Archive for the ‘Union Pacific’ Category

Tell Me Where the Road Is

November 23, 2019

Can anybody tell me where the road is? I’m just trying to find my way back home.

Guy Davis, Blues musician

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“Tell Me Where the Road Is” watercolor 26.5h x 24w” frame size. $500

17h x 14w” unframed signed & numbered edition, $70

The holiday season has finally arrived and my blood stirs with every thought. Descending the stairs this morning into the lobby of the Redlands Hotel, decked out in Christmas attire, I felt like a small boy again, holding hands with Mom and Dad while walking St. Louis sidewalks on frigid nights and looking in department store windows. The thought made my heart quiver, and I am thankful for many, many realities including my parents both still being alive. Thanksgiving cannot arrive soon enough, sitting around a table with those I love, talking and laughing in gratitude for all the good that has come in our many years together.

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Lobby of The Redlands Hotel, Palestine, Texas

Ten more suites are booked for tonight. The Polar Express brings 65,000 people to Palestine these final weeks of the year. Already the lobby is stirring with the exclamations of first-time guests, unprepared for what their eyes see. Last night it was my pleasure to escort a couple to their room on the fourth floor and I’ll never forget the expressions on their faces when they saw their lovely suite all decorated for Christmas. What a wonderful season.

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The Gallery at Redlands

I will never stop being grateful for being provided such a lovely space to make and display my art. I worked on the Union Pacific Big Boy watercolor at the drafting table till late last night, and am confident I’ll finish it later today.

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Union Pacific Big Boy #4014

The holiday travels just around the corner drove me to return to my reading of Homer’s Odyssey. Because of my work on the series I’ve titled “Turvey’s Corner 63050”, I have experienced many hours in recent weeks re-visiting memories and visions from childhood. Working on the watercolors and stories of that subject fill me with a depth of feeling I cannot describe adequately. While translating the Odyssey (I will never cease giving thanks to the seminary for teaching me Greek) and lingering over those ancient words, I feel such a profound connection to Odysseus navigating over that vast sea. Seafaring tales have always tugged at my heart, though I have been landbound in these United States throughout my life. My ship has always been a vehicle, and in recent years my aged Jeep has taken me over the broad seas of the rolling American landscape, my compass following a paved highway whining beneath my tires. The various islands and adventures of Odysseus have been the small towns and communities where I have moored for a temporary stay while finding my way back home.

I didn’t know until translating Homer that our word “nostalgia” comes from a Greek compound, nostos meaning return and algos meaning pain, metaphorically a pain of mind. Noun and verb forms of “return” occur 245 times in Homer’s writings, and “pain” occurs seventy-nine. Odysseus endured constant pain as he navigated the return to his roots. I know the comingled pain and comfort I feel as I recall scenes from my past and seek a return for better understanding. I consider this to be one of the finest gifts of being human and visited by memory.

I am aware that not everybody sees value in revisiting the past. In fact, Homer’s Odyssey, to many if not most, is an overrated piece of literature. Robert Fagles wrote that “one ancient critic, the author of the treatise On the Sublime, thought that the Odyssey was the product of Homer’s old age, of “a mind in decline; it was a work that could be compared to the setting sun–the size remained, without the force.” I cannot agree to this. Throughout my life, memory has been my most sacred possession, though it is probably more accurate to say it has possessed me. Either way, I am thankful to have life still in me to devote this quest to find my way back home.

I hope you will visit my new website, davidtrippart.com

Thanks for reading, and I wish you the warmest of Thanksgivings.

Shultz reduced

 

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.

 

Musings While Painting the Big Boy

November 17, 2019

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Union Pacific “Big Boy” #4014 Steaming into Palestine

The Gallery at Redlands was busier than usual last evening as some of the Polar Express riders passed through the hotel before and after their evening run. Some dear friends, Patti and Tim, gave me a drafting table they were not using, and I moved it into view of our gallery window. This seemed to offer an open invitation for restaurant, bar and hotel guests, along with the Polar Express passengers, to step into the gallery for viewing and conversation. I have never minded an audience while trying to make art.

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View of the Gallery at Redlands from the Lobby

This delicious Sunday morning brought my reading time a soothing visit from Emerson’s essay, “Experience”:

Into every intelligence there is a door which is never closed, through which the creator passes.

I recall an old proverb that promised “when the student is ready, the instructor will appear.” This morning I was ready for Emerson’s instruction. After a blissful night of painting and conversing with art lovers, I awoke this morning, approached the painting, and felt unprepared, flat, clueless. The surge of creativity ebbs and flows, I know from experience. But this morning, impatiently, I wanted to do something creative, yet as I looked over the painting, I had no clue what to approach next. So, I wisely set it aside, poured a second cup of coffee, went back upstairs and sat in a comfy chair to read in the soothing morning sunlight streaming through the window around and through the Christmas tree.

Emerson is the sage who never lets me down when I need a positive word of assurance. I love the opening of “Experience” as he described exactly where I was at the moment:

We wake and find ourselves on a stair; there are stairs below us, which we seem to have ascended; there are stairs above us, many a one, which go upward and out of sight. But the Genius which, according to the old belief, stands at the door by which we enter, and gives us the lethe to drink, that we may tell no tales, mixed the cup too strongly, and we cannot shake off the lethargy now at noonday.

After reading about six more pages into the essay, I felt the scales falling from my mind’s eye, and though upstairs, I could now “see” the train composition, and knew exactly what I wanted to do next. I couldn’t descend the stairs to the gallery quickly enough.

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I laid in the handrails on the left side of the locomotive to set it off against the rose-colored horizon, and then stopped long enough to draft today’s blog. I now know what to pursue next, but thought I would pause long enough to share some of the new experiments I attempted last night as I pushed out this painting. I’m glad that I abandoned the fear long ago of losing a painting and regret the myriad of “stale” pictures I cranked out in years past, following the same old tactics. Each watercolor now is an invitation to adventure as I push at the boundaries to see what is on the other side.

After using a toothbrush to spatter liquid masque from the Richeson Mediums Shiva Series, I used a spritz bottle to moisten the paper and flood the upper extremities with Paynes Gray and mixtures of Winsor Blue and Cerulean. The rosy horizon is a mixture of Quinachridone Red and Permanent Rose. Most of my smoke and steam effects, so far, has been manipulated with the use of a ragged brush I modified with an Xacto knife (I call it the “ugly brush”) and Q-tips. I am at the edge of my technical knowledge here–I prefer the white of my paintings to be the naked watercolor paper, not white gouache. I keep thinking that I could swirl white gouache over the darker areas and create whisps of smoke and steam, but I prefer to remain transparent with my use of watercolor. In my old days of acrylic on canvas, I learned many ways to create steam and smoke with white over dark paint, and would like to try and find a way to create the atmospheric effects, using the white paper instead of overlaying white paint. We’ll see how that all works out.

I’m still trying to solve the problem of the amber glow of the headlamp caught in the swirling steam in front of the train. I’m not sure how to do that yet, but the painting is still in its early stages. And at this point, I am finding it a great pleasure, exploring all these problems and possibilities.

Time to get back to the painting. Thank you for reading, and I hope you will check out my new website davidtrippart.com, still under construction but visibile already online.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

 

Saturday Splendor at the Gallery at Redlands

November 16, 2019

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Beginning of my First Painting of the UP “Big Boy” #4014

. . . they remind you of Saturday mornings when you were six and knew the day was young and blue just by looking over the fence through pale smokes of whoever it is is always burning something on Saturday morning (and hammering on nails in the afternoon).

Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody

Today has been a bright and sunny cold day in Palestine, Texas, lovely enough to step outside in a jacket and walk all over town. Seated in The Gallery at Redlands in the afternoon, I now muse over the entire morning divided between painting, reading, journaling, and stepping outside into the fresh air for the ocassional invigorating walk. The sounds of the city are reminiscent of the white noise I knew from my youth, described by Jack Kerouac above, that I found soothing then, and find soothing this day.

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View Outside the Gallery Window of the UP Railyards in the Distance

Two blocks away, the Union Pacific yards are back to their normal work and noise, a week having past since the Big Boy came lumbering into town for an overnight stay. I took pictures then. I begin watercolors now. At the top of this blog is the posted image of the first one, begun yesterday morning. Dave Shultz, the photographer who is also building my new website davidtrippart.com, has provided outstanding photos for me to use as reference to paint this massive locomotive.

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Lovely Christmas Tree in my Redlands Hotel Suite

The Redlands Hotel is now tricked out in its lovely holiday attire. In addition to the lobby areas, the hotel staff placed a Christmas tree in every suite of the hotel. I didn’t anticipate what I was to find when I came into my room yesterday. I cried in gratitude; Christmas trees have always overpowered me in that way, and yesterday was no different. Thank you, Redlands! I spent a large portion of this morning beside the tree in my suite, reading and scribbling notes in my journal.

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The Gallery at Redlands

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Views of The Redlands Hotel in a Walk Across Town

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Cover of my Latest Christmas Card

This year, I am adding to my holiday card collection. My 5 x 7″ cards are printed on Hallmark Card stock, blank inside with something I’ve written on the back. With envelope and packed in a plastic wrap, I sell these for $5 each or five for $20. For any of my readers living in the Arlington, Texas area, Boss Cleaners at the Arlington Green Oak Center, 5817 Interstate 20 West, Suite 410, sells these cards in their store.

In three weeks I will be displaying my work for viewing and sale at the Randy Brodnax & Friends Christmas Show: http://www.randybrodnax.com/christmas_show.html

The festival will run Friday through Sunday, Dec. 6-8.

Thanks for reading, and make sure you check out my new blog, davidtrippart.com.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Clearing out the Debris

May 1, 2015
A Friday Evening Return to the Studio

A Friday Evening Return to the Studio

Only when the soul is alone can the magic of the universe flow through it.

It needs silence for the murmur of the long centuries to grow audible, for the mystery of the cosmic procession to make itself felt.

And this silence can be attained in the maddest hurly-burly of the most crowded city. Material noises, material uproar, cannot interfere with it.

What destroys it are the crowd-thoughts, the vulgar clamour made by the thoughts that are no-thoughts.

Life is full of mysterious Presences voyaging to and fro; Presences that are god-like. But these Presences can only be caught upon their airy journeys by minds that have learnt the secret of being alone.

To converse with the Gods you must become as the Gods; and this means that you must cultivate loneliness. Where ‘two or three are gathered together’ the Gods flee away!

John Cowper Powys, A Philosophy of Solitude

Tonight, as the sweet sounds of Bach fugues fill my chamber, I resolve in this blog not to discuss the past week, which consisted exclusively of grading and deadlines. I am just delighted to have finished shoveling all that debris out of the barn, and happy that I got to sit down to my watercolor before the daylight ended, and now my heart is filled with gladness at this delicious opportunity for reading and writing about things closer to my heart. I have a task to perform for tomorrow, but I anticipate it to be a glorious opportunity. The rest of this night is mine.

Recently, I re-read Anthony Storr’s Solitude and drew indescribable riches from those pages. Now I am re-reading the Powys book, and the words are coming to me in the fulness of time. I recall a proverb that said when the student is ready, the master will appear. Well, I have been ready all week, with the yammering sounds of voices about me throughout each day at work, and sitting down in the evening to complete assignments, unable to shut out the residue of all that yammering. Yet through the tumult, I have been teaching Nietzsche’s ideas to my philosophy class, and many of his writings have found ways to get next to my heart in the midst of all the hurly-burly.

When I finished my last task, about an hour ago, I drew out my journal and fountain pen, and wrote without stopping until five pages lay before me. And I felt that I was just getting started. Looking up at the watercolor across the studio, I realized the light was fading, so I gave myself thirty minutes to move it into the next stages. Once the light faded, it was back to the journal to write some more, and then I felt prompted to re-visit some journals of mine from recent years. Reaching back to 2013, I found a number of ideas recorded and since forgotten, and they are exactly what I needed for this day. The quote from Powys was the real capper. I felt “visited” and just sighed deeply with profound gratitude for that soothing feel. My breathing changed, and suddenly I realized: “O yeah. The Blog. It’s been awhile.” I feel it would have been fruitless to try and kick out some words during any of the recent days. It’s so rich, being back at this life that I love so much.

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.

Union Pacific #844 finally completed, April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010

Union Pacific 844 in Fort Worth, Texas

Finally, I got this one finished in time for the Art Festival that begins tomorrow.  This painting marks one of my most sublime moments in plein air painting.  I traveled to Fort Worth on a Friday afternoon to paint this train that was arriving that day.  On the following morning, rising at 6:00, I returned to the location and did this painting (started it, anyway).  The wheels and detailing I completed in my studio this evening, using photos I had taken of the locomotive.  I am now making 5 x 7″ greeting cards of it with an explanatory text on the back.

Getting Ready for an Art Festival, April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010

Southbound Union Pacific Freight

I have a three-day art festival beginning tomorrow (Friday) at Art in the Park Festival in Kennedale, Texas.  This afternoon, I have been a juggler with too many balls in the air.  Sixty-four postcards were mailed, and email strand was sent, and announcement was made to stuff over two hundred teacher mailboxes in the morning, I finished this small composition and a companion piece involving a GATX freight train in the same location.  I’m nearly finished with the Union Pacific #844 that I began a week ago.  I have printed several dozen 5 x 7″ greeting cards with my watercolors on the cover,  Oh yes, and I taught three different subjects today at school.  Hopefully tomorrow will be calmer after the festival gets underway (but first I have to teach three more classes, then dash to the park and set up my 10 x 10′ booth.  My wonderful wife will assist me in that, as she has also in a myriad of other details related to this festival.  How fortunate to have someone that committed to this enterprise.

Here is a southbound Union Pacific freight in Burleson, Texas that I began last month.  I recall, with amusement, that I had set up alongside a dual set of tracks, working on the structure in the distance, when I heard the whistle of the distant freight and scurried to get out my digital camera.  Thinking the train was on the far set of tracks, I stepped close to the tracks nearest me, and zoomed in on this freight and took the picture, so I could paint it in my studio later.  When I lowered the camera, I realized that the train was on the tracks right in front of me, and was highballing in my direction, closing the distance fast!  Stupid!