Archive for the ‘trains’ Category

A Quiet, Restful Sunday

May 27, 2018

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Relaxing in The Gallery at Redlands after Saturday’s Depot Exhibit

I sensed a direct line from the eminent figures of ancient Greece–Aeschylus, Sophocles, Phidias–down to [Paul Tillich] himself. Each seemed to me intensely vital; each lived with a seriousness that was not sober; each knew that death would come sooner or later and that there was therefore no time for prevarication or dishonesty with oneself. Each burned with the gemlike flame that comes from the knowledge that we are on this crust of earth for our little moment to build our machines or think and speak our thoughts or sing our poems. 

Rollo May, Paulus: Reminscences of a Friendship

I am deeply grateful for this Sunday of restoration. Over the past forty-eight hours, I’ve driven long distances, set up and broken down a booth for my art exhibit, and sat for an entire day in a hot and extremely humid environment. The labor paid off wonderfully, but today I feel spent, and am happy to regather my strength. It’s been awhile since I read Paul Tillich’s work, and I thought I would begin the morning with some re-reading of the testimony of his most famous student, psychologist Rollo May. A good friend has given me a copy of Tillich’s Dynamics of Faith, and I’ve enjoyed reading sections of it during my quiet moments this weekend.

I was invited to display my railroad art at the opening of the Texas State Railroad’s new season that features excursion train rides from Palestine to Rusk. My day at the Palestine Depot was very rewarding, as the depot sold 280 tickets for the day’s train ride, and many rail enthusiasts visited my tent, made purchases, and engaged me in intriguing conversations concerning their connections to our rich railroad history.

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My Booth outside the Palestine Depot

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Afternoon train returning to Palestine from Rusk, finishing the Inaugural run of the New Season

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A Pair of Vintage Locomotives towed out from the Palestine Train Shed

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Gorgeous Evening Vista following my All-Day Depot Exhibition

I could not resist pulling my Jeep over last night to try and capture the scintillating colors emanating from the clouds that hovered over this church in Palestine. I’m thinking seriously of getting out the watercolors to see if I can capture some of that billowy dynamic of the amazing clouds I saw.

Sunday morning railyard

Sunday Morning view from Second-Floor Balcony of the Redlands Hotel

Rising early this Sunday morning, I took my coffee out to my favorite balcony of this historic hotel. The winds were cool, and the train yard seemed to be working overtime, as I watched eleven diesels move through the yards in fifteen minutes. Of course, I could not stop staring at the Chamber of Commerce Building on the right which used to be the headquarters for the railroad during the earlier parts of this century. I have done four watercolors of the structure from this angle.

The day has been restful, and I close with the repeated note of gratitude for quality rest following an arduous schedule.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

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A Soothing, Artful Day . . .

December 16, 2017

finished chamber of commerce

View from The Gallery at Redlands

A soft liquid joy like the noise of many waters flowed over his memory and he felt in his heart the soft peace of silent spaces of fading tenuous sky above the waters, of oceanic silence, of swallows flying through the seadusk over the flowing waters.

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

The abstract expressionist artist Robert Motherwell referred to James Joyce as “the Shakespeare of modernism”, and said that reading his works put him in the mood to paint. Early this morning, I chose to re-open Joyce’s Portrait which I’ve read already in its entirety, and to which I continually return for inspiration to paint. Today was a day free of appointments, and I’ve been enriched, gazing across the street at the Chamber of Commerce building from the gallery window and working slowly and methodically at it, pausing frequently to read and hit the reset button.

Palestine is quite the railroad town, and though the rail yard landscape continued to change throughout the day, I decided to put a trio of hoppers into the picture, and disregard the constant passage of Union Pacific locomotives, tankers, hoppers and reefers. The rumble of the diesels kept me company throughout the day, nearly lulling me to doze off a time or two. The gallery traffic was also very welcome, as were the sales and conversations. I’ll keep the doors open till 10:00 tonight because of the restaurant patrons across the lobby from me. Then tomorrow I will take down most of my railroad show and replace with a new selection of paintings. Tomorrow will be more labor intensive than today. I’m grateful for the respite of painting and reading today.

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.

 

 

Bright Sunwashed Morning for Painting

December 16, 2017

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Finis

Towards dawn he awoke. O what sweet music! His soul was all dewy wet. Over his limbs in sleep pale cool waves of light had passed. He lay still, as if his soul lay amid cool waters, conscious of faint sweet music. His mind was waking slowly to a tremulous morning knowledge, a morning inspiration.

James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Waking to a 36-degree morning in Palestine, Texas, in The Redlands Hotel, was a sublime experience. I lay in the darkness of the pre-dawn, unsure of the time, but thinking good thoughts, hoping for bright sunshine so I could return to The Gallery at Redlands downstairs and resume this watercolor sketch I began last week of the Chamber of Commerce building visible through my gallery window.

I have always loved the quality of winter morning sunlight when the weather is snappy cold, and am so happy for the first day in weeks that I have not had appointments and details to tend. I anticipate a day of painting, reading, and merely enjoying life at its fullest. My “American Railroad Odyssey” show closes at 10 p.m. and tomorrow I will take down the show and reconfigure the gallery display.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

 

Music in the Gallery Today

December 9, 2017

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Tuned & Ready

Saturday window

Window Display at The Gallery At Redlands, Palestine, Texas

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My Latest Train Watercolor Delivered Today from the Frame Shop

This weekend at The Gallery at Redlands has been a joyous experience. Plenty of shoppers are pouring into the town for this afternoon’s Main Street Wine Swirl. Part of the event will be held in the lobby of the Redlands Hotel just outside the gallery. I have a guitar picking friend coming to join me at 6:00. We plan to play acoustic guitars and sing our favorite songs into the evening, hoping to please the folks coming through. I’ve posted my most recent painting. The frame shop delivered it this afternoon, and I’m ecstatic over the work they did with the framing. I’ll be ordering limited edition signed & numbered prints of this next week.

Thanks for reading.

Approaching Yuletide

December 7, 2017

300 finished

Finally Finished with the #300

This watercolor marks the culmination of my 2017 series titled “The American Railroad Odyssey” featured at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas. The subject is one of the steam locomotives that used to pull The Polar Express between Palestine and Rusk. I thought it fitting to enter the Christmas season with a splash of red as the Texas State Railroad 300 approaches the station in the night to pick up waiting, expectant children in their pajamas.

This has been an exciting week of business and pleasure in Lubbock, Texas. I have entered into an agreement with another gallery, Art for Goodness Sake Gallery & Studio located at 1810 19th Street. David and Leann Lamb-Vines have been such gracious proprietors and I have deposited in their gallery a substantial quantity of greeting cards (including the new sets of Christmas card trains) and limited edition signed and numbered prints. Already they have sold pieces of mine, and I’m excited to be in business with them.

Tomorrow I will give my last classroom final exam at Texas Wesleyan University and then plan to enjoy an extended holiday break before resuming with a pair of Humanities classes in the Spring. Some of my finest students have already signed up for that course, and I’m ecstatic at the prospects of seeing them again.

I have had the privilege of writing extensively in my journal this morning as I’m now reading volume 1 of Robert Motherwell, A Catalogue Raisonné, 1941-1991. A deep sentiment was triggered when I read the following words of something he experienced right after his first one-man-show:

This was the moment when Motherwell realized that he did not have to try to seek a single image, or give a real priority to any single image; that he wanted to create a body of work that would reflect the entire range of his sensibility and feelings, which he could explore in different images that would reflect different aspects of his being.

I found this liberating, because I, as an art history teacher, recognized that though Motherwell is often “branded” with his “Elegy of the Spanish Republic” and Willem de Kooning with his “Woman” series, that these artists did not stick with just one subject; they were not one-trick ponies, and never became their own fan of a single signature series.

Since March of this year, I have focused on train subjects in my watercolors, knowing I was going to launch this Railroad Odyssey show in December. But now I am ready to explore other subjects once again, as in the past I have delighted in a number of genres, including plein-air landscape, still life, American nostalgia and Blues music. Recently there has been a revived interest in my collage pieces of my academic heroes. I have plans to return to that genre as well.

The holiday season is offering plenty of new experiences, and I’m beginning to relax into this new life that beckons.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Winter Time

December 5, 2017

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It is the sense of the sublime that we have to regard as the root of man’s creative activities in art, thought and noble living. Just as no flora has ever fully displayed the hidden vitality of the earth, so has no work of art ever brought to expression the depth of the unutterable, in the sight of which the souls of saints, poets and philosophers live. The attempt to convey what we see and cannot say is the everlasting theme of mankind’s unfinished symphony, a venture in which adequacy is never achieved. Only those who live on borrowed words believe in their gift of expression. A sensitive person knows that the intrinsic, the most essential, is never expressed.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, Man is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion

In 1978, while a seminary student, I was introduced to Heschel’s classic book, The Prophets, authored in 1962. I was taken with this scholar’s approach to the study of Hebrew prophecy, and never heard his name again until I was reading some book associated with art (don’t recall what!) and read his name associated with this book Man is Not Alone. On a lark, I purchased the work through Amazon, and have been amazed at its contents. I took the book with me to the Randy Brodnax and Friends Christmas Art Show last weekend, and continued reading it during slow moments between sales.

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My booth at the Randy Brodnax Show

Reading the book made me ache for a return to the studio, as I always do when I’m stuck in a booth for several days. I am never able to express what I feel when I am working on a piece of art, and am glad to read such words as those above. “Ineffable” is the best word for the experience of creating art. Currently I am working on this Christmas railroad theme and about to finish another steam locomotive under a snowy night sky, as snow flurries are already beginning outside my window as I write this.

Winter time is a season I always anticipate with gladness, not only because of Thanksgiving and Christmas but also because of the transitions. Friday I’ll give my last final exam at the college and enjoy a month hiatus from teaching. My American Railroad Odyssey show at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine will close December 16, and I will be in the gallery Fri-Saturday the next two weekends. Currently I’m doing business with Art for Goodness Sake, a gallery in Lubbock, Texas that began carrying my work two months ago. Once I’m finished at the college this week, I’ll transition into this “winter time” season where I’ll be able to focus exclusively on making art and re-stocking my inventory in the galleries and shops that carry my work. There is a possibility of a show in January, and if that comes to fruition, I’ll announce it immediately.

I love this time of year! 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.

 

 

Gearing Up for the Final Show of 2017

November 29, 2017

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Trying to finish this Texas State Railroad Locomotive

I believe the great artists of the future will use fewer words, copy fewer things, essays will be shorter in words and longer in meaning.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. . . . The imagination must learn to ply her craft by judgment studied.

William Wordsworth, “The Prelude”

I feel that I have somehow packed three days into one, as this Tuesday has been exceedingly long and arduous, yet satisfying. Rising at 6 this morning, I managed to put in some quality reading time, then left the house to pursue business errands until this evening, sat down next to compose tomorrow’s final lecture for my college Ethics class, then finally worked in the garage on my booth presentation for this weekend’s show.

My quotes above came from the morning of reading, and I was most captivated by the contrast in Wordsworth’s pair of statements, namely that art is a balance between an explosion of feeling and editorial restraint. As I work to complete the steam locomotive started several weeks back, I seek to lay down the precision and geometry required by the subject matter. But boy, how I enjoyed all the splashing and splattering of the night sky and and the loose washes of color on the body of the locomotive, before the time came to tighten up and lay in the exacting details.

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I should consider myself fortunate that I could not leave my house this morning until businesses opened, so I had three hours of solitude for reading and writing. The writings of Robert Motherwell fed my soul as they always do. This remarkable Abstract Expressionist artist was the prime example of a life that blended scholarly pursuit with art making in the studio. For decades I have sought a balance between my academic studies and my art pursuits and always look to this man for my inspiration.

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After my study time, I went out to mail 110 postcards I had addressed by hand last night, announcing this weekend’s Randy Brodnax and Friends Christmas Show at the Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas. After the post office visit, I drove the two hours to Palestine, Texas to The Gallery at Redlands to spend some time working on my watercolor. The light in the gallery windows was perfect for the early afternoon studio time.

After painting for awhile, I then packed and loaded the inventory and furniture necessary for setting up my booth Friday in Dallas and then drove the two hours back home. Once there, I sat down and composed tomorrow’s Ethics lecture to be given at Texas Wesleyan University (my only regular job now in my semi-retired lifecycle). Once the lecture was complete, I went into the garage to unload the Jeep and begin planning how I’m going to set up an 8 x 10′ booth space at the weekend show.

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I’m glad to have sufficient garage space to work on this booth for the next two days. I’ll be making decisions on lighting and Christmas decorations as well as the particular art inventory needed for the show.

Thanks for reading. It’s been a lengthy day, but I’m glad to get some important matters accomplished.

Holiday Solitude in the Studio

November 20, 2017

red monday

While you are alone you are entirely your own master.

Leonardo da Vinci

Waking up around 5 this morning, I realized with gladness that I don’t have a class to teach for a solid week. I knew that last Friday when our university dismissed for Thanksgiving, but truly felt it this morning. My Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes begin at 9, and always on Monday I awake around 5, thinking about what I’m going to say in four hours. Instead, today I went straight to the drafting table and resumed work on this #300 steam engine from the Texas State Railroad that I abandoned until this past weekend. I’m starting to feel the momentum return, much the way the steam locomotives did when they resumed a journey after a lengthy layover.

I also hope to complete my reading of the Walter Isaacson biography on Leonardo da Vinci. I’m 229 pages into the piece, and have loved every page, as the author chooses to explore this amazing man through his notebooks. This morning is a good time to be alone and think about the work I’m pursuing these days.

The weekend at The Gallery at Redlands was sublime as always, and it was capped by a surprise visit from my dear friends, the Darrs. Yesterday we got to spend several hours visiting in the gallery.

I will not return to the Gallery for the next two weekends. I assume the Thanksgiving weekend would be quiet for business, and I am privileged to take part in the Randy Brodnax and Friends Christmas Show in Dallas December 1-3. I’ll return to Palestine the two weekends following and close out my railroad exhibit.

For anyone interested, I have the following originals on display, along with limited editions for $70, 11 x 14″ matted prints for $25, 8 x 10″matted ones for $15, and box sets of 6 cards for $25. I also have a pair of coffee mugs designed featuring my watercolor trains.

Thanks for reading.

610 Schultz large cropped

Night Train Violet

30Large cropped

Night Train Blue

Blue & Red diesel

Chevron Diesel

Orange diesel

Blog Wed 2

Dreams of Yesterday

grapevine train

durango-silverton

turvey

eureka springs

Return to Painting with a Surge

November 19, 2017

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Leaving the university Friday morning, with a one-week Thanksgiving vacation in front of me put a considerable wind at my back. I arrived at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine (my home away from home) in time to give a two-hour watercolor lesson to an artist with considerable experience and talent already. Watching her work was a real inspiration for me, and as soon as the lesson was accomplished, I was ready to return to painting after a short hiatus. The painting above of one of the Texas State Railroad locomotives I resumed after laying it aside for a few weeks. I worked on it till late Saturday night, while the Gallery was quiet.

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Rising shortly after 5 this morning, I was ready to resume work on the Chamber of Commerce building as seen outside the Gallery window. I began work on it Saturday morning before the Gallery traffic began picking up. Today the morning sun was bright on the side of the building and I managed to get quite a bit accomplished.

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Saturday morning, early, I got a good look at Shelton Hall in Old Town Palestine while enjoying my morning coffee at the newly-opened Cream & Coffee establishment. While sitting outside, I sketched the roof of the old building in my journal with a ballpoint pen and decided once I returned to the gallery to get a start on this one as well.

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It is now Sunday evening and nearly time to close the Gallery and head back to Arlington (a two-hour drive). The painting time has been luxurious, and my reading of Isaacson’s new biography on Leonardo da Vinci over the weekend has also been a delicious change of pace from what I’ve had to do the past few weeks getting ready for this train show.

My Gallery show will continue to run until December 16, and I’m grateful already for the patrons who have drifted in to peruse my work and make purchases.

And thanks to all of you for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Finally Ready for Show Time

November 11, 2017

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Around Midnight, ready for the Opening

Finally, the last piece is in place and I should be able to sleep tonight. I will be able to open the gallery at ten in the morning, ready to welcome anyone who crosses the threshold. We are in Room 109 of The Redlands Hotel, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas. Our Gallery at Redlands has been in business since March and we’re all proud to be in this historic space.

The show is titled “The American Railroad Odyssey.” I have new watercolors of historic trains, mostly the ones located in Palestine’s history. For the show I have also brought out ninety signed & numbered prints, as well as open prints in 8 x 10 and 5 x 7″ sizes. I have greeting cards with my railroad watercolor images on the front and a text on the back (blank inside). I sell these at $5 each or $25 for six in a boxed set. Coffee mugs have also been created that sell for $15. This will be the first Christmas season that I have such a full inventory. Hopefully, I can offer something for everyone.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend.