Archive for the ‘cemetery’ Category

Plein Air Painting in a Cemetery during a Stormy Afternoon

May 24, 2011

Plein Air Painting in a Cemetery on a Stormy Afternoon

In just a few days, I have a major plein air painting event taking place in Waxahachie, Texas.  For several weeks now, I have been brushing up on plein air practices, which are profoundly different from studio approaches.  This afternoon, as the north part of the city of Fort Worth grew dark with gathering storms, I traveled to the Greenwood Cemetery and attempted a quick sketch rendering of this monument.  I worked on it for one hour and ten minutes.  I’m getting faster, but last summer I was finishing plein air watercolors in as fast as 45 minutes.   I still have a ways to go.

This is the first time I’ve attempted to capture Greek-style columns in watercolor.  I enjoyed the experience, though I’m not too pleased with the result.  However, I remind myself that this is a first.  I’ll eventually get to where I want to go with Greek monuments.  I’m just glad the storms held off till I was finished with this piece.

Thanks for reading.  Hope to see you in Waxahachie beginning this weekend.

A Second Attempt at Watercoloring the Country Churchyard

April 23, 2011

Cahill Cemetery

This is a super-quick watercolor sketch I attempted at the Cahill Cemetery, having finished the one posted under the heading “Elegy in a Country Churchyard.”  The weather was too nice, the breeze too soothing, and the surroundings too quiet for me to leave at just that moment.  I cannot express the depth of gratitude I feel to be alive, to have the time and space to pursue plein air watercolor experiments and to enjoy space and quiet like this afternoon.  Working in pubic education can be taxing, to put it diplomatically.  Weekends are sacred to me, and what is more appropriate than finding a churchyard in a quiet countryside to spend some quiet moments, the day before Easter.

The Cahill Methodist Church is 2.7 miles east of I-35W on F. M. 917, south of Burleson, Texas.  I have found this a splendid place for weekend retreats from the city, and this is my sixth watercolor sketch done on these premises.

Thanks for reading.

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

April 23, 2011

” . . . and all the air a solemn stillness holds.”  The Thomas Gray poem took hold of me this afternoon.  I chose to drive to the Cahill Methodist Church today and make some new attempts at sketching the small cemetery behind the church, with watercolor and pencil.  I have painted this cemetery once before, and the church twice before (the church is on my website, titled “First Night in Waterford.”).  www.recollections54.com

The temperatures were somewhat mild, in the mid-80’s and the winds were tolerable today.  I could not believe how quiet and isolated I was as I stood in this churchyard and created two paintings in the afternoon.  The Cahill Church is located 2.7 miles east of I-35W on F.M. 917 (south of Burleson, Texas).  My wife rides her horse on a local ranch in Burleson, and today I found it convenient to make the extra 10-minute drive to this quiet little place.

Something tells me I will want to return to this place.  This afternoon seemed to offer the perfect space for watercolor exploration.

Thanks for reading.

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, Loss and Presence

April 23, 2011

Sketches in the Studio

1887 relic of 4th Methodist Church Fort Worth, Texas

Today, Friday morning, April 22, 2011 begins a 3-day weekend for me.  While in classes yesterday morning, I suddenly was seized with this notion to visit this relic from the edge of downtown Fort Worth, Texas.  It is what remains of the 1887 Fourth Street Methodist Church (today First Methodist Church, in a different location).  The ruins were discovered a few years back when demolition began of a storage facility, with no knowledge that the skeletal remains of this vestry were within the old structure.  The Bass brothers decided not to destroy the relic.

For the past two weeks (is this serendipitous?) I have been mulling over William Wordsworth’s “Lines.  Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour.  July 13, 1798.”  I have also lingered over a watercolor by J. M. W. Turner, composed while the painter was quite young and visiting that same Medieval ruin of a church.  The poem and the painting have been on my mind the past few weeks, again with all those Proustian notions–of memories, of loss and of presence.

Other writers have expressed this better than I, but I know these heart-shuddering sentiments of standing in the midst of something left over from the past, with the wreckage of decomposition prevalent, and I simultaneously feel a profound loss and an exhilarating “presence.”  This is what I feel when I look on this church ruin adjacent to a thriving Sundance Square in Fort Worth, Texas.  At the close of the 19th century, worshipers, mourners, seekers–people of all persuasions–lingered on these grounds and worshiped within the sacred space.  I tried to focus on those matters while the traffic of downtown Fort Worth whizzed past me.  One memorable moment during this 30-minute sketching exercise was a courteous bicycle security guard working for the city stopping by and chatting with me for a few minutes.  Her presence, and the knowledge that there were “many of them” about the town, made me feel safer to return here and sketch again.  Indeed I shall.

Thank you for reading.  It is now Saturday, and I hope to get some quality work done in watercolor by the close of this day.

Cahill Cemetery Peace, December 17, 2010

December 17, 2010

Cahill Cemetery Peace

This is a small plein air watercolor sketch I did rather hastily as the sun was setting south of Fort Worth.  This cemetery is behind the lovely Cahill Methodist Church east of Interstate 35 on F.M. 917.  I have painted the church three times, and one of the paintings is now the cover of a fiction novel published a few years back (the painting is “First Night in Waterford” and can be found on my website http://recollections54.com/).  Though I painted this in the fall of the year, the sun was hot late that afternoon, and I worked rather quickly so I could retreat to an air-conditioned room and drink some kind of an icy beverage.  I just didn’t get around to finishing it and posting it till now.

Thanks for reading.