Archive for December, 2021

Finally in my Element

December 31, 2021

The new year is 30 minutes away, and finally I found what my soul has been seeking. While drawing an evergreen in simple graphite, I suddenly recalled the Six Canons of Xie He. Pulling my art history volumes from the shelves, I refreshed my memory about the Chinese word qi that refers to the breath or spirit that animates a work of art, and the necessity for the artist to cultivate that same spirit within while engaged in the art enterprise.

At long last, I feel prepared to walk into this new year, my shoulders squared and my head held high.

Thanks for reading.


2022 Nearing

December 31, 2021
Studio Eidolons. New Years Eve

Man is his own star; and the soul that can

Render an honest and a perfect man,

Commands all light, all influence, all fate;

Nothing to him falls early or too late.

Our acts our angels are, or good or ill,

Our fatal shadows that walk by us still.

Epilogue to Beaumont and Fletcher’s Honest Man’s Fortune

Ralph Waldo Emerson prefaced his seminal essay “Self-Reliance” with the poem above, and I find it resonating with me this night, this New Years Eve.

Throughout the years, I have had meaningful rituals accompanying me into the New Year. My blogs from years past bear these out as do my journals. Not this time, however. My daily life was crammed with much more detail in the closing months of 2021, and the cramming intensified the last weeks of December. Now, with 2022’s dawning a little more than two hours away, it appears I will not be attending those rituals.

But 2022 will still arrive. The sun also rises. Qoheleth penned those words over two millenia ago, and I have decided not to break one of the links of my ritual chain extending back two decades. I will read Ecclesiastes in my rocking chair tonight before midnight signals the new era.

New Year Resolutions. I have not written a single one. But I shall, even if not before midnight. One of them will be a pledge to sketch more in 2022, hopefully every single day of the year without fail. Other resolutions? In time.

I am thankful to all of you who read this blog and help keep it alive. I will find my voice in the days ahead and respond accordingly. Meanwhile, I wish for all of you a better 2022 than 2021. I myself am counting on that, and hope you are too.

Thanks for reading.

Deanna Pickett Frye now Showing at The Gallery at Redlands

December 30, 2021

We will have much more to say as January unfolds, but Sandi and I are pleased to announce that Deanna’s show is up and we’ll leave soon to join Cecilia Bramhall for our inaugural Artist Cafe at Pint and Barrel Draft House. We’re preparing for an “artful” 2022.

Artist Cafe Begins Tonight at 8:00 in Palestine, Texas

December 30, 2021

The Lapine Agile has become legendary in the annals of cultural history as the classic bohemian hangout, but it was merely the latest in a long line of similar establishments that were the nerve centers of the avant-garde. Ever since the Impressionist revolution, cafes, cabarets, and saloons had played a vital role in promoting a sense of community among artists who otherwise had few opportunities to share insights and pursue common agendas.

Miles J. Unger, Picasso and the Painting That Shocked the World

Pint and Barrel Drafthouse, 302 E. Crawford Street. Palestine, Texas

After discussing it for months, local artist Cecilia Bramhall will join Sandi and me tonight at 8:00 at the Pint and Barrel Drafthouse to commence our Artists Cafe. Any creative spirit is invited to join in this conversation, and we will be announcing it with more notice in the future. In addition to our regularly-scheduled monthly Gallery Talks, we will gather in a popular Palestine public setting to discuss our ideas and pursuits. Tonight we will include Robert Henri’s The Art Spirit in our discussion. Cecilia and I both have copies to bring to the drafthouse.

The Impressionists had their Cafe Gerbois, the bande à Picasso had their Lapin Agile, the Abstract Expressionists had their Cedar Tavern and Robert Henri and The Eight had their studio at 806 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. Gertrude Stein had her Salon. Throughout history, creative spirits gathered for the exchange of their ideas in a safe and welcome setting, and we have decided we shall do this in Palestine as well.

If you are in the area, please join us tonight at 8. And stay tuned–we will announce future gatherings and would love for you to be a part of this.

Thanks for reading.

Setting Up the January Show at Gallery at Redlands

December 29, 2021
Arranging New Work from Gallery Artist Deanna Pickett Frye

Through the month of January, The Gallery at Redlands will proudly showcase one of our charter members, Deanna Pickett Frye.  Deanna is a professor at Trinity Valley Community College, and has been teaching art since 2001. She loves sharing her passion for art with those around her. She received her BFA in Painting and Art Education from the University of North Texas and earned her Masters degree from the New Hampshire Institute of Art. Deanna’s art has brightened these gallery walls for nearly five years now, and her exposure has been significantly heightened with the public murals she has created in the Palestine community.

Artist Statement

I make art because I like the creating process and ultimately the fulfillment of completion. I’ve always been drawn to environments that are enticing and bold, often relating to mid-century design and or forms found in nature. I often bounce back and forth from painting intuitive abstracted compositions to realism.

This specific series of large flowers on canvas focuses on beauty found at our feet. Throughout the pandemic, I found myself spending more time in my garden and enjoying the simplicity of nature. Therefore, I decided to concentrate on the elegance of botanicals. These works are intended to envelop the viewer with excitement through bold color and scale.

My art often focuses on patterns and repetition as related to paths followed through life, which mimics repetitions and cycles found in the blooms of a flower. I hope to paint works whose shapes, colors, and textures attract from afar then drawing the viewer near for a richer experience with intricate details.

Deanna Pickett Frye

Post-Christmas Notes from a Park

December 28, 2021

I have little to report this day. Yesterday was the lengthy trip home from St Louis to Arlington Texas, arriving home at 2 a.m.

Today’s 75-degree temperatures find me sitting in a pavilion at a nearby park, sketching, and looking through a two-year-old SketchBook of mine.

Tomorrow we return to The Gallery at Redlands, and hopefully I will have more to report then.

Home for the Holidays

December 27, 2021
Pennsylvania Railroad Lantern

This entire day is devoted to driving back to Texas from Missouri via Arkansas. We had our last conversation with my parents last night while enjoying the soft glow of the railroad lantern. I’ll have more to say about all this tomorrow.

St. Louis Holiday Odyssey

December 26, 2021
Snows from Yesteryear

Merry Christmas from St. Louis. The unseasonable warm climate could not block our holiday joy and visits with family.

I posted the above picture taken Christmas 2017 because I rendered it in watercolor, sold it immediately, and regretted it ever since. I’m hoping to give it another try in January. What I liked about the watercolor was my success in capturing the Andrew Wyeth winter color palette. I hope to accomplish that again, and perhaps this time hold on to it.

Writing this in a restaurant is not easy so I’ll close now and thank you for reading.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2021
Sleeping Paddington Christmas Morning

If a man couldn’t escape what he came from, we would most of us still be peasants in Old World hovels. But, if, having escaped or not, he wants in some way to know himself, define himself, and tries to do it without taking into account the thing he came from, he is writing without any ink in his pen.

John Graves, Goodbye to a River

Christmas morning fills me with pensive sentiments. Reading John Graves reminds me that for over a month I’ve contrasted the current holiday with the bleakness I knew in 1987, having to work both on Thanksgiving and Christmas days with no family around me, no one to love or care. This morning as Sandi and I took our dogs out of the hotel for their “constitutional”, I saw lines of behemoth tractor trailers rumbling and filling the air with white exhaust as their drivers walked about, making preparations for departure. I felt such a sadness, the thought of trucking on Christmas morning, and once again alowed my memories to lapse into 1987. How lovely are things now. I still have Mom and Dad, ages 93 and 87, to visit for Christmas. My son is also here in St. Louis from Austin, along with my brother and sister, both still in this area, along with their families. We had quite a houseful last night, and I cherished every moment. Sleeping in this morning at the hotel has also been a treat (yesterday’s 13-hour drive has taken a chunk out of us!) and now I sit propped up in bed, listening to Christmas music as I read and ponder and scribble in my journal.

A New Watercolor Sketch?

My head is filled with ideas of what to sketch and paint in the year 2022, and passing this “billboard barn” yesterday on our drive to St. Louis, I thought, Why not? I love watercoloring signage and believe this would make a stunning composition.

Fort Worth Police Officers Association

I delivered this commission the day before departing for St. Louis. I still have two commissions left to pursue, and will begin them as soon as we return to Texas after the holidays.

The Lapine Agile has become legendary in the annals of cultural history as the classic bohemian hangout, but it was merely the latest in a long line of similar establishments that were the nerve centers of the avant-garde. . . . The Impressionists originally favored the Cafe Guerbois at the foot of the Butte, before moving on to the Nouvelle Athenes in the place Pigalle, where two tables were set aside for Manet, Degas, and their guests.

Miles J. Unger, Picasso and the Painting That Shocked the World

I continue to draw inspiration from the reading of this book! Local Palestine artist Cecilia Bramhall and I have agreed to begin meeting with artists and creative spirits in our own version of the “artists cafe” in Palestine, perhaps at the Pint and Barrel. We’ll gather for the first time on December 29 or 30 (we’ll let you know when we decide for sure). And our next formal Gallery Talk will be January 21 with Palestine artist Deanna Pickett-Frye leading the discussion at 7:00 p.m. Deanna will be The Gallery at Redlands’ Featured Artist of the Month for January.

Merry Christmas all of you, and thanks for reading.

Christmas Eve

December 24, 2021
Paddington in my lap

We Rose this morning long before Dawn, because we have many preparations for Christmas. Pausing between tasks, I sat in the rocker to enjoy the Christmas tree and it wasn’t long before Paddington was in my lap asleep. I hope to have plenty to share over the Christmas season by way of this blog, and thank you for reading with me now.