An Artful Palestine Weekend

Mike Long posing beside his Father’s Art Work

“Mitcha, why aren’t you at home painting?”

Hans Hofmann, chiding Joan Mitchell for walking her dog

For the past 72 hours, I’ve heard Hofmann’s stinging rebuke in my ears as I closed the door to my Studio Eidolons and bowed to the ugly task of consolidating all my financial data to submit to my tax preparer yesterday. I absolutely hate going over volumes of spreadsheets of dollar figures to submit to IRS once a year, and swear every year that I will do a better job daily or weekly of consolidating all that stuff rather than poring over it for days on end once a year. Today is Saturday, and my dream for two weeks has been to paint the Chamber of Commerce building across the street from The Gallery at Redlands. Well guess what–it is dark and overcast all day today, so there will be no sun on the side of this building, so I won’t paint today after all. But I can blog . . .

Postponement of painting till the sun emerges again. At least the preliminary drawing is in place

So . . . the photo of the Dr. Pepper ghost sign at the top . . . Last night we were surprised in the gallery by a visit from Mike Long. His father, Donnie Long, painted this Dr. Pepper billboard on the side of the building next door to The Redlands Hotel in 1964. I have been looking at the ghost sign since 2017 when I arrived and have yet to paint it, though Dave Shultz our local friend and photographer, has photographed and enhanced the image numerous times since I’ve known him.

Mike’s information about the Dr. Pepper sign still has my head swimming today. His father painted it free-hand. I have a special gift book about ghost signs that my dear friend Dian Darr handed to me not long after I completed the ghost sign watercolor last year from Hot Springs, Arkansas.

“Palimpsest” Framed Watercolor 22 x 33″. $800

I am fascinated by the stories I read of sign painters and the special templates and tools they used to render their images and slogans. Hearing that this sign was painted free-hand has made me go out there and look at it more closely with astonishment.

I’m sorry to learn that Mike’s father is deceased, and in fact had passed away in 1979, before the sign had been covered over by some kind of new siding. In the late 1990’s, Mike got a surprising phone call from the business across the street while he was working in his office across town. “Come down here, now. And bring your camera.” Mike closed his office and drove to the location to see the “ghost sign” that had been covered over for decades. No one present knew the sign was underneath the siding until it was removed. Mike had even forgotten about it, because he was only a boy when his father painted it. As it turns out, the siding protected the paint from the elements for over twenty years.

As Mike and I visited, he reminisced about his father’s studio, filled with paintings in progress. Mike said his dad would work on whatever his mood directed each day, some of the paintings lying incomplete for months or years before finishing. This fact made me feel better, because I have closets and file drawers filled with “in-progress” watercolors dating back to 2006, some of which may never be finished. I suppose I have more patience in my senior years of work being postponed. After all, I thought I was plein air painting today, and the weather said No. Another time. There are plenty of other tasks to chase today.

Sandi, always working, cleaning, tidying in the gallery

I’m grateful to Sandi and her partnership in this endeavor. All morning she has been working on the gallery, tidying, re-arranging, etc. while I’ve pursued paperwork, this blog, and made preparations for an art lesson this afternoon. There is always something to do in The Gallery at Redlands.

Magazine Launch Party Announcement

Speaking of which–we have a Magazine Launch Party next Wednesday, April 20, from 5-8 pm here in the gallery. The new magazine has come out, Palestine as a “Destination City” has ten pages of ads in the publication, promoting artists and local business sponsors of the arts. If you’re in the area, we would love for you to stop by, meet the artists, sponsors, and Gloria Hood the magazine publisher. The magazines will be available here, and I’m sure that artists would be happy to autograph their pages! We’re looking for a good time that night. Special treats are being prepared, and there will plenty of wine to pour.

Thanks for reading. I’m always happier when I land in Palestine, city of the arts, to pursue new adventures.

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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