Archive for the ‘art festival’ Category

Working Late on a Rainy Night

November 11, 2022

I’m not sure this book is for people who want to create, but don’t. It seems to me in the end, as far as expressing yourself is concerned, you just have to plunge in, fears and all. There is something courageous about it. If a person is too timid even to start, I’m not sure what it would take to get that person started. I’m not a big believer in the books and courses that advocate creativity rituals, altar making and mask making to get unstuck and get started. Maybe that stuff works. I don’t know. they just seem like more strategies to avoid getting on with it. This, then, is a book for people who are in the thick of the creative struggle.

Ian Roberts, Cteative Authenticity

The hour is drawing late at The Gallery at Redlands. Outside, the temperatures continue dropping, and the rain continues falling. I like that. I know it will keep people home and that I’m guaranteed some long overdue quiet time and space to work. Tomorrow is already used up, and I won’t be making art then. Yesterday was used up, and I couldn’t make art then. Today was exactly what I needed and wanted. After a few hours without interruption, I took a break from working on the commission, brewed a cup of coffee and sat down to enjoy some communion with Ian Roberts and this engaging book. I don’t have enough conversations with other artists about the artist’s enterprise, and I regret that. But there is that line from the movie Shadowlands that I love: “We read to know we are not alone.” During my quiet moments, I love to read from Ian Roberts, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Eugene Delacroix, Robert Henri and other artists and visionaries from the past who cared enough to write out their observations about the artist’s task.

And lo and behold, into the gallery strolled Orlando Guillen, our youngest artist/sculptor who took out a full-page ad in our latest magazine The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery. He came to pick up his bundle of magazines, but with the cold, wet weather outdoors, he chose to stay for a cup of coffee and an hour-long conversation where we covered the entire artist’s territory–inspiration, depression, successes, failures, lessons learned, personal philosophies . . . we could have been French Impressionist painters in the Cafe Gerbois. So I’ve been double-blessed; an hour’s communion with another writer followed by an hour with a live artist in my gallery. Now I can return to work further on the commission

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.


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.

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.

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.

Edom Art Festival, Day One

October 8, 2022
One Hour Before Opening

10:51 a.m. (and the rest of the day)

The mind cannot always live in a divine ether. The lark cannot always sing at heaven’s gate. There must exist a place to spring from, a refuge from the heights, an anchorage of thought. Study gives this anchorage. Study ties you down. And it is the occasional willful release from this voluntary bond that gives the soul its occasional overpowering sense of lyric freedom and effort.

Wallace Stevens, Journal entry at age nineteen

The first day of the Edom Art Festival is in the books, and I am just as elated as exhausted. An enormous crowd flooded the festival grounds, and it is no exaggeration to say my booth was never empty from 10-5:00. We artists wish all festivals were this way, but they are not. Edom has always been a success, and I’m delighted that this their 50th anniversary was a real barn-burner. I’ve never seen so many people fill the booths and line up at the food trucks as I saw throughout this day.

I posted the journal entry from our American bard Wallace Stevens, one whose poetry I cannot seem to read enough. I’m deeply stirred by his image of study as an anchor, a grounding, a refuge. I’ve never been comfortable trying to express in writing my sentiments about art and academics. My heroes in the art world include Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman. I have nothing in common with their artistic styles. But I love their writings and am stunned and encouraged by their erudition.

I’ve worried over the perceived arrogance of calling oneself a “thinking artist” or “artist/scholar” or “intellectual artist”. But this is what I’ve always striven to be; I have devoted my life to study and have tried in recent years to integrate my academic life with my artistic one. I’m impressed that Wallace Stevens could express what he did when he was only nineteen. As for myself, I didn’t even take academic studies seriously till I was around twenty-five. And I didn’t seek a connection between my visual art and my scholarship till I was in my mid-thirties. But I’m glad I finally got on that track, and now wish I could live to be 500 so I could have the time to chase down all the literature I desire and continue to integrate it with drawing and painting.

We have one more day with the Edom Art Festival. The Sunday hours will be the same, 10-5:00. And then we pack and return home. The weariness this evening feels good, and I look forward to another good night’s rest and return to the festival grounds.

Thanks for reading.

Return to Edom

October 7, 2022

The woods edging the Edom Art Festival grounds

That I might never be blind to the beauty of the landscape! To hear music without any vibrating chord!

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, September 1850

Driving onto the Edom festival grounds at 7:45 this morning, I felt an exhilarating presence as I peered into the woods and gloried in the cool temperatures of the autumn morning. Like Thoreau, I wished I had the time and luxury to tramp into the forest and explore its depths, but I had a tent to set up, and so commenced the eight-hour grind of getting ready for tomorrow’s events.

“Front entrance” facing the thoroughfare of the festival grounds
“Side entrance” facing the main gate entrance to the festival
“Opposite side” entrance
Passing through

Once again, I opted for a corner booth and am excited that I’ve been placed just inside the main entrance; my booth is the first one inside the gate, on the left as you enter. I loved the placement that allowed me to have a front entrance and side one; the front for the thoroughfare into the festival, and the side for those entering through the main gate. Either way, a patron can enter and exit the booth without having to backtrack.

I also experimented with angling my pro-panels more than before. By doing this, I was able to hang thirty framed paintings, far more than I have ever hung in a festival booth the past twenty years.

I am exhausted and unable to contribute much in writing tonight. My plan is to turn in early tonight and rise early in the morning. I’m spending the night in Palestine, an hour from the festival instead of Arlington where I am more than two hours from Edom. My genuine thanks to artist Cecilia Bramhall and her willingness to work our gallery this weekend, allowing me the time away for the festival and the luxury of going upstairs to bed early.

Thanks for reading.

Loading Wagon for Edom

October 5, 2022
Chuck Wagon Sentiments. Framed Watercolor. 16 x 20″ $400

There’s a pervasive myth, shared by artists and non-artists alike, that art is a product of genius, madness or serendipity. Wrong. Art is not the chance offspring of some cosmic (or genetic) roll of the dice. Art is mostly a product of hard work. When you look back on the results of a lifetime of artmaking, even the role that talent played is insignificant. Living life productively, however, is very significant. If you learn to live your life productively, your artwork will take care of itself. If you do not live your life productively, nothing will save your artwork–not even talent. One of the less-advertised truths about artmaking is that it’s more important to be productive than to be creative. If you’re productive, your creativity will take care of itself. If you are not productive–well, if you’re not productive, then how exactly is it you intend to be creative?

Ted Orland, The View From the Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way In An Uncertain World

This year has been different for me. In my former (spastic) days, I was scrambling the night before to get my gear together for an art festival, sometimes staying up till 2 a.m. and then rising at 6:00 to load the wagon and hit the road. Sandi asked yesterday if I thought the difference was retirement. Maybe. Or maybe I finally figured it out the same way I did term papers in college–it pays off to keep your eye on the calendar and begin preparations well in advance instead of the day before.

Today is Wednesday. Edom set-up is Friday. Festival opens Saturday. All my work is complete except loading. Thus, I can sit up in bed with coffee this morning, think about what lies ahead, and write a blog for my friends.

I wish I spoke as wisely and concisely as Ted Orland writes. I have carried a couple of his books with me like Bibles for over ten years now, and I still go back and cull out passages that have been definitive for my life as an artist, especially the one above that I just read over my morning coffee. The sentiment of that paragraph reminds me of an airport hotel lecture I attended over ten years ago, given by Jason Horejs from Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. He told the group of artists that galleries are looking for prolific artists. Looking directly at us, he asked: “How many works of art do you create in a year?” I froze. I knew then that the answer was 10-15. I made a goal that day to create 30 works before the year was up. I created over 80. Since then, I’m sure I’ve averaged well over 100 pieces per year. It was then that I decided that if I was productive, my talent would increase, much like a guitar player improves by playing his/her guitar more. The 10,000-hour rule, expounded by the writer Malcolm Gladwell. I got my 10,000 hours in long ago, and I’m not slowing down in my senior years.

5 x 7″ Greeting cards. Blank inside, Stories on back, $5 each. 5 for $20

Over the past several days, I have printed more than 500 new greeting cards featuring my watercolors with stories on the back. Sandi has packaged over 90% of them; I helped with the last 50 or so this morning, early.

Edom Art Festival, 2021
Edom Art Festival, 2021

I have participated in many art festivals that were duds–thinly attended, mostly by those looking for hot dogs or someplace to walk their dogs. But Edom is not one of those. This will be their 50th year, and the crowds are enormous. Last year broke a record for me, and I only hope that with the promise of good weather that this year will bring in another enthusiastic throng. The time goes by so much quicker when you’re busy talking with patrons.

It’s been a relaxing morning. Coffee was good, reading was good, and I’m glad I had this chance to send up another smoke signal. I hope I see you in Edom Saturday or Sunday.

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.

Warm Remembrance of Edom Art Festival

October 4, 2022
The Shed Cafe. Edom, Texas (no longer open)

While sitting in the waiting room of the dealership waiting to have my vehicle serviced, I scribbled out a story about Edom Art Festival that is 100% true, but changed my name to Randy. I plan to edit this and include it in the book I’m writing. This is my fondest memory of the Edom Art Festival, one of my favorite events of the year. They will celebrate their 50th anniversary this weekend when they open 10-5:00 Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be setting up my corner booth on Friday and then look forward to another extraordinary adventure. I hope you will join me, and I hope you feel the bliss that this memory provides me.

Thanks for reading.


The October morning frost brought a chill to the inside of Randy’s Jeep Grand Cherokee. It had been a miserable, forgettable year economically, forcing him to pack his entire art festival gear, including his 10 x 10′ display tent, into the Jeep and journey two hours to rural East Texas for yet another art festival. When he finished setting up last night, the sun was sliding behind the tree-lined pasture land, temperatures were dropping into the fifties, so he decided not to drive away in search of a hotel. He wasn’t sure how far away the nearest town was, and he was too weary to think about pursuing such details. Parking his vehicle between a pair of RVs, he stretched out in back of the Jeep and was soon asleep.

With the coming of dawn, temperatures had dipped to near thirty degrees, and Randy was glad he had packed a denim jacket. Pulling on his boots, he scrambled out of the back of his Jeep and trudged up the hill, between the shrouded white tents lined up on either side of the wide path, creating a long winding boulevard. In a few hours, the air would be filled with the noises of artists opening their tents, setting out their pieces, and preparing for the opening of the first day of the festival.

Turning the corner and walking through the festival gate, he saw to his delight the distant lights of The Shed Cafe. Silvery smoke curled up from the chimney, the air was filled with the aroma of bacon and eggs frying, biscuits baking and coffee steaming. Randy was happy to the point of tears. The miserable year he had endured seemed to melt away with the warmth of the food waiting for him. The festival would not open till 10:00, so he could look forward to four hours of breakfast, extra coffee, journal time, and the gift of relaxation and anticipation of a first-rate art fair. All that he could think of was . . . What a wonderful world!

Gearing up for a Big Art Weekend

September 29, 2022

Jason Jones photograph of me in today’s edition of The Palestine Herald

We hit the ground running upon arrival in Palestine today. Our monthly Art Walk is Saturday, 10-3:00, and I’ll be teaching a watercolor class 12-2:00, and offer an additional one if needed, 5-7:00 for the same price. We’ll paint a colorful bison in our two-hour exercise. All materials are provided. Cost is $35. Students and seniors over age 55 will pay $30. I’m posting the bison below, followed by the article appearing in today’s Palestine Herald. My genuine thanks goes out to editor Penny Lynn Webb, always a supportive friend of the arts, and reporter Jason Jones who interviewed me a few days ago.

Our subject for the watercolor class

The Downtown Art Walk will once again feature painting classes during its monthly event this weekend. Classes were added to the event in August and the Dogwood Art Council is excited to continue the instructional series.

The featured instructor for October is renowned watercolor artist David Tripp of Recollections 54. He will instruct classes starting at noon on Saturday, Oct. 1 in the Redlands Hotel conference room.

Tripp, a native Missourian, grew up in St. Louis and studied art in rural northeast Missouri while earning his bachelor’s degree from Truman State University.

“I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil,” Tripp said. “I was a terrible student and had zero interest in school, but my art earned me a full ride at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. Somehow during that time, I woke up intellectually.”

Tripp went on to earn his Masters and Doctorate before spending the next three decades teaching high school and college. Since retiring he has focused full time on art.

Tripp’s watercolors feature small-town American sights fading from our landscape, but not our memories.

“I like to focus my art on American nostalgia,” Tripp said. “I find inspiration in relics from the past that are still standing. Old architecture especially seems to invoke an emotional response.”

Tripp has been the owner of The Gallery at Redlands since 2021 and splits his time between Palestine and his home in Arlington every week.

The Art Walk takes place from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., but the class will be from noon until 2 p.m. Cost is $35 per person or $30 for students and seniors age 55 and above.

“We’ll be watercoloring an 8 x10 bison in bright colors, ‘Southwest Art’ style,” Tripp said. “All materials will be provided.”

Seats must be reserved in advance by calling David Tripp at 817-821-8702 or emailing Seats are still available and all major credit cards are accepted.

The Redlands Hotel is located at 400 N. Queen St. in Palestine. For more information call 903-922-5794 or visit

To learn more about David Tripp visit or follow his blog at


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.