Archive for the ‘still life’ Category

Eudaimonia in the Studio

September 25, 2022
Tedious work on details at the moment, but I’m loving it

Beneath our loquacious chatter, there is a silent language of our whole being which yearns for art and the beauty from which art comes.

Rollo May, My Quest for Beauty

The quiet Sunday offers a respite from the sustained pace we have had to keep up the last few days. Yesterday we had to leave Palestine by 2:00 in order to make the reception for the Fall Show sponsored by the Lake Granbury Art Association.

Palimpsest

I was thrilled to receive an Award of Excellence and a handsome check for my Palimpsest entry. I don’t compete nearly as often as I used to, and frankly, seldom win when I do compete. In fact, I have not even been juried into competitions recently when I have entered. So, last night was sweet and I’m very thankful for all the good will poured out by the crowd in attendance.

When the reception ended, I walked to the town square and entered the Baron’s Creek Wine Room to see the new show that has been installed, sponsored by The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery.

He is No Longer Here

I was pleased with the overall quality of the show, and appreciate where my full-sized watercolor is hanging. I’m looking forward to the opening of this show as well.

Today is it is back to work in the studio. The large panoramic watercolor I’m working on with the view of Spring Street in downtown Palestine is proving to be long hours of work, but I’m enjoying every brushstroke, and glad to have the time to pursue it.

Thanks for reading.

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Art Without an Audience

August 7, 2022

He Is No Longer Here. Watercolor. 38h x 32w” framed. $800

While convalescing, we have been re-watching Yellowstone on TV. I was arrested by a statement from the aged cowboy actor Leonard Barry Corbin, when he told the young cowboy in training at the 6666 Ranch in north Texas that real cowboyin’ was “art without an audience.”

My imagination wandered over the terrain of my decades of art experiences, and I concluded that probably 90% of my art activity is without an audience. Visual art, for me, is not a performance art; it is hammered out in the quiet of a studio, for the most part in a great calm.

COVID has kept me out of my gallery for two weeks now, and has caused me to miss two recent artist receptions. I’m happy that despite my absence, a large framed still life was sold at the Baron’s Creek Winery in Granbury, Texas. We finally managed to fill that empty gap with a painting of similar size and genre, posted above. The painting that sold was created during winter months in my garage studio, and was followed immediately by the painting above, hence they have been like brothers, hanging around unsold until recently. I’ll be glad when the one above finds a home; after hanging in our Gallery at Redlands for a spell, it has hung in my home Studio Eidolons, until now.

Happy that my strength has returned (aside from long stretches of sleeping!), I’m back in my Studio Eidolons with new projects underway. Stay tuned . . .

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Sunday Night Life

July 31, 2022
Sequestered in Studio Eidolons with good Reading

I sat at the portable metal desk before my open notebook, straining to get something down. On the whole, I thought more than I wrote, wishing I could just transmit straightaway to the page.

Patti Smith, M Train

Sandi and I are reunited. She too now has COVID, so she decided to come back home rather than stay out of this infected house for another week or so. Of course, with today being Sunday, she found zero help from our family doctor’s offices. I hate that she has to wait till the morning to get even a virtual doctor’s visit. Completing my second day of Paxlovia, I feel better than I have since all this started, and I just wish for Sandi to receive this relief, sooner instead of later.

Sunday evening is growing quiet, and I’m finishing up my French-pressed coffee from Camp4Coffee in Crested Butte. The memories are abundant and soothing–it rained the entire evening we spent visiting that city a couple of weeks ago. When vacationing, I’m a sucker for purchasing products from a shop that offers great memories. So glad that I finally feel good enough to drink coffee again, I’ve been sipping this as it darkens outside my studio window, and re-living the Colorado odyssey. We relished strolling the sidewalks as the light raindrops fell, holding temperatures into the mid-50’s. Meanwhile, Arlington, Texas is bloody hot. I’m writing this at 8:23 p.m. and it is 99 degrees outside, and our AC cannot bring the inside temperatures down to a comfortable level.

Now that I feel good enough to scribble in my journal, I’m experiencing the Patti Smith syndrome quoted at the top of this post. When I’m on my game, I can scribble out half a dozen journal pages rather quickly. Thirty minutes into the attempt tonight has yielded a half-page, and its anemic (like me). No worries, though. I know it will come back. The New Testament records that the wind blows when it wills, and we cannot know its origin or timing. So also with journaling. It will come back.

I just received a query on Instagram about whether reproductions are available of the watercolor that sold last night at Baron’s Creek. The answer is Yes. I never had it set up for limited editions, but sold 8 x 10″ reproductions (quite a lot of them, actually). They look nice in a white mat and 11 x 14″ frame. I sell them matted for $25. I just sold one tonight. Unfortunately, with this COVID crap, I won’t be “out” for another week or so, but meanwhile I am processing more reproductions and matting them. I’m glad I have all the materials necessary right here in Studio Eidolons, and now have a job to do. I’ll post the photo again in case any of my readers are interested:

Six Subjects in Search of a Painter. 8 x 10″ reproduction, in white mat. $25

Thanks for reading.

Sweet Evening Solitude & Recovery

July 30, 2022
Working Lightly in Studio Eidolons Tonight

Current wisdom, especially that propagated by the various schools of psychoanalysis, assumes that man is a social being who needs the companionship and affection of other human beings from cradle to grave. It is widely believed that interpersonal relationships of an intimate kind are the chief, if not the only, source of human happiness. Yet the lives of creative individuals often seem to run counter to this assumption.

Anthony Storr, Solitude: A Return to the Self

Storr’s book has been like a Bible in my collection for over thirty years now. This was the first book, read when I was in my thirties, that convinced me I was O.K. even though I didn’t have much of a social life. The ministry dripped with a sense of alienation. Graduate school meant long solitary days in a library carrell. Welding-well, how many people stand around to visit with you when you’re under the hood while the arc lights up the room? Public education for nearly three decades saw me scrambling for privacy at the end of each school day. So yes, I have regarded myself, despite having a family whom I love, as largely private.

I don’t recall the last time I was ill; it hadn’t occurred since 2017 when I retired from teaching. And I don’t recall the last time I missed school due to illness. I have lived a life for the most part without need for doctor’s visits or medication. I wasn’t prepared for what happened when I tested positive for COVID yesterday morning. The good news was that Sandi was already in Palestine to run the gallery in my stead, leaving me to attend tonight’s artists’ reception in Granbury. She has since tested negative, so she will be staying out of our house till I am past all this. To repeat–I wasn’t prepared for this enforced isolation. Yesterday and today were among the longest days in my life, here in my home and studio, alone with a pair of small dogs.

This afternoon, while the isolation had reached its bleakest moment, the phone calls started coming in. Three of my paintings sold, two of them major works.

Six Subjects in Search of a Painter. SOLD

The New Owners

I was elated to learn that a student of mine from fifteen years back purchased my large still life at Baron’s Creek Winery in Granbury. I was deeply saddened that I was unable to attend this event.

He Was Here Yesterday SOLD

And then . . . Sandi phoned from our Gallery at Redlands. She had just sold another large watercolor of mine to a local automobile restoration artist. She told me he was fascinated with my collection of gas station compositions and chose the large one from among the pack.

Evening Hole. SOLD

Sandi also sold this mid-size watercolor of me fly-fishing Troublesome Creek in Colorado.

Needless to say, news of the triple sales (and boy, Sandi sold quite a number of other artists’ works the past three days in the gallery!) created somewhat of a soothing balm for my tortured feelings the past pair of days. Though absent in body, I’m glad that my “spirit” somehow lingered in the events where my work was on display. The affirmation helps, believe me.

I believe I will sleep better tonight. I have completed the first day taking dosages of Paxlovid, and already am feeling some physical relief from this dreaded illness. And news of the art sales has certainly provided a strong measure of good will; I feel much less isolated now.

More 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.

Six Subjects in Search of a Painter

July 27, 2022
Six Subjects in Search of a Painter, 33 x 40″ framed, now at Baron’s Creek Tasting Room & Wine Lounge

I’m leaning forward with anticipation to the Artists’ Reception Saturday, 4-7:00, at Baron’s Creek Tasting Room & Wine Lounge in Granbury, Texas. Publisher Gloria Hood has organized an exhibition of larger works by artists featured in the latest issue of Eyes of Texas Fine Art Magazine. I have decided to hang the above work in the show, because I’ve always wanted to see it in a large venue (our Gallery at Redlands is smaller and more intimate).

Baron’s Creek Tasting Room & Wine Lounge, 115 E. Bridge St. (on the town square), Granbury, Texas

This will be my second exhibition in this location, and I’m always happy to enjoy a glass of wine and good conversation with artists and art lovers at this place, particularly on weekends.

I’m still working on a book of short stories I’ve written along with illustrations from my own watercolors. I’m attaching the story that goes with the painting above, because I spent a meaningful winter in my garage studio (man cave) working on this piece and composing the story:

Night descended and Hank was up late again, bedding down in the storeroom of Jerry’s Texaco.  He had closed the place at dark but was too engrossed in his college studies to pack up the books and head for his garage apartment in the next county.  So, with Jerry’s permission, he would spend another night in the back of the station amidst the smells of gasoline, oil, pit grease and the grime that had built up over two generations.  Interstate commerce had sharply diminished the vitality of this sleepy town, and as soon as Hank 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 man.  His volumes of Thoreau, Frost, Whitman and Twain had opened to him worlds beyond this small, stale community. 

His few camping possessions stored in this room (Griswold frying pan, stove top percolator, kerosene lantern, Maxwell House tin) were the tether that kept him bound to the wild.  He would be packing up his gear soon and leaving without notice.  It was time to emerge from this cocoon and embrace the world calling out to him.

I hope you will be able to attend our opening Saturday. 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.

Earlier Work on the Chuck Wagon

February 6, 2022
Chuckwagon Watercolor created on site in 2016

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

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

A Lyrical Moment at the Old Store

Thanks for reading.

Re-visiting Heidegger’s Hut Memories

November 23, 2019

crockett live

Painting an Old Doorknob in the Old Store

You can have the technique and can paint the object, but that doesn’t mean you get down to the juice of it all. It’s what’s inside you, the way you translate the object–and that’s pure emotion.

Andrew Wyeth

The technique learned without a purpose is a formula which when used, knocks the life out of any ideas to which it is applied.

There are always a few who get at and feel the undercurrent, and these simply use the surface appearances selecting them and using them as tools to express the undercurrent, the real life.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

A Saturday of painting in The Gallery at Redlands has been soothing to me as I inch closer to Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow, my friends Cindy and Gary arrive for a couple of days of filming. I am so grateful for their offer to make this documentary of the projects I’ve been pursuing.

Between paintings I have also re-visited journals from my recent past. Soon, I hope to return to my favorite retreat, an old store that friends have given me access for lodging. I call it Heidegger’s Hut in memory of Martin Heidegger’s cabin retreat that he had built in 1927 in the Black Forest mountains. In that remote location, he wrote all his famous works. I have told many friends that my best work has been done in this old store, nearly three hours outside of Arlington. The doorknob shown above and below separates the store from the residence, and I spent the winter of 2016 painting it while seated next to a heater in the main store area.

Feeding off the quotes above from Wyeth and Henri, I tried to forget technique while focusing on the doorknob and figuring out exactly how I wanted to get it on the paper. I sat in the darkened storeroom with one desk lamp trained on the doorknob and a second one beside my chair, lighting the stretched paper on my lap. I spent much more time staring at my subject than actually drawing and painting. Most of my work was done between 1 a.m. and daybreak, and the sweet solitude of that winter darkness I will never forget. The time spent there was truly a gift.

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crockett

“Beyond the Door” watercolor 20.5h x 17.5w” frame size $800

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Heideggers Hut darkened

Painting of Myself in the Store, Painting the Doorknob

19h x 22w” frame size  $900

Signed & Numbered Edition 11.5h x 14.5w” $100

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Relaxing on the Veranda after Painting

Three months after the painting of the old doorknob, the owners of the store opened The Gallery at Redlands, and now I spend most of my open calendar days working out of the gallery.

The Redlands Hotel has released their menu for their Thanksgiving Eve Feast in the Queen St Grille. This special event will be Wednesday, November 27, 5-10 pm.

Rotisserie Turkey Breast    $25

Side Salad w/ choice of dressing

Dressing, Giblet Gravy

Home Style Mac & Cheese

Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole

Buttered White Corn

Sweet Rolls & Cranberry Sauce

 

Choice of Desserts:

Pecan Pie Cobbler

Pumpkin Cheesecake

For anyone wishing to celebrate Thanksgiving early, Palestine has this special treat waiting for you.

Thanks for reading.

Shultz reduced

 

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Jerry’s Texaco

June 9, 2019

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Jerry’s Texaco

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

Six Subjects in Search of a Painter

Six Subjects in Search of a Painter

Steve was up late again, bedding down in the storeroom of the old filling station.  He had closed the place at dusk after the last of the Turvey’s Corner work force drifted in and out, their work in the city done for another day. Steve himself could have called it a day but was too engrossed in his college studies to pack up the books and head for his garage apartment in the next county. So, with the owner’s permission, he would spend another night in the back storeroom where he kept his cot, amidst the smells of gasoline, oil, pit grease and the grime that had built up over two generations. The Texaco station was anchored on the first bend of the highway out of Turvey’s Corner. Interstate commerce had all but obliterated this sleepy town, and as soon as this young man graduated from the community college, he would depart as well. The local townspeople and patrons had no knowledge or regard for the things that stirred the soul of Steve. In their eyes, his purpose in life was to pump the gas, check the oil and keep the coffee pouring. But beyond the daily work of the station, Steve’s volumes of Thoreau, Frost, Whitman and Twain had opened to him worlds beyond this community. And his few camping possessions stored in this back room (Griswold frying pan, stove top percolator, kerosene lantern, Maxwell House tin) were the tether that kept him bound to the wild. He would be packing up his gear in a week and leaving without notice. It was time to emerge from this cocoon and embrace the world that was calling out to him.

. . . . .

Unable to sleep tonight, I decided to write a piece to go with my recent gas station painting, then revise the earlier segment I had written to accompany the still life painting. I’m in the mood tonight to put some more pieces in place for my Turvey’s Corner series.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog, reminding myself I am never alone.

 

Recovery in Silence

February 1, 2018

All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.

Herman Melville

Attendant Not on Duty.jpg

Attendant Not on Duty, Watercolor on exhibit Feb. 15-Mar. 1 at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

Proustian Memories of the Open Door

Proustian Memories of the Open Door, Watercolor on exhibit Feb. 15-Mar. 1 at Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

In earlier blogs, I’ve explained that a lingering sinus and upper respiratory infection has sharply diminished my energy, and I’ve hardly been able to meet my obligations and appointments the past several weeks. Once I’m home, I seem to head for bed to sleep off additional hours. It’s taking a long time for this junk to clear up. I’m just grateful that it never degenerated into fever, flu, or other debilitating issues.

Today I pronounced for a district Spelling Bee, an event that began at 8:00 and ended at about 3:00 (with a two-hour break in the middle). Coming home, I crashed into bed and didn’t rise till 8:30 p.m. Now, at 2:46 a.m., sleep still eludes me, but I have no appointments tomorrow, and have been wallowing happily in these late-night hours of silence.

So much has transpired this past month that I am still very eager to report. One of the exciting events was being contacted by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts to submit two of my watercolors for their 14th biennial Art Auction. My two paintings posted above will be on display in the museum from Feb. 15-Mar. 1, and then will be auctioned. I’m providing the link for anyone interested: http://mmfa.org/support/art-auction/

Driving to Alabama proved to be a relaxing and satisfying road trip of ten-and-a-half hours, and in a future blog I’ll gladly report the pleasures I enjoyed during the return trip through Mississippi.

Again, I am grateful for all the kind responses I’ve gotten from readers and well-wishers during this lingering illness. When I’ve felt well enough to read, I’ve enjoyed thoroughly the quiet hours of thought. I finally finished Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo Da Vinci biography, and have less than one hundred pages left to finish his engaging work on Steve Jobs. The quote I posted above from Herman Melville was lifted from a fascinating piece I read just posted on my Facebook by a friend I’ve always admired. The piece is titled “Science Says Silence is Much More Important to our Brains than we Think”, written by Rebecca Beris. I’m sharing the link to this as well: http://www.lifehack.org/377243/science-says-silence-much-more-important-our-brains-than-thought

Again, thanks to all of you who care enough to read my thoughts and reports of things happening in my corner of the world.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Retirement Odyssey

June 15, 2017

crockett

My first Retirement Retreat off the Grid

Push it. Examine all things intensely and relentlessly.
Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

1:21 a.m., Thursday morning (barely)
June 15, 2017

Sitting in this dark country kitchen tonight, I feel that I am drifting in the current of a moonless midnight river without oars, and without compass. With the banks on both sides concealed in the night gloom, and unable to discern what lies immediately before me, I find retirement very scintillating and intriguing. The senses feel sharp, and the anticipation positive. In midweek, I decided to make the two-and-a-half-hour road trip to Palestine, Texas, and resettle The Gallery at Redlands for a few days. This new gallery opened in March with my one-man-show, and the relationship I have enjoyed with the proprietors since that day has been deeply satisfying to my soul. When I retired last week from twenty-eight years of teaching school, I was happy to know that a new chapter was waiting to be written.

After yesterday’s road trip following a mostly sleepless night, I found myself extremely exhausted by five in the afternoon. I had already put in six hours at the gallery and another hour at a Rotary Club meeting where I made a number of new acquaintances. I managed to frame a couple of my recent watercolors, began work on a new painting and resumed work on a painting abandoned last year. Ten more works were added to the display I already had in place, and the interior of the gallery felt like home once again to me. I could feel myself smiling internally.

After closing shop, I made the fifty-minute drive out into the country to tuck myself in to my favorite hideaway—an old store that friends allow me to make my home-away-from home, off the grid beside a gravel road. Settling on the porch with a fresh cup of coffee, the cool winds concealed the reality of a 95-degree late Texas afternoon, and I gazed across acres of sun-washed pastureland, letting my thoughts drift. Finally at 7:30, I could no longer keep my eyes open, so I retired to bed, knowing that was probably a mistake. Sure enough, at 11:50 I awakened, and have been unable to sleep since. My mind is too awake, too interested, too consumed with possibilities of the new Thursday that has yet to dawn. I sit now at the large kitchen table of this old store, composing this “blind blog” (no Wi-Fi in this remote location), waiting for drowsiness to lead me back to bed.

Palestine is a city of trains, and the Texas Railroad Authority has granted me access to some of their historic locomotives, including old #610. This behemoth pulled the Texas Freedom Train all over the state during our nation’s bicentennial in 1976. Following that year, the locomotive served time in Atlanta, Georgia until it completely tired out, and was returned to Texas. For nearly three months, I have waited for the opportunity to paint this enormous machine, poring over a number of photos taken from a recent visit to the shed where it’s been parked. I have a number of experimental ideas in mind as I try for the first time to render this loco’s portrait in watercolor and pencil.

While I’m working in the gallery over the next few days, I also hope to complete a larger watercolor of a passenger rail car I found in Eureka Springs, Arkansas during a visit last year. I’ve always been dissatisfied with the muted colors on the side of the car, and think I can try a few tricks to enrich them. The foliage also needs more work.

(Next day) After falling asleep around 2:30 this morning and sleeping till nearly 7:00, I rose to a more promising dawn, and the moonless night river yielded to a sunny morning drive, my Jeep cutting across the countryside, and my heart filled with a renewed sense of adventure. By mid-afternoon things were hopping in The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, as I met several new friends, and managed to frame two more watercolors, finish my Eureka Springs passenger rail car, and break ground on the old #610. This is a retired Texas and Pacific 2-10-4 steam locomotive, the largest I’ve seen in over ten years. Seventy of these 600-series locomotives were manufactured, and this is the only one that still exists.  Right now, I’m waiting for the background of the painting to dry so I can begin work on the actual locomotive.

610 beginning

Old #610 Texas and Pacific in Progress

The draftsman must aggress; only by persistent assault will the live image capitulate and give up its secret to an unrelenting line.

Rico Lebrun

I anticipate a struggle and plenty to learn as I attempt to render the details on this complex locomotive.

eureka springs beginning

Eureka Springs Rail Odyssey, 16 x 12″ unframed, $250

Finally I finished the Eureka Springs passenger car I started long ago and resumed work on yesterday afternoon.  A number of new paintings have been brought out to The Gallery at Redlands for display and sale as well:

old store

Remnants from an Old Store, 11 x 14″ framed, $250

This subject was taken from the store where I gladly live when I retreat to the Texas wilderness.  Before retiring to bed last night, I walked into the store room and looked at this section of shelving behind the cash register, grateful for the memories of painting it last year.

indian corn

Indian Corn, 14 x 18″ framed, $225

I worked on this piece last winter while visiting with my parents in St. Louis, and finally got around to framing it.

palestine

Palestine Memory, 14 x 18″ framed, $200

I painted this scene from the Gallery window during my one-man-show last March, and finally got it framed and presented in the Gallery.

I plan to spend the next three days and evenings in The Gallery at Redlands, making as many watercolors as I can during this period, and continuing to make friends in the city of Palestine.  So far, the experience has been fulfilling.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I  feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.