Archive for the ‘art gallery’ Category

A Weekend to Hit the Reset Button

April 14, 2019

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It is a thorny undertaking, and more so than it seems, to follow a movement so wandering as that of our mind, to penetrate the opaque depths of its innermost folds, to pick out and immobilize the innumerable flutterings that agitate it.

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

After nearly a week of sweating out business paperwork, I finally escaped to Palestine and the waiting Gallery at Redlands. It was so good to see my art-loving friends again. Looking back now at the restful Friday, Saturday and Sunday that provided a wholesome blend of reading and watercoloring in the gallery, I’ll see if I can put some words on the page describing the delights.

A few weeks ago, I began reading from the Essays of the sixteenth-century thinker Montaigne, the one credited with inventing the genre of essay. I was aware of his literary prowess through my readings of Emerson, but never got around to reading him directly. This recent experience has been quite a revelation, and has inspired me to take my ideas more seriously, and seek a stronger link between my art and philosophical musings.

The two evenings prior to my departure for Palestine were spent seated in a patio area of a recently opened Kroger store a few miles from where I live. This store is planted alongside state highway 287, on an enormous piece of undeveloped property. Noticing the earth-moving equipment on the vacant property west of the store made me realize that this raw land will not be pristine much longer. So I decided to spend two late afternoons on the patio, looking across the vast stretch of land with sketchbook, journal and Montaigne on the table before me. As the sun sank lower in the sky, the most amazing array of colors refleted off the knee-high weeds on the property, and my eye was overwhelmed at the contrast of warm golds and cold greens alternating across the undulating grasses until it stopped at the stand of trees at the far end, almost a silhouette against the sunset sky. What I saw was the quintessential Edward Hopper oil painting of landsapes under low-angle sunlight. I know that such luminosity is possible with oil, but have puzzled frequently over how to get it done in watercolor.

Once I arrived at the gallery, I took out three 8 x 10″  stretched panels of watercolor paper and went to work experimenting on the landscape that remains etched in my mind’s eye. I laid down the initial skies Friday night, then worked on some washes of basic land color on Saturday. Sunday was spent mostly experimenting with dry brush, masquing, misting with a spray bottle, and splattering with a toothbrush. Finally by Sunday afternoon, I felt painter’s fatigue and decided to give my eye a rest until tomorrow. The paintings remain in the gallery downstairs, and I am now cozied up in my favorite Redlands Hotel suite with my copy of Montaigne and an open sketchbook. Here is what I have so far with the three watercolor sketches:

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Tomorrow is a new day, and I hope to find fresh energy to continue work (play) on these three pieces.

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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Quality Leisure

April 4, 2019

uncas

“Uncas Slays a Deer” by N. C. Wyeth

To me, the most glorious phase of the great man’s career is that final period of divine serenity–not self-satisfaction, but at peace with himself.

N. C. Wyeth

After more than a week of events and travel, I happily stop to rest for a few days. This morning I completed my reading of David Michaelis’s N C. Wyeth: A Biography.  Much of the final chapter I savored yesterday afternoon in the quiet galleries of the Museum of Texas Tech University. Their Diamond M Collection features an entire gallery filled with original N. C. Wyeth paintings. Time seemed to evaporate while I sojourned there, gazing upon those large, colorful compositions. Finally I sat on a comfortable bench and read, enjoying the communion with this handsome body of work.

Much of this biography filled me with a sense of sadness, reading of N. C.’s dissatisfaction with his life’s work. It is not uncommon to read of one’s profound sense of unhappiness when failing to reach a particular goal. I myself did not reach the goal I had set for myself ages ago at the beginning of my profession. But honestly, I don’t feel a sense of failure. In fact, I doubt that I would have been happy and fulfilled had I reached the goal I initially set. Looking back now, I see my life as a metaphor once spelled out by Emerson–a zigzag set of tacks left by a sailboat en route to the distant shore. My professional career shifted more than once before settling into twenty-eight years at one job and then finally retiring. I look back with no regrets. The art that I now pursue was possible throughout those decades, nothing blocked my efforts. And now, I simply have more quality time for these pursuits.

Wyeth was deeply dissatisfied that he never achieved his standard. He wished to be a fine artist rather than an illustrator. He once wrote that he could have become a fine artist had he not “bitched” himself with a lifetime of illustration commissions. In my earlier years, I complained that my art was more illustrative than aesthetic. The only reason I stopped worrying over that was my discovery that Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper frequently complained that they were regarded as illustrators rather than fine artists. I found that liberating, and decided from that day on that I would just pursue my passion of drawing and painting and no longer worry over what kind of artist I am.

I have just returned from some luxurious days spent in Corpus Christi, where I delivered a pair of new paintings to be featured in a show at Castaways Gallery in Port Aransas, Texas. I am posting these along with two others selected from my collection at Bowman Design and Framing. Pictures were posted in a recent blog, but a change has been made, for the better, I believe. Here are the four that will be included in the show of “Sand Dunes”:

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The reception for the show will be Friday night, April 5, from 5-7 p.m.  The gallery is located on the premises of Castaways Seafood & Grill at 337 N Alister St., Port Aransas, Texas. I wish I could attend, but I am eight hours away from there, and have several more deadlines to meet in the coming days.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

When the Muse stirs . . .

March 20, 2019

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My Study in the Pre-Dawn Hours

The compensation of growing old was simply this; that the passions remain as strong as ever, but one has gained—at last!—the power which adds the supreme flavor to existence,-the power of taking hold of experience, of turning it round, slowly, in the light.

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Rising at 4:40 this morning was not my plan. But when the muse stirs, we have no choice but to respond. Several weeks ago, we decided to launch our first gallery talk in Palestine, Texas, as a part of kicking off the 81st annual Dogwood Trails Art & Music Festival. I have chosen the topic “Art in the Small Town.” I will use the art I have created over the past twenty years, along with selections from American artists who featured the small town genre. American writers will also be woven into the narrative as they spun their novels, short stories and poetry around this nostalgic subject. These ideas have been coursing through my veins the past several weeks, and pages of notes and drafts have been stacking on my desk, stuffing my briefcase and swelling my journal. Finally, this morning in the pre-dawn, the tumblers began to fall into place and I sprang out of bed to power up the laptop and record the sensations as quickly as I could. I am only taking a break from the writing to let my readers know what is going on. For anyone who follows me on Facebook, I launched the event page describing the event a few hours ago. Already I am getting a response, and that is gratifying. For years I have ached to take part in this kind of forum.

My reading from the biography of N. C. Wyeth is stirring my soul like seldom before. The young Wyeth realized in art school that he needed an education to grow his character, not just hone his artistic skills.  In retrospect, I feel that sentiment profoundly. Throughout my younger school days, I was immature, a dreamer, intellectually lazy. I had skills as an artist and worked hard at them. But when I entered the university, I came to rely only on my talent in the art studio, while at the same time growing an intellectual appetite in the general university studies. I failed to put the two together. As I proceeded next through my seminary years, I turned to religion, philosophy and literature. Many years later, after taking a job in the public schools, did I return to my art, and then discovered a depth I never had before. Ideas and deep sentiments had been grafted on to my mechanical skills. I had a feeling for expression and composition.

Since about 1990, I began pursuing this idea of creating a body of work nostalgic in nature. I learned from my seminary Greek studies that “nostalgia” is a Greek word found in the Homeric epics, describing the feelings of Odysseus as he longs to return to his home. My home town of High Ridge, Missouri, along with small towns where I pastored churches in my earlier years, managed to plant images, stories and sentiments that I have longed to express in drawing and watercolor. In 1999, I decided to launch a series called “My Town”, inspired by Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. As he created his Grover’s Corners, so I also created Turvey’s Corner, and created this painting:

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Along with a phony zip code: 63050 (High Ridge is 63049, and the next town four miles away, House Springs, is 63051), I began creating paintings and writing cycles of short stories to flesh out this fictitious town of my imagination, spawned by my memories. I lanched my show in Hillsboro, Texas at the newly-opened Stairwell Fine Arts Gallery, and the painting above sold at the opening reception. So did two others. A few weeks later, a Florida collector passed through the gallery and purchased the remainder of the portfolio. And then, my story just stopped . . .

About a month ago, while reading Larry McMurtry’s Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen: Reflections on Sixty and Beyond, all my feelings from 1999 came tumbling back in on my consciousness. That, along with the writing of my memoir, thanks to Julia Cameron’s It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, convinced me to pick up this old project, dust off the cobwebs, and renew the vision. So . . . I have been working on a new series of paintings and writings, and this Saturday look forward to sharing this vision in the gallery talk.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Quiet Moments in the Gallery at Redlands

March 18, 2019

An artist learns by repeated trial and error, by an almost moral instinct, to avoid the merely or the confusingly decorative, . . . to say what he has to say with the most direct and economical means, to be true to his objects, to his materials, to his technique, and hence, by a correlated miracle, to himself.

Irwin Edman, Arts and the Man

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8 x 10″ watercolor sketch in white 11 x 14″ mat–$75

Yesterday (Sunday) was one of those quiet lovely days spent mostly in The Gallery at Redlands. I managed to squeeze out a new painting (above) during those luxurious hours. The historic Redlands Hotel on 400 N. Queen Street in downtown Palestine, Texas is the most lovely place I have ever been privileged to “nest.” Emerson, in his small book Nature, wrote: “in the woods, too, a man casts off his years as the snake his slough and at what period soever of life is always a child”. This is what I experience when I have those moments of walking about in the wild, but I also feel it every time I enter the first floor of the Redlands Hotel. We celebrated the hotel’s 104th birthday on Friday, March 15:

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Jean Mollard, owner of The Redlands Hotel

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First Floor of The Redlands

Every time I descend the stairs of The Redlands, I feel that I am supposed to be smoking a large cigar, my clothing including a vest, watch chain and spats. The space is a veritable museum with a pulse. We anticipate a steady flow of traffic next weekend when the 81st annual Dogwood Trails Art & Music Festival commences.

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Station Manager Kevin Harris, Smooth Rock 93.5 FM

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Marc Mitchell (foreground) from “Kevin & Marc in the Morning” Show

Radio Guest Kirk Davis in background

It is now Monday morning, and the hotel is everything but silent. The “Kevin & Marc in the Morning” show, as always, keeps me great company while broadcasting out of this gallery. This morning they featured local artist/writer Kirk Davis who has just come out with a book sharing letters from World War II between his father and mother. His father, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, has left behind a romantic legacy embracing the love of his life as well as his drama in the Pacific theater. Kirk will be under the tent with a number of artists this coming Friday night’s V.I.P. event as well as Saturday 9-4:00, signing copies of his new book and displaying his father’s war memorabilia (including the Medal of Honor) along with his own artistic creations.

When I close this blog, I’ll be preparing for our big events next weekend. In addition to the Friday night V.I.P. party and the Saturday Dogwood Trails Art & Music Festival, I will be giving my first ever gallery talk on the subject of “Art in the Small Town.” Using a flat screen TV in the Redlands Hotel lobby, I will be showing images of my “Recollections 54” paintings over the past twenty years that feature small town nostalgic scenes. I have a talk prepared that will feature those who have inspired my own work, notably Edward Hopper’s narrative paintings, along with references from selected American writers who have contributed to our collective memories of the communities that have nurtured us. I am enthusiastic about this event, and thank Jean Mollard for her vision of sponsoring a series of gallery talks for the east Texas community.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Finishing a Small Snowscape

March 12, 2019

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Recent View of Fresh-fallen Snow in High Ridge, Missouri

Wyeth had of course pleased everyone but himself. His apprenticeship now appeared to him shallow and degrading. the Pyle School had been nothing more than a factory where successful pictorial journalists had been–his word–manufactured. He and the others had been “whipped into line,” taught artificial shortcuts, trained to think as the audience thinks, not for themselves as artists.

David Michaelis, N. C. Wyeth: A Biography

After more than 200 pages of reading, I am finding it very difficult to put down this volume on N. C. Wyeth. His son Andrew has been my patron saint since high school, but in the past year I have been studying more about N. C., and love his fixation on the writings of Emerson and Thoreau. Now, reading of his training as an illustrator, and his subsequent struggle to navigate his way between the identities of illustrator and painter, I am finding so much to think about as I find my own way as an artist.

This morning I finished the painting I started of the view across my sister’s backyard. The snow was falling heavily that day a couple of weeks ago, and I used a toothbrush to spatter masquing fluid all over the page before commencing the actual painting. The ony part I found most difficult (and rewarding) was the attempt to draw the houses and rooftops peeking through the winter trees. It has been awhile since I studied and sketched winter tree anatomy, and I have missed the experience. I have a second snow scene nearly finished as well, and hope to be  posting that one soon.

Between reading, painting, and preparing materials for my pair of workshops this coming Saturday, there has been little down time. Still, I love the life I’m able to pursue, balancing my reading with my studio art endeavors. I hope I can continue to find room and space for both in my daily life.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Chaotic Dreams

March 11, 2019

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View of Palo Duro Canyon

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Beginning of a Plein-Air Watercolor Sketch

You know, there’s a philosopher who says: as you live your life, it appears to be anarchy and chaos, and random events, non-related events, smashing into each other and causing this situation or that situation, and then, this happens, and it’s overwhelming, and it just looks like what in the world is going on? And later, when you look back at it, it looks like a finely crafted novel. but at the time, it don’t.

Joe Walsh, History of the Eagles, 2013 documentary

Blame it on the one-hour time change? Who knows? All I can think of this morning is the night’s attempted sleep just completed: an entire night blistered by an annoying, chaotic, sustained dream. I was put in charge of a community event: a reading of Molière’s play “Tartuffe”. The event was staged in a bowling alley/roller rink, and all of us tried our best to look composed on roller skates as we tried to figure out how to configure the seating: a circle? Rows? Groups? I was put in charge of the reading. Others entered the fray to take charge of casting, costuming, stage props. No matter how hard we tried to organize the event, something always intruded to disrupt whatever flow was initiated. And someone continued to shout from offstage: “Donnie, you’re out of your element!” When I finally awoke, it was still dark (time change) and I just lay there in the pre-dawn, taking the dream seriously. It rang true. We move through life, attempting to organize the chaos enveloping us. We schedule, we keep appointments, we tend to our biological necessities, and continue to move through the 24-hour cycle, handling whatever approaches us. As I write this, I fear my tone will read as one of panic. It isn’t. In fact, when I was a full-time employee, I never really collapsed under this kind of a schedule; I just accepted it as life. Now, being semi-retired, I do indeed feel that I am living a much fuller, more satisfied life, and wish I could have about 500 more years of it. Life is a gift, and I’m grateful for its abundance, even when the abundance comes as an avalanche of chaos.

The weeks ahead will indeed be stuffed with activity. My plan for teaching a 3-hour beginning watercolor workshop next Saturday in Palestine has morphed into back-to-back workshops, since the twenty we restricted the enrollment for has now grown to thirty (and still counting, perhaps?). I’m delighted and shocked to find such an interest. We will hold the event in the lobby of the Redlands Hotel, just down the hall from our gallery. The first session will be at 10:00, the second at 1:00. The first session has filled, but there is still room in the afternoon session. If you are interested, just contact me (you can text me at 817-821-8702) or respond to this blog. We are expecting an exciting day of activity.

The following week will be even busier as we kick off the 81st annual Dogwood Trails Art & Music Festival in downtown Palestine. Artists will be featured under a large tent on the parking lot across the street from the Redlands Hotel. Friday night from 7-9, a V.I.P. pre-sale event will feature a meeting with the artists. Tickets are $10 as wine & cheese will be served, and a classical guitarist will provide music. Already we have a good number pre-registered to attend.

The next day from 9-4:00 will be the actual festival, the crowds will be enormous, and the artists are hoping for an excellent day of sales. At 1:00, I will hold my first scheduled Gallery Talk in the lobby of The Redlands Hotel. The topic will be “Art in a Small Town” and my presentation will feature nostalgic portrayals of small-town America in art and literature. The lobby has a large flat-screen TV on which I’ll be able to project visuals during the talk. I have been excited over this opportunity for weeks and have enjoyed immensely the experience of putting the presentation together. This will be my first public presentation on art since retiring from all those years teaching art history in the schools. How nice, finally to present something that is not curriculum-driven (restricted)!

I am posting the beginning of a plein air watercolor sketch I started a couple of evenings ago while visiting Amarillo’s Palo Duro Canyon. The afternoon had been spent in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas. For years I had wanted to visit that institution, knowing that Georgia O’Keeffe had taught at West Texas State Normal College and that this museum had at least one of her early paintings in its collection. What I wasn’t prepared for was the amazing holdings the museum has, not only in Texas panhandle history (this is Texas’s largest history museum), but in paintings. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing amazing landscape paintings from Inness, Moran and N. C. Wyeth. And then spent a long time lingering in a gallery filled with the amazing work of Frank Reaugh. Upon leaving the museum, it was only fitting to travel to the canyon and spend some time sketching the horizon as the sun dropped low in the sky.

My past weeks have been devoted mostly to traveling, reading and journaling. I finished Virginia Woolf’s engaging Mrs. Dalloway and am now nearly 200 pages into N. C. Wyeth: A Biography by David Michaelis. I also have four small watercolors in progress that I hope to post on the blog soon.

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Completed Watercolor Sketch

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Return to Painting as Festival Season Nears

March 2, 2019

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Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Palestine, Texas

It feels good, picking up the brush again. This is a small (8 x 10″) watercolor of the church across the street from The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas. I painted the church on a larger scale a year ago:

Sacred Heart

Art activity will be heating up soon in Palestine. On March 16, I have twenty students lined up for a beginning watercolor workshop I will lead in the lobby of The Redlands Hotel. The following weekend will kick off the 81st annual Dogwood Trails Art & Music Festival. On Friday night, March 22, a V.I.P. pre-sale will be conducted under a large tent featuring twenty artists on display. The event will include wine and cheese, along with live classical guitar. I’m fortunate to be one of the artists under the tent, along with a host of artist-friends I’m proud to join.

The next day, March 23, features the main festival, from 9-4:00, with the artists’ displays still on view, hopefully accompanied with high sales. At 1:00, I’ll hold my first “gallery talk” inside the lobby of The Redlands Hotel. My topic will be “Art in a Small Town”, involving a nostalgic look at small town America through paintings and literature. I’ve been working on this presentation for some time now, and am looking forward with great anticipation to the event.

 

“Marc & Dave in the Morning”?

February 20, 2019

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A surprise greeted me when I came to Palestine to work in The Gallery at Redlands. My “radio roommates” Kevin Harris and Marc Mitchell always provide lively company while broadcasting “Kevin and Marc in the Morning.” As it turns out, Kevin has been in Atlanta, conducting radio business, leaving Marc to anchor the morning show. So, Marc has invited me to join him this morning. And so, I am writing this in the gallery, waiting for us to go on the air.

If you read this during our actual broadcast hours, you may stream us live at Smooth Rock 93.5 FM. We will be on from 6-10:00 a.m. today.

Kevin Harris                                      Marc Mitchell

The March calendar is filling up for Palestine. On Saturday, March 16, I am offering a Beginning Watercolor Class in the Redlands Hotel Lobby from 10-1:00. The cost is $30 and it includes lunch and a beverage. All supplies are provided.  Our maximum enrollment is twenty, and seven have already enrolled. If you have an interest, please notify me (dmtripp2000@yahoo.com) and I will gladly sign you up.

Our 81st Dogwood Trails Arts & Music Festival will be March 23, from 9-4:00. I will be participating in this festival. We have added a special component: twenty artists will be selected to display under a large tent on the parking lot. The night before, March 22, from 7-9 p.m. will feature a V.I.P. reception and pre-sale. Tickets for this event are $10 at the door. Wine and cheese will be served and live classical guitar featured. This will be a special moment to meet the artists, and make any purchases you wish before the festival begins the following day.

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.

 

Clearing the Groundwork for New Art

February 19, 2019

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Afternoon in The Gallery at Redlands

As the drizzling light of the winter afternoon slants through the gallery windows, the sounds of murmuring traffic whisper along highway 287, a soft contrapuntal to the percussion of the Union Pacific railyards. Marc works silently in the studio of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM while I savor the sonorous prose of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. The gallery has been quite busy with traffic today, despite the cold, nasty, rainy weather. We have just signed another artist, Janice Lord, who not only brought in three acrylic canvases today, but plans to participate in our Eighty-First Dogwood Trails Arts & Music Festival March 23. Twenty artists will be selected to set up their work under a big tent in the parking lot. This will be Palestine’s first time to add an Arts & Music component to a successful festival that has run for eighty years now. We hope that you can join me, along with artists Elaine Cash Jary, Tommy Thompson, Deanna Pickett Frye, Orlando Guillen and many others as we kick off this event. Also added to this new event is a special V.I.P. pre-sale the evening before the festival opens. Tickets for this special occasion are $10.

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Magical Woods by Candice Lord

12 x 24″ acrylic on canvas, $175

Recent travels, accompanied by sketches and quality reading, have stirred my creative juices to pick up the brush and begin some new watercolor compositions. The purpose of my mid-week retreat to The Gallery at Redlands was to take advantage of some quiet studio time away from home. I hope to post some quality endeavors soon.

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.

 

Commission Finished

February 3, 2019

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Thank you, all of you who have shown interest in the development of this watercolor. There have been requests to post it, so here it is, everything except the signature. This was a labor of love, as the stories behind it warm my heart and are very similar to experiences I knew, growing up and visiting my grandparents on the farm. The patron is a published author, with many fine stories to tell. I hope she publishes the stories surrounding this picture, as they have kept me good company while working on it.

Thanks for reading.