Archive for the ‘One Man Show’ Category

Re-Filling the Reservoir

February 14, 2020

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I could never imagine a better reception than what I experienced at yesterday’s Meet the Artist. I delivered my program at C C Young to introduce the audience to my show “Memories From a Small Town.” After much thought, I’ve decided to share it on my blog in its entirety. A powerpoint of the images accompanied my talk:

Memories From a Small Town

Antique Store

I am grateful to all of you who have traveled to see my body of artwork today. I also want to say a word to those of you in the audience who live here as well as those who work here. I hope during this month when you see my work that you can experience a feeling similar to looking through your own photo albums or cell phone pictures: to reawaken memories.

The most precious resource we carry with us throughout our days is the collection of memories we have made—memories that have made us. We have stories to re-live, to share, and my satisfaction in painting is telling those stories.

For about thirty years now, I have endeavored to paint small town America as relived through my childhood memories as well as viewed through my windshield while driving all over the Southwest and Midwest.

The celebrated French author Marcel Proust, in his expansive novel, urges that our senses have the power to transport us back to warm, primal memories from our childhood, memories that are worth holding on to. And we catch our breath when overtaken by these surprising moments. And we can never hold on to them; they evaporate as quickly as they arrive. But we are nevertheless grateful for that warm, yet brief, visitation.

Over the years I have collected my memories, written my stories and arranged my paintings into a collection I have titled “Turvey’s Corner.” This is a town I’ve made up, much like Garrison Keillor did with Lake Wobegon, Minnesota or Sherwood Anderson with Winesburg, Ohio. And I have created characters to tell the story of this American town.

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It seems I can never casually drive past an abandoned filling station without turning my Jeep around and returning to walk the premises and remember the sounds I knew from the 1950’s. Who would have guessed seventy years ago that the bell cables under the tires of our cars would fall silent one day, and men in work uniforms would stop dashing out of the station to service our cars? Who ever thought that the day would end that someone would walk up to a cigarette machine inside, poke in the coins, pull the knob and hear that package slap down in the tray?

jerrys texaco

I have written stories to accompany many of the paintings in this show. Here is the one for “Jerry’s Texaco”–

Over-worked and under-rested, the aging men of Turvey’s Corner began their early-morning drive to St. Louis, twenty-three miles down Highway 30. Around the first bend of the highway out of town, they found a welcoming stop at Jerry’s Texaco. Bell cables clanged as sedans rolled up to the gas pumps, and Steve, the young attendant, pushed aside his college books to hustle out and service the customers. The aroma of coffee brewing usually lured the men out of their cars and inside for scalding, stout coffee and the exchange of local news stories. Visits here always seemed to make the workday go a little better.

Requiem for the Fourth

He tasted the dry dust as he walked along the abandoned 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 had not 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 right, he felt his heart sink as he gazed upon what remained of the combination fireworks and souvenir shop. In the 1950’s, this establishment 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.

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 pulling into the parking lot. Children squealing with ecstasy, leaping out of the cars to rush inside and explore. Later re-emerging, their arms laden with moccasins, beaded necklaces and tomahawks.

He recalled scenes from past Fourth of July seasons. Fathers pulling up in their cars on their way home from work. Tired from their labors, they seemed to reignite with fresh energy as they stepped 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 a town he once knew.

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On a personal note, I am deeply grateful for dear patrons of mine who purchased this relic of a country store and moved it to their property in east Texas. Here is a photograph of the store. The reason it resonates with me is because I grew up in small towns where people lived in the backs of the small stores they owned. I always wished I could experience living in such a space.

Heideggers hut

These wonderful owners one day handed me the key to this store, offering it as a retreat from my home in the busy suburbs of our metroplex.

Heideggers Hut darkened and muted

I call it Heidegger’s Hut because the philosopher Martin Heidegger built a cabin in the Black Forest back in 1922 and frequently hiked the 11 miles there from his university post in the city. In this quiet refuge he wrote all his famous scholarly works, enjoying the quiet of the country. This is what I do now that I am retired and find more time on my hands for making art and thinking up new ideas.

doorknob in progress

As I sat inside the store, I was painting the doorknob behind the cash register that leads into the residential part of the store in back.

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I spent an entire night working on the door knob and titled it “Beyond the Door.”

store shelf in progress

After painting the door knob, I turned my attention to the items on the shelves and commenced painting them . . .

Memories from a Country Store

. . .  and stirring up old memories of country stores from my youth.

Oxbow General Store

While painting in this remote country store, I came up with the idea of painting the Oxbow which used to be a general store in Palestine, Texas, now a popular bakery. My gallery is located in Palestine, so I spend a great deal of time in that town. As I painted the store, I thought again of those Mom & Pop country stores with the residences in back. Here is the story I wrote:

Hank was alone again in the general store, resigned to the reality that he would be closing shop late again. He would have to bed down in the storeroom in back.  His college books remained on the small desk behind the counter. He had a class early the next morning, so, with the owner’s permission, he would spend another night in the back of the store.  The shop was anchored on historic Route 66 on the outskirts of Turvey’s Corner.  Interstate commerce had all but obliterated the sleepy town, and as soon as this fellow graduated from the community college, he would depart as well.  Local townspeople and patrons had no knowledge or regard for the things that stirred the soul of this young dreamer.  His volumes of Emerson, Frost, Whitman and Twain had opened to him worlds beyond this community.  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 that was calling out to him.

Finishing Fishing Memories  

And finally, I am still looking for an old shed to paint so I can add some stories to this painting. One night in my garage at home, I assembled this gear from my personal collection, hoping it would look like the illustrated story of a man who had lived many years. As I sat up all night working on it, this story came to me:

Fishing Memories resized

When the neighbors hammered the padlock off the deceased man’s fishing shed, they peered inside the darkened room with sadness at the world of memories their dear friend had left behind.  They called him Old Ned, the Porch Front Philosopher of Turvey’s Corner. Now, they looked in silent sadness at his possessions standing like sentries in his chamber. Guarding the assembly from its high perch, the kerosene lantern called to memory nights spent on the Mississippi River dike, waiting for catfish that would find their way to the Griswold skillet.  The Canada Dry crate was the old fisherman’s stool for the nightlong vigils.

Bass fishing featured his Garcia Mitchell open-faced reel and the vintage wooden plugs for the area lakes and ponds.  In his retirement years, fly fishing took over, and Old Ned delighted in long road trips in his Dodge pickup to the Colorado Rockies where he would vanish for weeks at a time. The battered suitcase was his lifelong road companion, as was the dark leather knapsack purchased from an old leather shop on the dusty streets of Athens during his European odysseys.

Old Ned had not been heard from for more than a week, and the inquiring neighbors were saddened to enter his home and find him in his final resting place—his favorite recliner in the small front room of the ramshackle house.  His cup was still half-filled with the Dining Car Coffee he relished throughout his years working on the Frisco railroad.  Now, only his possessions remained to tell his life’s story.

I call my company Recollections 54 because my birthyear 1954 still anchors me to an era vanishing from our American landscape but not from our memory.

I thank you again for coming out to my show. I love talking about my art and could do that till you either fall asleep or walk away. I will not hold this audience captive, so let me just stay that I am remaining as long as there is anyone here to talk to, and would love to answer any questions you may have about my work.  Again, thank you for coming and God bless all of you.

. . . Today is Friday. I have nothing on my calendar the entire day. Searching for words to describe what I feel now seems futile. After weeks of focusing on yesterday’s presentation, I suddenly feel strange, not having an appointment to keep or a preparation to make. Now, having launched this blog, I’ll decide what to read next, what to write next, and best of all, determine that I will not schedule anything else this day. I’m thankful for quality time to fill the reservoir.

Thank you for reading. Please check out my website www.davidtrippart.com.

Shultz on website

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Installation of my New Show

February 1, 2020

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The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or perchance a palace or temple on the earth, and at length the  middle-aged man concludes to build a wood-shed with them.

Henry David Thoreau

Again, the wit of Thoreau draws a laugh from deep inside me. I am deeply appreciative of the many years granted for this earthly wandering, and laugh now when I recall grandiose dreams from my youth that remained only that–dreams. However, in one aspect of my life, I have enjoyed success–I have managed to hold on to the passion for making art and have amassed a large body of work that illustrates my journey.

Today, my one-man-show “Memories from a Small Town” opens in the Point & Pavilion at C C Young Senior Living in Dallas. I managed to hang the show last evening. The printer at the facility is waiting repairs, so hopefully the labels they created for the paintings will be installed on Monday. But the show is up, and I am grateful now for this Saturday of leisure. The past week has been exhausting beyond measure, getting things ready for this event.

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Installation in Progress

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Waiting for Labels to be Installed Monday

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Thirty-three watercolors have been selected to hang, illustrating images from small town life as well as the great outdoors. Because the venue is an assisted living facility, my genuine hope is for the residents to experience the same feeling looking at this show as they know when flipping through a photo album. I wish for my memories to invoke similar ones of their own. Last night, I got the feeling that this could happen, as quite a group of residents gathered to peruse the works as they were being hung. I enjoyed overhearing a number of the observations being made as the viewers shared stories from their past. I call my company Recollections 54 because that is my birth year and I have tried throughout recent decades to focus on subjects from 1950’s America. The husks and shells of those buildings and vehicles are gradually fading from our landscape, but not from my memory.

On February 13 at 3:30, I will present a powerpoint lecture in the facility and remain to answer questions and greet those who attend. If you are in the vicinity, I hope to see you. Here is the link to the facility:

https://www.ccyoung.org/the-point-pavilion

Thanks for reading. I hope you will check out my website at www.davidtrippart.com.

Shultz reduced

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Prepping for the One-Man-Show

January 26, 2020

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Arrangement of the Selected Paintings

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Quiet Winter Morning for Planning

Seated by the fire on this cold winter Sunday morning, I find myself bathed in this spirit of well-being, this eudaimonia. My one-man-show opens February 1 at CC Young assisted living facility in Dallas, Texas, a beautiful campus that features an artist every month, booked a year in advance. As the day draws nearer, my pulse quickens.

I have selected thirty-three framed watercolors to hang in the show. Sitting here with coffee, poring over the images, I feel the same sentiments expressed in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged describing the steel magnate witnessing the first pouring of his new alloy developed over the past ten years:

He did not think of the ten years. What remained of them tonight was only a feeling which he could not name, except that it was quiet and solemn. The feeling was a sum, and he did not have to count again the parts that had gone to make it. But the parts, uncalled, were there, within the feeling. They were the nights spent at scorching ovens in the research laboratory of the mills . . . the nights spent in the workshop of his home, over sheets of paper which he filled with formulas, then tore up in angry failure . . . (Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged)

My watercolor show spans the last ten years of my life, and I too have this broad feeling of tranquility which is the sum of ten years’ worth of parts or episodes. Gazing at the images floods me with the same kind of memories one knows when flipping the pages of a photo album or scanning the images on a phone. I love the immediacy one experiences when looking at visual art, compared to the time lapse when observing other media. To experience the full impact of an artist’s expression, the observer has to wait to get to the end of a story, poem, movie or song. But with visual art, the effect is instantaneous, and as I look over the pictures, the memories wash over my consciousness.

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“He is No Longer Here”

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This image takes me back seven years. I took the photo February 10, 2013 while working on this still life in my Man Cave (garage) 😊 with a space heater at my feet and hot cup of coffee and thermos at my elbow. As I worked on the piece, a story formed in my mind, and I stopped in the middle of the work to write out what I was thinking:

When the neighbors hammered the padlock off the deceased man’s fishing shed, they peered inside the darkened room with sadness at the world of memories their dear friend had left behind.  Guarding the assembly from its high perch, the kerosene lantern called to memory nights spent on the Mississippi River dikes, waiting for catfish that would find their way to the Griswold skillet.  The Canada Dry crate was the old fisherman’s stool for the nightlong vigils.

Bass fishing featured the Garcia Mitchell open-faced reel and the vintage wooden plugs for the area lakes and ponds.  In his retirement years, fly fishing took over, and the old man delighted in long road trips in his Dodge pickup to the Colorado Rockies where he would not be heard from for weeks at a time. The battered suitcase was his lifelong road companion, as was the dark leather knapsack purchased from an old leather shop on the dusty streets of Athens during his European excursions. 

The old man had not been heard from for more than a week, and the inquiring neighbors were saddened to enter his home and find him in his final resting place—his favorite recliner in the small front room of the ramshackle house.  His cup was still half-filled with the Dining Car Coffee he relished throughout his years working on the Frisco railroad.  Now, only his possessions remained to tell his life’s story.

Heideggers hut

Memories of my Favorite Hideaway

On October 20, 2016, I retreated to my favorite getaway, the remnants of a country store in rural east Texas. The dear friends who own the property have granted me access for quiet “away” time. On this particular morning, I was working on a painting of the door behind the cash register. Beyond the door are a kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom. The former store owners lived behind their business and now I am thankful to be allowed to reside here when I need to take some days away from the city.

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“Beyond the Door”

Heideggers Hut darkened and muted

“Heidegger’s Hut”

I have named this old store/residence Heidegger’s Hut. German philosopher Martin Heidegger built a cabin in the Black Forest in 1927 because he did not enjoy Berlin though he taught at the university there. He frequently retreated to this cabin, a rustic facility with no electricity, and in this enclave away from the city noise he wrote all his famous books and essays. This special country store is my favorite retreat from the bustle of suburban and city life. To this day, I believe some of my best work was done in the quiet of this environment, away from the public school and university where I divided my work time until 2017.

In 2015, I was honored to inaugurate the Artist-in-Residence program for Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. This island university built a field station on the Texas Laguna Madre and transported me there by boat to live for a week, observe the surroundings, keep a blog, and create a body of watercolors. My memories this morning include nights spent in my studio prepping for this residency, and then the special moment when I discovered a new technique for painting grasses while on the island.

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Planning my Residency

text on Durer grasses

Experiments in a New Technique

Like the character in the novel, I have enjoyed this morning of quiet, thinking over some of the highlights of the last decade of my life that have made possible the show coming up in a week. This show has been titled “Memories from a Small Town” and will be presented in eight sections–small town, country store, filling station, church & institution, railroad, stately residence, abandoned property and the great outdoors. I have been asked to present a public talk and powerpoint presentation February 13 during the Meet the Artist event. The show will hang for the duration of February, and I hope any of you within driving distance will come and view it.

Thanks for reading and please check out my website www.davidtrippart.com

Shultz reduced

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

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Decompression after the Show

March 9, 2018

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The day following the reception for a solo show is always my better day, even when the show is well-attended. And indeed I was thrilled to see so many people come to my event, a number of them driving for hours. The time went by fast, then I had to drive two hours to my Palestine gallery to set up some new work and re-install all my limited edition prints, then another two-hour drive back home, getting me back around midnight. Today I am somewhat tired, but no regrets about last night.

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I took a pair of photos as the first people arrived, then forgot to take any more, because as the people continued to come in (the librarian estimated fifty) I got busy talking to them, and after we closed, I remembered that I forgot to take more photos!

opening

I’ll close with a few close-ups of paintings that hung in the show.

crockett

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Arkansas truck better

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Thanks for reading.

Artist Reception is Tonight

March 8, 2018

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I am working to stave off nerves as time draws nearer for the reception for my show. My heartfelt thanks goes out to friends who have already said they plan to attend (nothing ties my stomach in knots more than the thought of going to my reception, and no one showing up!). Mark Twain joked about how it feels to stand around like an envelope without an address.

The gallery has agreed to set up a bin with all my limited edition prints available for sale as an added bonus to the show. I will need to get there early in order to facilitate the added display. I am also bringing along a brand new watercolor, framed, in case there is an easel available to put it on display and sale as well.

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Thanks always for reading.

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Artist Reception Fast Approaching

March 5, 2018

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I just wanted to put out this announcement for any of my friends in the area who would like to attend my reception. I would love the opportunity of visiting with you! The venue provided by the library is gorgeous, and I’m proud to have such an environment to display my work.

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Thanks for reading!

 

Taking Notes, on Paper

January 9, 2018

solo show

Take notes, on paper. Five hundred years later, Leonardo’s notebooks are around to astonish and inspire us. Fifty years from now, our own notebooks, if we work up the initiative to start writing them, will be around to astonish and inspire our grandchildren, unlike our tweets and Facebook posts.

Walter Isaacson, Leonardo Da Vinci

On Monday, I returned to the public library in Hillsboro to put the final touches on my solo watercolor exhibit which will hang till the end of February. Once the task was complete, I sank into a comfortable sofa at the end of the gallery and read for awhile, enjoying the perfect silence and rest. This marked a transition into my next enterprise–the Humanities curriculum for Texas Wesleyan University had just arrived via email, and I had only nine days till the start of the spring term. So . . . I sat in the soft light of the soothing gallery, surrounded by my art, and began reading and sketching out broad ideas in preparation for the new class.

That was yesterday. Today, Tuesday, I spent the entire day in my study, going over all my resources for the seventeenth-through-twentieth centuries of Philosophy, Art, Literature and Music. Once I laid out the scope and sequence of the spring semester and drafted a syllabus, I settled into writing an introduction to the seventeenth century, and then the reading of Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum, a treatise I had known about for decades but never actually read as a primary source. And as I read, I scribbled, in my journal, on index cards, on sheets of computer paper, sheets of legal paper and post-it notes. And the more I scribbled, the happier I felt, recalling the thrill of the search in college days and early days of teaching.

Humanities is a course I was privileged to develop for the public high schools way back in 1989, and then later was invited to teach at Texas Wesleyan University. But I haven’t taught the course for nearly ten years, and I am so enthused to return to the discipline. The history of ideas has always fueled my imagination, and now once again, I am granted access to these fine minds of history, with hopes of inciting interest in the young minds of our culture. A part of me is glad that I’m still a week away from the first day of school, as I’m still preparing, but another part of me wishes I could walk into that lecture room in the morning.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Opening of my New Solo Show

January 8, 2018

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Today I put the final pieces in place for my new solo show that just opened at the Hillsboro City Library on 118 S. Waco Street. Below is a copy of the flyers I’ve placed at the entrance to the show:

Proustian Moments

Watercolors by David Tripp

How many times have you looked upon a subject and felt suddenly “visited” by a warm, primal memory from your past, a memory worth holding in your heart? And then, just as suddenly, that sensation is gone, yet you continue to hold on to the memory. French novelist Marcel Proust wrote stories about those sudden shocks of recognition from our past. Hence, we refer to them as “Proustian Moments”. 

With watercolor pad and digital camera at his side, David Tripp spends hours driving in his Jeep, poking around the sleepy Texas towns along county roads, searching for subjects to paint.  Every day presents a new opportunity for discovery of some artifact reminiscent of earlier decades of energy and prosperity.  Today, only the shells and husks remain of filling stations, general stores, movie theaters and other public buildings formerly stirring with conversations, stories and glimpses of life.  These monuments are disappearing from our landscape, but not our memories.

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The gallery space in the basement of the library is magnificent and I was able to fit eighteen watercolors comfortably around three walls. The reading room on the main floor and second floor balcony provide an excellent environment for study and reflection.

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This show will hang till the end of February. An artist’s reception will be scheduled for some evening in February. As soon as the date is set, I will certainly post it.

Thanks for reading. I’m finally well enough to be out and about . . .

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

The Fall Season is Picking Up

October 2, 2017

Orange diesel

30 finished

Night Train Blue

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Night Train Violet

Blue & Red diesel

610 cab

I just finished a whirlwind of a weekend in Palestine, and am finishing several train watercolors at last. I just placed my first order for 1500 postcards of the historic #30 steam engine from the Texas State Railroad. In time, I will have postcards, greeting cards, and limited edition prints of all the trains of Palestine I’ve posted above. We’re trying to put on a big train show at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas this coming holiday season. I’ve been working on watercolors for the event all summer and am getting ready to make a deal with a framer to get them ready for presentation.

Thanks for reading.

Musings on the Last Day of My Show

April 9, 2017

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Three Views of the Lobby of The Redlands Historic Inn

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Photo taken by Z Jary

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Selfie taken early this morning before opening, the last day

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Jean Mollard just added me to the historical brochure of The Redlands!

Waking this Sunday morning, I wasn’t sure how I felt. Closing out this three-week show this evening and heading back home flooded me with a sad feeling. Yet, being invited to take part in Palestine’s future cultural events bathed me with warmth and excitement, knowing I can now begin writing a new chapter to this life narrative. So, before I open The Gallery at Redlands for this day, I pause once more to thank everyone who contributed to the excitement and success of the last three weeks–to my friends who visited, my patrons, my new friends I’ve met in this community, my facebook and blogging friends who continually wrote in your support–so many well-wishers–I thank you from the depths. Above all, I thank Wade and Gail for your vision in opening this gallery space, as well as Jean and Mike for your warm friendship and hospitality in this remarkable Redlands Historic Inn. This 102-year-old Inn is a most remarkable environment for overnight or extended stays, and the Red Fire Grille on the ground floor offers a fine dining experience that still leaves me in awe. So, anyone reading this, check out www.RedlandsHistoricInn.com, look at the photos of their spectacular rooms, pack your bags, and move in!  This historic facility and its owners are first-rate. I had friends come out and book suites the past two weekends, and they are still buzzing about the experience of staying here. I too had the privilege of living here the past three weekends and am going to miss the place sorely when I move out today.

Someone who was bound to know what he was talking about, Albrecht Dürer, did after all make the well-known remark: “For in truth, art lies hidden within nature; he who can wrest it from her, has it.” “Wrest” here means to draw out the rift and to draw the design with the drawing-pen on the drawing-board. But we at once raise the counterquestion: how can the rift-design be drawn out if it is not brought into the Open by the creative sketch as a rift, which is to say, brought out beforehand as a conflict of measure and unmeasure? True, there lies hidden in nature a rift-design, a measure and a boundary and, tied to it, a capacity for bringing forth–that is, art. But it is equally certain that this art hidden in nature becomes manifest only through the work, because it lies originally in the work.

Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art”

Over breakfast this morning, I reread portions of Heidegger’s essay that always intrigues me. Next week I will engage in plein air painting as Paint Historic Waxahachie is already under way for those of us who registered early. These words from Heidegger and Dürer will linger with me as I set up my portable easel, fix my eye on a subject, and begin dragging my pencil across the white rectangular surface of stretched watercolor paper, searching out the rift, the boundary, the divisions. I recall Robert Motherwell saying that drawing was the organization of space. I like that perspective. The compositional issues playing out on the white rectangle of space, the abyss, as I organize graphite lines and colored pigments always thrills me when I am outdoors attempting to capture a slice of the scene playing out before me. I got to do some of that inside this gallery the past two weekends as I painted something I could see out the window.

me3apainting

Is it still plein-air when you are standing indoors?!

Next week, I will be outside giving this another try.

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.