Archive for the ‘art festival’ Category

Winter Time

December 5, 2017

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It is the sense of the sublime that we have to regard as the root of man’s creative activities in art, thought and noble living. Just as no flora has ever fully displayed the hidden vitality of the earth, so has no work of art ever brought to expression the depth of the unutterable, in the sight of which the souls of saints, poets and philosophers live. The attempt to convey what we see and cannot say is the everlasting theme of mankind’s unfinished symphony, a venture in which adequacy is never achieved. Only those who live on borrowed words believe in their gift of expression. A sensitive person knows that the intrinsic, the most essential, is never expressed.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, Man is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion

In 1978, while a seminary student, I was introduced to Heschel’s classic book, The Prophets, authored in 1962. I was taken with this scholar’s approach to the study of Hebrew prophecy, and never heard his name again until I was reading some book associated with art (don’t recall what!) and read his name associated with this book Man is Not Alone. On a lark, I purchased the work through Amazon, and have been amazed at its contents. I took the book with me to the Randy Brodnax and Friends Christmas Art Show last weekend, and continued reading it during slow moments between sales.

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My booth at the Randy Brodnax Show

Reading the book made me ache for a return to the studio, as I always do when I’m stuck in a booth for several days. I am never able to express what I feel when I am working on a piece of art, and am glad to read such words as those above. “Ineffable” is the best word for the experience of creating art. Currently I am working on this Christmas railroad theme and about to finish another steam locomotive under a snowy night sky, as snow flurries are already beginning outside my window as I write this.

Winter time is a season I always anticipate with gladness, not only because of Thanksgiving and Christmas but also because of the transitions. Friday I’ll give my last final exam at the college and enjoy a month hiatus from teaching. My American Railroad Odyssey show at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine will close December 16, and I will be in the gallery Fri-Saturday the next two weekends. Currently I’m doing business with Art for Goodness Sake, a gallery in Lubbock, Texas that began carrying my work two months ago. Once I’m finished at the college this week, I’ll transition into this “winter time” season where I’ll be able to focus exclusively on making art and re-stocking my inventory in the galleries and shops that carry my work. There is a possibility of a show in January, and if that comes to fruition, I’ll announce it immediately.

I love this time of year! 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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The Circle of Creative Eros

November 30, 2017

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Began the Day with Breakfast at Cracker Barrel before a Fire

It was a free society, to be sure, but one without depth: its ceaseless expansion, whether into outer space or on the production line, had created an almost irresistible temptation on the part of everyone to produce in order to produce still more. Tillich exhorted the producers of cultural goods to stop moving in this one dimensional direction–to come to a halt in order to “enter creation and unite with its power,” in short, to add the vertical line of depth to the horizontal line of extension.

Wilhelm & Marion Pauck, Paul Tillich: His Life & Thought

On May 6, 1963, theologian Paul Tillich spoke at the fortieth anniversary party for Time magazine at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. His audience consisted of the 284 celebrities selected for Time cover stories. His historic speech was titled: “The Ambiguity of Perfection”. In this speech, he addressed a crowd of movers and shakers of his day with the jolting words I’ve posted above. Tillich was fond of addressing the tension of the horizontal dimension of production with the vertical one of creative eros.

For the past couple of decades I have mused over this horizontal and vertical dynamic that Tillich expounded, and have known too well the tensions between what I face today (production deadlines) and what I enjoy on other days (feeding on ideas and creating art from the inspiration). For the next four days I will continue what I’ve known all this week–gathering, organizing, packing and loading art furniture and inventory–the horizontal. When the dust clears Monday, I hope to return to the studio and resume the creative task–the vertical.

Tillich’s tension between the horizontal and the vertical, the production energy vs. the intellectual process has held my attention over the years, but as I look at my own life processes, I tend to see them moving in a circle, a circle of creative eros. I hope it is O.K. now to share my circle with you.

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I perceive the foundation of my lifestyle as one laid in my study. I read every chance I can get, and have been scribbling my ideas from my reading in journals since 1985. I love the history of ideas–art, literature, philosophy, religion–and cannot find enough hours in the day to pursue this interest. For three decades, these readings have spawned classroom lectures and discussions, and now in my semi-retirement days, I still have this satisfying outlet in a university classroom.

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My expression from reading and thinking finds a good outlet in the classroom forum, but that is not enough. I also have to create visually, and from the study I generally find my way into the studio. And as I work, the “smart TV” continually plays YouTube documentaries and lectures from the world of ideas–art, literature, philosophy and religion–and I listen with a glad heart while I paint.

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My ideas have a way of dispersing in the classroom as they disappear into the air and hopefully take root in students’ lives. However, the art works on paper have a way of accumulating into boxes and cartons, and need a place to go. Hence the days when I have to load up and deliver them to a gallery, store or art festival.

So, today and for the rest of the week, my circle will be anchored in this third realm. All day today I will be printing, packaging and organizing my inventory. Tonight I will load the Jeep and tomorrow morning at 9:00 arrive at my Dallas destination to set up for the Randy Brodnax and Friends Christmas Art Show. I enjoy all three parts of this circle that has its way of organizing creative eros. And I’m anticipating good things today as I work.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Coherence Beneath the Scattering

November 29, 2017

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My Garage Experiment in Setting up the Booth for the Weekend

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I’m still making decisions on what paintings to hang in the show

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For the first time in months, I have all my greeting cards in one show

All of his activities were part of an underlying continuity, the diverse elements of which were brought together and reconciled by his own deep understanding of the unity that underlay the complex fabric of images, words, things, and sensations that constituted his world.

Jack Flam, Robert Motherwell Paintings and Collages: A Catalogue Raisonne, 1941-1991, volume 1

When I get caught up in a maelstrom of details such as I’ve endured the past few days, my mind goes either to Andy Warhol and his factory lifestyle of cranking out product or Robert Motherwell as he wandered from his painting studio to his graphics studio to his library. This evening I have felt closer to the Motherwell syndrome as I re-thought the final lecture I delivered this morning to my college classes and then spent the entire afternoon and evening moving between my garage with decisions about booth setup to the studio for printing, matting and sleeving prints and greeting cards. I also set aside some quiet time to sit in my study, read and reflect over the affairs going on lately. The day has indeed pulled me in multiple directions but I’ve loved it all, and I get to spend all of tomorrow doing the same. Showtime begins Friday!

Thanks for reading.

 

Gearing Up for the Final Show of 2017

November 29, 2017

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Trying to finish this Texas State Railroad Locomotive

I believe the great artists of the future will use fewer words, copy fewer things, essays will be shorter in words and longer in meaning.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. . . . The imagination must learn to ply her craft by judgment studied.

William Wordsworth, “The Prelude”

I feel that I have somehow packed three days into one, as this Tuesday has been exceedingly long and arduous, yet satisfying. Rising at 6 this morning, I managed to put in some quality reading time, then left the house to pursue business errands until this evening, sat down next to compose tomorrow’s final lecture for my college Ethics class, then finally worked in the garage on my booth presentation for this weekend’s show.

My quotes above came from the morning of reading, and I was most captivated by the contrast in Wordsworth’s pair of statements, namely that art is a balance between an explosion of feeling and editorial restraint. As I work to complete the steam locomotive started several weeks back, I seek to lay down the precision and geometry required by the subject matter. But boy, how I enjoyed all the splashing and splattering of the night sky and and the loose washes of color on the body of the locomotive, before the time came to tighten up and lay in the exacting details.

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I should consider myself fortunate that I could not leave my house this morning until businesses opened, so I had three hours of solitude for reading and writing. The writings of Robert Motherwell fed my soul as they always do. This remarkable Abstract Expressionist artist was the prime example of a life that blended scholarly pursuit with art making in the studio. For decades I have sought a balance between my academic studies and my art pursuits and always look to this man for my inspiration.

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After my study time, I went out to mail 110 postcards I had addressed by hand last night, announcing this weekend’s Randy Brodnax and Friends Christmas Show at the Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas. After the post office visit, I drove the two hours to Palestine, Texas to The Gallery at Redlands to spend some time working on my watercolor. The light in the gallery windows was perfect for the early afternoon studio time.

After painting for awhile, I then packed and loaded the inventory and furniture necessary for setting up my booth Friday in Dallas and then drove the two hours back home. Once there, I sat down and composed tomorrow’s Ethics lecture to be given at Texas Wesleyan University (my only regular job now in my semi-retired lifecycle). Once the lecture was complete, I went into the garage to unload the Jeep and begin planning how I’m going to set up an 8 x 10′ booth space at the weekend show.

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I’m glad to have sufficient garage space to work on this booth for the next two days. I’ll be making decisions on lighting and Christmas decorations as well as the particular art inventory needed for the show.

Thanks for reading. It’s been a lengthy day, but I’m glad to get some important matters accomplished.

Thoughts of Andy Warhol’s Factory

November 2, 2017

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I suppose I have a really loose interpretation of ‘work’, because I think that just being alive is so much work at something you don’t always want to do. The machinery is always going. Even when you sleep.

Andy Warhol

For me, the “machinery” has been grinding for several days. I have the Genny Wood Art Show and Sale in Bullard, Texas this Saturday, and the opening of my new show “The American Railroad Odyssey” at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas the following Saturday. The shows seem to be running into each other, as I find myself daily (and nightly) packaging and categorizing all the inventory to pack and load. On top of all this, I’m still writing lectures for my college course that runs three mornings a week. I’m starting to feel the burn.

I’m delighted that some of this inventory is already moving before show time. The greeting cards at the top feature my latest railroad watercolor images on the front, and appropriate texts I’ve composed for the back (they are blank inside). The cards measure 5 1/2 by 8 1/4″ and come with an envelope, enclosed in a plastic sleeve. I sell them at $5 each or 5 for $20. A special shout-out goes to Dave Shultz, professional photographer, for formatting the cards for me.

The mugs are going for $15. Already, they have been selling quite well, and I’m enthusiastic at the response.

I am recalling all the wild stories of Andy Warhol’s Factory as he got closer to show time, the only difference being that I’m alone rather than surrounded by party goers, drugs and rock and roll. I often wonder how he and his employees managed to get everything packed and organized with such chaos roaring around them. At least I can enjoy a quiet home for my studio.

I hope I’ll have some down time for quality blogging this weekend, after the Genny Wood show closes, as I spend Sunday in the Gallery organizing for the show next weekend. At the top of my priority list will be arranging the newly-framed watercolors of Palestine trains, a collection I began working on last March. I’m delighted that the date for opening is drawing near.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Newest Greeting Card

October 29, 2017

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Another great shout-out to photographer Dave Shultz for formatting my newest train greeting card. Next weekend, November 4, I’ll be at the Genny Wood Art Show in Bullard, Texas. The following week, November 11, my “American Railroad Odyssey” show opens at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas.  I will be bringing out twenty framed watercolor originals of historic railroad scenes, mostly of the Palestine history. In addition to the originals, we will have signed and numbered limited edition prints, along with smaller prints of 8 x 10 and 5 x7″ available. The new greeting cards will also be in place, along with coffee mugs featuring my “Velvet Night” painting. I also have a pair of postcard designs I’ll be offering that night.

I hope you have space on your calendar to come out to the shows. Thanks always for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Laying the Groundwork for the Next Show

October 22, 2017

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“The American Railroad Odyssey” is the title of my next show at The Gallery at Redlands, opening November 11 and extending till December 16. I was delighted when I visited Palestine this past weekend to discover that their local frame shop had completed work on eleven of my twelve watercolors to hang in the show.  I believe I will have at least twenty framed originals to hang when the show opens, accompanied by signed and numbered limited edition prints and greeting cards.

I finally reached home tonight after a grinding weekend at the Hot Pepper Festival, but wanted to toss out this blog before saying Good Night to all of you.

Thanks for reading.

Perhaps the Centerpiece of my Christmas Show

October 19, 2017

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Recently it’s been difficult to stop and blog because my schedule is stuffed (but all of it is good, fortunately). At 10 this morning, I finally signed this piece and said “Enough!”  I was wishing to leave the right side of the composition trailing off into the void, but kept adding details to it. I’ve done this countless times before and found myself liking my paintings before they were “finished.” My biggest vice, I suppose, is overworking, pushing a painting past its prime. I certainly did not want to do it with this particular work.

My upcoming show, “American Railroad Odyssey”, is posted on my website www.recollections54.com. It will open November 11 at The Gallery at Redlands, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas, and continue until December 16. I’m excited to be putting final pieces in place. This will probably be my centerpiece: the historic T&P 610 that is housed in Palestine. Today I will take it to the print shop for photographing. I want to make limited edition signed & numbered prints available, as well as greeting cards and postcards.

Tomorrow, the painting goes to Palestine to join the rest of the collection already being framed for the show.  I’ve lost count, but I know I have over a dozen original watercolors of historic trains to put on display and sale: Texas State Railroad, Durango-Silverton, Cumbres & Toltec, and Eureka Springs, as well as other scattered paintings of locomotives and rolling stock.

Tomorrow after college, I will travel again to Palestine to set up my art booth in the streets for the Hot Pepper Festival on Saturday. I will still have work inside The Gallery at Redlands, but the Gallery is opening a one-person show for Elaine Cash-Jary, a remarkable watercolor artist that the public must see. Elaine will be greeting patrons inside the Gallery while I “work the streets” at the festival all day! Any of you reading this post who are in travelling distance will not want to miss Elaine’s show. And if you come out to meet her, don’t forget to come find me on the streets! We’re planning on a great day Saturday. The Gallery will remain open until 10 that night, as the patrons of Red Fire Grille often cross the lobby to see what we have going on in there.

Thanks for reading. I’ll try to post again once I’m on site in Palestine.

 

Finding Peace in One’s Work

October 11, 2017

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In the Studio this Evening

There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 (King James Version)

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At the University this Morning

There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual–become clairvoyant. We reach then into reality. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I don’t regard myself as naturally ebullient. I used to laugh with a friend when describing myself as a “gloomy guy.” Throughout lengthy stages of my life, I have known rage, negativity, anxiety, depression and self-doubt. And I have regarded myself as one who just couldn’t seem to get it right. Life and emotions turn on a dime. What I’ve experienced today is not guaranteed to extend into tomorrow. But I’ll still take it.

My life did change profoundly since June 3 when I retired after twenty-eight years of full-time public high school teaching alongside thirty-two years of part-time university teaching. Since the beginning of this semester, I have enjoyed a nine-semester-hour load involving one online Logic course and a pair of Introduction to Ethics courses. My Ethics classes are back-to-back Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9-10:50. That’s it. Day-after-day-after-day I have been rising between 5 and 7 a.m., grateful to the core that I’m not dashing off to a high school by 7:00 and expected to stay until 3:15. On my university mornings, I rise at 5:00, go over my lecture notes, read, write in my journal, and often head to the university, arriving by sunrise so I can sit in the Science/Technical building lobby and watch the morning colors move across the commons. By that time I still have over an hour before strolling over to the lecture hall. I took the above picture this morning while enjoying my coffee and looking once more over my lecture notes on Immanuel Kant and his Categorical Imperative.

After a full afternoon of business-related errands, I settled into some online work for my Logic class, grading exams and posting a new assignment. Then I got to enter the studio and push my “Polar Express” themed watercolor a bit further. I’m going slowly on this, because I’m looking at a picture I took of the historic T&P 610 on a sunny morning, and trying to translate it into a night scene. I’m also contemplating a snowy foreground. So many decisions still to make on it.

It doesn’t seem likely that I’ll get to touch this painting any more this week. Tomorrow I meet with some dear friends at the train museum in Frisco, Texas (I’ve never visited it), and then I have to pack and load my gear for this weekend’s art festival in Edom, Texas. The Edom Art Festival is one of my genuine highlights of the year, with a beautiful setting, great fall weather, and enthusiastic patrons. I’m sorry the event only comes round once a year.

I still have to write Friday morning’s lecture to deliver before I leave town for the art festival. Tonight is going to be a late one, but I’m feeling so positive about life in general that I’m compelled to share with you.

Thanks for reading.

I paint out of a sense of wonder.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

 

Closing out the Art Festival

May 28, 2017

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Art on the Greene, Booth #30

There are two things in painting: the eye and the brain, and they have to help each other; you have to work on their mutual development, but painter-fashion: the eye, for the vision of nature; the brain, for the logic of organized senesations which give the means of expression.

Paul Cezanne

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During a quiet moment in the festival yesterday afternoon (humidity and temperatures exceeding 90 degrees thinned the crowd), I sat in the shad behind my booth and sketched the trees above me, applying Cezanne’s two-pronged theory of making art.  My eye studied the textures and tones of the bark on the tree trunk above, but my brain knew that the composition needed more than a diagonal tree trunk.  So I selected a network of limbs from someplace else, as there were no limbs to fill out the composition I felt was needed here.

Today we close out Art on the Greene.  It’s raining this morning, but preliminary reports indicate it could quit by noon (we open at 11:00) and the duration of the day will be twenty degrees cooler than yesterday.  I’m bringing along my Cezanne biography just in case bad weather chases away patrons for the day.  We close at 5:00, and six hours with few-to-no patrons is a long stretch if one has nothing to do.

Thanks for reading.