Archive for the ‘art festival’ Category

Heaving my Spirit into the Mountains

April 25, 2018

Big Bend Santa Elena Junction upright

Mountains are giant, restful, absorbent. You can heave your spirit into a mountain and the mountain will keep it, folded, and not throw it back as some creeks will. The creeks are the world with all its stimulus and beauty; I live there. But the mountains are home.

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

With stacks of newly-fashioned greeting cards piling on my desk this morning, I am confronted afresh with plein air watercolors from several weeks back that I never got around to blogging. Spring is always a spastic season, with art festivals, gallery shows, competitions and workshops stacked in the calendar, along with my twice-a-week college classes.

The painting posted above was done at Big Bend National Park during Spring Break. We were taking the dirt road from Santa Elena Junction back to the park entrance. Stopping at a dry creek bed, I set up my easel in the bed and looked across the desert at this colorful range of mountains and mused over the contrast between their eternity and the creek’s intermittent flows. On another day, I could be listening to the laughing brook flowing by while staring into the mute mountains. But today, only the mountains were there, waiting to be confronted face-to-face. As I painted, the winds continually swept across the valley, and in my memory, I listened to the sweet, haunting strains of Richard Burmer’s song “Across the View.”

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

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In the Flow

April 24, 2018

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Plein air watercolor of Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico

Perhaps I feel happiest when, during the creative process, I simply let work “pour out,” so to speak, without critical intervention or editing.

Robert Motherwell

For weeks now, art work has been pouring out of me, and I’ve fallen far behind in blogging the adventures. Since my recent plein air sojourn into New Mexico, I have travelled to east Texas to plein air paint, and am now making daily trips to Waxahachie to take part in the annual Paint Historic Waxahachie event. This weekend I will exhibit for the first time at Artscape 2018 held in the Dallas Arboretum. Two weeks later I’ll be exhibiting at Arlington’s Art on the Greene. Soon, I plan to post many new images, as I have completed a number of new paintings and am currently having them reproduced in limited edition prints as well as greeting cards. Preparing for this weekend’s show while painting daily in Waxahachie and maintaining my Monday and Wednesday college classes has my head spinning, but it’s a good life.

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Oh yes, and by the way, I’ve done other things besides paint. Fly fishing is another passion of mine. I landed fourteen of these.

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.

 

 

 

Preparing for a Plein Air Paint-Out

March 29, 2018

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Historic Home on Magnolia Street in Palestine, Texas

The approaching weekend is offering a world of excitement as the Society of Watercolor Artists descends upon Palestine for a weekend of plein air painting during their ongoing Dogwood Festival. I arrived in town today and immediately went to work on the 8 x 10″ watercolor posted above. There has been plenty of rain lately, and the colors of nature are really popping in this quaint historic town.

The artists will display and sell out of The Gallery at Redlands here in the Redlands Hotel throughout the weekend, and we have plenty of fun scheduled for Saturday evening as we relax and dine at the Red Fire Grille, also located in this hotel.

If you live close enough, we hope you’ll consider a trip into town to meet us as we paint to our delight.

Thanks for reading.

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.

 

 

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.