Archive for the ‘poured watercolor’ Category

The Artistic Muse–painting, architecture, philosophy and literature merging

October 3, 2011

Weatherford, Texas Victorian Bed and Breakfast

How resilient the Life of the Mind, even when daily work details work overtime to drive away the creative impulse!  As I write this, I am totally exhausted, teaching high school full-time (or should I say overtime, since an extra class has been added to the previous “full-time” teaching load?) and keeping a busy schedule with art festivals.  I just finished my second festival in three weeks, the two combined festivals spanning six days.  I have two more consecutive festivals the next two weekends, and a final one the last Saturday of the month.  All told, it will be five festivals over seven weeks, the festivals themselves spanning ten days.  Oh yes, and there was the opening of my One-Man Show during that span, and a marvelous newspaper feature article giving me considerable exposure to the community.  The six-week grading period has just ended at school, so grades are due to be posted tomorrow.  Of course, I am still not finished with that task, and tomorrow will no doubt be another late night.

Nevertheless—my head and heart are abuzz with ideas, not always flying in formation.  I’ve never been linear in my processing.  Today alone (besides teaching three Art I classes and one Philosophy class) I have been possessed with musings over the Richard Diebenkorn show that I viewed breathlessly yesterday at the Fort Worth Modern Art Museum, along with ideas gleaned from The Collected Writings of Robert Motherwell (my favorite “intellectual” artist of the 20th century), an extensive article from The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “The History of Aesthetics,” the Classical Age of Greek Art (my preparations for tomorrow’s A. P. Art History class), the Art of the Ancient Aegean (my preparations for tomorrow’s two regular Art History classes) and my recent sketches of Fort Worth’s 1907 Flat Iron building erected south of Sundance Square.

As I was musing over Classical Greek architecture, Motherwell’s comments on abstraction and some things written over the years in my personal journals, I decided to re-post this image of a watercolor I created earlier this year of the Angels Nest at 1105 Palo Pinto Street in Weatherford, Texas (   It turned out to be a large vertical painting (approximately 22 x 30″) with the actual Victorian house occupying a small space at the top of a sprawling hill.  The majesty of this site is amazing to behold, and I would love someday to spend a night or two lodging there.  I first decided to paint it last January, when I was journeying to the Brazos River in Possum Kingdom to fly fish for rainbow trout.  The winter sun was extremely bright that day, lighting up this house like a diamond against the azure blue sky.  So splendid was the view, that I went to a great deal of trouble turning my Jeep around on a divided highway and coming back to this spot so I could take photographs to bring home to my studio.  Once I started on the painting, I found little trouble rendering the house, but considerable headaches dealing with that sprawling lawn and treeline.  The painting now is on display at the Weiler House Fine Art Gallery (  My One-Man Show will close Saturday, October 8, at the conclusion of the HandleyFest.  I’ll be present at that festival as well, with my tent in place.

I am stirred up by all these wonderful ideas, and wish I had time to pursue them in sketches and watercolors, but alas, there is a heavy slate of classes awaiting me in the morning, and a department meeting over the lunch hour.  Still, I think I will have a window of opportunity to paint with a friend tomorrow after school, and Thursday as well.  Yesterday afternoon yielded quality time to render the historic Ridglea Theater on Camp Bowie in quick watercolor.  I now have designs on the Fort Worth Flat Iron building, and hope I can get to it, if not tomorrow, then by Thursday afternoon.  Motherwell wrote about the word “abstract,” taken from the Latin, meaning to remove something.  He thinks that abstraction is one’s attempt to remove the unnecessary in order to get at the essence of something.  Much of that notion echoes the ideas of Andrew Wyeth with regard to drybrush renderings.  Today in the Art I classes, I was trying to lead the students in that exercise by drawing coffee mugs, and trying to discern how little of a mug could be drawn before the viewer could recognize its “essence.”  While students worked on coffee mugs, I worked on the Fort Worth Flat Iron in my sketchbook, trying to draw just enough of it to make the structure recognizable in its “essence.”  I next tried it with Victorian homes.  That reminded me to re-visit this Weatherford Victorian painting.

As my company is called Recollections 54 (from my birth year), I still find myself musing over cultural relics that remain from that decade, often in a current state of disrepair, yet possessing enough “essence” to exert their authenticity.  And just as an incomplete structure possesses the power to draw us into its essence, so also a partially-drawn structure can lead the viewer to the portion of the subject that matters, the core, the essence.  We are still able, with a little lingering, to recover some of the warm memories that hover in residual fashion about these structures.  The longer I linger in their presence, and the more time I spend in the writings of kindred spirits like Robert Motherwell and Richard Diebenkorn, the more I feel the presence of the muse and feel the stirring sensation of her whisperings.  And once again, I am ready to pick up the brush.  I hope I can tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

Local Watercolor Artist published in Fort Worth city newspaper

September 14, 2011

Arlington Art Teacher Has Picture-Perfect Talent (Fort Worth Star-Telegram feature)

I am reproducing this article coming forth Wednesday in the Arlington Citizen Journal section of the Fort Worth Star Telegram newspaper.  The journalist, Robert Cadwallader, spent hours interviewing me patiently, and the newspaper sent a photographer for the photo shoot (complete with one of my dogs and cat!).  I am extremely proud to be published as a local artist, and grateful for the advertising this provides for my One-Man Show running during the next month, as well as the local art festivals where I’ll be participating.  Thank you for reading.

“Arlington Art Teacher Has Picture-Perfect Talent”

As an art teacher and artist, David Tripp has bristled at old sayings about teachers teaching because they can’t do.

But Saturday night, the Martin High School teacher made a very public case for his dual abilities at a reception kicking off his art exhibit at the Weiler House Fine Art Gallery in Fort Worth. Among the many attendees were some of his current Martin High School students, and several others he hadn’t seen in nearly 20 years.

“This is my first one-man show,” said Tripp, 57. “I am very, very proud for them to know that their art teacher is an artist.”

The Weiler House is showing about 40 of his watercolors, which depict what he sees as a fading midcentury rural America. His canvases are filled with crumbling convenience stores, quaint Victorian homes and dreamily colorful streetscapes he has encountered on sojourns in the Midwest and Southwest, including the infamous and now mostly bypassed Route 66 highway.

Some of his paintings had local influences, including the old Poly Theatre in Fort Worth.

“The genre I paint is ‘dying America,'” said Tripp, whose art will be featured through Oct. 8. “When I see these shuttered buildings, it fills me with a sense of loss — and presence. I love to paint the little stores that were replaced by 7-Eleven and Walmart.”

His work caught the eye and heartstrings of Bill Ryan, the owner and director of the eclectic gallery, over a year ago. He’s already sold a number of Tripp’s paintings.

“People really relate to his work,” Ryan said. “I don’t know if it’s nostalgia, but it’s about how we share in a common past.”

Getting started

The early memories that shaped Tripp’s artistic interest are rooted in rural, impoverished southeast Missouri, where he was born to tenant farmers after the Korean War.

When he was 2, his family moved to St. Louis in search of a better life, and his dad, a Korean War veteran, got a job as a mechanic. But Tripp returned frequently to visit his grandparents near his birthplace.

“My grandparents were still tenant farmers, so I was still surrounded by that kind of rural poverty in southeast Missouri,” he said. “From the time I was a child, I really loved the things I saw on their farm — the old tractors that were rusted out, and the barns that had lost all their paint.”

From the age of 2, he recalls having a gift for drawing and sketching. In school, his abilities to re-create his observations on paper developed, but it distracted from academics.

“I spent a lot of time drawing in the margins of my notebooks,” he recalled. “I was being praised from the time I was really young that I was a good artist, but no one said I was a bright student.”

But when he reached eighth grade — the first grade that offered art courses — he excelled, being named the best art student at the annual awards assembly. He duplicated the feat in high school and earned a scholarship that set him on a path to appreciate learning.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in education at Northeast Missouri State University — now named Truman State University — then detoured to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, where he earned a Master of Divinity and a Ph.D. in New Testament while also preaching in churches.

Learning to teach

Tripp, who also is a guitar player and an avid fly fisherman, got his first teaching job at Lamar High School in 1988.

He wasn’t very good at watercolors at the time, despite his love for the medium. That was a problem, because he had to teach it. But he managed to push watercolor study to the spring semester and dedicated the Christmas break to learning it.

The trick, he learned, is letting the watercolors dry several times during the painting process.

“I was messing with them too much while they were wet,” he said. “Now I will sometimes have six watercolors going on simultaneously, so I don’t overwork them.”

Tripp later moved to Martin High to develop an art history class. It was there he met his wife, Sandy, who now teaches English across the hall from him.

Tripp started his nostalgic watercolor project more than 20 years ago. He drives around snapping photos of interesting subjects and then goes home to paint them. Over the years, he has had many opportunities to show his work as part of a group of artists or as a vendor at festivals.

He’ll be doing that at Grapefest in Grapevine this weekend and at the Fort Worth Music Festival Sept. 30 through Oct. 1.

But the Weiler House is the first to feature him solo — a status that is exciting not only to Tripp but also to his boss.

“To see his work in this gallery,” said Linh Nguyen, the school district’s visual arts coordinator, “that lets me know that he’s not only teaching his kids but nurturing his own creativity as an artist himself. That tells students there are opportunities out there for kids to find a career as an artist.”

Fly Fishing Watercolor for the One-Man Show

September 9, 2011

Finding the Seam

My breathing changes profoundly the moment I step into a mountain stream with waders and a fly rod.  There will never be enough of those precious moments, so every time I journey to the Colorado high country, I breathe a prayer of gratitude.  The crystal clarity of a trout stream moving over the rocks from the basement of time contains a beauty beyond the reach of my words.  Henry David Thoreau said “time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.  I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.”

It took a number of years for me to work up the courage to watercolor a fly fishing composition.  My wife took this picture of me fly fishing in South Fork, Colorado.   I chose to pour this composition, masking out tree patterns and pouring pure watercolor pigment from bowls onto the soaked paper.  Sprinkling salt and spritzing the drying pigments created a number of satisfying textures in the foliage as well as the surface of the stream.

I am now counting the hours toward the opening of my One-Man-Show.   Forty-two watercolors are in place at the Weiler House Fine Art Gallery (  The show opens Saturday night 5-9:00.   This watercolor has been framed and is now hanging in the show.  I’m proud that my friends get to see the painting at last.  I’m deeply satisfied with the depths of colors and the effects created by the pouring technique.

Thanks for reading.

Finished Watercolor of Haltom’s Jewelers, Sundance Square, Fort Worth

July 27, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers Completed

Thanks, all of you readers who followed this painting along with me.   I never felt alone in the endeavor.  Thank you for the posted responses, the encouragement and above all, your continued interest.  I’m happy that this one is finally closed and in the books.  I’ll be taking it to the Weiler House Gallery for framing today.  You can check out the website of my gallery at

Thank you for reading.


Haltom’s Jewelers Watercolor, Sundance Square, Nearly Complete

July 26, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers nearly finished

I’m trying very hard to have this watercolor wrapped up and delivered to the Weiler House Gallery by tomorrow (  The latest obstacle interfering with its successful completion is our air conditioning breaking down today.  It is only 102 degrees outside now, meaning that the inside of my studio is a cool 90 degrees.  I find this exceptionally irritating, especially since I called in our problem Saturday morning and it only took four days for someone to come and announce that the motor was nearly dead, and that ordering and receiving the replacement would take a minimum 48 hours–then 3 hours after he left, the motor gave up the ghost.

At any rate, I still hope to finish this tonight and deliver it tomorrow.  I will take one final photo of the completed work.  I hope all I need do is complete the downspout and vertical slice of brick facade running down the right side of the composition.  Of course, if I stare at it long enough, I’ll no doubt find other things to do to it.  Nevertheless, I’m sticking with my self-imposed deadline.   Tomorrow, then.

Thanks for reading, and especially for following up on this particular watercolor odyssey.  It’s been an interesting path for me.

Continuing the Haltom’s Jeweler’s Clock, Sundance Square

July 21, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers Clock, Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas

It’s hard for me to take a decent digital photograph in the comparatively dim light of my studio as opposed to outdoors in the daylight.  But I wanted to get this latest development out there on my blog.  Thanks to those of you dear readers who always offer so much encouragement, and provide the impetus for me to continue, even when I am tired, or on the verge of burning out.

I was terrified of watercoloring this clock, because I had no clue as to how to mix the bronze colors (still don’t!).  I’ve been using Aureolin as my base, with touches of Cadmium Red Medium and the occasional Winsor Green.  For tighter work, I’m relying heavily on a Dark Sepia watercolor pencil (Albrecht Durer brand), and sharpening it frequently to create clean edges where I can.  I’m just about finished with the monument.  The major thing that remains now is heavy street shadows with all kinds of variation going on.  We’ll see how they come along (probably tomorrow–I’m getting tired!).

Thanks always for reading.

Watercoloring the Haltom Jewelers Clock

July 21, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers Clock, Sundance Square

This morning, I rose bright and early, determined to go after this clock that I have avoided from the start.  I spent about 30 minutes on it, then quit to work out at the health club.  Returning, I labored over it again for about an hour, then quit again,  This afternoon, I am chipping away at it yet again.  My fear has been that the clock would melt into the background, so I keep backing away to study my reference photos taken on location, to get a good read of the surrounding contrasting colors.  As I’m getting deeper and deeper into this painting, I’m aware of my tendencies to “choke,” as I fear doing something that will un-do whatever good work I laid as a foundation.  So far, I’m pleased.

Thanks for reading.

Watercoloring Haltom Jeweler’s, Getting Lost in the Details

July 20, 2011

Haltom Jewelers details

By now you have probably guessed rightly that I am terrified of painting this monumental clock.  I’ll get to it, when I’m comfortable with it.  Meanwhile, I pursue the endless details.  I’ve heard it said that the Devil is in the Details, but I have always found the Sublime in the Details, at least when it comes to drawing and watercoloring.  I get lost when this occurs, and I find it totally enjoyable.  My breathing changes when I detail a watercolor just as profoundly as when I step into a mountain stream with a fly rod.  Considering that Texas is facing yet another triple-digit temperature day today, I could wish to be wading a mountain stream, but oh well–I’m glad to be painting.

Thanks for reading.

Chipping Away at the Watercolor of Haltom’s Jewelers, Fort Worth, Texas

July 19, 2011

Haltom Jewelers plugging along

I feel that an apology is owed my blog readers.  It has been several days since I’ve touched this watercolor, and therefore, posted on the blog.  Several other details in my life have managed to crowd out my watercolor time.  This is entirely my fault, as I’ve felt somewhat burned out on this piece for several days, and really hated to pick up the brush when my heart was not in it.

I did get out yesterday evening to the Fort Worth Stockyards, north of town, and did a plein air piece of the historic Hotel Texas.  The attempt was a disaster, as again, my heart wasn’t in it.  I choose therefore not to publish that sketch.

Tonight I put my best effort forward, and once again am beginning to develop an interest in this piece (particularly, to finish it!).  I began work on the Worthington Hotel windows in the upper left corner, did some more pencil rendering of that magnificent clock, and darkened the background foliage to push the clock forward more effectively.  Also I began work on the ground-story brickwork of the Jewelry store.  Plenty of details are starting to get my attention.

Hopefully tomorrow I can turn the wheel several more revolutions.  Thanks for reading.

Watercoloring the Windows at Haltom’s Jewelers, Fort Worth, Texas

July 12, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers Windows, Fort Worth, Texas

Most of this afternoon and this evening have been spent on the right-hand side of this large composition.  Therefore, I chose to crop the photo to show anyone interested in what has just been rendered.  The earlier posts show the entire painting surface.  There is still so much to be done.  I am pleased that I attempted to paint reflections and wooden blinds as seen in the windows instead of merely blacking them out, as has been my custom.  This could be one of the stronger parts of this overall painting.  Sleepiness has not yet overtaken me, so I believe I’ll stay with this one on into the night, as I have done the past two nights.  However, I’ll hold off posting until tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.  I’m starting to catch some momentum with this one.