artists.

Thanks for reading!

Raising the Tent for Art Alley

March 18, 2021
Workers assembling framework for enormous tent housing tomorrow’s V.I.P. event

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter to the world if you paint or dance or write. The world can probably get by without the product of your efforts. But that is not the point. The point is what the process of following your creative impulses will do for you. It is clearly about process. Love the work, love the process.

Ian Roberts, Creative Authenticity

Stepping outside The Redlands Hotel early this morning, my heart quickened when I rounded the corner and saw the framework for an enormous tent under construction. Friday night 5-9:00 kicks off the V.I.P. event for Art Alley, the fine arts portion of Palestine’s annual Dogwood Festival. V.I.P. tickets sell for $20 per person and attendees will have advance opportunity to purchase the art that will be under the tent when the Festival opens Saturday and runs till 4:00. Four of our Twelve will be under the tent enjoying the crowd along with the live music, heavy hors d’oeuvres and beverages. Our gallery artists under the tent, along with myself, will be Deanna Pickett Frye, Cecilia Bramhall and Stacy Campbell. Stacy is already on her way today, pulling a trailer down the highway, excited for the event. Deanna and Cecilia, local artists, don’t have the long travel, but are ecstatic all the same. And I, well I am in the gallery along with Wayne and Sandi, still stitching up details.

Rising this morning and sitting down to coffee, I looked out my favorite window again, in suite 207 of The Redlands Hotel, through the fire escape and at the stately Carnegie Library across the street, and breathed a prayer of thanks for being included in this endeavor. After years of grinding out work as an artist and coming to terms with the quote above that the world will get along just fine without my contributions, I have always wondered why it is that I was finally recognized and invited to participate in ventures such as this. Palestine is such a nostalgic town with this historic hotel, the Union Pacific yards down the street, a Catholic Church next door that gleams like a pearl in the sun, and people so friendly and unpretentious. I’m grateful to be invited to participate in these community events, and happy that I have a place to display my art, and even happier now to be surrounded by so many creative colleagues. We The Twelve breathlessly await the gathering Saturday night when we open the doors to The Gallery at Redlands and begin the next chapter in our journey.

Sitting next to the window in suite 207 of The Redlands Hotel

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.

Relaxing in The Gallery at Redlands

March 17, 2021
Wayne & Sandi Relaxed in Conversation

An artist learns by repeated trial and error, by an almost moral instinct, to avoid the merely or the confusingly decorative . . . to say what he has to say with the most direct and economical means, to be true to his objects, to his materials, to his technique, and hence, by a correlated miracle, to himself.

Irwin Edman, Arts and the Man

Wednesday night, forty-eight hours before our Art Alley under the tent outside The Redlands Hotel, the three of us have checked into the Redlands, unloaded most of our freight into the gallery, and have decided to relax into the rest of this night and get an early start to work in the morning.

Wayne and I drove all day yesterday from Missouri back to Texas, arriving last night exhausted. Then the three of us pushed ourselves all day today, completing tasks, packing, loading and then making the two-hour journey to Palestine.

As I write this, I am enjoying Wayne and Sandi’s engaged conversation in their shared passion of horses. Both of them ride, and Wayne is a retired farrier. Wayne has brought a relaxed presence into the midst of our recent frenetic schedule. So much still to accomplish. Friday night will be Art Alley. Details are below. We hope you will attend.

We invite you to join us again Saturday night when we hold our Gallery at Redlands reception for The Twelve.

Wayne, Sandi and I were so worn out when we arrived that we almost went upstairs to decompress and not even enter the gallery till the morning. But somehow we decided to come on in, turn on all the lights and sit surrounded by all this new art and just relax awhile and enjoy good conversation. Soon a man entered the gallery and began perusing the exhibit with intense enthusiasm. He visited with me a great deal in front of one of my watercolors of a defunct fireworks stand. As it turns out, his first real business venture involved owning a string of fireworks stands, and now, decades later, he was glad to stand before a painting and remember. I felt a kinship with him immediately as we both discussed how important it was for us to remember our formative past with gratitude and as much detail as possible. It now looks as though I will painting another fireworks stand in my future, and I’m thankful when someone else puts a significant idea in front of me like this. How fortunate that we chose to spend some time in the gallery this evening.

It’s been an exhausting but terrific day. I hope I can keep up the pace and send out daily reports on what we’re doing here in Palestine. Wayne, Sandi and I won’t be departing this place till Sunday. Tomorrow, Stacy Campbell comes down to join us and stay through the weekend. Lorraine McFarland is flying in day-after-tomorrow. The Twelve are beginning to gather and I feel enthusiasm rising. What a lovely world is being woven as we approach this weekend.

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.

Ready to go On the Road

March 16, 2021
Hank’s Guest Cabin

I was surprised to awaken at 5:11 this morning without an alarm, rested, and ready to go back on the road. I found Hank already up next door, his gear already gathered and ready.

I’m sorry! I am calling him Hank. That’s my character for the stories. The real man is Wayne White, school buddy since the second grade. We have gathered his photography and are returning to Texas to open our show at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine. We cannot wait to connect with our group, The Twelve, for the Saturday night Gathering.

We hope you have a wonderful day today, as we anticipate to have ourselves. The road is calling… More later.

Old Fishing Buddies Heading to The Gallery at Redlands

March 15, 2021
Wayne White, photographer and member of The Twelve (disclaimer: this is MY photograph; his are better!

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

This Monday morning makes me wish I could be in several places simultaneously, but in a sense, I guess I am. We do live in an amazing technological age where we can remain connected. Seated at my sister’s dining room table in High Ridge, Missouri I am working on gallery business (we have our opening reception of The Twelve at The Gallery at Redlands Saturday night) 659 miles away. And she is working from her home, connected to her job site at Boeing, 25 miles away.

Yesterday was grueling, driving through a rainstorm from Arlington, Texas to High Ridge, Missouri–there was never a break from the rain. But a wonderful, comfortable night’s sleep has started this morning off well. Later today I’ll travel an hour south to pick up Wayne White (the hero of my “Hank” stories on the blog). He will travel back to Texas with me tomorrow and we’ll put his photographs in the gallery. I’m so proud for him to be among The Twelve.

The Thoreau quote posted above knocked the wind out of me in 1989, and I still cannot read it casually, especially as I grow more conscious of age. Since Wayne and I reconnected on Facebook some years back after being separated since graduation, we have enjoyed annual camping and fishing trips together. After our Saturday night opening, we’ll find a place in Texas or Oklahoma where we can enter the stream and pursue our passion of fly-fishing. When I step into the stream, I will be reminded of Thoreau’s famous dualism–time and eternity. The quick-flowing water will present a challenge, as time and daily activities do, but my feet will be anchored on the eternal foundation. And as I fish, I will think of the myriads of experiences that have swept over, around and through me, but remain thankful for the core that has held me steadfast through it all.

Another immortal quote comes to mind from Norman Maclean:

The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

Thanks for reading. We have so much to do before we open Saturday night at 7:00. We hope you will come to our event at The Gallery at Redlands.

P. S.–I haven’t done a very good job advertising the Friday night event in which I will also participate along with three other members of The Twelve. The VIP event Friday night from 5-9 will cost $20 for admission, and will feature eight artists under a big tent along with live music, heavy hors-d’oeuvres and beverages. I’m attaching the advertisement below:

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.

Morning in the City

March 12, 2021
Enjoying the Morning Quiet

I awoke, feeling I was in an Edward Hopper painting. Suite 207 in the historic Redlands Hotel in Palestine, Texas has been a second home for me in recent years. The Gallery at Redlands is below me, and just thinking of how it looks inside fills me with warmth, even more than the coffee. Reading from New Art City, I occasionally look up, happy to see the silhouette of an ancient fire escape outside my window. The view of the Carnegie Library across the street always fills me with a nostalgic imagination of what life was like in this city when New York was booming in the fifties. Palestine only has a population of 18,000, so it’s much quieter than urban environments as we know them, but just now as I’m writing this, the garbage trucks are groaning and thrashing about as they empty the dumpsters outside the Queen Street Grille, also below me and across the lobby from the gallery.

Reading stories in New Art City about Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and other members of The New York School fuels the excitement I’m feeling about The Twelve as the day draws closer for them to enter The Gallery at Redlands (I’ve written a poem “Enter the Twelve” that’s been posted repeatedly on this blog). The camaraderie among the new artists is warm, and I’m enjoying every contact I experience with them.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church across the street

Sacred Heart Catholic Church tolls the hour, 7 a.m. I find myself rising from the kitchen table to stroll back to the bedroom and look out the window across to the church. This magnificent structure has kept me good company in past years, tolling out the hour throughout the day. I always found comfort in listening to it.

Watercolor of Sacred Heart
Ghost Sign in Elkhart, Texas

Ghost signs are among my favorite subjects for watercolor. Visiting Elkhart recently, we found this on the side of one of the businesses downtown. I look forward to attacking in on paper, hopefully soon. After returning to the gallery from Elkhart, I was surprised while talking to a visitor, Gayle Rogers, that there is a Pilgrim Cemetery and old church outside Elkhart with a number of the Parker clan buried there. As it turns out, Gayle is an 8th-generation descendent of Cynthia Parker, the one kidnapped by the Comanches who later became mother to Chief Quanah Parker.

It’s been an amazing day, and we’re hardly past noon. Time to get down to gallery work. We hope you’ll join us for our Meet the Artist reception Saturday night, March 20, 7-9. The Twelve are excited to meet you!

Thanks for reading.