Archive for the ‘canyon’ Category

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

The Next Show Draws Near

March 11, 2020
Return to Ransom Canyon

To be an artist is to live suspended above the abyss between recognition and artistic value, never quite knowing whether your art will land on either bank, or straddle both, or be swallowed by the fathomless pit of obscurity. We never know how our work stirs another mind or touches another heart, how it tenons into the mortise of the world.

In our own culture, obsessed with celebrity and panicked for instant approval, what begins as creative work too often ends up as flotsam on the stream of ego-gratification — the countless counterfeit crowns that come in the form of retweets and likes and best-seller lists, unmoored from any real measure of artistic value and longevity. How, then, is an artist to live with that sacred, terrifying uncertainty with which all creative work enters the world, and go on making art?

The quote above I have lifted from an older post of Maria Popova’s “Brain Pickings” dated March 24, 2019. She nourishes my soul twice a week and I seldom miss reading her extended meditations. This praticular one came on a good day: I am kicking into a higher gear because I have an art festival in a little over a week. And though I love making art, I cannot help wondering while engaged in this enterprise whether or not the work is truly worthy. I have little trouble selling my pieces and for that I am eternally grateful. Yet still I muse over the quality of the art.

Palestine, Texas will kick off its annual Dogwood Festival Friday night March 20 with a V.I.P. event under the big tent across the street from The Redlands Hotel. I have been included among the artists selected to exhibit under the tent that night and all the next day. When my first spring festival rolls up on the calendar, I scramble to frame and package all the work I have created throughout the winter season. Currently I have six new paintings framed and ready that have not been offered for public view. In addition to this, I have revised and re-branded a select number of my greeting cards that I sell at events.

In the midst of this scramble to create and market new art, the ideas expressed in Popova’s quote do not cease moving within me. In fact, this morning’s scene at my writing table appeared quiet and serene. But there was nevertheless a subterranean surge of words, images and ideas flowing beneath the outward scene. The readings from N. Scott Momaday only get better, and last night I happened upon a copy of his House Made of Dawn, the first novel to earn the Pulitzer Prize for a Native American. This literary work is gripping from the very first page, and I am now about fifty pages into it. At the same time, I am continuing my sojourn through Momaday’s The Man Made of Words.

After several hours of framing, packaging, editing greeting cards and reading Momaday, the sun was high enough and temperatures reached the sixties. I had the itch to return to Ransom Canyon and begin a fourth work in plein air.

Beginning with a bluff on the left
Stopping with the outdoor work and preparing sketches for the right portion

I found the canyon quiet and peaceful despite the multitude of houses scattered over the bluffs. After working about an hour, I had done enough to the left side of the composition to shut down and head back to the house. I have several ideas for Native American subjects to place on the right side of the composition, and that is my next step. Meanwhile I have stopped at a neighborhood Starbucks for refreshment, Wi-Fi, reading and blogging.

Thanks for reading. 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.

Kiowa Centaurs

March 9, 2020
2nd attempt at painting a Native American (in progress)

A word has power in and of itself. It comes from nothing into sound and meaning; it gives origin to all things.

N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain

3rd attempt at painting a Native American (in progress)

My blog has fallen silent in recent days due to my recent absorption into Native American images. This all began in Ransom Canyon around Feb. 25 and I posted a pair of blogs describing my feelings as I attempted some plein air sketches in the base of the canyon.

Ransom Canyon has been completely reshaped into an enormous subdivision, and my attempts to paint the more scenic bluffs are rebuffed by the realization that I would be stepping onto some homeowner’s property if I attempted to set up an easel and paint. Parking is another issue–where do I put my vehicle when the road has no shoulders? There is, however, a “memorial chapel” built in the heart of the complex with about 4-5 parking slots, so I have been able to park and hike on public land, and set up the easel on church property, so far without anyone raising complaint.

As I gazed at the canyon walls and imagined what it must have been like 500 years ago when Teyas Indians roamed this geological marvel in search of buffalo before confronting Coronado or aggressive Apache tribes.

My imagination while painting led me to the writings of N. Scott Momaday, a writer I had known about since the mid-1990’s but never bothered to examine. I read The Way to Rainy Mountain in its entirety, and am now about halfway through The Man Made of Words. What I read about the Kiowa migrations from Yellowstone to western Oklahoma fired my imagination, inducing me to attempt a few watercolor sketches of an Indian on horseback on the canyon walls I painted.

Initial attempt of Native American on horseback, 14 x 11″ framed–$200

As I read the accounts of the Kiowa migration, I drew frequent comparisons to what I’ve been studying with Homer’s Odyssey and was inspired to resume work on my own memoir.

In a few days, I plan to travel to Broken Bow, Oklahoma and, weather permitting, engage in some plein air studies of that region. As I paint those surroundings, I anticipate writing the section of my memoir that engaged with Choctaw descendants when I was in the sixth grade. And hopefully I’ll come up with some more images to pursue in watercolor. The Native American tradition I have never touched with my art until now. This is completely new to me, and I feel an excitement with the new discoveries pending.

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.

Late Night Meditations over Ransom Canyon

February 25, 2020

Working on the Canyon

Monday afternoon handed me the freedom to load the Jeep and find my way to Ransom Canyon, Texas in search of a plein air subject. I was not disappointed. Ransom Canyon appears to be the west Texas answer to California’s Laurel Canyon—a scenic gorge inhabited 500 years ago by Teyas and buffalo before Coronado came to visit, with Apaches soon to follow. No one knows for sure what became of the Teyas. Today people with money have built very expensive homes to crown the canyon crests. But I did not journey here to admire the houses; I soon became lost in the colors and textures of the rocky slopes beneath the stately homes, for awhile forgetting that I was standing on the floor of a suburb.

Finding shade in the 70-degree afternoon, I alternated my time there between sketching a section of canyon wall and reading Emerson’s “History” from his Essays: First Series. After about ninety minutes, I had done all I could on location and returned to my dwelling place. An early-evening nap managed to turn my Circadian rhythms upside down, so I now find myself at 12:08 a.m. in front of my laptop, searching for words to encapsulate what exactly happened over the past couple of hours.

I love playing solitaire (with real playing cards, not on the computer). Sitting down at the table around 8:00, I surprised myself by winning the very first hand dealt. When that happens, I know my options fall between wasting several more hours trying to win again, or simply putting the cards away and looking for something else to do. Choosing the latter, I drew out this afternoon’s sketch from my book bag, stared at it awhile, then chose to push further into the composition. As I worked, the textures of the canyon wall began to take on the characteristics of an aged human visage, the grasses becoming facial hair and the gravelly banks the craggy, sun-scarred skin. The longer I worked with pencil and brush, the more lost I became as the 8 x 10” surface took on the dimensions of the forty square yards of terrain I had studied in the afternoon light. Transferring the picture I took with my phone to the laptop, I began to enlarge the digital image, zooming in on the crags and shadows of the canyon wall, and discovering with delight more possibilities of developing the composition.

I get the most out of my painting experience when taking frequent breaks, walking away from the picture in progress and burying myself in some kind of significant reading. Re-opening the Emerson essay, I came across words that sent me into orbit:

All literature writes the character of the wise man. Books, monuments, pictures, conversation, are portraits in which he finds the lineaments he is forming.

Lineaments? What are lineaments? In former days, I often cursed my limited vocabulary. But now we live in this Zeitgeist of technological convenience. Reaching for the smart phone, I Googled “lineaments” . . .

Literary: a distinctive feature or characteristic, especially of the face. “I recognized those haggard lineaments.”

Geology: a linear feature on the earth’s surface, such as a fault.

How serendipitous, to read from this old sage exactly what I was doing with pencil and brush! Lineaments. The usage of this word peaked in the 1850’s around the time Emerson was finding his voice in the essay. And now, in this unusual hour, I have picked up the word and am now running with it as I study closely the features embedded in this canyon wall, experimenting with ways to translate them onto my watercolor page. As I work, I see the porous complexion of a native American hunter, scanning the horizon for buffalo, totally unaware of an impending encounter with Coronado or the Apache. As I continue to work over the entire composition, I am finding just as much joy with sharpened graphite pencils as I am with the watercolor brushes. I draw awhile, then paint awhile, then return to drawing, all the while carving new lineaments into the paper surface and weaving threads of color in and out with a rigger brush. Working over this expanse of rock, I feel as though I am part draftsman, part weaver and part sculptor.

. . .

A few hours of sleep have managed to replenish my energy, so now I sit next to the fire with coffee and the painting before me, propped for me to study it yet again before resuming. Temperatures have plummeted into the low thirties this morning, and the high is not projected to climb above the forties. So . . . it seems unlikely that I’ll return to the canyon. If I finish this 8 x 10” piece today, I may start another, using the reference photos I took of the terrain yesterday—not my favorite way to paint, but still preferable over standing in the frigid cold.

Last night proved to be an enchanting experience for me, and I am happy to share it with you.

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.

Into the Canyon Again

February 23, 2020

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I think a painting is undigested if you leave it in the state of just chaos. I like that first, wild impulse to be there, underneath, but pulled back into clarity.

Andrew Wyeth

Saturday, the sun came out at intervals, so we decided to travel to Caprock Canyons State Park in Zavalla, Texas. Temperatures were mild enough that jackets were no longer necessary, and with only 30-45 minutes before the sun dropped behind the ridge, I set up quickly and enjoyed sketching out a piece of the canyon at its inmost location (the final turnaround point for driving). Moving back and forth between pencil and brush, I alternated between drawing and painting on this 8 x 10″ stretched paper. The short time proved to be even shorter as I enjoyed meeting a family who had just moved from Seattle, Washinton to west Texas. The father was a painter who had made some plein air attempts in his past and was serious about returning to the practice. I also enjoyed the small dog, Patches, that made the trip with us. He was walking with Sandi on a trail fifty yards below where I was perched. The dog, looking up, saw and recognized me and decided to scale a cliff to reach me, then return to his master.

Once I finished playing with the dog, I spent about ten more minutes on this piece before the sun dropped, leaving the entire horizon in a subdued sea of gray. Today, looking at it with fresh eyes, I recalled Andrew Wyeth’s preferred practice of beginning a composition with quick, loose strokes, then later returning to refine it. This reminded me of William Wordsworth discussing the practice of writing poety in Lyrical Ballads. He wrote that poetry begins with passion outpoured, then concludes with judgment studied.

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Yesterday Evening’s Beginning, on Site

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Today’s Continued work, in the Studio

Tomorrow I plan to look at the piece a third time and decide whether or not to push it further or just leave it and move on to the next adventure.

Thanks for reading.

Shultz on website

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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