Friday Morning in New Art City

Quiet morning in The Redlands Hotel

To paint is to love again. It’s only when we look with eyes of love that we see as the painter sees. His is a love, moreover, which is free of possessiveness. What the painter sees he is duty bound to share. Usually he makes us see and feel what ordinarily we ignore or are immune to.

Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Waking at 6:30 to a soggy and dark Palestine downtown, I nevertheless felt warmed, being in this special place. Reaching for my phone, I first found an inspiring entry from DailyOM, something I read nearly every morning after waking. Today’s entry is “Keeping a Creativity Journal: Inspiration Expression”. I loved every word. My personal journal began in 1985; I have well over one hundred fifty volumes at home now, and this time randomly packed ten of those in my travel bag. Tossing them across the kitchen table here in our Redlands Hotel suite, I began reading what transpired a year ago when Sandi and I assumed the ownership of The Gallery at Redlands downstairs and invited a group of artists to join us whom we lovingly designated as “The Twelve.” Next week, some of them will join us as we celebrate the first anniversary of our gallery ownership in conjunction with Palestine’s 84th Annual Dogwood Art & Music Festival, the commencement of the Dogwood Art Council’s Art Tracks program, and the Friday night VIP Art Under the Tent event.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I am resuming my reading of New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century because the events swirling around us in Palestine, Texas present for me many striking parallels with what went on in New York City at mid-century with the flowering of Abstract Expressionism and the advent of Pop Art. As I read, I’m reminded that not everything at the time seemed perfect–current happenings are messy, untidy, and at times chaotic and people get angry and words are exchanged that are best forgotten later. With time, the historical occasion gets reinterpreted and reads like a finely crafted novel. This is what I see now as I recall the things that transpired in March 2021 and re-read my journal and blog entries from the time. One of the many precious moments occurred when I sat under the art tent on Saturday, the morning after the VIP event with the street festival now in full swing. Looking at my phone, I found the following response posted to my blog that had been chronicling the events of the Dogwood Festival:

Thank you for the moment-by-moment description of your show, the gallery and all the artists who make up your Twelve. It is true, I live in NYC. I have been to a lot of art exhibits, and have a BFA in sculpture, from back when no women were in the Sculpture Department. But I am still more interested in the artists than the hype. You gave me the artists, in such a way that I can imagine myself there. Now that I know the history of the gallery and some of the artists, I can follow along. Thanks again. And, when you are on the river in OK, and if you happen to see an osprey fishing (returning from their migration), that’s probably me, sending you a “hello” message.

Reading this warm note from a New York sculptor brought tears to my eyes; I could imagine nothing more perfect and timely as that. To this precious sculptor-friend (I only know you as crmcbeath-urrutia) I thank you this morning, feeling touched by New York City’s art community at a time when I truly needed it.

In exactly one week, twenty artists will be scrambling to set up their creations for display and sale in an enormous tent covering the parking lot across the street from The Redlands Hotel. We are anticipating the same energy that flowed through this downtown as last year. Sandi and I are nervous as we continue to prepare for our gallery reception Saturday night March 19, celebrating our one-year anniversary of ownership. And I close with some words I recorded several months ago in my journal while experiencing a cleansing moment:

ART has always been my safe-house.

I had my art when I was lonely.

I had my art when I felt I was unpopular.

I had my art when I thought nobody noticed me or cared.

I had my art when everyone else seemed to have something to do and I was not included.

I had my art when I felt I was a low-grade student.

I had my art when I felt that I would never amount to much in this world.

Art was my safe-house, my refuge and strength in times of trouble.

I always had my art.

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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