Archive for the ‘Native American’ Category

Resuming the Hank Chapter for Turvey’s Corner

March 31, 2020
Hank on the Road

There was only one firm spot in my world at that moment, one solid, endurable thought: I did not wish to go on the way I had been going.

Peter London, Drawing Closer to Nature: Making Art in Dialogue with the Natural World

This new painting has been in my blood for days, and finally I have a start on it. It marks the continuation of my work on the Turvey’s Corner 63050 series I began in 1999. The subject focuses on Hank as he leaves Turvey’s Corner in search of meaning for his previously sheltered, uneventful life. The quote above from Peter London could well have been authored by Hank himself late that night in the filling station when he decided he was leaving town in the morning.

Hank is my alter ego. I left home in 1972 to enter college, in that day feeling just as lost and rootless, and I never returned to my hometown to live. Hank, according to my Turvey’s Corner series, leaves home after a short time studying at the community college and working nights in the filling station. As he hitchhikes along Route 66 he senses a Presence watching over him. High on the hill overlooking him, I am going to place an Osage warrior on an Appaloosa mount. Osage Indians massacred the first settlers of Turvey’s Corner in March 1800. The spirit watching over him now is the spirit of the Native American, of Homer, of John Muir, of any wandering mendicant seeking a place to anchor his life.

As the coronavirus continues to keep us close to home, I am pleased to have a sense of purpose in working on my art. One day I am confident that I will re-enter our community, and when I do, I intend to have a large body of new work to put in my galleries and festival booths. If there is any upside to this Shelter-at-Home lifestyle, it is the freedom to pursue my art with no appointments or expectations binding me.

Thanks 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.

Turvey’s Corner–the next chapter

March 28, 2020

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, The Man Made of Words

On this beautiful Saturday morning, I am thrilled to announce the beginning of a new chapter on the project I’ve worked on for years–I am hoping to publish a book titled Turvey’s Corner 63050. The Missouri town is fictional as is the zip code, lying between the place of my hometown High Ridge (63049) and where I attended church and school, House Springs (63051). My series has already featured the gas station I am naming Jerry’s Texaco, and the young attendant inside whom I’ve named Hank. Like the Momaday quote above, I have been piecing stories and paintings together for about two decades now, hoping to weave a story where readers might find a space to occupy.

Attendant Not on Duty
Six Subjects in Search of a Painter

The still life above has been painted to depict the store room of the gas station where Hank sometimes spends the night after closing the store.

Hank was up late again, bedding down in the storeroom of the old filling station.  He had closed Jerry’s Texaco after the last of the Turvey’s Corner work force drifted in and out, their work in the city done for another day. Hank himself could have called it a day but was too engrossed in his college studies to pack up the books and head for his garage apartment in the next county. So, with the owner’s permission, he would spend another night in the back storeroom where he kept his cot, amidst the smells of gasoline, oil, pit grease and the grime that had built up over two generations.

The Texaco station was anchored on the first bend of the highway out of Turvey’s Corner. Interstate commerce had all but obliterated this sleepy town, and as soon as this young man graduated from the community college, he would depart as well. The local patrons had no knowledge or regard for the things that stirred the soul of this young dreamer. His volumes of Thoreau, Frost, Whitman and Twain had opened to him worlds beyond this community. And his few camping possessions stored in this back room (Griswold frying pan, stove top percolator, kerosene lantern, Maxwell House tin) were the tether that kept him bound to the wild. He would be packing up his gear in a week and leaving without notice. It was time to emerge from this cocoon and embrace the world calling out to him.

My next painting for Turvey’s Corner will feature Hank hitchhiking his way out of town. As he begins this odyssey, his mind will be preoccupied with the roots of Turvey’s Corner. In March 1800, Osage warriors massacred the family who built the first cabin in this town (this historical record can be researched under the massacre at House Springs, Missouri). As Hank hitchhikes, he feels a presence watching, and imagines an Osage warrior overseeing his odyssey with approval, knowing full well the trials of a new beginning.

Between the cities of High Ridge and House Springs is an outcropping of rock, where U. S. Highway 30 was carved out of the hills. My new painting will use this composition of the site that I painted years ago.

High Ridge Bluff

Hank will be at the base of this rock, his thumb out hoping to hitch a ride. On the hilltop I will place an Osage warrior looking down at the traveler.

During this time of staying indoors due to the scare of the virus, I’m excited to be working on the next chapter of my project.

Thanks for reading, and please check out my website: http://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.

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.

Finding my Way Back

March 26, 2020
Quality Moments for Reading, Recording and Painting

There is Spiritual Power in our speech. The First Worker blew His breath into the first human. He created and made him breathe and so there is Spiritual Power in our speech. Be careful in how you speak.

Baaannile (Direction of the Path of the People), White Owl

White Owl, delivering his wisdom to the Crow tribes, has struck a deep chord within me this morning. In the midst of this Stay At Home directive that has confined me to the hearth, I have tried largely to avoid the reckless waste of words tossed over the air by alleged leaders of this country–people who were appointed to their positions because of the trust that they were mature and wise. Some sound decisions are being made, I believe, but much of the rhetoric, political posturing and showmanship I can do without. Words are precious and pack much power, but diminish exponentially when used for carnival barking.

My former student, Eric Tiner, lives among the Apsáalooke (Crow) in southern Montana where he has found a rich life and work. He has graciously sent me this book handed down by White Owl, and in recent days, my soul has been replenished by words from this sage’s reservoir along with words from N. Scott Momaday and the Kiowa traditions. Not only have these wise men granted me new visions for subject matter in painting–they have also filled my journals with fresh vistas of thought.

Working on a Pair of Watercolors

Most of Wednesday was spent in my makeshift studio, working on a pair of watercolors (one of a Kiowa subject, the other a Crow). As I worked, I listened on YouTube to a pair of engaging documentaries of the life and work of our famous American illustrator N. C. Wyeth, father of Andrew Wyeth. N. C. has arrested my attention over this past year as I have learned that he was a lover of books and ideas and these were the motive power behind his magnificent paintings. As I have previously written, I have deeply appreciated the rich writings of painters including Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newmann and Mark Rothko, but I find very little in common with their Abstract Expressionist syles of painting. Now I seem to have landed in the embrace of a kindred spirit who loved books and representational painting as I do. Those who know me personally are aware that I have a deep-seated attachment to Andrew Wyeth’s art. However, I deeply resent a public remark he made in an interview that he believed his father wasted too much time reading Thoreau and Emerson. And so, though I am more attached to Andrew’s techniques and subject matter, I am much more attached to N. C.’s written words that express rich profoundness of thought.

As I have felt my strength returning to me in the past few days, I have appreciated the stamina of my eyes and mind to read, think and write once again. And now, it feels good to get out and walk in the open air (where there are not other people nearby) and feel strength returning to my body. Before this virus scare, I always felt compelled to travel and network for the purpose of increasing the visibility of my art. But frankly, I prefer the more sedentary life, and always had this inborn fear that I was being “lazy” when devoting large blocks of time to my studies and my art. This beginning of 2020 has been most unusual, as it has marked the first time in over thirty years that I have no teaching contract of any kind, and now the Stay at Home directive essentially tells me to stay in. I have read the remarks of many who are frustrated that they cannot get out and find a social life or enjoy shopping, but frankly, I have appreciated very much this respite. The life of the mind is rich enough for me, and I relish this gift.

Last evening I felt good enough to get out and walk, and decided to pack a folding chair, fly rod and good book as I made my way to the nearby park where a large playa has spawned a population of catfish and carp. I eschewed the classical manner of fly fishing, choosing instead to tie on to my leader a small strike indicator bubble and a size 18 treble hook dangling 12″ further. Three pieces of whole kernel corn were spiked onto the treble and I slung the bait out into the center of a finger of the playa, laid the rod at my feet and let the evening winds carry the line along, coming to rest about a foot from the bank. Nothing happened, as expected, but the evening winds whispered among the leaves of the shade tree overhead, and I felt very much alive and thanful. Opening N. Scott Momaday’s The Man Made of Words, I turned to my bookmarked spot, near the finish of this magnificent book. Reading and glancing up at the bubble every few minutes, I found myself soon immersed in Momaday’s world, and was surprised at one point to look up and see the bobber dancing all about. The carp was heavy for my light-weight fly rod, and bringing him in took awhile, as I didn’t want him to break off the fragile leader. His gold and green glistened in the sunset and I took a moment to admire and photograph him before returning him to his home. He sure was a stout fellow, and disappeared in a flash when I let him go.

A sturdy carp taken on a flyrod

This Thursday morning is bright and sunny in west Texas. I am choosing again to stay inside for the day. There is plenty to keep my imagination occupied, and I’m glad to start the day by sending these words and pictures to you.

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.

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.