Archive for the ‘railroad’ Category

Morning Serenity in Studio Eidolons

March 30, 2021
First Early Morning Peek into Studio Eidolons

Yes, to paint is to love again, live again, see again. To get up at the crack of dawn in order to take a peek at the water colors one did the day before, or even a few hours before, is like stealing a look at the beloved while she sleeps. The thrill is even greater if one has first to draw back the curtains. How they glow in the cold light of early dawn! Another hour or two and they will already have lost some of their gleam and sparkle. Coming on them by surprise this way they give the impression of having slept all night with their eyes open.

Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Working very slowly and deliberately on my newest composition.

After a full day of rest from my crazy On-the-Road experiences of the past couple of weeks, I finally settled down late last night to my drafting table in my home studio. Before retiring to bed, I read the words posted above from my beloved Henry Miller gift book (love you, Stacy and Leigh!). Waking at dawn, I had to walk into the studio and steal a peek at my work in the morning light. And now, with a shower, fresh clothing and modest breakfast with coffee behind me, I am eating up the precious experience of leaning over my newest piece and painstakingly working with pencil, drafting tools, watercolor pencils and large washes of Winsor & Newton pigments. Slowly the image is taking form, seen perhaps the same way a dark room photographer once saw as s/he leaned over a tray and looked at the film shimmering below the liquid surface.

I won’t be leaving for The Gallery at Redlands till early Thursday morning, so I still have two complete days with very few appointments to get my affairs in order and enjoy this new experience painting in the studio. I fully intend to take this new watercolor with me, although I was unable to work on it at all until late nights in Palestine, the gallery had an abundance of traffic, which we appreciate very much.

16 x 20″ framed special edition giclée print of Burleson, Texas railroad setting. $225

As we approach the third and final weekend of Dogwood Festival, we continue to add new work to The Gallery at Redlands. This morning I framed one of my special edition giclée prints of a Union Pacific diesel rolling through Burleson, Texas. We also welcome new artist Kathy Lamb, who has a pair of framed oils now displayed in the lobby window of our gallery. As soon as I hit town Thursday, I will photograph and post those to the blog.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Inspiration Surging during a Sun-splashed Morning

February 19, 2021
Brightly-lit snowy neighborhood through the windows of Studio Eidolons

Hofmann would hold up before his students a sheet of plain-as-plain-can-be paper and announce that “within its confines is the complete creative message.”

Jed Perl, New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century

My recent readings during mornings-over-coffee have come from New Art City. This morning I was aroused as I read of Hans Hofmann’s influence around Greenwich Village and in Provincetown while the Abstract Expressionists were taking hold of New York City in the 1940s-50s. The above quote, for me, was reminiscent of several other divines. So much has been expressed about the process of creativity. Aristotle, for one, argued that the oak tree was already inside the acorn, and simply had to emerge. Robert Motherwell defined the process of drawing as the “dividing of a plane surface.” In the book I’m reading, Jed Perl points out that “what Hofmann was saying was than when you drew a line on a piece of paper, you were creating a world.” Statements like that keep me going. I have frequently written and taught that the artist, created in God’s image, possesses the inborn desire to create. The two-dimensional artist approaches a rectangle, and immediately begins dividing up the interior until a world emerges.

Beginning a new one

While painting the Fort Worth Tower 55 composition on 8 x 10″ paper, I frequently felt the desire to try this again on a slightly larger scale. Since the painting sold so quickly, I’ve decided to push on ahead with a 12 x 16″ surface of 90# cold-pressed D’Arches paper stretched on canvas stretchers. The Hank story that corresponds to this picture has stretched my imagination further and I want to explore more aggressively the possibilities of a foggy atmosphere in watercolor. A part of me thinks of the inspiration of Claude Monet to paint impressionistically the Gare Saint-Lazare railway station in Paris. Another part of me wishes to connect a pair of Hank stories linking the bison herd he saw in the mists of Utah with the collection of diesel locomotives snorting in the dawn mist of the Fort Worth railyards.

Hank gazed across the ranchland at the distant bison herd gathered beside a stock tank with derelict windmill. He felt a shudder as he watched the sun rippling across the backs of the behemoths. Slowly they grazed among the tall grasses, some of them ambling down into the waters to drink. Adjusting his easel and quickly sketching the forms of a cow and calf standing closest to him, he splashed the water across the sketched body of the cow. Quickly dipping his brush into the Winsor Violet and Transparent Yellow, he touched with the tip of his brush the new mixture of warm brown, and as the pigment quickly billowed into the water on the paper, Hank tilted the easel just a bit to encourage more movement and watched the color quickly fill the contours of the mother beast.

He recalled the words of Abstract Expressionist painter Robert Motherwell in a recent interview. The artist had driven his car across France toward Spain, arriving at Alta Mira around sundown just as the guard was closing the gate to the cave with the famous prehistoric paintings inside. Motherwell offered the guard a fistful of paper currency, and with a nod, the employee swung the gate back open and let him inside the cave. Finding the ceiling to be low, Motherwell had to lie on his back on an upraised plateau to gaze up at the wounded bison, lit by a single electric bulb. Finding the viewing unsatisfactory, the artist was suddenly handed a lighted candle by the guard who then turned out the electric light. In the flicker of the candle, Motherwell suddenly noticed the impression of the bison moving, shuddering, and he was filled with an emotion never created by the viewing of the photographs in art history books.

Recalling this, Hank looked at the herd of bison and his sketch with renewed fascination. The single watercolor sketch of the cow would do for the time being. But one day he would focus on a composition of a bison herd emerging from a dim, misty landscape.

Once again this morning, I have been visited by so many new ideas and images to paint. I am not sure if I am expressing this clearly, but much of my recent creative eros could be attributed to being snow-bound all week, along with the enthusiasm I am feeling from The Twelve who will join me next month when we hold our new reception at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine. In my daily imaginings, I “see” the other artists in their studios, thinking out and creating new works for the public soon to see. I can’t wait for this weather to break so I can begin visiting with some of these surging artistic spirits.

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.

The Philosophical Light around my Window

February 17, 2021
Studio Eidolons on a Winter Morning

“And the philosophical light around my window is now my joy; may I be able to keep on as I have thus far!”

Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin, letter written December 2, 1802

Temperatures have risen to the twenties in north central Texas, but are expected to remain below freezing today as well. Texas, while perennially boasting of its energy supremacy, has become a third world country for millions this past week. We’ve been fortunate. Why, I don’t know. Hundreds of my friends who live in this same region have been without electricity for over 72 hours now, many of them without water as well.

Our neighborhood streets remain as icy sheets overlaid with several inches of snow. Fortunately, we have not had to drive, and have chosen not to for this entire week. Quality time spent in Studio Eidolons has been refreshing to me, and the Hölderlin quote above has fit my temperament. The past week has been spent mulling over writings from Heidegger, Hölderlin, Rilke and Robert Henri. All of them have filled me with a fresh vision as we prepare to open a new chapter for The Gallery at Redlands on March 20.

I finished this painting last night, and happily, it has already found a home. I already have plans for the next one and may be able to begin it later today. The first part of today has been dedicated to tidying up Studio Eidolons–I’m embarrassed that desk and drafting table spaces have become cluttered and unworkable. So much to file, throw away and put away. But it will all pay dividends.

More later. 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.

Fort Worth Tower 55 Watercolor Nearly Complete

February 17, 2021

Squealing brakes accompanied by the thundering slam of freight car couplings in the Union Pacific railyard in Fort Worth, Texas hindered Hank from sleeping soundly in the small hotel on the south side of downtown. Wiping sleep from his travel-weary eyes, he sat on the edge of his bed and looked out the second-story window of his room. February. A layer of fresh snow blanketed the parking lot, and as he gazed across the cool blue shadows from his bed, Hank once again felt that old familiar Odysseus-fueled sentiment to wander. Pulling his tattered copy of Kerouac’s On the Road from the backpack, Hank looked up the passage where Sal awoke in the Chicago railroad flophouse, wondering for the moment who he was. Smiling as he stuffed the book back into his bag, Hank reaffirmed that he knew perfectly well who he was—Hank, the wandering mendicant, exploring the world and learning its secrets.

Dawn was just breaking, and in the dim light outside, Hank was confident he could prowl undetected through the busy railyard in search of a slow-moving freight to hop near the interlocker of Tower 55. Just south of the three-story Tower, a long freight of boxcars was crawling slowly southward. Mesmerized by the slow parade, he recalled one of his favorite passages from Allen Ginsburg’s “Howl”.

who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wondering where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts,
who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward lonesome farms in grandfather night,

A closer scrutiny revealed no open doors as the train slowly gathered momentum. As Hank continued to watch, he came to the realization that rail travel was not for him. Though he enjoyed the romantic stories from On the Road, hopping a freight seemed too dangerous. Leaving the railyards, he spied the lighted sign of a Rexall Drugs and decided to go inside to look for a road atlas of Texas. Finding a Rand McNally, he paid the cashier and walked out.

____________________________________________________________________________

The 8 x 10″ watercolor should be complete after one more session in the studio. I have attached a portion of my latest story involving Hank from Turvey’s Corner. Wayne White (alias Hank) will be visiting from Missouri next month. He and I will share our art and stories March 20 as part of our Meet the Artist event at The Gallery at Redlands. We along with the rest of The Twelve are looking forward to sharing our latest with the public when the event transpires.

More later. 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.

Musings over Winter Work

February 16, 2021

When I use the word rebel for the artist, I do not refer to revolutionary or to such things as taking over the dean’s office; that is a different matter. Artists are generally soft-spoken persons who are concerned with their inner visions and images. But that is precisely what makes them feared by any coercive society. For they are the bearers of the human being’s age-old capacity to be insurgent. They love to emerse themselves in chaos in order to put it into form, just as God created form out of chaos in Genesis. Forever unsatisfied with the mundane, the apathetic, the conventional, they always push on to newer worlds.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

The beautiful winter day has been spent at the drafting table, dividing my time between scrutinizing the details of this Fort Worth railyard setting and looking up at the marvelous white abyss blanketing our neighborhood. My only appointment for the day was canceled awhile ago, so I am more than happy to stay indoors, stay warm, and avoid getting into a vehicle to go sledding across town.

I’ve also had the privilege of communicating with several members of The Twelve (artists who will open The Gallery at Redlands March 20). Enthusiasm is already reaching fever pitch. One of them sent me this link to a video I had forgotten since it was created a few years ago, and I am posting it now for any readers interested in viewing a stunning media presentation of Palestine. If you blink, you will miss seeing me seated at the desk in The Gallery at Redlands.

The day is perfect for painting, my watercolor should be dry enough to continue, so I’ll close this and get back to work.

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.

Odyssey Driven

September 5, 2020
Returning to Work on Homer’s Odyssey

Tell me, Muse of the man of many devices, driven far astray . .

Saturday in the Studio Eidolons finds me chasing multiple interests. We’ve decided to put together another road odyssey with the change in weather approaching. Sometimes I think we have that inborn compulsion of geese taking flight when weather warnings are in the air. After laying it aside for quite a few months, I’ve re-opened the Greek text of Homer’s Odyssey and am once again immersed in his epic.

Putting a Few Finishing Touches to the Bomber Lure

After only two days, I seem to be nearing completion of the Bomber lure. The background took much more time than rendering the actual subject itself.

I completed a quick watercolor sketch for the first time in a watercolor diary I purchased last week. I plan on taking this sketchbook on my journey soon to see how many pages I can fill as we travel.

5 x 7″ watercolor sketch

The Arlington Gallery that carries my work (Show Me the Monet) has decided to sponsor Watercolor Wednesday, offering 3-hour watercolor classes 2-5:00 every Wednesday. I am scheduled to teach on alternating weeks. I have posted my next two classes, September 16 and 30 on my professional Facebook page. Cost is $55 and classes are limited to six participants. If you are interested in signing up, phone (817) 468-5263. September 16 will focus on painting a railroad boxcar similar to the one above, and on the 30th we’ll paint a wooden trestle located here in Arlington, Texas.

September 16 subject
September 30 subject

The morning is nearly over and I have promised myself more quality time in Studio Eidolons. 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.

Nearing Closure on the Big Boy

November 22, 2019

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Painting in the Gallery at Redlands this Weekend

Thanksgiving Greetings from Palestine, Texas! Entering the Gallery at Redlands this afternoon provided me quiet and space to work further on the Union Pacific Big Boy that visited us a couple of weeks ago. I really feel that I will bring this to a close tomorrow, then move on to my next adventure. Most of my attention recently has been given to adding weight to the locomotive. In my earlier attempts I had managed to create a train that looked more like a plastic water bottle. I feel that the machine is finally looking like a legitimate iron horse.

My friends Cindy and Gary will join me Sunday and Monday to resume work on the film documentary they are putting together to publish my work. I wanted to get down here early and get back into the rhythm of painting and planning for this media endeavor. I am happy that Kevin Harris from Smooth Rock 93.5 will also work with us in the future, providing voice overs for the film. Planning for this project has been going on for a number of months now, and I feel that momentum is nearly ready to kick in.

The Thanksgiving holidays are nearly here. I finished all my college grading yesterday and have only finals to anticipate in these closing weeks. I wanted to take this moment and wish all of you a most blessed Thanksgiving season, and for those of you who travel, please be safe.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

 

Railroad Memories

November 21, 2019

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Union Pacific “Big Boy” #4014

. . . when I hear the iron horse make the hills echo with his snort like thunder shaking the earth with his feet, and breathing fire and smoke from his nostrils, (what kind of winged horse or fiery dragon they will put into the new Mythology I don’t know,) it seems as if the earth had got a race now worthy to inhabit it.

. . .

The stabler of the iron horse was up early this winter morning by the light of the stars amid the mountains, to fodder and harness his steed. 

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Memories of my freshman year in college still visit me. Five hours from my parents who had nurtured me every day ruptured my routine, making sleep alone in the dorm difficult. Wakened on winter mornings before daylight at the distant sounds of a freight train whistle filled me with a sense of melancholy and homesickness. And at the same time, I felt some kind of unusual comfort. I believe it was because the railroad had fascinated me since early childhood, and hearing it on a solitary college morning provided some kind of continuity to my life. I don’t know.

Spending many nights in The Redlands Hotel in Palestine provides the same continuity. The hotel and gallery are two blocks from the Union Pacific railyard, and those constant sounds of the railroad accompany me during my stays down there. And I am still moved deeply when I experience those sights and sounds.

Two weeks ago, the Union Pacific Big Boy visited Palestine for an overnight stay. I’ll never forget the tremors I felt in the ground as that massive locomotive drew nearer to where I stood. The blast of the whistle and the smoke belching out of the stack made me tremble. At the time of this writing, I am in the midst of my first painting of that behemoth, still feeling the exhilaration of watching it steam and shudder in the predawn of the morning of its departure. I hope to finish the painting in the gallery this weekend, then move on to my next.

In recent years, I have created a number of watercolors of trains, and several of them are available in signed & numbered limited editions. You can seem them at my new website, in the “Trains” chapter: davidtrippart.com.

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.

 

Serene Morning in a Railroad Town

May 13, 2019

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Watercolors Completed over the Weekend

The Gallery at Redlands always provides a quiet, serene Monday morning after a weekend of painting and keeping gallery hours. I just finished matting and pricing seven new watercolors completed over the weekend, then stepped out into the cool, sunswept Palestine morning to pick up a few office supplies, and of course, stop to pick up coffee somewhere, anywhere.

Choosing a local donut shop in the same shopping center as Kroger, I went inside, paid for coffee, and held the door open as I was leaving to let in a middle-aged couple. The man looked at me, smiling broadly, and I thought for a moment that he was someone I had encountered in the gallery or at some public function recently. I was stunned when he shouted:

I knew it! Soon as I saw ya comin’ out of that Jeep, I told my wife: “Now see, that there’s a man goin’ after coffee right now!”

I am still laughing as I type out this encounter. I grew up in a midwestern town where strangers never spoke, seldom even made eye contact. But here in Palestine, Texas I encounted a man that still has me laughing and feeling light and lively about the morning. I don’t know what his full-time occupation is, but I certainly hope his fellow workers experience that same light-hearted humor. He reminds me of Shorty Lee, a funny man I worked alongside on a maintenance crew during my graduate school years.  I’ll be thinking and smiling over this morning’s encounter for years, I am confident.

On Smooth Rock 93.5 FM we just shared for the first time a special event coming up soon. On Saturday, may 25, the Texas State Railroad will hold its “Celebration of Steam” event. The excursion train from Palestine to Rusk will run on that day, and ticketholders will get in free. For anyone not riding the train, a $10 gate fee will be charged. Three historic locomotives will be on display throughout the day for photographing. The steam locomotives will be #610 and 30. The refurbished diesel #125 will also be on view. I  have been invited to set up my tent and sell my train art from 8:00-11:00 with the option of staying open when the excursion train returns at 3:00. I am posting below the paintings I have done of the steam locomotives. I have also painted the diesel, but it has since changed its road colors and number.

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3

4

1

After a busy weekend, it feels good to relax in the Gallery for awhile this morning. The watercolors are packaged, priced between $75 and $125 each, and are in the bin. Now, I catch up on some quality reading and reflection.

Thanks always for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

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Morning Coffee with Dave & Martin

August 29, 2018

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To be old means: to stop in time at

          that place where the unique

          thought of a thought train has

          swung into its joint.

Martin Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet”

My morning watch was filled with the warmth of Heidegger’s poem “The Thinker as Poet.” Over the past two years, I have taken that piece with me to the Colorado mountains and read it again and again, letting the words wash over my soul. I love having the quality time for thinking that has been provided me in this life of semi-retirement. I spent the best part of today with “Z”, a Czech friend I have only known a few years, and don’t seem to spend enough time with in conversation. Today, over coffee, we had a genuine heart-to-heart about this deep-seated joy we know when ideas come in our quiet, reflective hours. Z shared with me some of his own writings of late, and I hope to God he finds a way to publish his work. The world needs more good meditations to read and ponder.

In our conversations today, we mused about how we find ourselves during our senior years organizing our ideas into clusters, and how satisfying it is when a particular idea finds its place in our scheme, when the idea finally joins the train and swings “into its joint.” This metaphor from Heidegger has been a card I’ve enjoyed playing of late.

I believe I have finally finished the commission that I began earlier this summer. I was hoping to have it complete by the beginning of school. It just took a little longer.

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Thanks for reading.

I paint because it helps me to think.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog knowing that I am not alone.