Archive for the ‘art festival’ Category

Musings of Gratitude

June 30, 2018

Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful; patience is everything!”

Rainer Rilke, in a letter to his young disciple Franz Xaver Kappus

Adobe

The Adobe Western Art Gallery located in the Stockyards in Fort Worth

Many days have slid past without my posting a blog. The online summer school class has kept me busy, as well as everyday matters that demand attention as well. Summers can be dog days for the artist, but I’m grateful that they offer a long spread of time to make art while the galleries and festivals slide into their annual hiatus. And with summer school ending next week, I’ve packed my art and fly fishing gear and am ready to take off for some serious fishing and plein air painting.

I love the quote from Rilke, and laugh at the impatience I suffered needlessly over the decades. In my senior years, things are making more sense, and my art is bringing me more pleasure than ever before. I’m proud to announce that I have been accepted into the Adobe Western Art Gallery at 2400 North Main ‘Street, in the Stockyards at Fort Worth. I have heard artists speak in awe of this gallery over the past ten years, and always wondered what it would like to be on the inside. My friend Wade Thomas, who leases the Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, pitched my work to the manager, and he invited me in. Currently I have only giclee prints in the gallery, but originals have been requested and I’m working earnestly on filling the order. I’m extremely grateful for this exposure.

MADE

My Set-up for the M.A.D.E. festival at Stage West in Fort Worth

Tomorrow (Sunday) from noon till five p.m., I’ll be at Stage West Theater for their annual M.A.D.E. (music, art, drinks, eats) festival. I had good times here for two years, then missed last year because it occurred during my Colorado vacation. I’m delighted this year to learn that I did not lose my place in line. In fact, they assigned me Booth #1. This will be first time I have been in the front gallery of the event. This will be my only summer art event, as Texas doesn’t seem interested in holding indoor events, and the temperatures today soared to 106 degrees. I’m glad that Stage West has the vision to put on this indoor show.

Thank you for reading. I hope to post again soon, because I have exciting news about changes on the way at the Gallery at Redlands in Palestine.

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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A Shout-Out to a New Writer Friend

June 15, 2018

I awoke abruptly this Friday morning from a deep REM sleep blistering with those frustrating dreams that reveal so much about our unresolved issues. I won’t go into it–I laugh at that common sentiment that says “Don’t tell me about your dream. It’s yours. It interests you, not me.” Without going into the details, I’ll just say that the dream involved me dropping the ball, yet again, on something that should have been done. After I scribbled out pages and pages in my journal, trying to unpack the ideas before they evaporated, my mind suddenly suddenly recalled yet another important detail I have not addressed. So now I try .  .  .

I met Jonnie Martin about a month ago while sitting in my booth at an art festival. She was very engaging in conversation, I learned she was a serious writer (already with novels published) and a passionate one at that. She also had pursued journalism for many years. Now she is neck deep in her first adjunct professor experience at Tarrant County College, and is sweating out the details of getting a writing course on track for this fall’s semester.

Jonnie reached out to me the week after the art festival, asking permission to write a series of articles about me. This certainly gave me pause. I have believed for years that I was “interesting” enough for an article or two, yet every time a newspaper or magazine or radio personality would approach me for my story, I felt paralyzed, and felt that I should articulate that stereotyped police line: “There’s nothing to see here, folks. Move on along.” But with Jonnie it was different. She was thorough, asking for my professional resume, and providing a long list of specific questions. And I really enjoyed answering the questions and providing the document.

Despite all her energy spent on the college course for this fall, she is still trying to set up a feature article for me in a local magazine. Meanwhile, she has posted the following on her blog and I’m extremely proud to read it. And I encourage you to read her blog at: https://jonnietootling.com

I am posting her article below, but please, read her other entries. She is a most engaging writer, satisfying the serious reader on many levels.

And thank you for reading me.

KINDRED ARTIST

Posted on June 10, 2018by jonnietootling

Arlington artist David Tripp describes his quest as one of capturing onto canvas the world he sees in his mind, and that is not unlike the role of a writer.  Akin to David, we too apprehend, interpret, report out our vision in a variety of literary forms.

For David, his current art form is watercolor, which happens to be my favorite medium, and is how David and I first connected at a recent Arlington art festival.  There is a natural feel to watercolors, a gentleness, a transparency as your eye sifts through the layers of paint and water and meaning, and David’s technique is exquisite.

Thumb through the art that he brings to a festival and you will find paintings of old buildings, abandoned service stations, relics of yesteryear.  Since 2017 he has been focusing on the structures that reflect the past of the Texas State Railroad, as well as the historical sites and artifacts of the little town of Palestine, Texas.

I have learned other fascinating things about David, including his formal education in art, his high school and college teaching credentials, his endowments and honors of various types.  Students at Martin High School see his art daily in the murals painted throughout their building.  David’s art is available at various festivals and The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine is now the permanent home for his collection.

All this is of interest as I learn about David and observe him through my writer’s eyes . . . but what enthralls me most is his philosophical approach to the role of artist — capturing onto canvas what he perceives with his artist’s eyes, processes through his artist’s mind.

In one of his blogs he quotes a passage from Goethe:  “The beginning and the end of all literary activity is the reproduction of the world that surrounds me by means of the world that is in me, all things being grasped, related, molded, and reconstructed in personal form and an original manner.”

Clearly this process applies to artists as well as writers.

I shared the quote with our family philosopher, my brother Del McAmis, who was equally fascinated, and responded with his own deconstruction of the phrase. 

“We think there is a one-on-one relationship between the objective world and how we see it, but that is very naïve.  We don’t just ‘see’ things – we mold them and reconstruct them according to our own psychology. . . .  The great writer [and I should add to Del’s note, the great artist] is one who can ‘mold and reconstruct’ his or her experiences into an understanding that enlightens others.”

And so it begins – my quest to learn more about David, his art, his creative ideology, his deep and grounded thoughts about life, at least partially coming from his scholarly education in not only art, but philosophy and religion.

But that is for another exploration, in which I have apparently been joined by brother Del.  Hold on, David Tripp – inquisitive minds want to know more about you. 

— Jonnie Martin

A Quiet, Restful Sunday

May 27, 2018

gallery

Relaxing in The Gallery at Redlands after Saturday’s Depot Exhibit

I sensed a direct line from the eminent figures of ancient Greece–Aeschylus, Sophocles, Phidias–down to [Paul Tillich] himself. Each seemed to me intensely vital; each lived with a seriousness that was not sober; each knew that death would come sooner or later and that there was therefore no time for prevarication or dishonesty with oneself. Each burned with the gemlike flame that comes from the knowledge that we are on this crust of earth for our little moment to build our machines or think and speak our thoughts or sing our poems. 

Rollo May, Paulus: Reminscences of a Friendship

I am deeply grateful for this Sunday of restoration. Over the past forty-eight hours, I’ve driven long distances, set up and broken down a booth for my art exhibit, and sat for an entire day in a hot and extremely humid environment. The labor paid off wonderfully, but today I feel spent, and am happy to regather my strength. It’s been awhile since I read Paul Tillich’s work, and I thought I would begin the morning with some re-reading of the testimony of his most famous student, psychologist Rollo May. A good friend has given me a copy of Tillich’s Dynamics of Faith, and I’ve enjoyed reading sections of it during my quiet moments this weekend.

I was invited to display my railroad art at the opening of the Texas State Railroad’s new season that features excursion train rides from Palestine to Rusk. My day at the Palestine Depot was very rewarding, as the depot sold 280 tickets for the day’s train ride, and many rail enthusiasts visited my tent, made purchases, and engaged me in intriguing conversations concerning their connections to our rich railroad history.

booth

My Booth outside the Palestine Depot

Palestine express

Afternoon train returning to Palestine from Rusk, finishing the Inaugural run of the New Season

two trains

A Pair of Vintage Locomotives towed out from the Palestine Train Shed

clouds

Gorgeous Evening Vista following my All-Day Depot Exhibition

I could not resist pulling my Jeep over last night to try and capture the scintillating colors emanating from the clouds that hovered over this church in Palestine. I’m thinking seriously of getting out the watercolors to see if I can capture some of that billowy dynamic of the amazing clouds I saw.

Sunday morning railyard

Sunday Morning view from Second-Floor Balcony of the Redlands Hotel

Rising early this Sunday morning, I took my coffee out to my favorite balcony of this historic hotel. The winds were cool, and the train yard seemed to be working overtime, as I watched eleven diesels move through the yards in fifteen minutes. Of course, I could not stop staring at the Chamber of Commerce Building on the right which used to be the headquarters for the railroad during the earlier parts of this century. I have done four watercolors of the structure from this angle.

The day has been restful, and I close with the repeated note of gratitude for quality rest following an arduous schedule.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

My Toolbox

May 24, 2018

my toolbox

Two Days of Delicious Down-Time

The mind races around like a foraging squirrel in a park, grabbing in turn at a flashing phone screen, a distant mark on the wall, a clink of cups, a cloud that resembles a whale, a memory of something a friend said yesterday, a twinge in a knee, a pressing deadline, a vague expectation of nice weather later, a tick of the clock. Some Eastern meditation techniques aim to still this scurrying creature, but the extreme difficulty of this shows how unnatural it is to be mentally inert. Left to itself, the mind reaches out in all directions as long as it is awake–and even carries on doing it in the dreaming phase of its sleep.

Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist Cafe

During my 48-hour respite between appointments, I have enjoyed sleeping longer hours and devouring this book (over one hundred pages into it on this second day) by Sarah Bakewell. In the past week, I have enjoyed three days of primitive camping with a friend and an all-day road trip across Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Now, I stop before heading to Palestine to set up my booth for an all-day display and sale of my railroad art to coincide with the opening day of the new season of the Palestine-to-Rusk excursion train rides. On Saturday, they will tow their historic steam locomotives out of their sheds to sit in the open air all day to the delight of photographers, videographers and adventurers buying tickets to board the train that makes its first run at 10 a.m.

In an earlier post, I mentioned the frenzied schedule that has driven my life the past couple of weeks. Once this weekend finishes, the spastic race will be completed. Approaching the one-year anniversary of my retirement, I grin in acknowledgment of the many who said I would be busier in retirement than when I worked full-time. They were right. But there remains a major distinction–as a student said to me a couple of months ago: “If you like what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” How true. I have not worked in nearly a year; what I do now provides me pure pleasure, even if it tires me out from time to time.

What I want to talk about now is my toolbox, my central aid to coping with life. I’m speaking of my education. I have been aware of what I am about to write for a number of years now, but never tried to put it on the printed page. I came from a family that did not pursue the university. Mom and Dad were reared in farm country after the Depression, and were sent to the one-room school till they were sturdy enough to work in the fields, she for four years, he for three. They learned to read, write and do simple math. My brother entered the Marine Corps, my sister a two-year secretarial school. All of my family members received the education needed to pursue their respective occupations. As for me, I was always the least practical of the brood. I was the artist, the dreamer, with no clue of a profession.

I entered the university because my art skills landed me a scholarship, not because of academic prowess. During my years of Bachelor’s study, I awoke, late, to the world of ideas, and entered the ministry. That led me on to seminary where I earned the M.Div. and Ph.D. The life of the mind was what grew in me, and once my education was completed, I entered the teaching profession, twenty-eight years of full-time high school, along with thirty years of adjunct university.

Throughout those nearly forty years of post-high school odyssey, the river that carried me was a torrent of ideas gleaned from books, from art, from music, from travels, and from thoughts scribbled into journals (over 130 volumes now). That collection of ideas has become my toolbox, my coping mechanism for understanding and navigating life. This magnificent book that has so held me the past couple of days describes existentialism through the lens of biography. Because of my past dealings with Sartre, Heidegger, Jaspers and Merleau-Ponty, I’m reading the volume with elation, thankful for the tools given me in past educational settings.

I have felt the sentiments of those who view reading and thinking as a waste of time. I learned long ago that those practices matter very much to me, and they have been my sustenance. Maurice Merleau-Ponty put it this way: “Life becomes ideas, and the ideas return to life.”

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.

Brief Respite Between Engagements

May 14, 2018

Art on the Greene reading

I see my little world as something that I am in–something that I play in. It is inevitable to me. But I never get over being surprised that it means something to anyone else.

Georgia O’Keeffe

Yesterday, while sitting for hours in the midst of a three-day art festival, I read this quote from O’Keeffe in a biography of her written by Roxana Robinson. I suppose it makes sense when scores of festival-goers hustle past my booth without so much as a glance at my display (and that is usually the norm at art festivals). But I find greater surprise (and of course, pleasure) when someone seems frozen on the spot by what s/he sees inside the booth, and steps in for a closer look. Sometimes, I sense in their eyes exactly what I feel–a shock of recognition accompanied by total immersion in a subject that won’t let go of us. Ken Wilbur nailed it when he said that beauty “suspends the desire to be elsewhere.” And so, I’m grateful for every meaningful conversation that was a gift over the past three days, as well as the purchases of my work.

I look much more forward to what lies ahead this evening–an artist whose work I have admired for over a decade has invited me to do a watercolor demonstration tonight for the Lake Granbury Art Association. Today’s decompression from the three-day art festival has been valuable, as well as the few hours of space separating between what just happened and what is about to emerge. Tonight’s session was scheduled many months ago, and I’ve been counting the days as it draws closer. Below, I am posting the article that their local newspaper ran a couple of days ago:

Tripp watered down acrylics

May 12, 2018

Heideggers Hut darkened and muted

Arlington watercolorist David Tripp will be demonstrating watercolor design and technics from conception to completion for the Lake Granbury Art Association (LGAA) at its monthly meeting Monday, May 14, at the Shanley House Center for the Arts, 224 N. Travis St.

The demonstration begins at 7 p.m. It is a free event and open to the public.

Tripp grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where he had been drawing and painting since before he could read.  As a young man he had dreams of being a sports illustrator and drew football players incessantly.  He would use acrylic paint that he had watered down to paint with, trying to create trees and landscapes.

After college, Tripp taught Art History in Arlington’s High Schools for the next 28 years.  During this time he also taught private art lessons at his home studio.  Tripp also painted numerous murals at Martin High School in Arlington.

Watercolor became Tripp’s passion. He believes that not only skill, but vision and settings help lend his paintings authenticity.

Tripp loves to paint old buildings and scenes that are no longer relevant in today’s society.  He feels a sense of loss just as he feels the sense of energy transported from the past as he paints these places.

He hopes his painting evokes the same feelings in the people that see his work, bringing back memories of days gone by.

Tripp loves to drive down the back roads of Texas seeking out husks and relics from past generations. His watercolors feature the small-town American places that are fading from our landscape, but not our memories, preserving these sights for future generations.

Whether it’s a camera or paintbrush in hand, taking pictures or painting small studies on location en plein air, Tripp is always on the lookout for abandoned service stations, general stores, or old movie theaters. There is beauty and symmetry in these old buildings, just waiting to be captured and celebrated.

Since March of 2017, Tripp has focused most of his artistic energies in pursuit of subjects from the Texas State Railroad in addition to the broader legacy of the American railroad.

Mlhaskins5660@att.net | 817-219-6782

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Today I Build my House Again

May 10, 2018

Terlingua framed

Framed watercolor of Terlingua Ghost Town

The beginning and the end of all literary activity is the reproduction of the world that surrounds me by means of the world that is in me, all things being grasped, related, recreated, molded, and reconstructed in a personal form and an original manner.

Quotation from Goethe to Jacobi, Frankfurt, letter of August 21, 1774

While assembling my gear for today’s load-in at Arlington’s Art on the Greene, I brought up YouTube on my television and listened to the “Edward Hopper and the Blank Canvas” documentary. I had to stop loading and write out the Goethe quote that really resonated with me. It is said that Hopper carried this quote on a piece of paper in his pocket as he went about looking for subjects to paint. I someday would like to construct a well-worded definition of art as a number of these remarkable thinkers have done before us. Anytime a muse speaks of art as a combination of our inner world with the outer world, I feel a rush of new energy and enthusiasm.

In an earlier post, I tried to explain how my theory of plein air painting parallels the practice of Georgia O’Keeffe. She painted her landscapes directly, then brought them into the studio to revise. The finished result was the abstract work that we admire. For me, it is a little different–I love to paint directly from nature, but sometimes do not finish the work on site. I’ll take a reference photo, and for days the image of what I tried to paint will compost in my mind until I think of compositional matters to resolve in the piece. When I return to the work with fresh eyes, I make whatever alteration is necessary, most of it involving the perimeter of the painting as I decide which portions to leave blank and which ones to render in some combination of texture and color. One of the things that made this past week so difficult was the plein air competition in Waxahachie–all works must be created exclusively on site. Therefore, I could not work in the studio, but chose to return daily at the same hour to the sites where I began each of my three paintings, and push further with the composition. Still, the composting activity happened in the evenings when I looked at the in-progress paintings and made mental notes of what I wished to accomplish at my next session.

This morning I finally framed the Terlingua ghost town I visited about a month ago. I took a number of photographs of the church on the hill as the sun was setting, and for weeks afterward continued to re-visit the subject in my mind’s eye. Once I set out to paint it, I reproduced the church, looking at the photos I took. Then again I laid it aside as I continued to ponder (compost!) how to render the surrounding terrain. After a few more days, I reached a decision and finished it.

The theory of books is noble. The scholar of the first age received into him the world around; brooded thereon; gave it the new arrangement of his own mind, and uttered it again. It came into him, life; it went out from him, truth. It came to him, short-lived actions it went out from him, immortal thoughts. It came to him, business; it went from him, poetry. It was dead fact; now, it is quick thought. It can stand, and it can go. It now endures, it now flies, it now inspires. Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar”

This Emerson quote has flooded my soul since 1992, when I first read it while studying in Oregon, and I have re-read “The American Scholar” every semester since that remarkable day. Every word of the statement clamors for my attention, but this morning I’m fastened on this portion: “Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing.” When I was young, I relied on my eye-to-hand coordination and what others call “talent” while trying to make art. In my senior years, things have changed. I am wishing more and more to pour a life of experience and depth of feeling into my paintings. When viewers see my work, I appreciate them telling me I am “talented.” But frankly, I have known that from my youth. What I really want to know is if anything I paint stirs them, holds them, resonates with them. Ken Wilber wrote that beauty “suspends the desire to be elsewhere.” I guess what I wish to know is that someone experiences “beauty” when they look at something I painted. That fact holds much more value with me than someone acknowledging that I have talent.

All creation, because it is such a drawing-up, is a drawing, as of water from a spring.

Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art”

This afternoon I’ll experience the rebuilding of my house, as I set up the 10 x 10 booth for display and sale of my work. There have been times past where I dreaded this moment, but this isn’t one of those. A couple of weeks ago, I had my best experience of assembling and disassembling my booth and gear at the Dallas Arboretum. Richard Greene Linear Park, where I set up today, is filled with large shade trees, and wind often blows across the lake to provide comfort as we labor over our steel poles and vinyl tents. I’m looking forward to another good festival.

Richard Greene Linear Park is located in Arlington at 1601 E. Randol Mill Road. Hours for this event are Friday 3-10; Saturday 11-10; Sunday 11-5.

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.

 

Shifting Gears

May 9, 2018

waxahachie 1 framed

Lone Sentinel Over Waxahachie (11 x 14″ framed watercolor)

waxahachie 2 framed

Waxahachie Rail Odyssey (11 x 14″ framed watercolor)

waxahachie 3 framed

Watching Over Ellis County (11 x 14″ framed watercolor)

Paint Historic Waxahachie will enter into its judging phase Friday afternoon, and all work will go on sale Saturday and Sunday. Sadly, I will be unable to attend, because tomorrow I set up my booth for Arlington’s Art on the Greene. For any of you local readers, I would encourage you to take in the Waxahachie exhbit of plein air paintings. Thirty-six artists participated this year, and the quality of the exhibit is extremely high. Art on the Square is located at 113 W. Franklin Street, on the town square in Waxahachie. My three new paintings are now hanging there for judging and selling. I also have four Waxahachie paintings from last year on display and sale as well.

As for me, I’ll be in Booth #1 at Arlington’s Art on the Greene, located at Richard Greene Linear Park on 1601 E. Randol Mill Road. This park is located between Globe Life Park and AT&T Stadium. Hours for this festival are 3-10:00 Friday, 11-10:00 Saturday, and 11-5:00 Sunday. Admission and parking are free. Since my last festival two weeks ago, I have already completed and framed several new watercolors that I am gladly bringing out for the festival. Hours in the booth can grow quite long over the weekend, so I welcome company and conversation (and sales)!

Though my body is tired from finishing and framing the three Waxahachie paintings, I’m glad that I can now be single-minded about the Arlington festival. Until this evening, I’ve had both art events clanging about in my head as I chafed over details and deadlines. With the completion of today’s work, the world is moving much slower now tonight, and I welcome that.

Thanks for reading.

Rest in the Midst of the Torrent

May 9, 2018

waxahachie 1

Plein air in progress–Ellis County Courthousewaxahachie 2

Plein air in progress–Waxahachie, Texas

waxahachie 3.jpg

Plein air in progress–Waxahachie, Texas

When she was working, Georgia rose at six and was off by six-thirty. She would bring a painting back to work on it further indoors. Her paintings began by being straightforward and representational, done from life. Later, as she worked over them n her studio, they took on the emotional resonance that gave them their power.

Roxana Robinson, Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life

Recently, my blogging has been sporadic, not because I have had nothing to report, but because I have been mobile. For the next week, the work will only increase. I find this time of year extremely busy with the art calendar. When I taught high school full-time, I had to say No to most of this activity. Retirement, for me, has been a sweet, sweet reward, allowing me to pursue things that truly matter to me. It’s a good thing, being able to rest and compose this blog in the mid-morning hours. But soon, that will radically change as I burst out the door and pursue a schedule that will not let up till late tonight.

Our annual Paint Historic Waxahachie event is now in full swing, but alas, my time is sharply divided between participation in this endeavor while also preparing for Arlington’s annual Art on the Greene this coming weekend. Every morning I have made the 40-minute drive to Waxahachie to work on plein air watercolors for the competition and sale, and have come home in the evening, too weary to write or post my activities. Tonight, I will need to load the Jeep with all my booth equipment so I can set up tomorrow for the weekend Arlington festival, and sadly miss the Waxahachie awards and dinner event Friday night and Saturday sale. Artists are fortunate to have so many opportunities to select what they wish to pursue, but we feel unfortunate when two worthy events collide over the same weekend.

The three paintings posted above have been in progress over several days, as I’ve traveled to Waxahachie and set up at a certain location at a particular time of day to set the light and shadows as I wish. I never worked longer than an hour at at a time at each station, always moving on to the next and also taking breaks in the shade for water, reading good books and scribbling in the journal. At my (retired!) age, I find that I work better by taking many breaks instead of pursuing a single painting for hours as I used to do. This way, I am better able to conserve energy, as I spread it out throughout the day and not find myself wearing down after a few hours.

I posted the Georgia O’Keeffe text above because I drew considerable inspiration from these words while resting between painting activity. I hope my plein air endeavors will mature and improve by following this practice of stopping and re-evaluating. The rules of this Paint Historic Waxahachie competition prohibit working on the paintings away from the location, and I follow that principle respectfully. But when home at night, I am happy to look over the paintings and evaluate how they are progressing, and make mental notes of what I wish to pursue with them when I return to the scene the next day. Taking my favorite word from the writer, Natalie Goldberg, “composting” describes this mental activity of maturing an idea as it slowly grows. Later today or tomorrow, I’ll finish these three paintings and re-post them.

As a guitar player performing in bands, I knew what it meant to be “page-bound” as I could not seem to find any kind of artistic, musical flourish while focused on the chords on a sheet of music while rehearsing. Only when getting away from the page could I find those spontaneous moments of guitar riffs and fillers that punctuated the song I was trying to play. Likewise with plein air painting. I delight in focusing on the subject live before me, my eye excitedly poring over the details, colors and textures within that field of vision. But I have trouble seeing the compositional picture forming on my watercolor page. I guess I need to call this dilemma “subject bound” because the page is not really getting my full attention. It is not until I am away from the subject that I can then focus on the rectangular space of my paper and make decisions on how to complete the painting. When I return to the scene of creation, I no longer see just the subject before me, but also the composition I am trying to complete.

Goethe and Heidegger both have articulated theories of art as a merger of the subject matter and the artist’s inner vision. Some day I hope to compose a meaningful statement of my own to that effect. But as for now, I need to pack my gear, run a few business errands, and then dash to Waxahachie for another full day of painting and decision-making.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blot to remind myself I am not alone.

 

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.

 

In the Flow

April 24, 2018

ghost ranch upright

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.

bullard 1

bullard 2

bullard 3

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.