A Flurry of Ideas and Planning

Beginning watercolor of a chuck wagon

[Tennessee Williams described Hans Hofmann] as a bold and clear-headed man who paints as if he understood Euclid, Galileo and Einstein, and as if his vision included the constellation of Hercules toward which our sun drifts.

Jed Perl, New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century

The quote above greeted me over the morning coffee and my mind immediately started grinding its gears. I love the way thinking artists like Hofmann, Motherwell, Delacroix and Cezanne twist and turn intellectual fragments of thought and then conjoin them to seemingly discordant ideas to churn out yet another unusual perspective on art.

I have re-opened New Art City as we near the one-year anniversary of ownership of The Gallery at Redlands. I feel that Sandi has outworked me 3-1 with her recent flurry of activity in preparation of our gallery anniversary as well as the approaching 84th annual Dogwood Art and Music Festival in downtown Palestine. While she has worked the phones, emails, texts and social media, I have answered with a few of my own and a number of new paintings underway.

For any of you artists in the neighborhood, we still are receiving applications for booth reservations in our upcoming festival. Dogwood Art and Music Festival will be Friday night and Saturday March 18-19. Application can be made by https://www.zapplication.org/. The Dogwood Arts Council is providing a large tent to hold 10 x 10′ booth spaces for twenty artists. Artists will only need to provide proper furniture and lighting for their reserved spaces, the large tent will provide the shelter with 24-hour security on duty.

Friday night will be the VIP event with visitors purchasing tickets to enter the tent for the presale. A bar will be set up inside the tent along with plenty of excellent food and music provided by local musician Kevin Harris along with others he has lined up to provide hourly sets of live performance. The night will also spotlight local celebrities, painter William Young who has created the promotional posters which sell on site as signed and limited editions, and sculptor Jeffie Brewer whose monumental steel sculptures wll kick off Palestine’s annual Art Tracks event.

William Young Poster from previous festivals
Dogwood Arts Council gathered with Jeffie and his body of work

Saturday will feature all day festival action with the artists under the tent and local vendors set up on the streets for several city blocks. Buskers will also be performing in select locations all over the city.

Saturday night at 7:00 our Gallery at Redlands will celebrate its anniversary. In 2017, Wade and Gail Thomas opened the venue to kick off our Dogwood Festival, then in 2021 turned it over to Sandi and me. Jeffie Brewer will be our celebrity artist for the evening reception. In addition to his monumental sculpture displayed in our streetside window, we plan to have a number of his small pieces for sale in the gallery for that evening.

5 x 7″ bison sketch underway

I might appear distracted today as I work on multiple compositions and continually stop to scribble new ideas in my journal and continue reading from New Art City. This book fueled my inspiration in the weeks leading up to the opening of our gallery last year and I’ve decided to give it a second look this year along with perusal of my scribbled journal notes from last year.

I was schocked to find a number of striking parallels between Cezanne, Motherwell and Hofmann as I read throughout the day. It has been said that Hofmann, the quintessential teacher, would hold up before his students in class a blank sheet of paper and proclaim: “within its confines is the complete creative message.” I’ve always been awed by the thought that a two-dimensional artist can gaze upon a blank picture plane and think out a composition before making a single mark. In the current book I’m reading, Perl argued the following:

What Hofmann was saying was that when you drew a line on a piece of paper, you were creating a world.

I recall Robert Motherwell describing the act of drawing as “the organization of space.” As my eye moves from painting to painting in Studio Eidolons today, I’m intrigued by the possibilities of what can emerge from the white rectangle every time I approach a blank page.

I never fail to catch my breath when I look up from my work and find sweet Paddington asleep nearby. He’s always a comforting companion when I’m absorbed in my studio work.

We return to the classroom Monday at Texas Wesleyan University. I’m glad I still have a weekend to clean up some dangling details pertaining to my classes. 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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