Archive for May, 2021

Pre-Dawn Musings. Life as an Artist

May 1, 2021
Redlands Hotel. Second Floor

The man who has great emotions might burst into tears–but that is as far as he will get if he has no practical side. The artist must have the emotional side first, the primal cause of his being an artist, but he must also have an excellent mind, which he must command and use as a tool for the expression of his emotions.

The idea, which is the primal thing for a picture, is all in the air; the expression on canvas is a case of absolute science as it deals with materials. A great artist is both a great imaginer and a great employer of practical science. First there must be the man, then the technique.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

After a week of frenetic loading, traveling, and unloading from gallery to home to festival grounds back to home and then back to gallery, I am finally able to stop long enough this morning to write about what is swirling about me. I woke up about 3:30 this morning in The Redlands Hotel and could not return to sleep. So I have been enjoying the quiet pre-dawn at the kitchen table in the suite I inhabit while at this residence. The Redlands Hotel has the feel, the genuine vibe I believe inhabited it since 1915. I seem to do some of my best thinking and painting here. And now in the quiet of the morning, I sense that the dam is about to break–all the thoughts I’ve harbored in my heart this past week will probably spill out onto this computer screen and then go out to anybody who cares to read.

This Robert Henri book has been like a Bible for me the past ten years or so. Teaching art history, my imagination was always stirred by the details of this amazing man’s life. Obviously his persona was magnetic as he gathered a group of newspaper illustrators around him and fired up their imaginations at meetings in his studio apartment on 806 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. They called themselves The Eight (hence my derivative idea of The Twelve here in The Gallery at Redlands).

For years I’ve wondered if my own life could have turned out differently had I had such an art teacher as Henri. But that is an immature and uncritical sentiment; in many ways, he has been and still is my art teacher. And the best parts of Henri’s character and philosophy were embedded in the art teachers who influenced me the most–Mr. Scucchi (high school) with his abstract theories, Professor Murray (university) with his erudite scholarship, and Professor Unger (university) with his technical focus.

I cannot improve on the quote from Henri at the top of this blog, but I wish to respond with my own sentiments. I have always been intrigued with the dual nature of the artist as emotional and intellectual. Throughout my own pilgrimage, I recall my early years as charged with emotion and imagination, and my desire to express these through the avenue of art, drawng first and painting later. Throughout public school and university I never lost that emotional charge, but being intellectually lazy and immature, I sought to improve my work only through technique, assembing as many tools for my toolbox as possible. As for academic pursuits and listening to lectures, I was completely disinterested.

Halfway through my university undergraduate years, I suddenly woke up to the world of ideas and found myself starved for academic pursuit. I guess one would call me a late-bloomer. By the time my Bachelors was completed, I regretted that I had not taken scholarship more seriously. Earning later a Masters and Doctorate did not burn me out. Rather those ten extra years of meticulous scholarship changed my life and I now find myself in retirement years just as intensely curious as I was from the beginning, but now with more time to read and reflect.

Every artist has his/her own way of pursuing this enterprise. As for myself, I spend just as much time reading and writing as I do painting in the studio. My mornings generally begin with coffee and “executive time” where I study just as intently as I did during my graduate school years (except I no longer have papers to write or deadlines to meet–a perfect world at last!). I approach the drafting table later in the day and attempt to apply what I’ve learned to the task of making visual art. My heroes from art history are those who found ways to balance their technical artistic skills with their academic pursuits of study and writing. These artists are the ones I read the most–Edward Hopper, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Eugene Delacroix, Paul Gauguin, N. C. Wyeth and of course Robert Henri. Through their examples, I continue to find ways to balance my intellectual and technical focus with my emotional side.

Thank you for reading me.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Gallery at Redlands Featured in Local Magazine

May 1, 2021

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, we re-invent,

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 impulse 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.

David Tripp

Something is in the air. The Gallery at Redlands looks different, feels different this weekend. Three days ago, published the long-anticipated article on our gallery. The arrival of the text and pictures flooded my heart with joy. I just knew things would be different now. Sure enough, when Sandi and I arrived on Thursday to re-build and re-arrange our space, people continued to drop by the gallery to look at the artistic creations of The Twelve, even though they had to pick their way around crates and portfolios of new work strewn about the room. Friday was no different (except visitors no longer needed to avoid debris all over the floor).

County Line Magazine is an online publication from East Texas, and our article now appears in the May-June issue:

The Twelve wishes to extend our heart-felt thanks to author Lisa Tang for her dilligent work in interviewing a number of our artists as well as researching their websites and composing the article. Dozens of patrons the past two days have pored over the pages of the article that I printed and inserted into our gallery notebook along with all our artist bios. Lisa’s work stimulated conversation throughout the day, and a number of the gallery’s pieces found new homes!

Our hours at the gallery continue to expand. Now Cecilia Bramhall has the space open 11-2:00 on Tuesdays while Queen Street Grille across the lobby is serving lunch. Thursday I open the gallery at noon and remain there till the restaurant closes at 9 (but frequently keep it open if patrons are continuing to come in and browse). Same thing on Saturdays. Please stop by and visit us when you have the time.

Thanks for reading.