Archive for the ‘On the Road’ Category

Walking Across America

March 13, 2022
Isaiah Glen Shields, Passing Through Palestine–our Contemporary John Muir

“Hey, I saw you on TV the other day. You’re the fella that’s walkin’ across the country!”

Hearing these words in the lobby of The Redlands Hotel Saturday stopped me in my tracks. The 28-year-old trim young man wearing serious hiking shoes merely smiled at what he no doubt has heard hundreds of times over the past year. I couldn’t resist a sit-down with Isaiah Glen Shields in The Gallery at Redlands, because I ached to hear his story. I recalled the writings of John Muir I read back in 1987:

I set forth [from Indianapolis] on a thousand-mile walk to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Chatting in the Gallery

Isaiah walked out of his house in Provo, Utah on May 13, 2021 and set out for Cape Alava, Washington, the westernmost geographical spot in our nation. His ultimate destination: the easternmost spot in our country, the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine. Having walked the entire distance to Palestine, Texas, he set out for Houston late in the afternoon, planning ultimately to walk to Louisiana, then on to Florida, and ultimately turn northward toward Maine.

I had to ask him when he hatched this vision, assuming that it was a gradual idea rather than an instantaneous flash of inspiration. His story was engaging: graduating from Brigham Young University with a degree in “strategy” (he said), he found himself working uninspired jobs in corporate finance, often staying no longer than two months at a single position. In July 2020, it dawned on him that every morning on the job when logging on to his computer, he was met with a luminous, colorful photo of some scenic place on our globe. On that particular day he asked himself, “Why on earth am I spending the best years of my life sitting indoors staring at a computer screen rather than being out there in the midst of all this wonder and natural beauty?” From that day he laid the groundwork for the time when he would walk out the door of his home and tramp across the country, taking in the natural wonders and meeting people in the small towns.

Taking advantage of the best technology, Isaiah tells the daily story of his travels on Facebook (Isaiah Glen Shields), Instagram (igshields27), Youtube (you do you), and can be reached on Venmo (@isaiah-shields). Since yesterday, I have had the sincere pleasure of following his travels and vicariously enjoying his connections with people he meets along the way.

Chatting it up with Dave Shultz at the Pint and Barrel Draughthouse

Isaiah’s day in Palestine marked Day #250 in his trek, and we hope he found some enrichment in talking with the people here as we certainly drew much inspiration from him.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy following Isaiah’s odyssey.

Earlier Work on the Chuck Wagon

February 6, 2022
Chuckwagon Watercolor created on site in 2016

I did not pick up the brush today as I had too much college work to catch up since we are returning to the classroom in the morning. I’m excited finally to get to deliver my inaugural semester lecture to students I have not yet seen.

Before retiring to bed last night, I pulled all my journal volumes from 2016-2017 in order to re-read what I had recorded during all my stays in the remote East Texas store that my friends allow me to live in during periodic escapes from city life. I had forgotten that I had set up a plein air easel and painted on site a watercolor of a chuck wagon on the property. Having recently developed an addiction to watching 1883 on television, I decided I wanted to paint a wagon train much like what is seen on the series. I hope my schedule will allow me a visit again soon to the old country store. It’s been a few years since I last resided there.

A Lyrical Moment at the Old Store

Thanks for reading.

Unwinding after the Show

March 25, 2021

To paint is to love again. It’s only when we look with eyes of love that we see as the painter sees. His is a love, moreover, which is free of possessiveness. What the painter sees he is duty bound to share. Usually he makes us see and feel what ordinarily we ignore or are immune to.

Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Rolling across Missouri, I will attempt to voice text this blog. I am peering through a windshield at a soggy terrain with intermittent rain. Two days ago, Wayne and I set out for the long journey home, stopping at Beavers Bend State Park to fly-fish, then drove all the way to Hot Springs, Arkansas to stay the night. The following morning, I found the subject for my next watercolor in downtown Hot Springs. The words of Henry Miller came back to, compliments of the lovely gift Stacy and Leigh gave me the night of our gallery opening. When I’m driving across several states, my eyes are constantly soaking up the world beyond the windshield, and I am automatically painting the passing scenery in my mind, puzzling over how to render certain color combinations and figuring out compositional problems. For me, “to paint is to love again”, and what I try to capture on paper I definitely feel “duty bound to share.”

After taking the picture we set out for Wayne’s home in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Before saying goodbye, we decided to fish some more, since we had no luck at Beavers Bend. We managed to land a few small ones, and felt that we had at least accomplished something as anglers!

After spending the night in High Ridge and getting to visit with my parents and siblings, I now begin the long journey home.

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After several days of trekking across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas, I’m thrilled to be back in the Gallery at Redlands for the weekend. New work has been hung to replace what sold last week, and tonight the Redlands Hotel is extremely busy with two tour buses and folks soaking up the second weekend of the Dogwood Festival. Since we’re busy tonight, I’ll postpone beginning my watercolor of the ghost sign-covered building from Hot Springs until the morning. It’s too hard to paint when people keep dropping in, and the last thing we wish to do is appear too busy or preoccupied with other tasks. I have decided to pursue a palimpsest theme once I get started on the Hot Springs building with ghost signs. Already I have scribbled out some broad themes in my journal and have begun another Hank and Randy story to accompany the new painting. Friends have asked me since we took over the gallery if I would stop painting. Absolutely not! Tune in 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.

Hunkering Down during the Heat

July 10, 2020
Beginning an 8 x 10″ watercolor

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, Abstract Expressionist painter

The past week has been rather quiet–a long road trip, and then several days of relaxation in deep west Texas. A string of 100-degree days has kept us mostly inside, but west Texas morning temperatures hover in the comfortable seventies. This lovely morning was no exception when I stepped out shortly after daylight and walked around a quiet neighborhood, enjoying the gaiety of a myriad of birds in the trees and admiring the clouds strewn across a bright cerulean sky.

Last evening I came across the Franz Kline quote posted above while reading Jacobson’s biography on Robert Motherwell, and it made me lay the book aside and ponder for a spell. In response to Kline, I have to acknowledge that my professional life was lived out in the second half of his description, with all that noise. I cannot say I would have preferred it that way, but it’s what fell to my lot. My professional portion was spent in the public sphere, while all the while I wished to be in the other half, the Walden half. Now, with deep gratitude, I find myself in the Walden half.

The first week of our journey was relaxing, much time spent in leisure reading and making some attempts at watercolor. With no appointments, it was nice to let the days flow by at a comfortable pace. Today we landed in a home where we’ve been asked to dog sit a few days. So I guess I’ll now introduce you to the menagerie.

Hazel, helping me edit

Hazel, a Jack Russell terrier, never relaxes. She needs a job. This is the only dog I’ve ever known who fixates on any lighted screen, jumping up and down in front of the living room smart TV, settling on my shoulder to read my phone, or in the above picture, staring into my laptop. As I work on this blog, she is supervising.

Hazel staring into my phone for a selfie

Bo is as large as I am, and usually finds a quiet place next to me when I work in one place for an extended time.

Bo, asleep at my feet under the table
This is our Patches, finishing his morning coffee

Patches is our own rescue dog, so he will always be nearby. He likes the cream residue at the bottom of Sandi’s coffee mug. Every morning he lingers close by for that special moment.

Guido, the senior citizen of the pack, sleeps all day in this chair

This old boy is a genuine sweetheart. I don’t believe he can hear now, but he awoke from his slumber as I approached to take the photo, so he is still alert.

Peanut, emerging from her nap

Peanut is Miss Personality, always wanting to sleep next to me wherever I work. She only asks to be against a warm body.

I already miss Eli, the Yorkie. We stayed with him all week until this morning. (with Patches)

I always hate saying good-bye to Eli. He has been a delight all week, continually wrestling with Patches, but always willing to pause long enough to pose for a photo. He is the only one among the dogs above who is not in this space currently. As I type this, all the others are in the same room with me, but quiet.

I have started two new watercolors, both 8 x 10″ My intention was to visit the canyons for some plein air work while out here, but with daily temperatures ranging from 105-110, I don’t think so. I have a backlog of compositions saved up over the years that I’ve wanted to paint, so I’m going to take a crack at them.

With the above painting, I’m making use of a reference photo taken years ago (before smart phones took over). I’m standing in the middle of the South Fork of the Rio Grande in Colorado. I have had the photo framed and hanging in my home till I took it down while packing for this trip last week. I determined I would attempt a painting before returning to rehang the picture.

Challenges I’ve avoided for years I am finally facing–(1) the armature of Colorado evergreens along with the actual colors of their needles both in the sun as well as the shadows, and (2) the dynamics of a rapidly flowing mountain stream. Both problems are making me focus more than ever before. And if I don’t get this one right, then I’m confident I will continue trying until I get closer to the truth. At any rate, while painting it, all the luxurious memories of days spent in that stream are returning to me. During these triple-digit-temperature days I certainly would love to stand in one of those cold streams, waiting for a trout to rise.

Hazel has gotten bored with my typing. She now sleeps in a chair nearby. And as I look up, I see all the dogs, littered like carcasses all about the living room. Nap time.

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.

Sunday Morning with Randy in the Motel

July 5, 2020
Ozark Court Motel. Stanton, Missouri

Sunday morning rays of sunshine lanced through the slits in the closed blinds of Room 6 at the Ozark Court Motel. Randy lay with his eyes closed. It took a few moments before he realized where he was and what day it was. Hitchhiking had not fared well the day before. Driving rains soaked him to the skin and no one was pulling over on Route 66 to offer him a ride. Why would they? No doubt he carried all the charm of a drowned city sewer rat as he trudged along the muddy shoulder, his knapsack beginning to let in water as well. But this morning he was OK. A soothing shower the night before and a Jack Daniels nightcap ushered in a quality night’s sleep. But now it was Sunday. What to do?

His Greek Testament lay on the bedside table; he had removed it the night before, intending for it to be the first thing his eyes would see the morning after. Now he sat up in bed, stretched his limbs and reached for the small volume he thought he was going to discard once he dropped out of seminary. He couldn’t. Though he no longer congregated, he still woke on Sunday mornings feeling the need to reach for a text that had been his companion for two-and-a-half years, only now he no longer felt shackled by deadlines of term papers and Sunday morning sermon manuscripts. He could read what he chose.

But what to read? The Gospels crossed his mind. Always a good choice. But what did he want this morning from the Gospels? Did he want to see or hear? Seeing would include mental images of Jesus walking either along a shore or down a dusty Palestinian street. Would he be solitary, seated in the wilderness, or thronged by a clinging crowd? Maybe Randy wanted to hear. But what? The voice of Jesus resonating in a synagogue, or speaking softly inside a living quarters? Would he be strolling country lanes with disciples listening, or seated on a boulder discoursing? Or would he be sitting in a boat, his voice going out over the waves while disciples pulled at the oars?

Why was Randy reaching for the New Testament? Because it was Sunday? He wasn’t congregating. He wasn’t called upon to address any hearers. What did he want this morning?

Outside the motel, traffic was heard rolling along Route 66 along the bottom of the bluff. Randy was aware that he was seated in bed, alone, in the heartland of America. Today is Sunday, the Fourth of July, 1976. The country had been surging with anticipation for months as she edged closer and closer to this day—the nation’s bicentennial. No doubt Randy’s former seminary friends—preacher friends—had been whipping themselves into a frenzy over what to preach on this Special Sunday. Randy was glad not to be under that kind of pressure. What exactly would he say today, standing before a congregation?

Opening his Greek Testament, he let his mind drift down pleasant corridors of memory. To this day he was grateful that he had learned Koinē Greek. The first semester was strictly recitation, vocabulary and functional grammar; the class never saw a New Testament. The objective was functional literacy. As children learn to speak their language before learning to read and understand the technical architecture of grammar, so Professor Corley wished for his students to recognize and read Greek early and dissect the grammar later. And so, Randy studied his lessons and performed the daily recitations for a semester.

On the first day of the second semester, the Professor walked to the blackboard, picked up the chalk and scrawled the following:

Sitting at his desk in the third row, Randy leaned forward earnestly and read the words instantly: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” The Professor turned to the class and solemnly declared: “You are now reading the New Testament. In Greek.” Sitting up in bed, Randy felt waves of warmth surging through his being as he recalled that historic morning. It was as though scales had fallen from his eyes and enlightenment had dawned. His life had been marked by so few quality moments. Opening his New Testament to Mark 1:15, he read the words afresh.

The time is fulfilled. On that historic day, Randy felt that he had fulfilled his apprenticeship to elementary Greek vocabulary and grammar. He read a Greek New Testament passage with no assistance from a teacher or book. It was a new day. A new world dawned and beckoned. He had no idea then that a ministerial life, just underway, would collapse and burn in less than two years.

Now it is Sunday, July 4, 1976. The nation celebrates its 200th birthday. Randy wondered what exactly he was celebrating, if anything. What was life offering now? Was he about to pass through another portal? Again, why was he reading the New Testament? Because it is Sunday? Because it is the Fourth of July? Because the country is now two hundred years old? What was in the air for Randy? He wanted to know.

Was he reading from the life of Jesus because he needed a mentor? Someone to guide him? Thinking back over his life, Randy realized that he had always sought direction from a strong leader. His father, his pastor, his professors, and a few years ago he had that conference with Reverend Elton in Dallas. Did Randy need a mentor now? Or was it time to think for himself? Maybe his apprenticeship to life was ended and it was time to stand up, to strike forth and find new ground under his own direction. The time is fulfilled.

Rising from bed, Randy stretched and strolled across the small room to the writing table in the corner where he had placed his journal the night before. Opening it to the pages he wrote the day he quit the seminary, he found a passage he had copied from James Smart’s The Divided Mind of Modern Theology.

There are remarkable parallels between the European mood of the twenties and the English and American mood of the sixties: God seemed to have gone into hiding; religious and theological language out of the past had become wooden and unconvincing; men felt themselves suspended between a world that had died and a new world that was waiting to be born; a church indifferent to the plight of the masses was recognized as unworthy of the name Christian; the identification of Christianity with Western civilization, and of divinity with the higher elements in man, had become highly suspect; in various forms the hunger for a new world now was felt, and some understood it as hunger for a living God. In that kind of world Barth and Bultmann became theologians whose one endeavor was to find the word that would unlock the future, the word that would bring wholeness of faith and creative power by being the very truth of the living God.

It is Sunday, Randy thought. Today, churches would perhaps be filled to capacity, no doubt to celebrate a 200th birthday. Yet, Randy sensed that the ministers would still crank out those same tired sermons, their singsong voices rasping like rusty squeeze boxes, sounding out the same two-note refrain of the deadly forces that continually threaten the vitality of our church and nation—abortion and communism.

Randy replayed from memory a line he had memorized from his reading of one of Nietzsche’s early essays:

He who has but two strings on his instrument . . . does not understand those who can play on more strings. It is of the essence of the higher, multi-stringed culture that it is always misinterpreted by the lower culture . . .

Randy’s sojourn of recent years had definitely added more strings to his life’s instrument. No doubt this is why he was not attending church this particular morning, or most mornings for that matter. Virtually everything delivered from pulpits he had heard before, and indeed was beginning to write them out in his own sermons before he quit. He didn’t need to hear them again.

Randy recalled with a smile a quote he had read from his readings in the religions of India, how the Upanishad movement was sprung partly because the general population had grown weary of listening to the traditional chants of the Vedic priests “who sounded like croaking frogs in the swamps.”

America in 1976 was sounding restless. Perhaps a new world was beginning to dawn. The time is fulfilled. Randy wondered if his own odyssey was corresponding with the quest of this American nation in 1976, poised to enter a new age of Enlightenment. Where was Hank? It had been months since that night they sat at the fire, camping in west Texas. It was time to get together and talk some more. No doubt Hank had just as much weighing on his mind as Randy. Later today, Randy would return to Turvey’s Corner, having been away four years. Maybe Hank was already there.

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Thanks for reading my blog.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Evening Ponderings over Motherwell Art

July 2, 2020
Time spent reading Motherwell biographies

As always, the studio was the space of revelation. For all his sociability and engagement with the public world, he admitted on several occasions that he felt essentially awkward outside the studio and only comfortable inside its solitude, that his real discoveries were made in direct contact with his materials.

Bernard Jacobson, Robert Motherwell: The Making of an American Giant

Having wrapped up another commission, it felt good today to relax, stretch and spend some time poring over a pair of Robert Motherwell biographies I purchased on the centennial year of his birth. I read both of them within weeks of their publication, but then put them on the shelf for five years. Those who know me are aware that I spend much of my leisure reading biographies on artists I’ve admired throughout my life–Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, Paul Cezanne, Joseph Mallord William Turner, Henri Matisse, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol et al.

Motherwell and Hopper are especially dear to my heart because they were profound thinkers, always adjusting their compasses to pursue the direction they felt compelled to follow. Both were needled by friends and associates that they spent too much time in books. Motherwell especially was criticized for devoting too much time to writing, publishing and lecturing. I am grateful that they left behind a considerable sum of pages of their ideas; I am just as immersed in their words as I am their images. As an artist, I have always aspired to be a thinker as well as craftsman.

Completed Commission

My main purpose in posting this blog is to show the commission I just completed today. This Ozark Court Motel no longer stands. Since 1977, I saw this motel ruin on the north side of Interstate 44 (historic Route 66) in Stanton, Missouri as I traveled back and forth from Missouri to Texas. All I know so far is that the business dated back to the 1930’s. Hopefully in the days ahead I will be able to uncover more history of the site and attempt to spin out some stories. Hank and Randy need some new adventures.

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.

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.

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.

Requiem for the Fourth

June 24, 2019

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Requiem for the Fourth (Still in Progress)

He tasted the dry dust as he walked along the Historic Route 66 thoroughfare, the hot August winds bending the roadside weeds. After twenty years away, he had resolved to return to Turvey’s Corner to see what remained. What he hadn’t anticipated was his truck breaking down more than ten miles from the town he longed to see. Rounding yet another bend in the road and looking up at the weed-choked hill on his left, he felt his heart sink as he gazed upon what remained of the combination fireworks and souvenir shop. In the 1950’s, this established was one of the major draws for tourists crossing America via Route 66. Interstate 44 had managed to strangle and kill the few remaining businesses on old 66. 

Pausing in silence, he felt a sense of loss as he gazed upon this relic barely peeking over the heads of the dancing weeds. But as he lingered, he slowly sensed a presence as he recalled the sounds that used to reverberate from this site. Station wagons would pull into the parking lot and children squealing with ecstasy would leap out of the car to rush inside and explore. Later they would re-emerge, their arms laden with moccasins, beaded necklaces and tomahawks.

During the Fourth of July season, he recalled the scenes of fathers pulling up in their cars on their way home from work. Though tired from their labors, they seemed to reignite with fresh energy as they went inside to fill grocery sacks with Roman candles, bottle rockets, firecrackers and sparklers to take home to anticipating children.

The conflicting emotions of loss and presence flooded the man’s soul as he trudged past this scene on his way to the town he once knew.

.  .  .  .  .

I am nearing completion of my fourth painting in the new series Turvey’s Corner 63050.  For years I have looked for a vintage roadside fruit stand to include in my new project, but all I seem to find are new structures. Meanwhile I decided to go ahead and paint this derelict structure that I have passed by for years in southwest Missouri along Interstate 44 en route to St. Louis to visit my folks.

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.

Gearing Up for the Next Workshop

June 4, 2019

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In Progress Watercolor for Workshop Reference

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

T. S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”
This coming weekend, I will be working with some of my favorite artists in east Texas. Every time they invite me to judge an event or conduct a workshop, I count the days till I get to see them again. They recently sent me a reference photo of a location in Italy that they wish to paint. Before settling on the composition, they had already decided that they wanted to be instructed in architecture and foliage. I began work on this yesterday and poked around with it for a few hours, then returned to it today, spending more time looking at the reference photo than actually painting the composition. I felt like the carpenter who followed the dictum: Cut once. Measure twice. I always feel dissatisfied when my brush goes on automatic pilot because I am painting something I had attempted many, many times before. With this particular subject, I encountered many first-time objects and surfaces and had to concentrate on how to render them on paper. I always receive so much more enjoyment when engaged this way, constantly questioning, second-guessing. I am reminded of the sentiment of T. S. Eliot–the shadow falls between the conception and act of creation. And I feel something deeply satisfying when I linger in that shadow.

I am preparing to go on the road again, so I am not sure when I will post the next blog. But I always appreciate knowing there are people who look forward to the next installment. Thank you always for reading.

I make art, hoping to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog, reminding myself I am not alone.