Archive for October, 2022

Saturday in the Gallery

October 29, 2022
Saturday morning quiet

An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.

George Santayana, Life of Reason

This long, rainy, dark Saturday has afforded precious time and space for gallery work. Thanks to Sandi’s diligent focus on planning for events around the corner and Dave Shultz’s photography, we’ve managed to get some important things done.

Last night I finished Palestine Blues, and I’ll take it to the framer Monday. I’m ready now for the next challenge.

Thanks for reading.


Nearing Finish of New Watercolor

October 28, 2022

It seems forever since I’ve blogged. The past week has had me covered up in appointments and deadlines. Today in Palestine it is dark, cold and rainy. That usually means longer periods of quiet and the opportunity to finish some art work.

I’m hoping to finish this piece before the day is over. The location is in downtown Palestine.

Cecilia Bramhall, The Old Mill. Oil. 21 x 21″ framed. $900

Local gallery artists Cecilia Bramhall just completed this gorgeous oil painting less than a week ago. We’re proud now to see it hanging in the gallery. This piece deserves a home soon. Come check it out!

We’re proud to announce that the next launch party for the new edition of The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine will be here in The Gallery at Redlands November 9 from 4-8 p.m. We’re expecting a huge crowd of artists and patrons, and will be writing more about it soon.

Thanks for reading.

Making Headway on the Palestine Blues Watercolor

October 22, 2022

The ghost of Lightnin’ Hopkins moving through Palestine

People have learned how to strum a guitar, but they don’t have the soul. They don’t feel it from the heart. It hurts me. I’m killin’ myself to tell them how it is.

Lightnin’ Hopkins

The Hot Pepper Festival has drawn to a close. Vendors are packing up their tents and merchandise. The streets are clearing. And I’m getting weary of painting, having bent over the drafting table and picked at this watercolor for the most part of nine hours. I’m happy with the amount of work that got accomplished today, and believe I’ll now spend the rest of the evening reading. The Gallery at Redlands will stay open another three hours.

Dear friends of mine who looked at the painting in progress this afternoon noticed the transparency of my blues man walking along the tracks. I inserted him after I had drafted the store behind him, and the lines of masonry are still visible through his clothing. Lisa liked the idea of the ghost sign being in the same frame as the ghost blues man. I had not thought of that! Lightnin’ Hopkins played in a juke joint in Crockett, Texas, thirty miles down the highway from here. A life-size bronze statue has been installed in the park across the street from the Camp Street Care & Store that used to be the joint. So I’m naming this solitary traveling musician Lightnin’ Hopkins.

Thanks for reading.

Hot Pepper Festival in Palestine Today

October 22, 2022
Resuming a Recent Watercolor

I have found it difficult to stop and blog today. My day began at 7:00, and as I walked the streets of Palestine, I felt that I was making my way through a Medieval village. Vendors were everywhere, setting up booths for the day. The annual Hot Pepper Festival is in full swing. The parade has already passed through, and people are everywhere. I’m enjoying the Gallery traffic. Talking to patrons and visitors is always enjoyable, especially if I’m up to my elbows in a watercolor

While passing through the booths during my morning walk, I enjoyed the scattered chatterings I overheard, reminding me of my days of setting up for an outdoor art festival. A good memory. In fact, I experienced this three weeks ago in Edom, Texas. I used to do about ten of these a year. Now I’ve cut back to two or three. I’m glad to be settled into the gallery, and plan to work on watercolors till we close tonight at 9:00

A close up of the details I’m tending on the Palestine watercolor

While working on a large piece, I enjoy moving all over the composition, sometimes detailing, sometimes laying down large washes of color, sometimes drawing and adjusting something that doesn’t seem quite right. Currently I’m working on small perimeter leaves and branches separating the bulk of the tree crowns from the sky. I call these little touches “salt and peppering” as I feel I am seasoning the work instead of basting or cooking.

I need to get back to painting. Thanks for reading.

Night Painting in The Gallery at Redlands

October 21, 2022
Progress until we closed at 9:00

Before retiring to bed, I wanted to post the latest work on a watercolor I began awhile back. I look forward to resuming work on it first thing in the morning. I also plan to post photos of vendors setting up for Palestine’s annual Hot Pepper Festival. A parade will open the event downtown, and all the streets will be filled with booths and thousands of visitors. We’re expecting quality weather, so it should be a good event.

Thanks for reading.

Carnegie Library and Billowing Thoughts

October 21, 2022
View out my Redlands Hotel window. Carnegie Library undergoing ADA compliance construction

I lived the whole week in strictest seclusion in my study and under the apple tree and now have the exegesis of Romans 5 finished.

Karl Barth, letter to friend Eduard Thurneysen, Septembper 27, 1917

Friday morning finds me on the second floor of The Redlands Hotel in Palestine, Texas. While reading and breakfasting, I’ve been looking out the window at the Carnegie Library as a work crew labors to make it ADA compliant so it can once again become a public library. Once it re-opens, I’ll be in trouble. I can already envision patrons approaching a locked Gallery at Redlands door with a sign:

Gallery Closed. If you need me, I’m across the street in the Carnegie Library, reading.

I’ve said this before. As an artist, I am still conflicted for reading and thinking time. I’m afraid graduate school shaped me for that till the day I die. I cannot think of an appropriate epithet for myself; “Thinking Artist” carries an arrogance I find offensive. “Intellectual” isn’t much better. Listening to a YouTube lecture this morning delivered by writer Thomas Wolfe in memory of Marshall McLuhan the remark was made: “An intellectual is an expert in one field who makes a comment in another.” Good one.

O.K. Cards on the table. My doctorate is in New Testament, and I still read it in Greek. But I also love reading the Greek texts of Homer and the Presocratics. And I love literature, And philosophy. And art history. I love to write. All of this feeds my art, even if these strands are not seen in my subject matter. Ideas are the prime mover of my life, and they drive my imagination, my art and my business. Downstairs in the gallery, two watercolors in progress are waiting for me, and I’ll get down to them. But now I’ve stopped my reading long enough to send up a blog like a smoke signal. I’ll get downstairs to the watercolors in due time.

The retired life is luxurious; I had no idea how miserable I was the final five years of my full-time employment when I was chained to a Monday-through-Friday teaching post that never went away. At the end of each weekday, I carried my school work home like a mule, and I carried the load into every weekend. The fact of the matter is this–when Friday ended school for the week, I was already thinking of Monday morning. For twenty-eight years in high school, and a concurrent schedule of college adjunct responsibilities running from 1985-2022 I was never away from work, mentally. Now as a happily and fully retired man, I know what it means to be busy, but the busy happens by my choice, not an institutional schedule. And I love it.

Thirty years ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson grounded my life of the mind, and though I studied scores of other thinkers throughout those years, Emerson remained my pole star. I often wondered if anyone else would ever come along and make the same claim upon my mind.

For a week now, Marshall McLuhan has held my attention like no other since Emerson. I am now reading his Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, and I am totally absorbed. I purchased the 30th anniversary edition, and the Introduction by Harper’s editor Lewis H. Lapham is brilliantly written. If McLuhan continues to hold my attention, I’ll be writing more about him once I have digested it. But for now, I feel the sensations the theologian Karl Barth described in his letter to his friend about his absorption in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. I’m currently seeking an apple tree under which I can sit and contemplate all this new wonder.

Finally moved downstairs to The Gallery at Redlands

Meanwhile, there is work to pursue in the Gallery. A pair of watercolors are whispering in my other ear. Tomorrow (Saturday), Palestine will host its annual Hot Pepper Festival. The streets downtown will be lined with booths. A parade will open the event, and thousands of people will overrun the city. We hope they’ll overrun our Gallery 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.

Musings in Studio Eidolons

October 18, 2022

Instead of celebrity philosophers we have celebrity chefs, dozens of them. But they never talk about how delicious life itself could be if we followed a different recipe. That’s what McLuhan was all about, really, recognizing that the kitchen of the mind is stocked with all the best ingredients. Each of us could be in there every day, cooking up a masterpiece. Why aren’t we?

William Powers, Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age

There is magic in waking to a 43 degree morning. Without an alarm I was up before daylight, made coffee, and thought I was going straight to the drafting table to pursue work on my latest project. But I opened a book and journal, and alas, ideas began savaging me. Hours later, I sit down to this blog to record some of it, then get back to work . . .

One idea leads to the next, one book to the next, etc.

I have this obsession with re-reading quality books that have fed my imagination in times past. My recent dip back into Hamlet’s Blackberry found me doing the breast stroke through the chapter featuring Marshall McLuhan. I’ve never read his books, but have decided now to take a look into The Gutenberg Galaxay and Understanding Media. The man was truly prophetic, seeing well in advance the digital age and how it would transform society. Though I hadn’t read him, his name crept into my consciousness recently during scattered chats with friends at Edom Art Festival, Hideaway Lake Art League, and creative spirits from Palestine and Greenville, Texas.

Beginnings of mapping out New Byzantium

Purchasing recently a Rand McNally road map of Texas, I spread it out on the table and began marking the towns that have recently gotten my attention with their current activities in the arts–visual, musical, performing, and literary. There is a genuine Renaissance blossoming. I have been referring to it as The New Byzantium, and intend to write more about it as these matters unfold. I am thrilled at this new vibe that is in the air, just as invigorating as the recent plunge in temperature, signaling autumn and all the excitement that comes with the approaching holiday seasons.

I’m glad to have a couple of days in my suburban home before descending back into the Palestine mix. Their annual Hot Pepper Festival is coming up this weekend, and there will be thousands of people in the downtown area. It’s time once again to roll up the sleeves and get to work on the matters at hand.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday morning reflections

October 15, 2022

The language of a great man, spoken by him, is always a beautiful language. . . . One can speak only with one’s tongue, but one can also speak with the spirit of one’s time. You have to be understood by those who hear you, but above all you must understand yourself.

Eugene Delacroix, Journal, December 24, 1853

It took a couple of days’ hard work to put The Gallery at Redlands back together after taking out my work and furnishings for last weekend’s Edom Art Festival then returning to re-install everything. But finally last night everything was back in its place and the gallery seems to have more floor space now. Several pieces have been replaced or moved to other locations in the space as well. So I believe the place now has a slightly different, but good overall appearance.

Saturday morning has been rather quiet so far, and I’m pleased that I got to return to reading and journaling–something I abandoned about a week ago. I’m glad to feel somewhat rooted and settled once again so I can get back to the projects the still need tending.

I am not halfway through the lengthy Journal of Eugene Delacroix, and I just shake my head in wonder at his erudition, his way of integrating the visual arts with the symphony, chamber music, opera and literature. When I taught courses in the Humanities years ago, I always wished I could achieve this type of mastery, but never felt I did. The passage quoted above arrested me to the point that I had to re-read his Christmas Eve journal entry of 1853 (several pages in length and very dense in its analysis of the various art forms). When he writes of language, he stirs me deep within. I especially love the portion quoted above, that one needs to understand the self as well as the spirit of the age (Zeitgeist) if s/he wishes to expresses matters effectively.

Well, it’s time for me to get back to the task at hand. The coffee was good. The reading was alluring. And I’m pleased to take a moment to express the good things around me.

Thanks for reading.

Gone Fishin’

October 14, 2022
Good catch in an east Texas pond

After that, I’d come home and think—that is to say, to scribble. I’d scribble for days, sometimes, after such a visit, or even years, it might be, trying to discover how my mind had readjusted itself to its contacts.

William Carlos Williams, Autobiography

My blog has been relatively quiet of late. Several reasons–much time on the open road, journal filled with scribblings more than essayed thoughts, art business chewing up most of my hours, FISHING!

I posted a photo above of one of the twenty-four largemouth bass I enjoyed catching and releasing. My fly-rod was happy with the workout. Dear friends of mine from east Texas offered me an overnight stay for home-cooked meals, meaningful conversations along with an evening and morning of fly-fishing in the cool breezy air.

Before my fishing visit, I met twenty-three more artist friends while doing a watercolor demo for the Hideaway Lake Art Guild near Lindale, Texas. I’m really hoping to do some kind of event with them someday soon, as I felt so much enthusiasm among them. I love discussing art as well as making it, and when I find friends interested in sharing those ideas, I never want to leave.

I am back in Palestine to stay Friday through Sunday. The Gallery at Redlands needs to be re-assembled after I took out all my work and furnishings for last weekend’s Edom Art Festival. I should have everything shipshape by noon today and then I will get back down to the business of working on my latest commission.

The cooler morning temperatures are filling me with a spirit of eudaimonia, and I have this itch to make more watercolors and journal more than before. We’ll see if I can get some of that done this weekend.

Thanks for reading.

Singing Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road”

October 12, 2022

Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,

Strong and content I travel the open road.

Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road”

Looking out the window of Studio Eidolons this morning, my heart stirred as I saw the first signs of leaves dropping from the oak tree. The cool mornings have brought a soothing balm after this blistering summer we just endured. It seemed to make my Cowboy Coffee taste better and Whitman read better.

I have had 48 hours to rest, re-center, unpack and reload since the weekend Edom Art Festival. The memories and sensations of the event have not diminished over the days. My placement beneath a large tree next to the entrance not only gave me nonstop shade throughout the day, but also provided large crowds that never diminished.

The first “crowd” photo is one I took, but this better one was taken by friend and photographer Dave Shultz. He posted comments on facebook that talking art to a crowd of people left me thirsty (hence the “bottoms up” shot of me at the far left). Thanks for coming, Dave! And thanks for this funny memory. I’m overwhelmed with all the new friends I made during the weekend and look forward to blending future art events with these new acquaintances.

Near my tent, a Beat poet set up shop and began composing poetry on his portable typewriter while his faithful dog lay comfortably beside him. It has been years since I’ve attended a poetry reading and now have decided I’ll look for them on the calendar. Hearing his voice and feeling his passion fueled a new sense of artistic drive within me. As I’ve written before, East Texas is experiencing a spontaneous explosion in the arts–visual, musical, literary and performance. And I’m thrilled to be positioned in the eye of this hurricane.

I am en route to Hideaway Lake Art League near Lindale in east Texas for a watercolor demonstration. Then I am traveling south for some quality fly-fishing in some ponds on my dear friends’ property. Thursday will find me back in Palestine to occupy The Gallery at Redlands. I will stay until Sunday this time so I can attend a matinee of Palestine Community Theater’s production of “The Play that Goes Wrong.” It is getting rave reviews and I’m delighted that I can attend a daytime performance since I occupy the Gallery at night. This play is one more example of the amazing flourish we’ve witnessed recently in the arts across East Texas.

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.