Thoughts in the Night While Painting in The Gallery at Redlands

After a four-day hiatus, it’s good to be working on this painting again

The celebrated biographies give us the sufferings and hardships of the great. But the sufferings and hardships of the unknown are often more eloquent. The tribulations of fate weave a mantle of unsuspected heroism about these lesser figures. To win through by sheer force of genius is one thing; to survive and continue to create when every last door is slammed in one’s face is another. Nobody acquires genius: it is God-given. But one can acquire patience, fortitude, wisdom, understanding. Perhaps the gretest gift the little men have to offer us is this ability to accept the conditions which life imposes, accept one’s own limitations, in other words. Or, to put it another way–to love what one does whether it causes a stir or not. Of the highest men Vivekananda once said: “They make no stir in the world. They are calm, silent, unknown.”

Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

As the hour approaches 9 p.m., The Gallery at Redlands is quieter. My eyes are tired from working on the watercolor at the drafting table (bless you, Tim and Patty for that wonderful gift!). Sitting now at the desk I’ve taken up my continued reading of this beautiful volume from Henry Miller (bless you, Stacy and Leigh for that gift–I still cry when I think of opening the wrapping paper that night!)

I want to dedicate this blog entry to the Unknown Artist, the One who continues to work faithfully on his/her craft day after day, even when no one seems to notice. I salute the artist who realizes the world doesn’t need his/her creative effort; if the artist quits, the world will continue on its way. I still shudder at the memories, the Angst I knew in the 80’s and 90’s. I still remember those nights of sadness when I couldn’t sleep because I was mired in all that self-doubt that arose because of a general lack of recognition or appreciation for my artistic efforts.

The art world has changed profoundly for me since those days. Not that I consider myself successful or widely-known in the art world. I think what it boils down to is the reality that I worked a job for twenty-eight years, earned a pension and retired. Once my job supported my lifestyle around the turn of the millenium, I suddenly realized that I did not need the income for art sales, and I no longer expected to become famous. That turned out to be liberating. As I recall, somewhere around the year 2000, I found myself happy in the act of creating instead of fretting over marketing details or standards of success.

But our world remains filled with artistic, creative, driven souls who suffer, either because they cannot make a living and/or they create without any measure of success or recognition. I don’t know which is worse. All I know is that when an artist is unhappy, I feel guilty because my life has turned in such a way that I have the ability to make art, and love the work, and don’t have to depend on selling it.

I am still surprised to own a gallery now. It has been over two months since we turned that corner, and it is still quite new and quite surprising for me. As for The Twelve in The Gallery at Redlands, I just want them to be successful, and I want them to be happy in their creative work. I want them to know the bliss and fulfillment of having the strength and wellness to pursue their bliss.

I am turned off by art blogs that tell us how to become millionaires, how to market our work, especially the ones who solicit money from us for their packaged programs that guarantee financial fortune. I despise the unwritten sentiment that if we are not financially successful then we are just mediocre or lazy artists. From my perspective, this gathering of The Twelve in our gallery has shown me more love and compassion than I believe I’ve ever seen in social gatherings from my past. There is a wonderful vibe among this community. Something is in the air. And I truly believe that Palestine and east Texas are on the verge of artistic enrichment. I truly believe that The Twelve are committed to improving our community by celebrating art, by delighting in the act of creation. And I am proud to be numbered among them.

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.

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2 Responses to “Thoughts in the Night While Painting in The Gallery at Redlands”

  1. Barbara Tyler Says:

    Wow Dr. Tripp, it’s like you’re reading my mind with this blog! I needed this encouragement! The statements about reality hit home but, as you say, honesty is artistically liberating. I too feel more creative now than ever before. I recently took part in Longview’s ArtWalk. I didn’t sell much but had a great experience, especially when those 2 or 3 individuals really ‘got’ my craft, recognizing it for its artistic value and spoke with me through the language of artists. Following you on your own artistic journey and adventures provides so many of us with inspiration. That is a great talent of yours also!

    Like

    • davidtripp Says:

      Wow, Barbara, I hardly know what to say except thank you so much for that good word! I never know exactly how to discuss my past and present. My memory takes in years of bitterness when I was trying to get the world to recognize and acknowledge my paintings. I have had more than my share of grousing through art festivals with dismal sales and even fewer conversations with passers-by. In all honesty, I think the bitterness melted away once I was earning a livable wage through my regular job. No longer having to worry about the financial aspects of making art, I gradually found myself relaxing and blissing in the act of just making art. I am not lying when I tell my friends that I enjoy making art more than selling it. But that is the honest truth. I am finding the retirement years to be so lovely and comparatively leisurely from all those years of work and stress. And meeting artistic Spirits such as you adds a great deal to what keeps me going from day today. Thank you again for reading and writing back to me. You are a treasure!

      Like

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