Archive for the ‘canyon’ Category

Finishing a Quick Study

August 28, 2021

Why do we seek climates warmed by another sun? Who is the man that by fleeing from his country, can also flee from himself?

Horace, Ode, ii. 16. 18

One telling Socrates, that such a one was nothing improved by his travels: “I very well believe it,” said he, “for he took himself along with him.”

Montaigne, “Of Solitude”

Reading Montaigne on this early Saturday morning has proved to be a great beginning to a day in the gallery/studio. I am happy to find myself in good company when in solitude, but I also confess that the company will improve greatly once Sandi enters the gallery!

My plan is to finish this 8 x 10″ watercolor today and frame it for the Gallery. We will head back home tonight, but I’m delighted to have begun & completed a painting in the short time we were here.

Back to work! 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.

Quick Work on a Pair

August 27, 2021
Attempting the Lonesome Dove Pairing

I cannot believe the afternoon has already arrived. It’s been a busy Friday in the Gallery at Redlands. I began this 8 x 10″ watercolor around 9:30 and have been dividing my time between Lonesome Dove and Aristotle (painting and Texas Wesleyan ethics lecture). I know this sounds nuts, but I love it everytime two seemingly disparate fields flow into one another. While waiting for portions of the watercolor to dry, I’ve been re-acquainting myself with Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Four Causes as expounded in his Physics.

Aristotle argued that all living things have formal, material, efficient and final causes embedded in them. The efficient cause refers to the energy, the urge for one to develop, to strive, to mature toward that final, complete cause. The final cause is the target, the terminus, the realm of completion. And when people ask where the final cause resides, the answer is: within you. Aristotle (later echoed by T. S. Eliot and a host of others) held that the end is already contained in the beginning. People have their own ways to interpret this, but I like to think about my own impulses to make art. From the time I was quite small, I had the urge to draw, to color, to create my world on paper. No matter what trajectory my life followed, in education, in employment, in profession, I always came back around to art, because it was in me.

Another aspect of this Aristotelian argument that appeals to me is the notion of the painting already residing in the surface, though I’m staring at a blank piece of paper. I’m not as anxious as I used to be to touch the brush or pencil to the paper, because I can already “see” what I want to do within this white rectangle. The reason I couldn’t wait to begin today’s watercolor is because I have had this image in my eye for days after countless hours spent sorting out photos and movie clips of Lonesome Dove. My only regret with this small piece is that I left no room behind the characters; I really wished to overwhelm the composition with the Llano Estacado. Maybe I’ll attempt this again later with more background available.

Thanks for reading.

Wearing Several Hats

March 3, 2021

Keeping a daily blog is not as easy as it once was. We still enjoy retirement to the fullest, but recent commitments are tending to crowd my schedule. Up until a few weeks ago, I was only an artist and daily faced decisions no more complicated than What should I paint next? Since February 1, we have taken ownership of The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas and have been working feverishly to get the space ready for our opening March 20. Lining up work from a dozen artists has had its immeasurable rewards, but has taken considerable time out of our weekly routines.

In addition to this, we have committed to working out on a regular basis, retaining the services of fitness coaches. The result is that our bodies are finally responding favorably, but again, there are fewer hours available in the week for leisure.

I have also continued my practice of Watercolor Wednesday, teaching three-hour sessions at Show Me the Monet Art Gallery in Arlington. Above I have posted a remarkable watercolor of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch, done by one of my most enthusiastic students. I usually average three Wednesday sessions out of each month. This class is not only rewarding from watching student success; it keeps me painting regularly. In fact, my demo from today I have decided is worthy of a frame. I would show it on this blog, but I believe the student outperformed me, so I’ll let the viewers enjoy hers instead.

Tomorrow I will introduce you to another member of The Twelve. I am trying to keep up this practice every other day. All of this is just to say I am wearing multiple hats as I try to continue being an artist while carrying out other tasks of being a gallerist, blogger and physical fitness enthusiast. Life is fuller now as it becomes busier, but no complaints.

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.

What Do Artists Do All Day?

January 26, 2021
Bright Sunlight Floods Studio Eidolons

“We all need white space–which is to have time when we aren’t doing, but being,” [Penny] Zinker said, citing activities like thinking, reading, being in nature and unplugging from electronics. “That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a bit structured–we can go to a yoga class or join a hiking group” she added. “It creates structure so that we create that white space.”

Meera Jagannathan, “Here’s how to make the most of your ‘executive time’ at work”, MarketWatch

While working in the studio this morning, I had the TV tuned into a series of You-Tube documentaries: What Do Artists Do All Day? As I listened to the interviews, I wondered about giving my own account. For quite awhile I have had this notion to share on the blog my day-to-day activity in Studio Eidolons.

My routine is quite regular. The dogs are never going to let me sleep past 7:00 a.m. After feeding them, I move on to my favorite morning task–grinding beans and French-pressing New Mexico Piñon coffee. Sandi and I enjoy quiet coffee time with snuggling dogs drifting back to sleep after getting their bellies full. Over coffee, I scratch out the first lines in my daily journal, musing over what to read to set the tone for the day.

Coffee time merges into executive time, or white space time. This always involves books, my real passion. During all the years I taught, the classes began at 7:35, so there wasn’t really quality white space for morning reading then. Now with retirement in full bloom, I have the delicious option of reading the entire day if I choose, and I frequently choose. Recently, I’ve completed my reading of The River Why and Goodbye to a River. Those books have already set the stage for my next project in watercoloring. Now I am re-reading Friedrich Schiller’s series of letters: On the Aesthetic Education of Man. During my senior years, I have this compulsion to articulate my own theory of aesthetics and why I draw and paint the way I do.

Usually by mid-morning, I lay the books and journal aside and enter Studio Eidolons, my beloved creative space, named after Walt Whitman’s poem Eidolons. In the morning, light floods the windows and drafting tables in a manner I find very inviting. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been on a watercolor binge, featuring canyons and snowy evergreen trees. Today I have given to framing them all so I can get them into the gallery.

My First Sedona Watercolor, 11×14″ framed. $400

Two summers ago, we visited the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the red rocks of Sedona. From the backyard of our rented dwelling, I looked out on this rock formation, and in the course of a single morning began twenty 8 x 10″ compositions. The one pictured above was the very first attempt. Sometime during this past year, I took it out of my stack of unfinished work and put the finishing touches on it.

Sedona Again. 11×14″ framed. $450

Same story with this one–removed from storage and completed, but not framed till this morning.

Sedona. Sold.

This painting I also completed in the past year, and I was preparing to frame it, but a dear friend from my past saw it on Instagram and purchased it. So it is gladly making its way now to its new home. Thanks, Chris!

My Sweet Studio Companion

Baby Paddington has turned out to be a loving and quiet friend in the studio. All he asks is to be near me while I work on my projects.

Snowy Evergreens. 11×14″ framed. $450
Snow Evergreens II. 11×14″ framed. $450
Snow Evergreens III. 11×14″ framed. $450
First Snowy Evergreens. Sold

A couple of weeks ago I began a series of experiments with snowy evergreens, and before I began the framing, a dear friend found one of them on Instagram and made the purchase. This one is now in his home. Thanks, Jeff! The other three paintings have been prepared for a class I’ll teach tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan. 27) at Show Me the Monet Gallery in Arlington. I am teaching Watercolor Wednesdays there, about three times a month currently. I have already booked three for February. Anyone interested in any of those three-hour sessions can find the appropriate information on my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/davidtrippart

Reading, Writing and Decompression

After a full day of working on art in the studio, I love to decompress with further reading and reflection. As the sun approaches the horizon and the shadows lengthen, I love sitting at the drafting table and looking out across the neighborhood. Today has been another one of those sweet days.

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.

Return to Studio Eidolon, but Remembering Bryce Canyon

September 18, 2020

Such is the effort of creation that goes into the work of art! Such was the agonising effort he had to make, the blood and tears it cost him to create living flesh to produce the breath of life! Everlastingly struggling with the Real and being repeatedly conquered like Jacob fighting with the Angel!

Emile Zola, The Masterpiece

Most readers are convinced that Zola was describing the anxieties of painter Paul Cezanne when he wrote this novel. I am enjoying the reading of this and will be sorry when the story ends. I certainly know those artistic anxieties, more from my past than my present. I find it hard to explain, but am convinced that in my later years I am more preoccupied with art theory, yet less upset with perceived shortcomings or failures; I just love the process of creating.

We are safely back home after vacationing in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. On our third day home, I am still lost in daydreams and recollections of what we experienced. My last blog recounted the day’s adventures at Zion National Park, but I have yet to record the events of the following day, in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Sandi decided to participate in a ride down to the floor of the canyon. After we parted ways at the corral, I hiked to the rim of the canyon, then circled round till I found the horse trail that I knew the party would take. Once they arrived, I managed to shoot plenty of photos as they trooped by, and my favorite is this one of Sandi on a handsome mule named Clyde.

Once the riding party was out of site, I commenced working from my plein air easel, and was astonished at the violence of the winds blasting across the top of the canyon. My clip for holding open my sketchbook was attached to my journal in the truck parked far away, so I attempted to sketch in watercolor the site below with my right hand, and used my entire leftt arm to hold the book open, my open hand resting on the brushes trying to blow out of the tray and into the canyon below.

As I worked, fighting against the wind trying to blow my supplies away, a gentle Asian soul approached me and, watching calmly with great interest, began asking questions of what I was doing. I always love visiting with people when I am out painting, and this was no exception. However, being distracted by the blowing winds, I was not aware that the gentleman actually was filming me with the intention of posting on social media. Had I known that, perhaps I would have shown more composure and lest distractedness. He indeed asked permission to film, but I honestly thought the howling wind was discouraging his efforts, and was under the impression that he gave up, though he stayed and visited with me awhile and took my business card, thanking me for my time. I soon forgot about the encounter, as I visited with over a dozen people during that brief stretch of attempted painting.

Late last night, while I was home, the gentleman’s kind email arrived, with the YouTube link, and I gladly post it for you now with the disclaimer that his camera work was much more composed than I!

After painting awhile (or trying to!), I returned to the truck and let our dog Patches out for a stroll. Then I set up his portable pen under the shade of the evergreens, and had intended to spend about half an hour with him before putting him back into the truck and returning to the canyon to paint. But he was so darned affectionate, choosing to jump into my lap and remain rather than lie on his blanket in the pen. So . . . I waited for Sandi to return from her ride before packing my gear back to the canyon for round two.

Here are the two sketches I attempted in the raging winds atop Bryce Canyon.

My biggest adjustment returning to Arlington, Texas has been the temperatures. As I write this, we are sitting this afternoon at 88 degrees with intolerable humidity. On the morning of our return, it was 50 degrees in Albuquerque. Stepping outside in this Texas weather now makes me wish for the 34 degrees and foot-deep snow I enjoyed last week in Colorado!

As I continue to look over photos and sketches from our trip, I took my first shot today at sketching a bison I photographed outside Zion National Park.

I haven’t yet decided on my next major project, but anticipate that something will happen soon. For the time being, Sandi and I are going to re-visit the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth-a site we haven’t seen in way too many months.

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.

Enraptured at Zion National Park

September 12, 2020
Plein Air Watercolor Sketching as Evening Approaches

The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is not unknown. Its effect is like that of a higher thought or a better emotion coming over me, when I deemed I was thinking justly or doing right.

Yet it is certain that the power to produce this delight, does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

Sandi and I rolled into Utah yesterday evening, checked into our hotel in Kanab, and after a restful night’s sleep made two trips to Zion National Park, one in the morning, and again in the later afternoon.

As afternoon stretched into evening, we parked in the eastern part of the canyon and I got out to paint. As I was setting up my easel and staring in wonder at the rocky hillside in front of me, I detected movement. Unable to make out the shape, I used my smartphone camera to go full zoom, and saw what it was: a desert bighorn sheep. Solitary. Stopping to look back at me. I took about a dozen photos as he contined to ascend the rocky slope, pausing frequently to look back at me. I then felt Emerson’s sentiment–I was perceived, accepted, embraced. It was OK that I was in the park. My heart melted as I watched the sheep till he disappeared into the shadows of one of the crags of the rocky landscape. I only wish I had a better camera than my phone to capture his image.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

I was so moved at the sight of the bighorn that I found it difficult to shift gears and paint. I also found it difficult selecting a small piece of the enormous canyon landscape that enveloped me. But I finally began, tentatively, trying to figure out color, texture, contrast, and the accents of the undulating lines flowing across the face of the canyon walls.

First Attempt as the Evening Light began to Fade

As I waited for the first to dry, I took out another sketchbook and did a pencil sketch of the same subject. After the painting dried, I flipped to the next page of my diary and began afresh, this time with a little more confidence.

Second Attempt, before the Light Evaporated

After all these years of plein air sketching, I still find myself grasping for the right words to describe the sublimity of the act of painting on location. The evening was delicious as I stared at the rocky facade, made selections of color, brush, pencil and technique and forged ahead with the task, all the while savoring the sounds of laughing and chattering children in the distance, hiking with their parents and asking a myriad of questions. It was a perfect world. Once I finished the second sketch, Sandi rejoined me after her walk and together we strolled about the terrain where we were positioned, and enjoyed the cool air as the evening began to darken.

Leaving Zion on our return trip, we approached for the third time a pasture where a herd of buffalo gathered. The preceding three times, a dozen cars were pulled over and tourists lined the fence, taking pictures. This time no one had stopped and I decided I needed a closer look.

The cloud of lingering dust was what attracted my attention and made me want to pull over and watch awhile. But when I saw the cow and calf come toward me, enter the pond and drink, I felt my heart melt again, just as I felt when gazing at the bighorn so far away. I took dozens of photos of the pair, then directed my attention back to the herd. I have done very little painting of animals in my past, but I am going to have to give buffalo a try, especially after this heartwarming moment of watching them in the cool of the evening.

Today was totally enchanting. I have never before visited Utah and am so happy to be here for awhile, and grateful for this chance to share with you some of today’s best moments.

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.

Hank’s Quest to Recover Something Lost

April 21, 2020
My trilogy of recent Hank paintings and stack of journals

As stated before, I am on hiatus as I prepare to go on the road again. My Jeep is loaded and ready, and now I’ve given myself some leisure to read through a stack of my old journals from the past year, and relax awhile on a cool 59-degree afternoon. While reading, the imagination began flowing with a new episode from Hank’s travels. I’ve decided to share that with a painting below:

Ancestral Spirit Withdrawing

Resting on a ledge of the Caprock, Hank gazed longingly across Blanco Canyon, awestruck at the marvel of a landscape 3,000 feet above sea level where he could view for literally hundreds of miles across the Southern Plains. In that quiet expansive space he felt an ineffable Presence. Turning to Emerson’s Nature, he found the passage he had read the night before.

The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is not unknown. Its effect is like that of a higher thought or a better emotion coming over me, when I deemed I was thinking justly or doing right.

Looking up from his book, Hank felt affirmed by that lingering Presence. Pulling out his volume of Walden, he searched for that passage that had left him puzzled over the past year.

I long ago lost a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle-dove, and am still on their trail. Many are the travelers I have spoken concerning them, describing their tracks and what calls they answered to. I have met one or two who have heard the hound, and the tramp of the horse, and even seen the dove disappear behind a cloud, and they seemed as anxious to recover them as if they had lost them themselves.

Hank wondered what it was about this passage that tugged at him so. Readers no doubt have wondered what it was exactly that Thoreau had lost and was now pursuing as he authored this book. But what was it that Hank lost and now pursued?

Gazing across the canyon expanse, Hank came to realize what it was he had lost–the freedom to explore. As a four-year-old child, his mother let him go outside daily to explore the world enveloping him, unfettered. They lived on a country road with no neighbors in sight in any direction.

Hank obeyed Mother’s orders not to cross the road or even enter it. This gave him the western, northern and eastern points of the compass. Nothing was visible to the small boy but miles and miles of rolling fields. The small dark dots of cows could be seen in a neighboring pasture several hundred yards away. Beyond that, only distant hills shimmering blue in the summer haze. All Hank wanted to do was walk the land as far as he could, and he did, but never more than fifty or so yards in any direction; he always wanted to look back and see home. Getting lost was a primal fear at that tender age.

When the young boy turned six, two institutions took over his life–church and school. Wandering ceased, except in his mind. Confined to Sunday School and public school rooms, Hank was never “with the program.” All he wanted to do in his seat was daydream of travel, and his imagination conjured up the visual memories of those distant shimmering hills he saw when he was four.

Once high school was finished, junior college and a job took over the guardianship of his daily schedule. Until now. Seated on the Caprock, Hank now was free to track the whereabouts of the hound, the bay horse and the turtle-dove.

For the past hour musing, the Presence never left Hank. Turning around suddenly to look at the canyon ledge in the distance behind him, Hank glimpsed a rider on a horse disappearing over the horizon. Shuddering, he wondered if a stranger had been standing there observing him all this while, or if he had encountered an ancestral spirit of a Plains Indian from last century before it withdrew. What tribe of Indians roamed these Southern Plains long ago? Did they feel the same sense of wonder and belonging that he did while gazing across the landscape? Hank determined that once he got back to Lubbock, he would find the public library and search out these matters.

______________________________________________________

Thanks for reading, and please check out my website at www.davidtrippart.com

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Westward Wanderings with Hank

April 11, 2020

Good morning. I’m thrilled to announce I have broken new ground with a watercolor of Hank enjoying coffee by the fire (written in the previous blog). The painting is underway, but there isn’t enough to show viewers just yet. However, my mind keeps wandering while painting, and so another Hank story has taken shape. I’m going to share it now–the events preceding Hank’s coffee by the fire. When we read a novel, we enjoy the linear progression of events. However, in many cases, the author did not write it that way. More often than not, many scenes were written out, and the progression was arranged before the final draft and publication. These words from N. Scott Momaday say it much better than I ever could:

I perceive the writings herein as the pieces of a whole, each one the element of an intricate but unified design. They are the facets of a verbal prism, if you will, patterns like the constellations.

N. Scott Momaday, Man Made of Words

And so it is with Hank. He only showed up in my writings weeks ago, though some of his stories were written years ago. Now I am piecing together and editing these into a narrative, all the while skipping back and forth from future to past to present. One day I hope to have a book of these stories and illustrations organized to share. Meanwhile, I’m glad to release the fragments as they emerge.

The draft of the following story immediately precedes the events I shared in Hank’s life yesterday, and the painting posted above is a plein air watercolor I did a couple of years ago in Caprock Canyon.

___________________________________________________

Hank thanked the driver who picked him up on Insterstate 20 as he got out of the sedan in Sweetwater, Texas. Hank didn’t feel too self-conscious about his appearance, knowing he had showered and put on clean clothes just this morning before saying Good-bye to Uncle Leo in Dallas. Catching the eye of a local old-timer on the sidewalk, Hank said he just hit town and was looking for a decent place to eat.

The old gentleman said “Ya can’t beat Mrs. Lizzie Allen at the freight depot over there” he said, gesturing toward the next intersection, a freight depot at Broadway and Oak. Hank thanked the gentleman and in a few moments found himself seated at a small cafe table. Mrs. Allen not only served up the best fried chicken, fresh okra, corn on the cob, with mashed potatoes and gravy; she also sat down after pouring him fresh coffee and opened up the conversation:

Where are you off to, good lookin’? Hank realized his large backpack identified himself as transient.

“Don’t really know for sure. Left St. Louis three weeks ago and decided to see what was out west.”

“Well, if you want civilization as well as wide open spaces, I’d recommend Lubbock. Just go a little further west on 20 then veer north on 84. Pretty countryside if you like mesas and canyons.”

“Well, I think I know where I’m going now. I love your coffee. Would you happen to know how to make this over a campfire? I tried it a few weeks ago and didn’t much like what I swallowed.”

His stomach filled, a ham sandwich wrapped in wax paper from Mrs. Allen tucked neatly inside his pack, and instructions on how to make cowboy coffee, Hank was ready now to head up Highway 84.

______________________________________________________

More later. Thanks for reading, and please check out my website at http://www.davidtrippart.com

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog knowing I am not alone.

Making Art while the Calendar is Frozen

March 26, 2020

These things I shall remember by the way, and often they may seem to be the very tale itself, as when I was living them in happiness and sorrow. But now that I can see it all as from a lonely hilltop, I know it was the story of a mighty vision given to a man too weak to use it.

John G. Neidhardt and Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks

Kiowa Looking over Ransom Canyon
Crow Warrior Surveying
Bell Rock, Sedona, Arizona
Bell Rock Revisited
Bell Rock Vistas
Meditatons Below Bell Rock
Leaving the Promised Land
Twilight Wanderings

I have decided to treat this Stay at Home directive the same way a farmer responds to wintertime when nothing is to be planted, or rainy season when he cannot get into the fields. There is always something to do. When art festival season is at high tide, I always complain that I cannot find quality time to make art or frame art. That excuse has now been eliminated. The coronavirus season has ordered me to stay put and find creative ways to spend my days. I hope you enjoy seeing what I make.

Thanks always for reading and please check out my website www.davidtrippart.com

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Searching for the Recipe

March 13, 2020
Fourth Beginning of a Ransom Canyon Composition

He was alone, and he wanted to make a song out of the colored canyon, the way the women of Torreón made songs upon their looms out of colored yarn, but he had not got the right words together.

N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn

This Native American sage just painted with accuracy and grace my perrenial dilemma as an artist. In painting, in writing, in arranging music, I frequently marvel at the complexity of composition, and very seldom attain the splendrous vision my eye or inner ear senses.

When playing my guitar, I constantly reach for the correct chord, only to hit upon a diminshed form that jars my ear. When writing an essay, I can fumble with a paragraph of sentences for an hour and come away with a mess comparable to a ball of yarn tossed by a generation of cats. And now more recently, with my fourth attempt at a canyon composition, my eye delights in the arrangement of hues and contrasts across the cliff wall, yet the colors on my palette never seem to combine for the composition I seek.

Please reader, do not misunderstand–I am not depressed or upset as I write this. I merely approach the creative task in a spirit of worship, seeking to pour out my soul in response to profound beauty encountered in this physical world as well as the underlying world of Ideas. And as I work at this, my soul wells up in gratitude for feelings experienced during the effort, even if the final product falls short of the expression I sought.

My work, my art, my journal pages, my blog–all my contributions are abstractions, distortions, fragments, ostraca scattered across my life’s memories. But my delight always lies in the trying. And right now, the canyons of west Texas and streams of the Oklahoma mountains are calling out to me.

As for the painting started above . . . not today. This morning once again finds me on the road, stopping at a Starbuck’s to send out this missive via wifi. I often feel like Eddie Albert from Green Acres, climbing up a utility pole in Hooterville to make a phone call. But there it is . . .

Thanks always for reading. I hope to send pictures soon of painting attempts adjacent to Oklahoma trout streams.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.