Archive for the ‘fly fishing’ Category

Sunday Morning in Studio Eidolons

May 21, 2023

Half the world wants to be like Thoreau at Walden, worrying about the noise of traffic on the way to Boston; the other half use up their lives being part of that noise. I like the second half.

Franz Kline

I love the tension between wilderness and city discussed by Kline above. I have missed the wilderness of late, yet have enjoyed the quiet tranquility of my home and Studio Eidolons during this quiet Sunday. I managed to finish a commission I started recently, and as I worked in silence, I recalled a line from Julia Cameron that I read years ago and continue to cherish:

Artists toil in cells all over Manhattan. We have a monk’s devotion to our work–and, like monks, some of us will be visited by visions and others will toil out our days knowing glory only at a distance, kneeling in the chapel but never receiving the visitation of a Tony, an Oscar, a National Book Award. And yet the still, small voice may speak as loud in us as in any.

So we pray. Fame will come to some. Honor will visit all who work. As artists, we experience the fact that “God is in the details.” Making our art, we make artful lives. Making our art, we meet firsthand the hand of our Creator.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Thanks for reading.


A Good, Working Saturday

May 20, 2023

Saturday evening in Studio Eidolons

We cannot will to have insights. We cannot will creativity. But we can will to give ourselves to the encounter with intensity of dedication and commitment. The deeper aspects of awareness are activated to the extent that the person is committed to the encounter.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

After days of frenetic appointments and activity, it was nice to awaken to a morning where no demands were made on me throughout the day. Settling into my studio, I enjoyed my coffee, reading, journal scribbling, and finally this chance to sit down at the drafting table and concentrate on a new commission to paint a cutthroat trout and fly rod. It has been a long time since I’ve tackled this kind of a subject matter, and it feels good to return to it.

The Rollo May quote worked for me today. I put myself in the position to make art, and the inspiration and enthusiasm soon arrived.

Thanks for reading.

Sketching into the St. Louis Night

May 2, 2023

Thus the artists–in which term I hereafter include the poets, musicians, dramatists, plastic artists, as well as saints–are a “dew” line, to use McLuhan’s phrase; they give us a “distant early warning” of what is happening to our culture.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

I’m much happier and relieved to report that today for the first time Dad was lucid, feeding himself, and totally alert to his surroundings. It was such a joy just to sit next to him and feel the connection of genuine communication. It wasn’t long before he became drowsy and needed sleep, so I left, but left lighter and happier. I look more forward now to tomorrow.

I opened Rollo May, trusting that this dear sage would speak to my deepest needs. And he didn’t disappoint. Before I finished a chapter in this volume, I took out my sketchbook and began sketching quickly with a glad heart. I don’t know that anything I create could ever serve as a “dew line” for our society, but I can say with clear authenticity that making art does something special to me. At this late age, art has become more important to my day-to-day living than any other task I’ve been trained to perform.

Thanks for reading.

St. Louis Hiatus

April 30, 2023

He’s No Longer Here (one of my older watercolors, currently in The Gallery at Redlands)

The true philosopher and the true poet are one, and a beauty, which is truth, and a truth, which is beauty, is the aim of both.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

My Facebook friends are aware of my current surroundings. It’s taken several days to find time to put this on the blog: Last Thursday, my 94-year-old Dad was taken by ambulance to St. Louis University Hospital for emergency surgery. At the news, I left Arlington, Texas in the late afternoon, pulled over to sleep in Strafford, Missouri from 11:00-2:30, and finally rolled into St. Louis at breakfast time. Showering at my sister’s, I finally got to see Dad in the late morning, still in ICU. Later that day he was transferred to a private room where he will stay at least a week, then transfer to a rehab facility. This morning is the first time I feel optimistic about Dad’s chances. It’s never my intention to go dark on my blog communications. Sometimes that happens because I have zero creative eros, and feel I have nothing to say. This time is different. Driving in and out of the city twice a day to see Dad, then over to the old homestead to see Mom a couple of times a day before returning to my sister’s to crash at night translates into much musing, but zero reading, journaling or blogging.

Opening Emerson to resume reading, I came across the passage I posted above. I read Nature for the first time back in the early ’90’s, re-read it in 1992 and remained unimpressed. With this apprentice piece, I always agreed with critics that he tried to cover too many topics in a single slim volume. However, my reading of the text now is yielding much gold that I was unable to mine or sluice in earlier years.

For a long time now, I have interchanged the words poet and artist when reading classic essays. I do this because poiema in Greek can be translated “work of art” or “workmanship”. And what writers have said about poets seems always to be true about visual artists. After earning my Bachelor’s in art, I spent ten years in graduate school where I immersed myself in New Testament studies, theology and ultimately philosophy. Once I entered the teaching field, my disciplines balanced between philosophy and art.

It wasn’t long after I began teaching that I encountered Keats and his “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” From that day till now, this magnificent verse has sounded deep resonant chords within my being.

When old age shall this generation waste,

                Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe

Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,

         “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all

                Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Thanks for reading. I don’t know how long I’ll wander about my old stomping grounds. But while I’m here, memories from my first twenty-five years will continue to visit me as I visit Mom and Dad and try to offer some measure of assurance and comfort.

Swan Dive into my Personal Journals and Film

April 19, 2023

252 volumes and counting . . .

Continuing to write while reviewing recent film

Whoever told us that journals are furniture for organizing wonder didn’t bother to share how exactly we organize the furniture once it multiplies over two hundredfold. I finally sat down and used Excel spread sheets to document all 252 of my volumes dating from 1983 to the present, and then arranged them chronologically in my bookcase. Now all I need to know is what is written inside them. While working in Excel, I did insert some notes in the cells about the main content inside some of them. But I have barely scratched the surface.

Ralph Waldo Emerson had accumulated 263 volumes by the time of his death, and it is written that he not only indexed them, but even cross-indexed them! That I cannot imagine.

While working at my drafting table today, I have been viewing the re-mastered film that my artist friend Cindy Thomas made of me a couple of years ago. We have been playing the film on a loop in the lobby window of our Gallery at Redlands, but it is the initial copy, which Cindy never much liked, thinking it had too many rough spots in it, as well as muted color and inferior sound. I liked it just fine, but WOW, there is no comparison with this final edited edition! We’re looking forward to showing this to the public as soon as we can organize some formal gallery-style presentations of Cindy as film maker. I would love to listen to her dialogue with an audience after showing the film, answering questions and explaining how one moves from an idea to a completed professional film.

This current film fills me with pride. I wrote the script, and radio personality Kevin Harris from Palestine lent his magnificent voice to narrate it. A music major at University of Texas Arlington created the musical score. And Cindy is the genius who designed all the scenes and transitions that feature me watercoloring a trout fly in the studio, researching books, writing in in my journals, and fly-fishing the Guadalupe River. The way she edited the indoor and outdoor scenes, inserted the musical score and arranged the narration still leaves me breathless. I cannot wait myself to ask a number of questions on how she accomplished this.

I’ll have more to write soon. I’m still recovering from a week-long illness and weariness overtakes me in waves.

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.

Eudaimonia in the Studio

September 25, 2022
Tedious work on details at the moment, but I’m loving it

Beneath our loquacious chatter, there is a silent language of our whole being which yearns for art and the beauty from which art comes.

Rollo May, My Quest for Beauty

The quiet Sunday offers a respite from the sustained pace we have had to keep up the last few days. Yesterday we had to leave Palestine by 2:00 in order to make the reception for the Fall Show sponsored by the Lake Granbury Art Association.


I was thrilled to receive an Award of Excellence and a handsome check for my Palimpsest entry. I don’t compete nearly as often as I used to, and frankly, seldom win when I do compete. In fact, I have not even been juried into competitions recently when I have entered. So, last night was sweet and I’m very thankful for all the good will poured out by the crowd in attendance.

When the reception ended, I walked to the town square and entered the Baron’s Creek Wine Room to see the new show that has been installed, sponsored by The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery.

He is No Longer Here

I was pleased with the overall quality of the show, and appreciate where my full-sized watercolor is hanging. I’m looking forward to the opening of this show as well.

Today is it is back to work in the studio. The large panoramic watercolor I’m working on with the view of Spring Street in downtown Palestine is proving to be long hours of work, but I’m enjoying every brushstroke, and glad to have the time to pursue it.

Thanks for reading.

Art Without an Audience

August 7, 2022

He Is No Longer Here. Watercolor. 38h x 32w” framed. $800

While convalescing, we have been re-watching Yellowstone on TV. I was arrested by a statement from the aged cowboy actor Leonard Barry Corbin, when he told the young cowboy in training at the 6666 Ranch in north Texas that real cowboyin’ was “art without an audience.”

My imagination wandered over the terrain of my decades of art experiences, and I concluded that probably 90% of my art activity is without an audience. Visual art, for me, is not a performance art; it is hammered out in the quiet of a studio, for the most part in a great calm.

COVID has kept me out of my gallery for two weeks now, and has caused me to miss two recent artist receptions. I’m happy that despite my absence, a large framed still life was sold at the Baron’s Creek Winery in Granbury, Texas. We finally managed to fill that empty gap with a painting of similar size and genre, posted above. The painting that sold was created during winter months in my garage studio, and was followed immediately by the painting above, hence they have been like brothers, hanging around unsold until recently. I’ll be glad when the one above finds a home; after hanging in our Gallery at Redlands for a spell, it has hung in my home Studio Eidolons, until now.

Happy that my strength has returned (aside from long stretches of sleeping!), I’m back in my Studio Eidolons with new projects underway. Stay tuned . . .

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.

Sweet Evening Solitude & Recovery

July 30, 2022
Working Lightly in Studio Eidolons Tonight

Current wisdom, especially that propagated by the various schools of psychoanalysis, assumes that man is a social being who needs the companionship and affection of other human beings from cradle to grave. It is widely believed that interpersonal relationships of an intimate kind are the chief, if not the only, source of human happiness. Yet the lives of creative individuals often seem to run counter to this assumption.

Anthony Storr, Solitude: A Return to the Self

Storr’s book has been like a Bible in my collection for over thirty years now. This was the first book, read when I was in my thirties, that convinced me I was O.K. even though I didn’t have much of a social life. The ministry dripped with a sense of alienation. Graduate school meant long solitary days in a library carrell. Welding-well, how many people stand around to visit with you when you’re under the hood while the arc lights up the room? Public education for nearly three decades saw me scrambling for privacy at the end of each school day. So yes, I have regarded myself, despite having a family whom I love, as largely private.

I don’t recall the last time I was ill; it hadn’t occurred since 2017 when I retired from teaching. And I don’t recall the last time I missed school due to illness. I have lived a life for the most part without need for doctor’s visits or medication. I wasn’t prepared for what happened when I tested positive for COVID yesterday morning. The good news was that Sandi was already in Palestine to run the gallery in my stead, leaving me to attend tonight’s artists’ reception in Granbury. She has since tested negative, so she will be staying out of our house till I am past all this. To repeat–I wasn’t prepared for this enforced isolation. Yesterday and today were among the longest days in my life, here in my home and studio, alone with a pair of small dogs.

This afternoon, while the isolation had reached its bleakest moment, the phone calls started coming in. Three of my paintings sold, two of them major works.

Six Subjects in Search of a Painter. SOLD

The New Owners

I was elated to learn that a student of mine from fifteen years back purchased my large still life at Baron’s Creek Winery in Granbury. I was deeply saddened that I was unable to attend this event.

He Was Here Yesterday SOLD

And then . . . Sandi phoned from our Gallery at Redlands. She had just sold another large watercolor of mine to a local automobile restoration artist. She told me he was fascinated with my collection of gas station compositions and chose the large one from among the pack.

Evening Hole. SOLD

Sandi also sold this mid-size watercolor of me fly-fishing Troublesome Creek in Colorado.

Needless to say, news of the triple sales (and boy, Sandi sold quite a number of other artists’ works the past three days in the gallery!) created somewhat of a soothing balm for my tortured feelings the past pair of days. Though absent in body, I’m glad that my “spirit” somehow lingered in the events where my work was on display. The affirmation helps, believe me.

I believe I will sleep better tonight. I have completed the first day taking dosages of Paxlovid, and already am feeling some physical relief from this dreaded illness. And news of the art sales has certainly provided a strong measure of good will; I feel much less isolated now.

More tomorrow. 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.

Full Day Given to Fishing

July 11, 2022
Finally landed a brown trout at the end of a weary day

I don’t recall a time when I was more bone-weary than now. Sandi took me to three different places to fly-fish today: Big Meadow, Coller Wildlife Area, and then a return to Riverbend Resort. After a full day of missed strikes and fish not quite making it to the net, I finally landed this handsome brown trout upstream from the tent area at Riverbend Resort. The day was overcast all day with temperatures hovering around 72 degrees. I had planned on watercoloring, but the Colorado landscape colors were muted with the absence of sunlight. I did thoroughly enjoy the fly-fishing, especially on the Rio Grande at Coller Wildlife. I had not been on “big waters” since fishing the Colorado River west of Denver over a decade ago. The water was gorgeous, clear and swift. Though I failed to set the hook on a major strike, I still enjoyed the vista and look forward to returning.

It’s only 9:30, but my eyes are hardly open, so I’m going to have to call this a night. Hopefully I’ll have more to report tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

Finally a Nice Brown

July 8, 2022
Finally landed a nice brown trout in the evening

It’s been a long year, waiting for our reservation at Colorado’s Riverbend Resort to come around. Driving across west Texas, the temperatures reached 109 degrees. This morning in Colorado it was 48 degrees, and I was much happier!

My first morning fishing only turned up a pair of brown trout that would fit in the palm of my hand, plus a beauty that I did not manage to land. I went to one of the local fly shops and learned that the water is too warm and the trout are holed up in swift, deeper water. I always use a stimulator for the floater and tie on an extra 18″ of tippet to attach a bead head dropper. The man at the fly shop told me to attach a 36″ tippet. It worked. I managed to catch trout this evening in the deeper holes downstream, but my real surprise was the brown pictured above that took the large dry fly.

Amazed that he hit this stimulator instead of the nymph in deeper water.
A welcome 48 degrees at 6 a.m.

I awoke at 5:00 the first morning in Colorado and enjoyed a lovely walk in 48-degree weather. The sun coming up was gorgeous.

We put sweaters on the pups, but they didn’t much enjoy the cold outdoors . . .
. . . so we went back inside the cabin and built a fire

The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment . . . to put things down without deliberation . . . without worrying about their style . . . without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote, wrote, wrote . . . By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught.

Walt Whitman

I am taking a page out of Whitman’s playbook while in Colorado this visit. I brought my 2005 journal of a previous Colorado excursion because while re-reading it, I found the details very crisp and lively, and ready for editing into a better piece of writing.

Beginnings of the morning journal . . .

In 2005, I was studying Latin (regretfully, it was not available for me in graduate school), and I fell away from the language for years. This year I have picked it back up again and decided to work on it every day during this Colorado venture as I did long ago. And while I am writing, I’m going to try and apply the good habits of Whitman and William Carlos Williams in scribbling spontaneously the immediacy of impressions to be fleshed out later.

The night is closing in, and I have yet to open the Latin books today. 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.