Archive for March, 2022

A Late Night in the Gallery

March 31, 2022
Scribbling Thoughts at the End of a Long Day

I believe there are millions who, when the story of their childhood and high school and college ends, sat in the empty theater of their mind, watching the credits roll, waiting for fate to tell them yet another story. But once we are on our own, our parents, our teachers, and our culture stop telling us what to do, and we have to dream something up for ourselves.

Donald Miller, Hero on a Mission

It’s been a long slog of a day. We journeyed two hours to our gallery, then worked the entire day and night, re-arranging the collection and visiting with a goodly number of patrons. It was a good day, but we’re feeling it now, and the next two days will be packed with activity as Palestine wraps up its three-weekend Dogwood Trails Celebration.

We invite any interested creative spirits to join us for our next Artist Cafe tomorrow night (Friday) at 9:00 in the Pint and Barrel Drafthouse, 302 E. Crawford St. at 9 pm after we close the gallery for the night. Cecilia Bramhall, one of our gallery artists, will join us for conversation about the creative challenges we face when trying to crank out new work. If you don’t know any of us by sight, look for the folks with open books on the table, because we’re always sharing what inspiration we’ve drawn lately from our own reading. Or you could call or text me at (817) 821-8702. We’ll be easy to find at Pint and Barrel on a Friday night.

Palestine’s monthly Art Walk will be Saturday 10-3:00. I always look forward to this event as businesses in downtown Palestine open their doors for artists to demonstrate, display and sell their work inside the venue. This time I will be watercoloring inside The Co-Ed Shop at 203 W. Main Street. Come check us out, and stop by the Gallery at Redlands at 400 N. Queen Street to say “Hello” to Sandi.

We’re also looking forward to the reception for a new exhibit next weekend and hope you’ll join us for that event. I am happy to have five watercolors hanging in this show, and Barons Creek is a lovely venue.

Thanks for reading.


Morning Musings in Studio Eidolons

March 29, 2022
Running out of places to stash my framed watercolors and prints
Puzzling over James Joyce’s Ulysses (so, what else is new?)

In the years after I learned how to make meaning, it was fun to meet others who were experiencing meaning too. I could recognize them immediately. They were building a family or a company. They were leading a team. They were trying to write a book or record an album or create enough art for a gallery showing. They were in motion. They were building something.

Donald Miller, Hero on a Mission

I’ll lay my cards on the table. The day at hand is challenging, but I’m not screaming or throwing furniture across the room. After I finish this blog I’ll give the rest of this entire day to grading and making final preparations for tomorrow’s college lecture. As I wrote in the last blog, I’m ready to leave the college experience behind. After grinding out adjunct contracts since 1985, I’ve decided it is time to end this, just like I ended the high school tenure five years ago. The art side of my life (business as well as creative studio time) has grown to the point that I can no longer pursue a task as time consuming as the university. Though my schedule says I only teach on Mondays and Wednesdays, the reality is that the college owns Tuesday as well with all the grading, administrative stuff and lecture prep. And then, they frequently need me to tend to details the remaining seven days of the week, though I’m in the gallery, trying to give that business my full attention. I’ve finally decided that the university contracts have to end. I feel relief as I write this.

Because I’ve been absorbed of late with the odyssey theme, I’ve divided my reading between Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce’s Ulysses and Proust’s’ Remembrance of Things Past. A few nuggets have been gleaned (though not so much from Joyce!). Returning to my reading of the Donald Miller text (posted above), I felt the drawstring pulling together the ideas that have been floating around me of late.

For decades, I’ve been conscious of my attempts to create meaning, to create a story for my life to follow. In all my years of classroom experience, I was conscious that I was seeking to balance my academic pursuits with my artistic ones. Hence I thoroughly loved reading about the lives of artists such as Robert Motherwell and Edward Hopper, brilliant academic minds who never turned their back on intellectual pursuits as they continued to create art. And though I always felt that the university and high school students, faculty and administrators were interested in about 2% of what I studied, wrote and taught (nothing personal intended here–of course they all have their own lives and agendas), I was never deterred from my pursuit of ideas and art. They kept me growing, kept me moving forward.

Though I’ll be leaving the classroom, I’ll not be abandoning scholarly study; these things feed my imagination and artistic creations in ways I’ll probably never be able to express adequately. I just won’t have a forum to talk publicly about these matters, though they will no doubt leak into the blogs. What I do anticipate in the months ahead is more quality time to pursue the arts. So many events are already coming up that I regret have to share time with the university commitments. On April 9 from 4-7pm, a reception for an art exhibit (including five of my own watercolors) will open at Barons Creek Wine Room, 115 E. Bridge St., Granbury, Texas 76048. At the end of next month, April 30-May 1, Artscape 2022 will be held at the Dallas Arboretum. This is my biggest art festival of the year and already I am laying foundations for what I hope is my best tent display ever. Over the past three months I have created a vast inventory of new art to put on display and sale. These things I’ve managed to do in addition to the college grind. How gladly I anticipate focusing only on these creative matters.

In the text above, Donald Miller expressed his pleasure in meeting with other creative people, and that is what I hope to accomplish more in the future. I am now announcing our next Palestine Artists Cafe to be held Friday night at 9:00 (after we close the gallery) at the Pint and Barrel Drafthouse at 302 E. Crawford St. Feel free to join us, and if you don’t know what we look like, look for the people gathered around the table with open books before us; we’re always sharing what we’ve read recently that inspires us to create art. Or just email me at or phone me at (817) 821-8702.

The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine will be coming out in April as well. I’m proud to be one of the two artists featured on the front cover. I will also have a full-page artist ad inside (in addition to the page shown above), our gallery will have a full-page ad, and the City of Palestine and other businesses and artists from our gallery will have over ten full pages of ads as well. As soon as we know where the “coming out party” for the magazine is held, we’ll send out the information to you. Sandi and I are proud to be part of this front line of Palestine becoming a “Destination City” in this fine arts magazine.

There is so much going on now. 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.

New Creations

March 28, 2022
Colorful Bison. Watercolor 11 x 14″ frame. $100

Perhaps I am more than usually jealous of my freedom. I feel that my connections with and obligations to society are at present very slight and transient.

Henry David Thoreau, Journal entry, January 10, 1851

This morning’s reading from the Journals of Thoreau yielded timely food for thought, for me. I have decided that this semester is my “last rodeo” with the university. The adjunct contracts began in 1985, and I feel that that is long enough. I ended my high school tenure in 2017, after 28 years, but continued to sign university contracts. But now is a good time to bring the series to an end; there are other flowers I’d like to water, with whatever time I have left on this journey.

I have always been a fan of Thoreau’s schedule, but not a participant; I have managed to work in the public for more than three decades, and now I think that the Thursday-Saturday gallery work in Palestine suffices, giving me Sunday through Wednesday to do as I please, when I please. And I’m sure that there will be times we will choose to remain in Palestine for a full week, not having to return to Fort Worth to teach college classes.

Ghost Ranch. Watercolor 8 x 10″ frame. $75

Meanwhile I’m still cranking out art to frame and put on the market. I have Artscape 2022 at the Dallas Arboretum coming up April 29-May 1.

Thanks for reading.

Odyssey About Town

March 26, 2022

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns …
driven time and again off course
. . .

Homer‘s Odyssey

Every waking day, to me, is a new story. This morning started well in Palestine–waking at 7:00 to Sacred Heart Catholic Church across the street tolling nine times. I still laugh at that every weekend when staying here. Stepping outside at 7:30 it was bright, sunshiny and briskly cold and windy. I loved it, walked happily all the way down the hill to the Kroger store to pick up some essentials, and as I walked I thought of James Joyce’s Ulysses–about a man who spends an entire day walking about his home town of Dublin. The entire novel covers one day, paralleling the adventures of Odysseus and his ten-year odyssey, trying to find his way home. We all have our stories, seeking our home. I believe I have finally found mine, at least I felt that I was home when I stomped all over town this morning. Come join me . . .

Oak Street

The sun-washed streets and cold shadows of the businesses down Oak Street were eye candy for me as I walked. I’ve decided I want to write a new cycle of short stories for my Turvey’s Corner 63050 book, and I imagined conversations bubbling between Hank and Randy as they walked together through the old downtown of Palestine.

Old Town Palestine

One of my favorite vistas. I’ve recently received a new commission to paint The Oxbow and I’ll post pictures of it as it develops. Here is the pair of paintings I created of this setting a few years ago:

Took Me Awhile to fnd the Source of the Hammering Sound

As I returned to the hotel, walking up Crawford Street, I heard a hammering sound and couldn’t figure out its source. Suddenly it dawned on me–woodpecker. It took awhile to find him but there he was, busy working atop the utility pole high above me.

Crawford Street, heading uphill to the Redlands Hotel and Gallery

Every time I see the Texas theater, I think of The Last Picture Show and am certain a good collection of stories and characters could emerge for the book I’m trying to write.

Jeffie Sculpture Peeking over the Rise at Me

I laughed when I spied one of Jeffie’s monumental pieces peeking over the rise adjacent to a church. The critter looks like he’s been caught in something he shouldn’t be doing. Looking at him as I passed made me glad I was only a few blocks from reaching the gallery, where I could spend time working in the quiet, with the large Jeffie piece beside me, with its eyes looking in all directions as I myself did throughout my walk.

The Comfortable Presence I feel from Jeffie’s large sculpture in the Gallery near where I sit and work

Today, local artist Orlando Guillen joined the family of artists occupying The Gallery at Redlands. He and his wife installed a large piece in the streetside window depicting Vincent Van Gogh’s bedroom. He also has some lovely dogwood creations, including this one on the table, surrounded by Jeffie’s miniatures.

New Gallery Artist Orlando Guillen’s “Weeping Dogwood” surrounded by Jeffie Brewer’s miniatures
Newly Designed Streetside Window featuring Deanna, Stacy, Jeffie and Orlando

Finished 8 x 10″ bison, ready for framing

Finally, I finished the bison and decided to go ahead and post it before getting the frame around it. I’m happy with how illuminated his colors are, happy with the sky color, and above all, happy that I managed to create this effect of the wind stirring up the ground in front of him.

The day has been amazingly busy with Dogwood Festival tourists inundating the hotel and gallery since early this morning. The blog was begun around 8:00 and now at 5:00 p.m. I’m finally able to complete it. I feel like the wandering Ulysses/Odysseus as the day has unfolded in an amazing narrative without cessation. I’m glad to feel at home.

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.

Working on the Story

March 25, 2022
Three of my Watercolors. Gallery at Redlands

I believe there are millions who, when the story of their childhood and high school and college ends, sat in the empty theater of their mind, watching the credits roll, waiting for fate to tell them yet another story. But once we are on our own, our parents, our teachers, and our culture stop telling us what to do, and we have to dream something up for ourselves.

Donald Miller, Hero on a Mission

Once again, time finds me working into the night, trying to get out this blog. We arrived in Palestine this morning, and I have not been alone until now at nearly 8 p.m. I’m still in The Gallery at Redlands, enjoying the momentary quiet, while listening to many, many voices in the lobby, the restaurant and the bar. So I might have to stop again any moment.

Reading Donald Miller’s Hero on a Mission has been a real treat these last few days. I’m particularly attracted to his statement posted above, realizing painfully that many, many people I’ve known throughout the years seem to have lost their sense of enchantment and adventure about life once they graduated and settled into a profession. I never understood that. As for myself, I have felt that I was living inside a novel from the time I left college till the present day. It would seem that being a career high school teacher would be either boring or fraught with adolescent drama. Neither was true for me. Daily I felt like James Joyce in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Daily, my classes would create a stream-of-consciousness for me as words from the students, from me, and from the texts I read would comingle into the most amazing plots and configurations that would feed my art.

Now retired, I choose not to lie down in the pasture and die; daily I find a new challenge, a new angle, a new path, a new odyssey. Daily I am invited to resume the journey from yesterday or simply reinvent myself. As a friend told me long ago, we are limited only by our own imagination. I’m glad to be reading Donald Miller, and hopefully tonight when things quiet down around here I can go upstairs and read some more chapters before sleep enters my chamber.

Thanks always 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 for the Wilderness

March 24, 2022
Missing the days at the old wilderness store

. . . Heidegger’s determination to retreat from his suburban house, hike off the grid, and complete thoughts to the accompaniment of the sound of a spring and changes in the direction of the clouds.

Adam Sharr, Heidegger’s Hut

Spring break is not even a week past, but I didn’t really have a spring break; the Dogwood Art & Music Festival in addition to our one-year celebration reception at the Gallery at Redlands chewed up the entire Spring Break. Now, I am ready to retreat to the wilderness. We leave for Palestine in the morning and will stay till Saturday night before returning to our suburban home. Sometimes the Palestine weekend is a wilderness experience, but that is only if no one enters the gallery all weekend, and of course, that is not good for business. So, it’s a Catch-22.

Sandi and I did discuss the possibilities of some kind of vacation/retreat in the weeks ahead, and we could both use the quiet. This blog has started late at night because college work devoured my entire day, and the evening was given to visiting an art reception featuring our friend and gallery artist Stacy Campbell. It was sweet seeing so many friends I hadn’t seen since I retired from teaching five years ago. But still, I’m ready for some space and silence.

In the quiet of tonight

My adult life has been a sustained balance between the city and the country, and lately I’ve missed the country. Re-reading Heidegger’s Hut recalled this jewel:

The thinking of the Frankfurt School on the one hand and of Heidegger’s school on the other continue to define two forms of modern truth: the one discovered, through work in the metropolitan library and urban loft, by the dialectic of ideas and real, the other revealed by an encounter with an uncorrupted ideal at the rural retreat.

I have known that dialectic between urban and rural, town and country. My schooling always occurred in the city, but my doctoral dissertation was written in the country, at night by the dim light of a kerosene lamp. My art has happened frequently in my suburban studio and downtown gallery, but also has occurred in the rural abandoned store, in plein air locations, and even on an island in the Laguna Madre. I love libraries, public and private, but I also love my own backpack of books in a remote location in the country. Right now, I miss the rural retreat, and hope it won’t be much longer before I can get out there

Thanks for reading.

A Bison Demo

March 23, 2022
Today’s watercolor class demo

Artists toil in cells all over Manhattan. We have a monk’s devotion to our work–and, like monks, some of us will be visited by visions and others will toil out our days knowing glory only at a distance, kneeling in the chapel but never receiving the visitation of a Tony, an Oscar, a National Book Award. And yet the still, small voice may speak as loud as in us as in any.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

I’m loving the words from Julia Cameron, and as I read her tribute to the unsung artistic heroes of Manhattan, I think of those of Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas, Palestine, Tyler and other cells where artists continue to do what they do because of the love of what they do. Today was a grinder–a morning lecture for Ethics at the university, an afternoon watercolor class at Show Me the Monet Gallery, accompanied by a host of other tasks and engagements that aren’t interesting to detail in the daily blog.

The above painting is not yet finished, but close. I still have some detailing to tend to and then I’ll install the frame that I laid on it for the photo above. Bison continue to be one of my favorite subjects and I’m glad, because they’re selling pretty well also; I would hate to have a surplus of these filling my closets.

This is a quick blog because I wish to put something out there daily without fail; I’m trying to be more disciplined in matters I think are important and the daily blog is one of them. I have plenty to report about the substance of the morning lecture, but the hour is drawing late, I’ve built a nice fire in the fireplace, and would like some downtime before bedtime.

Thanks for reading and supporting this blog. I appreciate every one of you.

Thoughts in the Morning over Sketching

March 22, 2022

When we work at our art, we dip into the well of our experience and scoop out images. Because we do this, we need to learn how to put images back. How do we fill the well?

We feed it images. Art is an artist-brain pursuit. The artist brain is our image brain, home and haven to our best creative impulses.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

This morning over coffee marked my second consecutive day of practicing Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. The clearing out of debris proved fruitful. It seems that for me, every morning requires an exorcism, a casting out of negative sentiments. I hate waking up with them. I hate the feeling of dread. I hate the feeling of inadequacy. So every morning I’m proactive in getting rid of the trash in my mind. Coffee, reading, thinking, journaling, and now Morning Pages–all these work together in convincing me that I can face this day and transcend anything negative that shows its ugly countenance. I truly have a ritual I follow every morning, and feel it is a healthy one.

I loved reading this morning the passage about refilling the reservoir with images for the artist. A couple of weeks ago, while traveling with our Dogwood Arts Council President Greg Gunnels to a radio interview, we stopped in Jacksonville because I saw this magnificent old wagon at a business. I photographed it from every angle, and began sketching it yesterday morning, then continued some more this morning. I’m interested in doing a watercolor study of this one to add to the family of covered wagon paintings begun recently.

With Spring Break ending, the college schedule is now pounding away at me, and, like the students, I am already anticipating the end of the semester so we can all resume our normal daily practices. A couple of April events that excite me include a Spring Exhibit and Artscape 2022.

The Spring Exhibit is sponsored by The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Upstairs Gallery, located at Barons Creek Wine Room, 115 E. Bridge St., Granbury, Texas 76048. Five of my watercolors will hang in the exhibit that will open with a reception Saturday, April 9 from 4-7 p.m. I’m looking forward to the reception and hope to meet you there.

Artscape 2022 will be held at the Dallas Arboretum April 30 and May 1. I am happy to be in a corner booth once again, and look forward to that festival which will run 10-5:00 both days. Large crowds attend this event, and I will be showcasing my latest work, including the watercolor of the Fort Worth Scatt Jazz Lounge selected for the cover of the next issue of The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Magazine.

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.


March 21, 2022
Quiet inside Studio Eidolons

His mind is always working overtime, and in his best work this intensity registers as a kind of generosity.

Jed Perl, New Art City, writing about painter Fairfield Porter

My Desk, Cluttered as Usual

With the Dogwood Art & Music Festival and our Gallery at Redlands reception behind us as well as Spring Break, I turn my attention now back to college work and new art for the next event: Artscape 2022 at the Dallas Arboretum April 30-May 1. I feel some of my energy returning after a good night’s sleep and the morning given entirely to reading, thinking and writing. My dear friend Dian Darr gave me an early birthday gift: Julila Cameron’s Morning Pages Journal. Having read The Artist’s Way many years ago, I followed the writer’s discipline of “morning pages” for quite a few years, then got away from it.

Resuming The Morning Pages practice this morning, I was reminded of the benefits, namely the flushing away of negative thoughts and low-grade thinking by writing rapidly three pages of long-hand thoughts with no stoppage. I find the benefits best fit a metaphor of Ralph Waldo Emerson about the water pump first bringing up dirty water before the fresh, clean water emerges. The Morning Pages provide for that–getting rid of the junk, what Zig Ziglar used to call “stinkin’ thinkin'”. Once that debris is discarded, the good, fresh ideas are free to emerge. And the discipline this morning certainly yielded quality journal writing afterward, as well as a clearer vision of what I wish to accomplish today.

Having said all that, I am ready to begin the tasks that I love the most–drawing, watercoloring, and framing pieces for the next art event. The morning has brimmed with quality, perhaps I can expect better things this afternoon as well.

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.

Bowery Bum Fatigue

March 20, 2022
Outside The Redlands Hotel Sunday Morning

And we’re standing outside of this wonderland
Looking so bereaved and so bereft
Like a Bowery bum when he finally understands
The bottle’s empty and there’s nothing left

Dire Straits, “Your Latest Trick”

The words to the song above struck a profound chord with me last year when we finished the Dogwood Art & Music Festival followed by our Gallery at Redlands reception. It expresses how I feel after a big event. I find myself on the day after “standing outside of this wonderland” but actually NOT “looking so bereaved and so bereft.” What I feel was expressed perfectly by an elderly high school English teacher long ago, following a state convention of “Teachers of English”. Sitting in the convention hotel coffee shop, she said: “after these things are over I feel like a bowery bum with an empty bottle–just totally trashed physically though happy spiritually.” That was what I felt last year and this morning.

First Gravesite of Cynthia Ann Parker

Greg Gunnels, President of our Dogwood Arts Council, picked Wayne and me up at 7:00 this morning for some meaningful sight seeing around the Palestine vicinity. We had always wanted to visit Foster Cemetery to see the first resting place of Cynthia Ann Parker, mother of the last free Comanche chief, Quanah Parker. From there, we visited other cemeteries around Anderson County and viewed graves dating back to the late eighteenth century. The experience was sobering for me, as visiting burial sites always are. As I continue to age (I’ll be sixty-eight next month), I come to that serious thought that one day I won’t be doing this ever again–painting, drawing, blogging, journaling, thinking, remembering. One day I will cease even as these others have. And so of course I begin to question whether or not I’m doing anything of value during these final years (besides having a great time!).

Elkhart, Texas

Always looking for the next painting, I stopped by this ghost sign in Elkhart, Texas while the morning sun was still spashing the side of the building, and for the first time not finding an SUV parked on the concrete slab blocking my view of the entire sign and the grass beneath. I’ve been looking for the next ghost sign since painting my last one, exactly a year ago:

Hot Springs, Arkansas
View of the booth Wayne and I shared beneath the Art Tent

Wayne, Stacy and I had a blast sitting side-by-side in our booths this year, both Friday night and all day Saturday. Though we’re weary to the bone tonight, we have grateful memories of what we experienced this weekend.

My artist friends Wayne White and Stacy Campbell, joined by the ones who inspire me always–Ron and Dian Darr

Ron and Dian Darr (like family to me since 1990) made the 4 1/2 hour drive from San Antonio to spend time with us Saturday. Not only did we get to hang out in the booth, we also got to “party hearty” at The Gallery at Redlands anniversary gig that night.

The first guests arriving
Sharing Some Words from the Heart
Jeffie Brewer’s “miniatures”

Palestine native sculptor Jeffie Brewer had a knockout weekend under the tent and in the gallery as he kicked off Art Tracks 2022. His miniatures have been sold like hot cakes out of the tent, and continued so the first night in the gallery. These steel miniatures sell for $150 each and they’re going fast!

Fabulous Cake and Cookies shaped like Jeffie sculptures!

The cake and cookies were a big hit, compliments of Lulu & Kakes: Cupcakery and Sweet Shoppe, as was the food provided by the chef at Queen Street Grille. There would be no excuse for anyone leaving the party hungry tonight.

A relaxed moment with Jeffie at the end of the day

As our partying neared its end late last night, the artists began to sag as well. Stacy Campbell left for her Bedford home after the party, and Wayne departed for Belgrade, Missouri shortly after finishing the tour with Greg Gunnels and me. Sandi and I still had plenty of packing, tidying and loading in front of us. We got home about 9:00 tonight. The pups wore themselves out leaping about the house when we staggered in, and now, like us, they are ready to crash for the night.


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.