Archive for the ‘locomotive’ Category

Finally Ready for Show Time

November 11, 2017

open

Around Midnight, ready for the Opening

Finally, the last piece is in place and I should be able to sleep tonight. I will be able to open the gallery at ten in the morning, ready to welcome anyone who crosses the threshold. We are in Room 109 of The Redlands Hotel, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas. Our Gallery at Redlands has been in business since March and we’re all proud to be in this historic space.

The show is titled “The American Railroad Odyssey.” I have new watercolors of historic trains, mostly the ones located in Palestine’s history. For the show I have also brought out ninety signed & numbered prints, as well as open prints in 8 x 10 and 5 x 7″ sizes. I have greeting cards with my railroad watercolor images on the front and a text on the back (blank inside). I sell these at $5 each or $25 for six in a boxed set. Coffee mugs have also been created that sell for $15. This will be the first Christmas season that I have such a full inventory. Hopefully, I can offer something for everyone.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend.

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The Harmony Beneath the Disarray

August 29, 2017

grapevine train.jpg

Nearing Completion of Another Watercolor 

The ancients, struck with this irreducibleness of the elements of human life to calculation, exalted Chance into a divinity, but that is to stay too long at the spark,–which glitters truly at one point,–but the universe is warm with the latency of the same fire. . . . Underneath the inharmonious and trivial particulars, is a musical perfection, the Ideal journeying always with us, the heaven without rent or seam.  Do but observe the mode of our illumination. When I converse with a profound mind, or if at any time being alone I have good thoughts, I do not at once arrive at satisfactions, as when, being thirsty, I drink water, or go to the fire, being cold: no! but I am at first apprised of my vicinity to a new and excellent region of life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience”

Rising at 5:40 this morning, without an alarm, it didn’t take long before I felt bathed in the warmth of Emerson’s words. As an older man, he soberly assessed “experience” as a replacement for his earlier romantic flourishes as a thinker and writer. I love the quote above as he acknowledges that the spark in later years may lack the white hot dynamic of ideas that struck him in his youth, but the warmth and duration remained. Ideas such as this have helped me in my transitions in life, from a young educator, to one middle aged, and now retired.

More than ever before, I have come to embrace the “musical perfection” underlying the “inharmonious and trivial particulars” of daily life. In my early days of the ministry, I would devote all my energies of a particular day to poring over the biblical writings, believing that they contained the Word of God, and that I would be encountered, confronted by their message. I expected some kind of an oracle. For the past several decades, I have known that oracles would come through a multiplicity of avenues–literature, philosophy, conversation, art, music; I would no longer have to seek an encounter aggressively, but rather let it happen when it happens.

Today has been spectacular, though the bare details of the day sound pedestrian. I have divided my time between reading Emerson, writing a college lecture for tomorrow, listening to documentaries on YouTube on Hemingway and Joyce, finishing up a watercolor begun two days ago, and practicing guitar songs for tonight’s Open Mic. And all day long, a Presence has lingered with me, though I live alone. That Presence has been the underlying harmony of all the disjunctive tasks I have pursued. And I didn’t have to force any kind of encounter; it just happened, as it always does.

open mic

Fun at Dr. Jeckyll’s Open Mic

Thanks for reading.

 

Thoughts Concerning Creative Energy

August 26, 2017

train drawing finished

Did our birth fall in some fit of indigence and frugality in nature, that she was so sparing of her fire and so liberal of her earth, that it appears to us that we lack the affirmative principle, and though we have health and reason, yet we have no superfluity of spirit for new creation? . . . We are like millers on the lower levels of a stream, when the factories above them have exhausted the water. We too fancy that the upper people must have raised their dams.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience”

As I grow older and find creative energy harder to sustain, I take solace in reading testimonies from Emerson and Walt Whitman, who knew all-too-well the difficulty of continuing the push for creative eros.  Emerson’s essay “Circles” has a great metaphor, describing the endeavor as pushing outward in concentric circles one’s creative energy. Each circle goes out a certain distance, then piles up and hardens into a berm. A harder effort is required to push the new wave of energy with enough force to burst that dam, but alas, the new circle also rises into a new berm, further away and higher. As one continues to create, more and more force is required to break through the earlier barricades.

At my age, I find that I’m sleeping longer and having to be more thoughtful of my diet. And I have to be more reasonable about deadlines and how much time is required to do quality work. Drawing and painting today has been a genuine joy, but I feel the weariness, and notice that the work requires more scrutiny than it seemed to before. But I still want to create, to live an artful life. I’m grateful to Texas Wesleyan University, for giving me a creative outlet in classes only three times a week, and to The  Gallery at Redlands for giving me a place to create and display my art. The patrons today have given me profound joy in conversation and encouragement. Palestine is a remarkable town.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

 

Fourth of July Painting

July 4, 2017

20170704_165736

Family is starting to arrive for our Fourth of July cookout, so I’m posting what I’ve done so far today.  Working on details becomes so tedious that I frequently turn my attention to reading and writing, taking breaks from the watercolor.  The biography on Cezanne is amazing, as I’m reading now of how captivated he was in his scrutiny of inanimate objects.  I have always felt that unusual draw, as inanimate objects hold my attention. Recently, it is all these steam locomotives that I have been photographing in Palestine, Texas and St. Louis, Missouri.  Throughout this day, I have pored over the minute, exacting details of the portrait of this old #610 Texas and Pacific loco of which I’ve already attempted an earlier painting.

I enjoy our all-too-rare family gatherings, and hope that posting this blog will bring a sense of release so that I don’t sit quietly thinking over it while others are trying to visit. I’ve always struggled between the private and social moments of my day-to-day existence.

Thanks for reading and happy Fourth of July!