Archive for the ‘palestine’ Category

Two New Watercolors for The Gallery

July 24, 2021
Sacred Heart Night, 11 x 14″ framed watercolor. $150
Shelton Hall, 11 x 14 framed watercolor. $425

Our human tendency is to concentrate the world upon a stage. We construct proscenium arches and frames in order to contain the thing that is larger than our comprehension, the plane of boundless possibility, that which reaches almost beyond wonder.

N. Scott Momaday, The Man Made of Words

The weekend in The Gallery at Redlands proved satisfying, again. I’ll be here a couple of more hours tonight before heading back home to Arlington. I managed to complete and frame a pair of watercolors as I stayed here Thursday through Saturday. They are now on display in the gallery, and I’m closing out my stay by reading the wonderful words of Momaday, truly a man made of words. I love his statement above, about how we carve out stages and display niches to present the images that arrest our attention. Palestine is a town filled with “paintable” structures, each containing its own rich history.

Thanks for reading.

Attempted Rescue of a Discarded Painting

July 23, 2021
In Progress–8 x 10″ watercolor destined for an 11 x 14″ frame (if it works out!)

The heat outside is oppressive and I suppose people are staying cool inside their homes. The hotel and gallery have been pretty quiet all day, but it has provided me thoughtful space to sift through some unfinished art to decide if any of it deserves finishing. Case in point: the watercolor posted above. A few weeks ago, I finished a framed 20 x 24″ watercolor of Sacred Heart, a magnificent Catholic Church which peeks inside my upper gallery windows from across Queen Street. At this moment I can look up from my computer and see it bathed in the afternoon sun.

Snowy Sacred Heart Night, 24h x 20w” framed. $800

Several weeks ago, I taught a watercolor class, using Sacred Heart as a subject. My demo started out OK, but as the lesson wore on, and I began focusing more on the students’ work than my own demo. I got in a hurry and rendered some crude lines on the building. At that point I stopped and spent the rest of the class helping the students. Today, looking at the demo that went south, I’ve decided to see if it looked good enough inside a mat and frame. The picture at the top shows the assembly stacked together, and I think it looks OK, at least good enough to try and finish the painting out with some quality. We’ll see if I can pull it off.

Since this blog began over an hour ago, I’ve had a number of visitors in the gallery. Maybe I won’t get the painting finished and framed tonight after all. We’ll see. If not, then Saturday might provide me with enough time to see it through.

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.

New Work in The Gallery at Redlands

July 22, 2021
Shelton Hall, 11 x 14″ framed watercolor. $425
The essays, stories, and passages in this volume are in some ways the reflections of one who has wandered far and wide in the world, has seen many things, and has recorded the experiences which most excited the days and nights of his journey. They may seem random observations, recollections, and evocations of place and procession. Such an impression does not offend me. My aesthetic sensibiliites are such that they can accommodate pronounced variation and spontaneity. Besides, I do not think that these works are random at all. Rather 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

N. Scott Momaday has articulated in words what I have tried to do in images for several decades now. The watercolor posted above was completed last night and now hangs in The Gallery at Redlands. The subject is a piece of the "image prism" I have worked on throughout my life, and the stories I write to give deep background to my paintings are, I hope, a "verbal prism" much as the kind Momaday assembles in his engaging essays and stories.

Palestine, Texas feels good this Thursday afternoon following a private watercolor lesson I just gave in the Gallery, a very engaging and successful lesson that thrilled me to the core. I guess I should go ahead and mention this for anyone interested--I charge $40 for the first hour and $20 for an additional hour, and I supply all materials. My students nearly always complete a successful 8 x 10" watercolor in two hours time, and I can teach a student virtually every trick I know in that space of time. 

By the time this weekend has run its course, I hope to have some surprising images to post on the blog. I have some new ideas to try out and am feeling giddy now to have some space and time to pursue them. We'll see how they turn out.

Thanks for reading.


I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remnd myself I am not alone.

Aging and Loving

July 21, 2021
Shelton Hall, Old Town Palestine, Texas (still in progress)

I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wandering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for . . .

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

We have not yet been home a week from our Colorado excursion, but already I find myself firmly set in the daily schedule of my usual life divided between Arlington and Palestine, Texas–a life we had escaped last week for a few days. Daily, I re-open journal pages and sketchbooks from the Colorado hiatus and review the many photos taken, not wanting those memories to fade . . .

Always when traveling, I pack several books, never sure exactly what is going to hold my attention while vacationing. This time I took Martin Heidegger’s Poetry, Language, Thought, Larry McMurtry’s Comanche Moon, my Greek texts of Homer’s Odyssey and my New Testament, and Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Every day on the deck of our Brookie Cabin, I found time for journaling, watercoloring in my sketchbooks and reading from Heidegger and Dillard. PIlgrim at Tinker Creek I have read twice, but the text is so rich I continually find myself re-reading passages that though highlighted had been pushed down the corridors of fading memories, needing refreshment.

I have posted above the passage that knocked the wind out of me (as if breathing at 8,000 feet wasn’t difficult enough already). Annie wasn’t very old at the time she wrote that, but the depth of feeling seized me then, and of course seizes me much more at my current age.

I’m never sure how to address this issue of aging, but these are the things on my mind this morning: First, I have been aware of a sedentary lifestyle for decades, but lacked the inititative to do anything about it. Reading books and making art and driving long distances are not acts that improve physical conditioning. Weight gains and aging finally drove me to hire a personal trainer, and for several months in the gym, I’ve experienced the Greek αγωνία as muscles have been stretched and torn. I gratefully realized the improvement last week when in the stream fly-fishing, that my footing had much improved over the slick rocks underneath and my stamina was better wading upstream against torrential currents. Scaling the hills back to the cabin also came easier. So yes, I am much grateful to Inner Strength Fitness for pointing me in the right direction, healthwise.

But of course, there is no reversal for aging. The longer I live, the more I realize how much I love life and want to suck out its marrow, as Thoreau expressed in Walden. I am not living a life of regret over past decisions, but I do regret the feeling of doors slowly closing on the road ahead. My watercolor posted above, nearly complete, depicts a subject that has pulled at my sentiments since the 1980’s–an America I knew as a child in the 1950’s that is slowly vanishing from our landscape, but not my memories. I call my company Recollections 54 because it points to my birth year along with the decade that shaped my earliest impressions. The city of Palestine is replete with these relics from the past, and I’m grateful now to possess a gallery in what I know to be the best part of that town–the historic Redlands Hotel, built in 1914 and still maintained with pride and dignity. But as I continually survey the aging buildings and properties about me, I feel the corollary of my own life that continually resists entropy.

Tomorrow I will return to Palestine and The Gallery at Redlands, hopefully complete this watercolor, then begin a new composition, picking out yet another of hundreds of its monuments from the past. We have exciting events on the horizon in Palestine as we continue to pump new life into its art scene. Next month will witness the return of Wayne White, my “Hank” hero from the short stories I’ve been writing for a book to come out sometime in the future. On Friday night August 20 at 7:00, Wayne will team up with fellow Gallery at Redlands artist Stacy Campbell to host our “Gallery Talk.” Few people can “slap it around” better than Wayne and Stacy when it comes to discussing art and humor. You won’t want to miss that event. And then the next day, Saturday August 21 will be our third “Art Walk” that will take in over a dozen businesses in downtown Palestine from 10:00-3:00. At 7:00, our concluding summer concert event will feature Carson Jeffrey. A number of Palestine creatives have pooled their enthusiasm to pump up the fine arts in town and I’m proud to play a part in the events.

The morning has stretched into the afternoon already. I plan to spend the day in Studio Eidolons to see what I can cook up next. I hope to write you from The Gallery first thing 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.

Re-shaping my Subject

October 25, 2019

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Friday Night, Painting in the Gallery at Redlands

Three dimensions have been flattened into two, light has been exchanged for paint, the whole scene has been knowlingly composed. Art, Cézanne reminds us, is surroundeed by artifice.

Jonah Lehrer, Proust was a Neuroscientist

Eighteen months ago, I began an 8 x 10″ plein air watercolor sketch of one of Palestine’s historic Victorian homes. I found the house several blocks beyond the railyards that separate the old downtown where the gallery is located and one of the city’s older, well-preserved neighborhoods. After working on it for about half an hour, the sun grew hot and I brought it to the gallery. It was then, studying it closer, that I noted several mistakes made. I stopped working on it, stored it with other discarded works, and soon forgot all about it.

Yesterday, while packing to come to Palestine for a four-day stay, I came across the abandoned painting and tossed it into the Jeep with my other art supplies. Today, I decided to push it further and see if i could shape a decent composition, even if the work is architecturally deficient. So far, I am happy with the way the composition is taking shape and just may have a painting to frame after all. I should know by tomorrow.

The Hot Pepper Festival is all day tomorrow (Saturday). I plan to work in the gallery, as I have all day today, taking occasional breaks to cruise the streets and see what the vendors have to offer. If you are nearby, come see us at The Redlands Hotel. The newly-opened Queen St Grille and Bar will be open and ready to receive you. And I, of course, would love for you to visit our Gallery at Redlands. We are planning for a spectacular day.

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.

Palestine Texas is Humming this Morning

September 13, 2019

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Luxurious Friday Morning in the Gallery

. . . they remind you of Saturday mornings when you were six and knew the day was young and blue just by looking over the fence through pale smokes of whoever it is is always burning something on Saturday morning (and hammering on nails in the afternoon).

Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody

Waking early this morning in the Redlands Hotel, I listened while the city slowly awakened in the dawn. As I lay still, these words from Kerouac read at bedtime last night returned, and I continued to listen to the city sounds of traffic, the Union Pacific railyard two blocks away, and the occasional shout from a pedestrian. Across the street, Sacred Heart Catholic Church tolled the hour and I could feel the vibrations of the sound. Memories washed over me. As a boy, I lived in the neighborhood of a small town, and now recall those early mornings awakened by the sounds of lawn mowers, hammering, the occasional passing car, dogs barking and choruses of birds in the yard.

I decided to return to The Gallery at Redlands for the weekend, having sorely missed this environment for a number of weeks. The gallery provides a wonderful ambience for study and reflection, and I am working to put the finishing touches on my Monday night presentation before the Society of Watercolor Artists in Fort Worth. I have been invited to work on my watercolors in the Queen St Grillle Sunday from 11-2:00. The Redlands Hotel has made some fabulous changes to the menu and hours. Several of my paintings now hang in the restaurant, and The Gallery at Redlands is adjacent to the establishment. I look forward to meeting new friends during Sunday brunch, and of course, I always look forward to watercoloring in the midst of company.

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Queen St Grille–a Gorgeous Dining Environment

A long time has passed since I connected with Kevin and Alan in the Morning on Smooth Rock 93.5. I always enjoy their morning radio time, and was invited on the show this morning to put in a plug for the Sunday brunch painting event arriving in a couple of days. The past two years have brought many changes to the Redlands Hotel, and for me the highlights have been the radio station in the gallery and the restaurant across the lobby. Every time I come here to work, I feel that I am living in the midst of a thriving, affirming community in downtown Palestine. My warm thanks to all of my new friends here.

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Kevin Harris Managing the Morning Show

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Alan Wade in Good Spirits Always

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Victoria Minton-Beam, also with Smooth Rock 93.5

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Constantly Experimenting

Returning to my journals from August 2018, I am re-reading the scribbled notes from my last Colorado sojourn and the morning I worked to solve the problem of painting evergreens in the sweet mountain air. I took notes on a five-step process, and have been working the past few weeks to refine this approach. Currently, I have six sketches in process, and this weekend thought I would start four additional ones. I always think that if I have several going at the same time, I will be less afraid of screwing up a painting. Last month, I began fifteen compositions of a scene in Sedona, Arizona, and they are still in a box with only one further attempt to push them along. Out of the fifteen, I have one finished piece that I don’t find very satisfying. The rest are still sitting there, waiting. I thought I was taking them to the Monday demonstration in Fort Worth, but have recently decided to try my luck with the evergreens. No pressure, right?

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.

Friday Night in the Gallery with Kevin & Marc

September 28, 2018

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Marc Mitchell & Kevin Harris doing mic check before going live

Dad had once said, “It takes genius to elevate the ordinary, a very ordinary genius,” and that’s exactly what I am, Frank thought, an ordinary genius. He had unlocked the secret of radio. The sport of the ordinary! Brilliant men like Reed Seymour couldn’t figure this out for the life of them! Reed was ashamed of radio. Vesta was ashamed of it. Reed wanted to do something worthy with his life, like write books. He had part of a manuscript in his desk drawer. Frank had read it. Very intense, very poetic. And very hard going. Vesta wanted to bring in the treasures of the world and display them on the air, like opening a museum and showing postcards of the Venus de Milo. No, radio was a cinch if you kept reaching down and grabbing up handfuls of the ordinary. Keep your feet on the ground.

Garrison Keillor, WLT: A Radio Romance

The late afternoon autumn sun cast its warm glow across the town as I motored into Palestine, Texas. Stepping out of the Jeep and into the cool winds felt terrific as I unloaded new watercolors for the gallery. My heart was lifted even more when I discovered my new friends, Kevin and Marc, already inside the gallery, testing out the three mics in the control booth. I was introduced to Ken, the engineer working on the finer details of the new system. I tried to take a decent picture from the hotel lobby, through the gallery door, to capture the broadcasters seated at their “Window to the World.”

En route to Palestine, I dropped by Art on the Square in Waxahachie and picked up three of the seven pieces I’ve had on display there. I thought I would see if a new venue would assist in finding homes for them.

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Fort Worth Flatiron on the Left; Waxahachie Depot on the Right

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Ellis County Courthouse, Waxahachie

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Waxahachie Depot in Foreground; Courthouse in Background

As it got closer to dark, I needed to leave the gallery to run some business errands. Kevin and Marc were still testing the mics while the station aired pre-taped music. As I was driving around town, I tuned in to 93.5 and they were live! It was so fun, listening to their on-air banter as they confessed to the listeners that they were just checking things out to make sure the system was working. They explained that the gallery studio signal went up to the second floor to another studio in their offices, and then to the antenna atop the hotel and finally out to the listeners. The broadcasters sounded like they were having great fun, and so was I, just listening and knowing the fellows behind the voices.

I brought my painting supplies to the gallery with me and plan to do some serious work tonight, Saturday and Sunday. As I work and play, I will find a way to send pictures and words out to any of you who wish to read what we’re doing here in Palestine, Texas.

And so, this is Dave signing off from The Gallery at Redlands alongside Smooth Rock 93.5 FM inside the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine, Texas.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.