Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

October 19

October 19, 2019

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Sundance Square. Fort Worth, Texas

The sunwashed cool days of this weekend have been so satisfying. I feel that I am finally rested from the past couple of weeks of activities requiring constant travel. Sitting outside at a Starbucks in downtown Fort Worth, I read through a journal of mine from the winter of 2015-16. Finding notes I took on N. C. Wyeth, I rediscovered the historical events that all occurred on today’s date–October 19.

On this day . . .

. . . 1902. N. C. Wyeth arrived in Wilmington, Delaware to study under the illustrator Howard Pyle.

. . . 1932. Andrew Wyeth entered the studio of his father to begin his apprenticeship as an artist.

. . . 1937. Andrew Wyeth opened his one-man-show in New York City. It sold out the following day.

. . . 1945. N.C. was killed along with his grandbaby, struck by a freight train when their car stalled at the crossing.

I feel that I’ll never see October 19 the same again.

Thanks for reading.

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A Weed by the Wall

October 16, 2019

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Saturday at Edom Art Festival

To-day I am full of thoughts, and can write what I please. I see no reason why I should not have the same thought, the same power of expression to-morrow. What I write, whilst I write it, seems the most natural thing in the world: but yesterday I saw a dreary vacuity in this direction in which now I see so much; and a month hence, I doubt not, I shall wonder who he was that wrote so many continuous pages. Alas for this infirm faith, this will not strenuous, this vast ebb of a vast flow! I am God in nature; I am a weed by the wall.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”

This morning, while reading Harold Bloom’s The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime, I came across one of my favorite Emerson musings from his engaging essay “Circles.” Not long after his 1836 catapult into the spotlight of American fame, he began writing about these rhythms, the ebb and flow that creative spirits know so well. We cannot be in that creative flow all the time; there is always the balancing rhythm of repose, stagnation, or stasis. I know that experience in creative rhythms as well as emotional highs followed by exhaustion.

Looking back over my blogs, I realize that I last posted on Friday, while waiting out a rainstorm so I could set up my booth for the Edom Art Festival. Now, four days have passed, and it seems like only a matter of hours. Yet, I feel that I packed a month’s worth of experiences in those few days.

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Two Views of my Booth

I cannot say enough about the loveliness of the festival and the gorgeous weather both days–bright sun and cool temperatures. What pleased me the most was that my booth was packed most of Saturday during business hours. Generally, during a festival, there are those down times when no one is dropping by to shop. But Saturday, the booth was occupied nearly the entire day with anywhere from two-to-eight shoppers, and my heart overflowed with good feelings, knowing there was some kind of meaningful connection between the viewers and my paintings.

Since the festival, I have already been back to Palestine, home to Arlington, over to Fort Worth to teach my Tuesday morning Humanities class, and now I’m back in the gallery in Palestine. There is much to do, but it feels good this morning not to be chasing a deadline. The only major chore before me is putting the gallery back together as I have unloaded my festival gear and paintings. It is time to make the gallery look like a gallery again instead of a storeroom in need of tidying.

The text from Emerson is very timely this day. In recent weeks I have vacillated between creative explosions and hiatus. Right now, I feel that I am at rest (and gratefully so) but at the same time feel this surge of ideas waiting for new expression. There are a number of watercolor and drawing ideas in me that I would like to get out, and hope to, as soon as I put this gallery back together. I always loved the Frank Lloyd Wright remark, boasting that he could merely shake buildings out of his sleeve. There are times when I feel that about paintings, and it’s a sublime feeling. Yet, at my age, I also am very aware of those dormant periods, and they no longer trouble me. I know that the body needs rest as well as exercise, sleep as well as travel. Likewise, the creative bursts will naturally be balanced with times of repose.

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I usually enjoy a good book while sitting through seven-hour days at art festivals. On Saturday, the booth was filled with patrons all day, so reading was out of the question. But on Sunday, during church hours, the festival grounds were quite empty, so I opened my backpack to discover that I had not packed any books! No art supplies either. So . . . with a ballpoint pen I entertained myself the first few hours by scribbling out tree sketches in my journal while posting random thoughts. It reminded me of a recent pledge to try and push myself in the Leonardo da Vinci direction of keeping sketchbook/journals. Maybe I’ll get there. I like the way my mind wanders back and forth between ideas and images, and hope that I’ll develop a habit of moving back and forth between drawing and writing. At any rate, it was a wonderful way to pass the time for a couple of hours Sunday morning.

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Queen St. Grille, Adjacent to The Gallery at Redlands

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New Installations at Queen St Grille

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I am honored that The Redlands Hotel has invited me to extend my gallery work into the restaurant across the lobby. Jean and Mike have been gracious in allowing me to store my excess paintings on the fifth floor of the hotel. Now they will have better exposure hanging in this lovely dining area. The Gallery at Redlands is also getting a facelift as some water damage was sustained on one of our walls due to an air conditioner malfunction. Today will be divided between repairs and reinstallation in the gallery and the new possibilities excite me.

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Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Waiting out the Rain at Edom Art Festival

October 11, 2019

The Shed Cafe

Watercolor of my “Second Office”

Outisde it is 45 degrees and raining. Fortunately for me, The Shed Cafe is adjacent to the festival grounds, so I have a warm, dry place to wait for the rain to subside before I set up the tent for this weekend’s Edom Art Festival. Forecast calls for 0% precipitation tomorrow, so my heart is gladdened. Today’s rain is expected to stop in the next hour or so and I can get back to work. Meanwhile I am enjoying this coffee on a cold morning.

I am adding an artist’s chapter to my cycle of paintings and stories for this new series Turvey’s Corner 63050. Following is my true story to accompany the painting above:

At sixty, the artist came to realize that life comes heavier and wearier. The Edom Art Festival offered to him his first crack at a juried, high-end art venue. Setting up his booth on a chilly October Friday, he thought over all the ways he could trim expenses for the weekend. By nightfall, he decided to postpone hotel rental until the final night, thus guaranteeing a good night’s rest before breaking down at festival’s end. So, tonight he would sleep in the back of his Jeep Grand Cherokee parked on the perimeter of the festival grounds, at the edge of the deep forest. The Jeep did not offer the most comfortable sleeping accommodations, and most of the night was given to tossing and turning before the sleep of exhaustion finally conquered his constitution.

Waking at dawn, he stumbled out of his vehicle and trudged up the hill through the darkened festival grounds. The morning was chilly and foggy as he walked past row after row of shuttered booths. Rounding the privacy fence at the end of the pasture, he entered the parking lot of the Shed Café and his heart leapt with joy at the sight of the eatery silhouetted against the dawn sky, smoke billowing from the chimney, and the crisp October winds bringing to him the aroma of coffee and frying bacon. What a splendid morning to encounter! With breakfast finished, he found a comfortable seat on the Shed porch, opened his journal and poured out his gratitude on the pages while watching the sun rise over the distant tree line. The festival was going to be a sublime experience.

photo of early morning Shed

The Shed, Photographed years ago when I Rounded the Privacy Fence

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Lunch at The Shed today, waiting out the Rain

All my years spent at the Edom Art Festival and The Shed are warm memories indeed, and I am grateful to be invited back this year for another round. The rain outside appears to have stopped, so I have a house to build!

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.

 

Festival Season has Arrived

October 10, 2019

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Reconnected with Christy Town, my Former Student

Go into Nature raw and simple and just sit quietly doing nothing other than allowing Nature to become accustomed to your presence.  Soon enough, often just beyond what you had taken to be the threshold of your patience and perception, Nature steps forward and begins to reveal its features to you. Rush it and you will never see it. Grab for it and it will give you nothing of its real self, only what you set out to grab.  But wait a while longer, and the place begins to breathe audibly, to creep and flutter, beat, to speak in a thousand ways.  You listen.  That is today’s conversation.

Peter London, Drawing Closer to Nature

Today (Thursday) is a genuine gift to my exhausted life. For days I have been driving long distances on the road, keeping several engagements as promised, and now am happy to have an entire day to relax and enjoy the environment in The Gallery at Redlands before loading up for tomorrow’s festival.

After teaching my class Tuesday at Texas Wesleyan University, I loaded the Jeep and headed for Palestine so I could pack up all my supplies for the following day–an all-day plein air presentation and demo at the Central Texas Watercolor Society in Waco. Rising at 6:00 the following morning, I made the two-hour journey and was deeply moved to see  Christy Town, a former art history student of mine from the Martin High School days of 2005. She went on to become a teacher and artist and I found it so humbling that she chose to spend a day with me in this session. She has posted a lovely account of the day on her blog: https://theartlabtx.com/2019/10/09/plein-air-painting-day/

As if meeting Christy wasn’t enough of a shock, I then was greeted by Trish Poupard, a fabulous west-coast watercolorist now living in Texas. She attended my presentation recently in Fort Worth at the Society of Watercolor Artists meeting, and decided to make a two-hour drive here to see me again. You can view her remarkable body of work at https://trish-poupard.format.com/#4

In the morning, I shall leave for the Edom Art Festival, now in its 46th year. The event will be held 10-5 on Saturday and Sunday, and the art work in the booths is high end. This is one of my two top festivals of the year, and I am looking forward to the lovely weather and crowds of art lovers with high expectations. You can learn more about this event by checking out their website: http://visitedom.com/edom-art-festival/

This festival will witness the first showing of my newest series, Turvey’s Corner 63050. I have four new watercolors for this series, in 16 x 20″ frames and ready to sell:

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church hotel watercolor

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The lovely Redlands Hotel has been my welcoming home this week as I’ve juggled my tasks between Waco and Edom. My morning walk today provided a lovely 72-degree temperature with cool breezes and bright sunshine. The hotel was magnificent in that light.

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The Redlands Hotel, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas

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So Many New Businesses Added the Past Year!

Approaching the side entrance to the hotel, I stopped to marvel at all the new occupants I’ve come to appreciate over this past year of growth. What once was a quiet hotel has now turned into a humming beehive of activity even on weekday mornings. I keep the gallery door propped open, enjoying all the ambient sounds emanating from the lobby traffic. And of course, I love chatting up the patrons who drift into the gallery for a look.

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The New Queen St. Grille, Lovelier than Ever

Jean and Mike have now taken the ownership of the restaurant formerly known as Red Fire Grille. The chef and staff have remained on board, so the food and service are still the epitome of fine dining, and many more patrons are now finding their way to this location to enjoy the best food. The rib-eye I chose last night capped the end of a perfect day.

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The Finest 12 oz. Ribeye

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Kevin and Alan in the Morning

Kevin and Alan were at the top of their game this morning with Smooth Rock 93.5. I’m proud to know I may be in America’s only art gallery that includes a radio station broadcasting live. These fellows are the most pleasant roommates I could ever hope for in the mornings. When you get the chance, stream them live on your phone, computer or tablet. They broadcast live from 7-10 weekday mornings. The station continues to play smooth rock 24-7 after the morning show ends.

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Kevin Harris Top of the Morning

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Alan at the Top of his Tech Mastery

I regret to close out this morning’s blog, but I have a ton of packing and loading to do before heading out in the morning for the Edom Art Festival.

Thanks for reading, and if you are in the area, I would love to see you in Edom.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

A Fulfilling Weekend in the Studio of Dreams

September 30, 2019

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Paintings in Progress Piling Up

My firm belief is that one paints, as one writes, not out of a theory but out of the vividness of an experience . . . Rational thoughts follow to anchor theoretically the truths that already have grasped us as a vision.

Rollo May, My Quest for Beauty

In the quiet of the dark Monday morning predawn, music wafting softly from the adjoining rootm, I sit at my desk, inhaling the pleasing aroma from this freshly pressed mug of coffee and . . . nothing. After forty-eight hours of wall-to-wall quiet and creative bliss, I thought surely by now that I would have something meaningful to blog. Twenty-two watercolors, in progress, are scattered across three drafting tables in my living room. The past two days have been pure heaven, moving from painting to painting, book to book, manuscript to manuscript. Yes, painting, reading and writing–three of my favorite activities for which I still work to find sufficient time, even in these glowing retirement years–and I now have this urge to blog, but nothing seems to bubble to the surface.

Opening one of my favorite volumes from Rollo May, I now re-read this timely word:

There is a danger in erasing chaos too easily, for it then takes away one’s stimulation. Several years ago I took the training for transcendental meditation. I have always been interested in meditating and have done it more or less on my own. When I finished that course and my mantra was given to me, I was instructed to meditate twenty minutes in the morning as soon as I woke up and twenty minutes at four or five o’clock in the afternoon. So I, being an obedient soul, started out doing that. I found that after meditating I would go down to my desk in my studio and sit there to write. And nothing would come. Everything was so peaceful, so harmonious; I was blissed out. And I had to realize through harsh experience that the secret of being a writer is to go to your desk with your mind full of chaos, full of formlessness–formlessness of the night before, formlessness which threatens you, changes you.

The essence of a writer is that out of this chaos, through struggle, or joy, or grief–through trying a dozen or perhaps a hundered ways in rewriting–one finally gets one’s ideas into some kind of form.

I suppose he has a point there. I recall one of Nietzsche’s maxims from Thus Spoke Zarathustra:

I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star

I have managed to glide through an entire weekend without chaos. In fact, once I got on the other side of the two-hour presentation I gave a couple of weeks ago, a presentation that had pressed on my psyche for month after month, life has been slower and there has been no chaos to organize.

Not to say I’ve been indolent; I’m managing some kind of physical exercise daily and have thankfully taken off more than twenty pounds over the past couple of months. Energy is increasing, and I take much satisfaction in that reality. And . . . I now have twenty-two watercolors in the making. Perhaps soon I will be able to share some kind of insight and discovery while working on them. And of course, I’ll gladly post photos of the new work once it is further along.

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One of Twenty-Two Paintings in Progress

I feel the compulsion to go back into the studio now that the morning light is coming through the windows. 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.

Thinking

September 29, 2019

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We never come to thoughts. They come to us.

Martin Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet”

The matter of thinking does not lie somewhere before us like a land of truth into which one can advance; it is not a thing that we can discover and uncover. The reality of, and the appropriate manner of access to, the matter of thinking is still dark for us.

Eugen Fink, Heraclitus Seminar

This delightfully still Sunday morning has found me in a pensive mood. I came to the writing desk early, not sure of what I was going to uncover in my reading. I had some specific ideas in mind, but seemingly unrelated thoughts entered my sphere instead and took my mind in directions I did not anticipate. I love these detours and welcome them.

I have written in another context that inspiration is like the wind that blows. We cannot know its origin or direction. We can only adjust our sails to capture it when it arrives. The word “spirit” in Greek literature is pneuma that we like to translate “wind” or “breath.” I find the same to be true in thinking; I have no idea how that originates. Years ago, I laughed when I saw a book by Heidegger titled What is Thinking? Looking at the title, I said to myself, “Are you serious? You cannot define thinking? What is complicated about that? Thinking is . . .” I couldn’t complete the sentence! I could not explain the nature of thinking. From that moment, I’ve been absorbed with this subject so easily taken for granted.

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Completed Experiment

I have decided to cut this blog off rather short and go ahead and post. For nearly two hours now I have grazed from so many pastures, reading from over a half dozen books and taking furious notes. And in the midst of it all, I suddenly “saw” in my mind’s eye what I want to try out next (thank you Henry David Thoreau and your marvelous words from A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers). I am posting a watercolor I completed a couple of days ago, another experiment. Suddenly, I have decided to try yet something else new, and hopefully will get it posted on this blog.

Thanks always for reading . . .

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Late Saturday Night Bliss . . .

September 28, 2019

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A New Watercolor Experiment

Art, Cezanne reminds us, is surrounded by artifice.

Jonah, Lehrer, Proust was a Neuroscientist

I decided to put some wraps on an all-day experiment in watercolor, grateful for such a long space in time with no appointments or engagements. I anticipate more of the same on Sunday. Before retiring to bed, I wanted to post some of my experimental work. Tomorrow, under natural light, I’ll be able to present better photos than these taken at night under artificial lighting.

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Thanks for reading.

Reaping the Whirlwind

September 23, 2019

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This Watercolor Just Found a Home

Go into Nature raw and simple and just sit quietly doing nothing other than allowing Nature to become accustomed to your presence. Soon enough, often just beyond what you had taken to be the threshold of your patience and perception, Nature steps forward and begins to reveal its features to you.

Peter London, Drawing Closer to Nature

Two summers ago, I had a one-day plein air experience that now seems to have altered my watercolor trajectory in a profound way. I was sitting for hours on a cabin deck in South Fork, Colorado, staring at the beautiful evergreens lit by the sunrise. Musing over how exactly I could capture the evanescence of these lovely trees in transparent watercolor, I thought over what I had learned about sixth-century Xie He’s “canons” of painting. Briefly stated, he pointed out that the artist’s aim was to capture the spirit or movement of the subject.

I immediately began experimenting with numerous panels of stretched watercolor, combining masquing, pouring, splattering and dripping of the pigments. As I worked, I was joined by some cute critters.

bird on painting

Feeding chipmunk4

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A New Attempt at Evergreens

Today I decided to go after the evergreen subjects with some new ideas for experimenting. All day, my mind has been in a whirlwind as I’ve thought up new techinques and approaches, filling several pages of my journal. It feels good when the mind and imagination begin percolating new ideas and approaches.

I wanted to take a moment and share the paintings I worked on yesterday at the Queen St Grille. It was a great experience, and I am grateful for Jean Mollard’s invitation to paint there again.

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I’m painting well into the night tonight, which is unusual for me. I hope I’ll have more to share tomorrow. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the rush.

Thanks always for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Adjusting the Sails to Catch the Wind

September 22, 2019

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Early Sunday Morning in the Gallery at Redlands

The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes . . . 

The Gospel According to John 3:8

Thirty-two years have passed since I pastored a church, nine years since I stood behind any pulpit. Nevertheless I still read with fulfilment from my Greek New Testament, grateful that a seminary drilled the fluency of that language into me. And on many Sunday mornings (and other mornings as well), I open those pages and pore over the texts, always finding passages that impact my life, though the orientation has profoundly altered.

A week ago, I stood before the Society of Watercolor Artists in Fort Worth at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and was warmly received as I tried (I never feel that I have hit the mark) to address this inspiration aspect of making art.  After months of pressure, I felt sudden release when that public event was over, but knew that I would not be able to lay to rest this curiosity about the nature of inspiration. And now this morning, waking at 6:00 though the alarm was set for 7:00, these thoughts about the creative impulse continue to visit me and will not rest. The clock now says 8:45, so I have now surged for nearly three hours with these notions, have scribbled unceasingly in my journal, and will now see if I can make any sense as I pour this windstorm into the blog.

From childhood I have been visited by a restless surge to create. Drawing was the only skill I possessed (rather, it possessed me), and I held on and rode this mustang all the way through my Bachelor’s degree. But then my life took a different tack, the Protestant pastoral ministry, and I rode that one all the way through completion of the Ph.D., ten more years. Soon after, I returned to the visual arts, but had to make a living. Twenty-eight years later, retiring with a pension, I at long last have found luxurious leisure to slow the pace and gaze more fixedly at this phenomenon.

Prior to the pastoral ministry, I used the word “inspiration” to describe one’s impetus to create. In church circles, I found that word to be charged with an unfortunate flavor that restricted it to writers of the biblical texts. So I had to lay it aside. Preachers weren’t inspired; to say such while in the “fellowship” would be heresy. So, I had to find other words to describe the compulsion to preach, to testify, to witness, etc.

Now that I am back in the artistic community, it is OK to say artists are “inspired.” The word for “spirit” in the New Testament writings can also be translated as “wind” or “breath”, and the verbs describing its action are “move”, “blow”, etc. I love the richness of these metaphors, and quoted one of them at the opening of this entry. A reference in 2 Peter 1:21 addressed those who were “moved” by the spirit. As an artist and a student of art history, I am always stirred when I read journals left behind by the likes of Delacroix, Gauguin, Henri and others who spoke of this stirring that they could not flee; they had to make art. I know how that feels. I understand that restlessness. I don’t know when the winds will blow, but I know I want to adjust my sails to catch the forces once they stir.

In ministerial circles before, and artistic circles now, I have heard, and continue to hear those who address their work merely as a task. For the task they have been trained. For the task, they have been equipped. And for the task, they simply do what is expected of them. And I am bemused every time I hear someone speak of that task as though it were merely work, drudgery, a means of earning a wage. I simply cannot identify with that. I have known employment in the past when I felt indifferent and sometimes abhorrent of what was demanded of me. I simply cannot feel that way about making art. There is a force, a wind, that drives me to create, and when I cannot fulfill that drive (either because I have other things that demand my attention, or when  actually making art I am clumsy in my technique), I feel genuine, deep-seated frustration and failure.

I have a circle of precious artistic spirits that I meet with periodically for the purpose of discussing our art and encouraging one another. And I will never be able to describe the profound joy I feel when in their presence. Aside from that small circle, I find the artistic enterprise a solitary one, and since I am for the most part an introvert, I don’t find that a lonely existence at all. However, I hope one day I can find the key to speaking publicly about this inspiration that blows through the artist, compelling him/her to create, whether it’s visual, literary, musical, performance or oratorical. I overwhelmingly love the notion of that creative wind that blows through personalities and makes creation possible. And as I once hoped to be a worthy vessel in the ministry, so I now wish to be worthy when making art or called upon to inspire other artists as they engage in this precious endeavor.

The abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock is laid to rest in a cemetery on Long Island. At that location is an inscription that reads:

Artists and poets are the raw nerve ends of humanity. By themselves they can do little to save humanity. Without them there would be little worth saving.

The time now is 9:40. Perhaps I can now return to making art. 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.

 

Painting Nostalgia

September 21, 2019

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Latest Addition to Turvey’s Corner 63050

Saturday has been a splendid day for painting and visiting with friends here in Palestine. The gallery has provided a wonderful space for creating and I’m thankful for all those who have made this possible. Tomorrow I plan to take this painting into the Queen St Grille during brunch (11-2) and see if I can complete it. I have another pair of paintings in progress that I might choose to rotate in and out of the circle as I make painting decisions.

If you have a moment, check out the Queen St Grille on the recently updated website for the Redlands Hotel–http://redlandshistoricinn.com/dine.html

It’s been a nice, relaxing evening here in Palestine. 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.