Archive for the ‘art gallery’ Category

Morning Coffee on Smooth Rock 93.5 FM at the Gallery at Redlands

October 12, 2018

Incidentally, I despise everything which merely instructs me without
increasing or immediately enlivening my activity.

Goethe

Interview on “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” at Smooth Rock 93.5 FM

For the first time during their two weeks of live broadcasting, I entered The Gallery at Redlands and was shocked to see the real ambience of a radio station for the first time. I had always envisioned the live clatter and chatter that one associates with a newsroom. Instead, inside of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM, my new roommate in the gallery, I found two quiet men in a darkened pre-dawn gallery. The music was playing softly in the background and they were poring over the raw materials for the day’s broadcast. It was as quiet as a library. We exchanged greetings and I went to my gallery desk and began work on today’s details involving a trip to Edom to set up my booth for the Edom Art Festival beginning tomorrow.

After a few minutes, Kevin and Marc called me over to take a seat at the guest mic, and before I knew it, we were on! Sitting between two professionals made the experience much easier for me, and the time flew by as we discussed art and the gallery in general. The radio station is hoping to draw more people into this space to enjoy music and art, a perfect blend.

The Goethe quote above has been lingering with me this morning. As I have shared in the past, I was mentally lazy throughout my public schooling, engrossed in making art but feeling that classroom instruction in English, history, science and math was dull and uninspiring. Finally, at the university, the world of academia took on color and dimension and I could not seem to get enough of it. From those days till now, I have grazed from many pastures, ranging from reading to making art to making music to writing, enjoying the stimulation from every one of them.

Observe the herd which is grazing beside you. It does not know what yesterday
or today is. It springs around, eats, rests, digests, jumps up again, and so from
morning to night and from day to day, with its likes and dislikes closely tied to
the peg of the moment, and thus neither melancholy nor weary. To witness this
is hard for man, because he boasts to himself that his human race is better than
the beast and yet looks with jealousy at its happiness.

Friedrich Nietzsche, “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life,” Untimely Meditations, 1874

With my recent re-reading of Nietzsche’s essay, I was reminded about what was required to make history come alive for me. I was never fascinated with names, dates and places or doing homework that answered questions at the end of the chapter. Nietzsche spoke of different approaches to the study of history, but the one that took root with me was what he called the “monumentalist” study of history. This approach concentrates on past heroes in order to confront contemporary mediocrity with the possibility of greatness.  One of the factors underlying my criticism of the U. S. Congress in an earlier blog post is that we no longer have statesmen or thinkers that would remind us of a Thomas Jefferson or a Benjamin Franklin in our current government, not even close. Not one of them appears to esteem such qualities as they occupy their offices, doing little-to-nothing to leave a lasting legacy for others to admire and follow. They smack of arrogance, anger and entitlement. And when it comes to classical virtues or family values, they have a tin ear. Nietzsche urged his readers to find heroes to study and emulate.

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Edom Art Festival (2017)

Kevin and Marc have asked me to return for some more air time, so I’m standing by. This afternoon, I leave for Edom to set up for the weekend festival. This is one of my favorite venues, situated on beautiful, rolling, tree-populated pastureland complete with barns, sheds and various outbuildings. The weather promises to be cooler, fall-temperature weather, and I am ready!

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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Sunday Afternoon Musings in the Gallery

September 30, 2018

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Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself. I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks. I got up early and bathed in the pond; that was a religious exercise, and one of the best things which I did. They say that characters were engraven on the bathing tub of King Tching-thang to this effect: “Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again.” I can understand that. Morning brings back the heroic ages. 

All poets and heroes, like Memnon, are the children of Aurora, and emit their music at sunrise. To him whose elastic and vigourous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I woke this morning, hoping to salute Thoreau’s Aurora, but the sun never revealed itself. A heavy fog from the Gulf spread over this part of east Texas, and a pale, wet gray shrouded the Davy Crockett National Forest. Nevertheless, it was still the dawn, and Thoreau wrote of dawn being the heroic age–that all intelligences awake with the dawn. So, as soon as the gray light peaked through the French doors of my bedroom, I rose with a glad heart, boiled water to French-press my coffee, and soon found myself settled into the rocking chair on the veranda of the store facing to the east, and decided to spend the best part of the morning allowing thoughts to flow toward me and through me, uninhibited.

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My recent reading of biographies of Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway have stirred me to write this morning. The details of Kerouac’s itinerant life always leave me with the same kind of disturbed thoughts that I get from reading about Hemingway: these men had such a passion for disciplined writing that always drives me to find another gear to crank out work, no matter how tired or discouraged I may become in my own life and work.  They truly induce me to work even harder in my research, thinking and writing.  But the misery of both these men brings me to such overwhelming sadness. I know firsthand the double hell of self-doubt and second guessing. And when I read of those struggles of great artists and writers, I feel such grief, and often wish I could have been a friend to them in their days of conflict.

Arriving at The Gallery at Redlands in downtown Palestine, I found the town quiet and enveloped in the dark blue-gray of the low-lying clouds. With the music of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM playing softly in the gallery, I took out a stack of my old journals and several books I’ve been reading lately. And, as usual, I found the various authors addressing topics that dovetailed nicely to produce some observations about life. In addition to Kerouac and Hemingway, with their struggles over the writing process, I read about G. W. F. Hegel and his wrestling with world history to forge a philosophy of the historical process.

Hegel’s mind was Faustian in the way he incorporated and excerpted virtually everything he studied throughout his lengthy life, and then fashioned all that knowledge into a comprehensive system.  His mind reminds me very much of that of Paul Tillich, with that interdisciplinary drive, and of course I have always wanted to be that way.  Looking back over decades spent poring over texts of theology, philosophy, Bible and American literature, along with images from the history of art, I find myself continually seeking ways to weave these strands into a series of essays about life. I believe that all knowledge is connected, even though it often demands an Olympian perspective to see the connecting joints. I am always holding out hope, that over time, I will learn the art of simplifying to the point that I can recognize the connections better.

I was surprised by a visit from Ron and Dian Darr, friends of mine since the 1990’s. They drove a long distance to spend time with me this afternoon in the gallery, and we had a wonderful time over lunch, discussing ideas, reminiscing over trips we’ve made together over the past, and trips we’ve planned for the future. I’m always sorry to see them leave; there is never enough time to cover all the territory we enjoy covering while together. Thanks, Ron and Dian!

And thanks to all the rest of you, for reading.

We hope you will tune in tomorrow morning for the inaugural broadcast of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM. From 6-10:00, enjoy listening to “Kevin and Marc in the Morning”!

https://www.smoothrock935.com/

smooth rock

So . . . until next time, this is Dave signing off from The Gallery at Redlands, adjacent to Smooth Rock 93.5 FM broadcasting from the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown, Palestine, Texas.

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I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Sunday Morning Coffee in the Wilderness

September 30, 2018

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Coffee Always Seems to Taste Better in this Setting

. . . I’m off to the cabin–and am looking forward to the strong mountain air . . . I am working full tilt and am annoyed only by the coming semester and the philistine air that surrounds one again . . . It’s late night already–the storm is sweeping over the hill, the beams are creaking in the cabin, life lies pure, simple, and great before the soul.

Martin Heidegger, letters from his cabin in the Black Forest, July 24-April, 1925-1926.

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My Favorite Country Retreat

I closed down The Gallery at Redlands at 9:30 last night and began my fifty-minute drive to my favorite refuge in the country. Waking around 7:00 this morning without an alarm, I found a dense fog enveloping the land. After showering, dressing and making coffee, I took up my favorite abode on the veranda and enjoyed the serene landscape spread out around me. By the time I took the photos above (around 8:30), much of the mist had evaporated, but still there was a muted color on the distant horizon, and deer continually emerged from the edge of the woods to poke around in the tall grasses.

I resumed reading from Rüdiger Safranski’s Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil, particularly the portions of his residence in his cabin in Todtnauberg on the edge of the Black Forest where he did all his significant writing. As I read, I listened to the crows across the road, and occasionally looked up at the autumn fog from the Gulf lifting off the distant forest ridge. The caress of the morning breeze across my face took me to an even calmer world than what I felt in that east Texas wilderness. Before we opened The Gallery at Redlands last year, I would escape to this place, especially during the cold winter months, and enjoy days of quiet where I could read stacks of books, fill my journals and work on some serious watercolors, including some of my favorites below:

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Goods Stored on the Shelf of the Store where I Reside

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Door Separating the Store from the Residence in Back

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Where I Sat while Painting the Doorknob Above

While sitting outside, sipping coffee, reading from the biography, and scribbling scattered thoughts in my journal, I began to ponder seriously the notion of returning to this sacred space once the weather turns cold again to see what I could accomplish with some space and quiet around me for a stretch of days and nights. I have this compulsion to churn out a large body of work, and I’m happy during these post-retirement years to have opportunities to hole up in a quiet space and let my creative bliss run uninterrupted. I am always inspired by stories of Martin Heidegger retreating from the University of Freiburg to take up residence in his Black Forest cabin to think in solitude and eventually write Being and Time. Such a quiet space is a luxury for anyone wishing to create in silence, and I shall always be grateful to my dear friends for providing such a space for me.

Before closing down the gallery last night, I managed to complete a composition of the wrecked church perched on the hill of the ghost town of Terlingua, Texas where I visited last spring.

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Working in the Gallery at Night

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Completed Watercolor of Terlingua

Sunday morning is dark and quiet in downtown Palestine. The taped music of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM is filling the gallery, and I am loving the atmosphere as I work here in The Gallery at Redlands for the day. I hope you will tune in to the first live broadcast of this new radio station tomorrow morning, from 6:00-10:00. You can stream it from their website:

https://www.smoothrock935.com/

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Smooth Rock 93.5 FM–Window to the World

“Kevin and Marc in the Morning” promises to be a fun way to begin each weekday. I cannot wait to hear them for the first time.  And so . . . this is Dave signing off on Sunday morning from The Gallery at Redlands, alongside 93.5 FM in the historic Redlands Hotel located in downtown Palestine, Texas.

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.

Friday Night in the Gallery with Kevin & Marc

September 28, 2018

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Marc Mitchell & Kevin Harris doing mic check before going live

Dad had once said, “It takes genius to elevate the ordinary, a very ordinary genius,” and that’s exactly what I am, Frank thought, an ordinary genius. He had unlocked the secret of radio. The sport of the ordinary! Brilliant men like Reed Seymour couldn’t figure this out for the life of them! Reed was ashamed of radio. Vesta was ashamed of it. Reed wanted to do something worthy with his life, like write books. He had part of a manuscript in his desk drawer. Frank had read it. Very intense, very poetic. And very hard going. Vesta wanted to bring in the treasures of the world and display them on the air, like opening a museum and showing postcards of the Venus de Milo. No, radio was a cinch if you kept reaching down and grabbing up handfuls of the ordinary. Keep your feet on the ground.

Garrison Keillor, WLT: A Radio Romance

The late afternoon autumn sun cast its warm glow across the town as I motored into Palestine, Texas. Stepping out of the Jeep and into the cool winds felt terrific as I unloaded new watercolors for the gallery. My heart was lifted even more when I discovered my new friends, Kevin and Marc, already inside the gallery, testing out the three mics in the control booth. I was introduced to Ken, the engineer working on the finer details of the new system. I tried to take a decent picture from the hotel lobby, through the gallery door, to capture the broadcasters seated at their “Window to the World.”

En route to Palestine, I dropped by Art on the Square in Waxahachie and picked up three of the seven pieces I’ve had on display there. I thought I would see if a new venue would assist in finding homes for them.

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Fort Worth Flatiron on the Left; Waxahachie Depot on the Right

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Ellis County Courthouse, Waxahachie

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Waxahachie Depot in Foreground; Courthouse in Background

As it got closer to dark, I needed to leave the gallery to run some business errands. Kevin and Marc were still testing the mics while the station aired pre-taped music. As I was driving around town, I tuned in to 93.5 and they were live! It was so fun, listening to their on-air banter as they confessed to the listeners that they were just checking things out to make sure the system was working. They explained that the gallery studio signal went up to the second floor to another studio in their offices, and then to the antenna atop the hotel and finally out to the listeners. The broadcasters sounded like they were having great fun, and so was I, just listening and knowing the fellows behind the voices.

I brought my painting supplies to the gallery with me and plan to do some serious work tonight, Saturday and Sunday. As I work and play, I will find a way to send pictures and words out to any of you who wish to read what we’re doing here in Palestine, Texas.

And so, this is Dave signing off from The Gallery at Redlands alongside Smooth Rock 93.5 FM inside the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine, Texas.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Morning Coffee with Dave & James

September 28, 2018

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Another morning spent reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Towards Findlater’s church a quartet of young men were striding along with linked arms, swaying their heads and stepping to the agile melody of their leader’s concertina. The music passed in an instant, as the first bars of sudden music always did, over the fantastic fabrics of his mind, dissolving them painlessly and noiselessly as a sudden wave dissolves the sandbuilt turrets of children. Smiling at the trivial air he raised his eyes to the priest’s face and, seeing in it a mirthless reflection of the sunken day, detached his hand slowly which had acquiesced faintly in that companionship.

As he descended the steps the impression which effaced his troubled selfcommunion was that of a mirthless mask reflecting a sunken day from the threshold of the college. The shadow, then, of the life of the college passed gravely over his consciousness. It was a grave and ordered and passionless life that awaited him . . .

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

The abstract artist Robert Motherwell assessed James Joyce as “the Shakespeare of modernism.” As for myself, I was reading James Joyce long before I encountered the art and life of Motherwell. I read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man while dispatching for the Fort Worth Police Department. As a call taker on the police non-emergency line, there were long gaps of quiet between phone calls, and I was tethered to the work station with a headset, so there was plenty of space for quality reading and thought. The book changed my life and prompted me to keep a journal, which I have done since the late 1980’s.

Over the past few days, I have been re-reading journals of mine from years past, and an entry from December 2014 recorded the Joyce text above, and my comments about it that particular morning. What strikes me today is a recurring theme from my own past life that Joyce prompted me to recall, that notion of a “mirthless” countenance. In describing myself, I would never use words such as “ebullient” or “joyful”. I have often envied those who exuded such qualities, but always felt that if I myself tried to project such an image, I would be just as repulsive as . . . well, I won’t complete that sentence. I’ll just say that I abhor certain public figures who try to sell a particular product or lifestyle with facial expressions, specific words and general posturing that I think are phony. I never wanted to be one of those.

A friend from my past always referred to me as “that gloomy guy.” It was all in fun, and the friend respected me, knowing that I often wished I could naturally reflect a more cheerful countenance. Now, with all that being said, I don’t describe myself as mirthless, joyless, or unhappy with life. Quite the contrary. I believe that life is a precious gift, and as I continue to grow older, I am grateful for every day of it, and wake each morning, happy to be handed another gift.

Looking over my past, I am haunted by a myriad of memories of college, pastoral ministry, graduate school, and public school teaching, where I was surrounded by mirthless expressions depicting genuinely unhappy people. And I always fought aggressively against that outlook, swearing I would never let it pull me beneath the waves. I don’t believe that one’s profession in life guarantees a mirthless life; rather, I believe unhappy people tend to bring that into the workplace, into the family and into the friendship circles.

Much of my inspiration in life comes from reading, and that has been true for most of my life. Making art also brings joy that I cannot explain. Soon, I will return to Palestine and occupy The Gallery at Redlands along with the music that Smoothrock 93.5 now brings into the environment. And I look forward to picking up the watercolor brush once again. For the past two days, my life has been tied up with college grading and printing over one hundred new greeting cards of my art (I will post a couple of the cards below). I sell these 5×7″ cards (blank inside) with envelope in a plastic sleeve for $5 each or 5 for $25. Printing off the images the past couple of days has made me ache to make new work, so I plan to resume that this afternoon and throughout the weekend.

Christmas card workspace 2nd version

Dryden scan

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.

 

Morning Coffee with Dave & Thoreau

September 26, 2018

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The heroic books, even if printed in the character of our mother tongue, will always be in a language dead to degenerate times; and we must laboriously seek the meaning of each word and line, conjecturing a larger sense than common use permits out of what wisdom and valor and generosity we have. The modern cheap and fertile press, with all its translations, has done little to bring us nearer to the heroic writers of antiquity.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

This morning’s reading connected in several ways with the assignment I just released for my online course in Classical Judaism. I am asking my students to read arguments from Samson Raphael Hirsch, Samuel Holdheim and Abraham Geiger, three rabbis who benefited from both traditional Talmudic scholarship and a modern secular university education. Their upbringing taught them to focus with precision on the Hebrew texts from antiquity and then later to pursue a university education and listen to their contemporary world. In their arguments, they sought to translate the heart of Judaism to the current culture in which they found themselves living and responding.

Translating requires a round trip between here and the world of the ancient text. Martin Heidegger, in his translation of Presocratic fragments, once argued that before we do any translating, we must first translate ourselves to what a document says, what it means.  We have to hear with accuracy the language of antiquity before we can return to our own time and nurture that word in today’s world. Many who have read the past have failed to listen and open themselves to the message of the past. And avoiding that message simply means they carry none of it into today’s world.

Thoreau always found difficulty finding hearers or readers when he attempted to translate his favorite book, Homer’s Iliad, the Greek text which he read annually, to his contemporary Concord environment. I find myself struggling as well when I try to talk to someone else about what I’m reading from a culture that is not Texas 2018. That is why I am grateful for dinner and conversation last night with Kevin Harris, one of the DJs for Smoothrock 93.5 moving into this Redlands Hotel. He and Marc Mitchell, both with backgrounds here in small town Palestine, Texas, have absorbed a broad worldview with their broadcast professions, and have a sensibility that goes beyond “radio talk.” They probably don’t realize how much they have helped me revise profoundly my caricature of a broadcaster. Both men yesterday displayed for me an empathy for human experience that I don’t see enough in my everyday world. Over dinner, Kevin and I were able to discuss ideas that matter to us, and that we believe are very relevant to life, even though we live in a world that appears too fast-paced and distracted to focus on fundamental values. How enriching to have a conversation over dinner that ranged over the fields of art, philosophy, religion and contemporary culture. So, to my favorite Redlands Quartet–Jean, Mike, Kevin and Marc–thanks for inviting me into your Palestine world.

The gallery is quiet this Wednesday morning, save for the soft sounds of Smoothrock 93.5 now wafting across this space. I have plenty of college grading to do, so I’m glad to be in a space where I can work.

Thanks for reading. (“And now, this is David Tripp signing off from the Gallery at Redlands, and sending you a wave from Smoothrock 93.5 FM, situated in the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine, Texas!”)

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I bog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Morning Coffee with Dave & David Henry

September 25, 2018

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Behind the Desk at Gallery at Redlands

To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object. Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written. 

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Before leaving for class this morning, I read chapter three of Walden, titled “Reading,” by David Henry Thoreau–yes, that was actually his name on the birth certificate, David Henry. While a student at Harvard, he decided that Henry David was more euphonious, so he changed his name, to his parents’ chagrin.

I didn’t really develop a love for reading till college, when I took reading the Bible more seriously. In those days, I believed that God would speak to me if I read the Bible with a spirit of expectancy, and so I developed a disciplined plan of daily reading in a meditative state, waiting for God to speak. Years later, I broadened the scope, believing that inspiration can strike from virtually any written source, if the reader expects such an encounter. So I read now more than ever before, and I  am very seldom disappointed. I am not sure if this is a Zen saying, but I have always liked the sound of it: “If you walk in the mist you’ll get wet.” And so, I read, and  expect. This morning, like most mornings, I was not abandoned. I recall Heidegger writing: “We do not come to thoughts; thoughts come to us.” And so, Thoreau’s words were read as seriously by me as they were written by him. And I was visited by a host of ideas that put a spring in my step for the rest of the day.

After class, I decided to load some large paintings and head for The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas. I was excited to see what had happened while I was away last weekend, with the radio personnel moving in their gear. I had been sent pictures of the gallery window, and was anxious to see inside the studio. Once I arrived and looked about the gallery, I came to an agreement with the others that the temporary wall I put up to separate the broadcast booth from the actual gallery was not such a great idea–it restricted the view through the gallery, from lobby window to showroom window. So, we took down the wall, opened up the space, and I then set about the task of rearranging paintings and re-configuring the gallery space.

We have added Ian Watson to our gallery circle. Ian was my student back in Lamar High School days. He took a keen interest in the Abstract Expressionist painters, reading biographies of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, as well as the collected essays of Barnett Newman. Over the years, he developed a color field technique and has recently emerged as an artist, with his first solo show in Amarillo last summer, and now he is having work accepted into galleries, ours included. I am looking forward to seeing a feature article on his work coming out next month in Accent West, a magazine published in Amarillo.

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A Pair of Ian Watson’s Acrylic Canvases Behind the Desk

Today I finally got to meet Marc Mitchell of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM. He brought me up to date on what is happening with the station. The first live broadcast should be next week, hopefully October 1. With 50,000 watts, their signal will extend across seventeen counties in east Texas. Anyone outside the broadcast area will still be able to stream the broadcasts on the Internet. The broadcast booth is nearly complete, and the view from their “Window to the World” is fabulous. Our excitement continues to build with their arrival.

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Broadcast Booth Near Completion

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“Window to the World”

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View of the Broadcast  Booth from my Desk

Thanks for reading. 🙂  . . . Until next time, this is David Tripp signing off from The Gallery at Redlands and Smooth Rock 93.5 FM, broadcasting from the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine, Texas!

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Morning Coffee with Dave and Anthony Storr

September 24, 2018

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Perusing Old Journals at Tova Coffee House

. . . the creative process continues throughout life. No creator is ever satisfied with what he has done. New problems constantly occur which compel him to seek new solutions. Completed works are but halts on the way; staging posts on a journey which, as in Jung’s picture of the development of personality, is never completed. Indeed the works of an artist are the outward and visible signs of his inner development as a person. 

Anthony Storr, Solitude: A Return to the Self

The weekend was over in a hurry, and I have a long road back home.  But first, I need to keep an appointment with a gallery to submit new work this afternoon, and while waiting for that to roll around, I may as well get some college work done. Monday always brings a new round of grading and posting new assignments online. These tasks will consume the larger part of today, but I choose to begin the morning with coffee and quiet time for reading and reflection. Reading the passage above from Storr’s Solitude drove me back into a stack of my old journals that I brought on the weekend trip with me. As I stated in yesterday’s blog, I have felt a renewed compulsion to explore some of my older journals as well as typed essays and scattered thoughts saved on a disk.

I suppose it has always been a quirk of mine that, even when I have appointments, tasks and deadlines in front of me, I can still squeeze in time for creative attempts. And once I enter that zone, the other “stuff” usually does not invade my consciousness. This passage from Storr’s book describes these gaps I manage to cram into a crowded schedule:

. . . the creative person, in the inspirational phase of the creative furor, loses his past and his future and lives only in the moment. He is all there, totally immersed, fascinated and absorbed in the present, in the current situation, in the here-now, with the matter-in-hand . . . This ability to become “lost in the present” seems to be a sine qua non for creativeness of any kind. But also certain prerequisites of creativeness–in whatever realm–somehow have something to do with this ability to become timeless, selfless, outside of space, of society, of history. 

Today is more “scheduled” than usual, with appointments and deadlines to meet. But still, I choose to pay myself first, to give myself the best of the morning hours, to feed on books, on journals, on thoughts, always looking for some inspirational boost. Delicious moments spent in these pursuits usually provide me with the energy and optimism to complete the compulsory tasks that are always waiting in the wings.

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.

Morning Coffee with Dave & Thoreau

September 22, 2018

dave & henry

I learned this at least by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live that life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Thirty years ago, I would not say I was suicidal, not even close. But there was that stretch of months when trying to go to sleep at night, that I really didn’t care if I woke to see a new morning. Life then was not good from a number of angles, and I really didn’t have anything to anticipate with gladness as one day stumbled into the next. I had not yet signed a contract to begin work as a full-time public school teacher, and was supporting myself by doing adjunct work at Texas Christian University and full-time work as a campus police dispatcher. I did not own a car in those days. I worked long hours at two jobs, and either walked or took a city bus to where I needed to go.

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Early Sunday Morning, by Edward Hopper

Walking to campus one sunny autumn Sunday morning, I crossed Berry Street, and looking at the row of store fronts that were closed on Sunday, my recollection of this Edward Hopper painting came to mind. I went straight to the campus library, and checked out a book of his paintings, and, as Sunday would be a very slow day with only two campus police officers on duty to patrol the entire university, I was guaranteed eight hours of mostly radio silence. I read the entire book, scribbled out pages of musings in my journal, and the more I looked at Hopper’s solitary paintings, the more I thought of my life at that time. I was conflicted with those emotions that the theologian Paul Tillich identified as “loneliness and solitude”, the cross as well as the glory of being human.

Crossing Berry Street again at the end of my shift, and on my way back home, I mused over how this Fort Worth street on Sunday looked very much like Hopper’s New York street from 1930–shuttered and silent. And the twin sensations of “loss” and “presence” filled my soul to the extent that once I returned to my apartment, I took out my journal and began pouring out the feelings that had surged through my consciousness on this particular day.

It was on that Sunday that I determined I would turn my life around. I had no idea what waited before me in the years ahead, but I bound myself with a promise that I would not allow anything to strip me of my dreams, of my ideas. Two years later, as a high school teacher, when I finally got around to reading Thoreau’s Walden for the first time, I came across the text posted at the top of this blog, and realized that it was time to put some foundations beneath my dreams. I decided to stick with public school teaching, but would also take out my sketchbook, my paints and my brushes, keep filling the journal with daily musings, and seek a quality of life that would transcend the trappings of a daily job. If I would be privileged to live that long, I would retire one day with sufficient benefits to pay my bills, and continue this search for meaning without the albatross of a 40-plus hour work week dragging me down.

Life has never been better for me than it is now. The days are filled with gods, as Emerson once wrote. There is time to read, time to reflect, time to write, and even time to put out a blog of my sentiments. There is time to paint, time to travel, and time to spend with precious friends. And, as teaching has always been my passion, I am afforded the privilege of doing that, but in a reduced capacity. No longer do I have those five day work weeks with hours beginning at 7:35 and extending till 3:30, and then having to take all that work home with me and stay with planning, preparation and grading till bed time so I can repeat the next day. I did it for twenty-eight years, and complained plenty, but I loved the classroom dynamics that made the drudge part tolerable. But now, life is so much fuller and I fully love this daily gift of exploration and possibility.

I am sad that Thoreau only lived to be forty-four. Now, twenty years past that point, I am thankful to have been given those extra years as a bonus, and promise not to take days for granted as I did when I was younger. Building foundations beneath the castles of dreams has turned out to be a rewarding task.

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.

Morning Coffee with Dave & Garrison Keillor

September 21, 2018

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 Smooth Rock 93.5 KBPC FM, moving in to The Gallery at Redlands

“Boys,” he said, “the days of radio are numbered. Old Price is trying to tell us.”

            The boys laughed. Radio? In decline? This was 1937. When you were in radio, you owned the world. Men moved aside for you, beautiful women smiled up at you, doors opened, and as you slipped through, you heard people whisper your name.

Garrison Keillor, WLT: A Radio Romance

West Texas is a dark, rainy, cool 66 degrees this morning as I set up my “office” in Tova Coffee House, a relaxing atmosphere for reading, blogging, catching up on correspondence and monitoring my college classes online. Spending as much time on the road as I do, I am happy with the convenience of technology that allows me to go online and take care of things that need tending while I am away from home. Also, I have the exciting errand of delivering more of my art work to Art for Goodness Sake, a gallery in Lubbock that carries my work. I am also picking up paintings in Amarillo from Ian Watson, a student of mine from many years past, now an artist gaining traction in galleries. We are adding his work to Art for Goodness Sake as well as The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine. A funny coincidence is that Ian Watson has recently obtained a position with a radio station in Amarillo. I laugh because both of us are artists preparing to share time and space with radio personalities.

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Enjoying a Bottomless Cup of Coffee at Tova Coffee House

Just before retiring to bed last evening, I received a text message from Jean Mollard, owner of The Redlands Hotel in Palestine, Texas. She sent the photo posted above of our gallery window with the newly-installed TV screen featuring Smooth Rock 93.5. Behind the screen you can also see the silhouettes of microphones in the broadcast booth. The last word I received was that the station would send out its first broadcast October 1. I have already met the DJ Kevin Harris, and have become friends on Facebook with Marc Mitchell. The energy of these men has already inflated my expectations of good times to come when radio finally arrives in The Gallery at Redlands. The link to the radio website is posted below:

https://www.smoothrock935.com/

I read Garrison Keillor’s WLT when it first came out in 1991, and laughed out loud as I always do when reading or listening to Keillor. The novel involves a radio station that opened in a sandwich shop in the Ogden Hotel at 12th and LaSalle in downtown Minneapolis (the call letters WLT stand for “with lettuce and tomato”). The hilarious stories revolve around the radio station and everyday hotel, cafe and general business life in the city. As the station evolves with the changing times, the stories only get funnier. I highly recommend the reading of this book for anyone fond of radio romance. Because of the imminent arrival of Smooth Rock 93.5 and the fertile ideas shared by DJ Kevin Harris, I have decided to re-read this volume. I always laughed at the idea of a radio station beginning with a single microphone in a hotel sandwich shop. Now I meet radio personalities who are thrilled to operate out of an historic hotel built in 1914, their broadcast booth looking out the window of an art gallery (they are referring to it as “The Window to the World” and the window display, besides the TV screen and a pair of my easel paintings will feature an old-fashioned ON THE AIR flashing image).

My personal radio memories are as follows: Television did not come into our home till I was six years old. Before then, the radio was always playing, and I listened to the programs as well as the music played in those days. Once television arrived in our home, radio life declined till I reached the fourth grade and got my first transistor radio (a 3 transistor!), and began listening to The Beatles on KXOK 630AM, and to St. Louis Cardinal ballgames. Recently, I acquired an LP of the old KXOK radio jingles and ads that I heard as a child, and enjoy spinning it on the turntable. And thanks to YouTube, I have recently had the pleasure of listening to documentaries of that now-defunct station and its heyday of the 50’s and 60’s.

My own personal radio involvement is sharply limited. In college days while in the ministry, I occasionally played guitar, sang and delivered short sermons and devotionals on small-town radio stations in north Missouri, Iowa and Illinois, and later north Texas. That was the late 1970’s. And then, a few years ago, I was afforded the luxury of a two-hour interview on an Internet radio broadcast. I still have the Podcast and enjoy replaying it from time to time. The subject then was my Artist-in-Residency for Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. I was given the opportunity of being interviewed and answering call-in questions about my stay on the island in the Laguna Madre where I did my plein air watercolors, kept a journal, and continued sending out my blog.

I avoid like the plague most AM talk-radio stations, particularly the ones I refer to as “hate radio” with all their wild-eyed political ranting. But with all my time spent on the road, I still love flipping the dial of FM radio stations and particularly enjoy the ones revolving around a DJ with genuine personality. Such formats seem harder to find. Never in my wildest dream could I have imagined a station with my favorite musical genre moving into the same gallery where I enjoy working most weekends. This is a genuine gift, and my gratitude is undying. Art and music in the same working space. Who could have asked for a better working environment?

Sunday morning railyard

Smooth Rock 93.5–“Window to the World”

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.