Archive for the ‘Victorian architecture’ Category

Saturday Night in the Gallery

October 26, 2019


Palestine Victorian. 8 x 10″  $150 with white mat

It’s not what you put in but what you leave out that counts.

Andrew Wyeth

Palestine, Texas has been chilly all day, but the crowds still came out for the annual Hot Pepper Festival. I chose to stay warm inside the gallery, and brought this 8 x 10″ watercolor to a close. After spending hours detailing the part of the Victorian home that most commanded my attention, I decided to fall back on my favorite Andrew Wyeth compositional dictum that the strength of a composition depends on what you omit, allowing the viewer room for imagination in viewing. Frequently I choose to leave the peripheral elements blank, believing that the viewer will then focus on the portion of the subject that first caught my eye and held my fascination.

The Redlands Hotel has already installed many of my watercolors in the Queen St Grille, across the lobby. Tonight they have selected three more to hang in the side room of the Queen St Bar. I’m proud to see my work hanging throughout the hotel now.


Tonight as I paint in the gallery, I am listening to an adaptation of the original broadcast of H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.  This 1938 CBS radio broadcast is being reenacted before a live audience at the Nickel Manor down the street from the Redlands Hotel. Smooth Rock 93.5 is carrying the broadcast and Alan Wade is in the studio now making the sure the radio signal is steady. Listening to this chilling broadcast is quite an experience and makes me wish now to re-read the novel. Having read it in junior high, I’m confident that there is so much more I could enjoy from the text in my later years. Here is the link to the Palestine broadcast event:





While listening to the broadcast, I’ve been chipping away at a number of compositions begun this past summer while vacationing in Sedona, Arizona. The gallery has experienced quite a number of patrons passing through, and the conversations have been most enjoyable.

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.


Re-shaping my Subject

October 25, 2019


Friday Night, Painting in the Gallery at Redlands

Three dimensions have been flattened into two, light has been exchanged for paint, the whole scene has been knowlingly composed. Art, Cézanne reminds us, is surroundeed by artifice.

Jonah Lehrer, Proust was a Neuroscientist

Eighteen months ago, I began an 8 x 10″ plein air watercolor sketch of one of Palestine’s historic Victorian homes. I found the house several blocks beyond the railyards that separate the old downtown where the gallery is located and one of the city’s older, well-preserved neighborhoods. After working on it for about half an hour, the sun grew hot and I brought it to the gallery. It was then, studying it closer, that I noted several mistakes made. I stopped working on it, stored it with other discarded works, and soon forgot all about it.

Yesterday, while packing to come to Palestine for a four-day stay, I came across the abandoned painting and tossed it into the Jeep with my other art supplies. Today, I decided to push it further and see if i could shape a decent composition, even if the work is architecturally deficient. So far, I am happy with the way the composition is taking shape and just may have a painting to frame after all. I should know by tomorrow.

The Hot Pepper Festival is all day tomorrow (Saturday). I plan to work in the gallery, as I have all day today, taking occasional breaks to cruise the streets and see what the vendors have to offer. If you are nearby, come see us at The Redlands Hotel. The newly-opened Queen St Grille and Bar will be open and ready to receive you. And I, of course, would love for you to visit our Gallery at Redlands. We are planning for a spectacular day.

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.

A New Look in the Gallery this Weekend

March 31, 2017


The Gallery at Redlands, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas

The Gallery at Redlands has readied itself for a new look this weekend, with a large framed watercolor added to the right side of the window display, featuring Angel’s Nest, a lovely Victorian home in Weatherford, Texas.  There will also be newly editioned prints coming out, featuring equestrian and hunting scenes and an iconic Coca-Cola sign hanging on a garden gate. These are all new pieces showing up for the first time in public.

I am looking forward to returning to a watercolor I started last weekend, setting up my plein air easel with a broad view out the display window facing the highway. From here I can see the railroad trackage beyond Highway 287, and enjoy the trains rolling through as the weekend unfolds.


Watercolor in progress of the building across the street from the gallery

I have been so delighted with all the news coverage this show has gotten, and the recognition this new gallery is experiencing. The Historic Inn of Redlands is a magnificent building, erected in 1914, with beautiful suites for rent. Last weekend as well as this weekend, my friends made the trip here and enjoyed the overnight accommodations. Among these friends I have enjoyed, two of them are graduates of my high school whom I hadn’t seen since 1973. What a reunion! Amazing to find out that friends I knew in the greater St. Louis area relocated in my vicinity. Facebook has made many such reunions possible, and the social media has done an excellent job marketing this show. One of my friends from Tennessee whom I last saw in the 1980’s followed this show and made his purchase this morning online. I never thought such things possible until now. I feel that I am living a lifelong dream, pursuing the arts and renewing friendships.

The community of Palestine has also been so welcoming. In addition to the owners of this hotel and patrons of this gallery, I’ve made the acquaintances of a number of city officials and citizens wishing us well. I also want to extend a special shout-out to Mary Raum, from the Visitors Bureau who has used social media to heighten the awareness of this show, and personally directed a truck driver arriving from out-of-town who inquired where this gallery was located.  He had been following the show on social media.  Hats off as well to the Palestine Herald-Press who feaured our show on the front page of last weekend’s edition, thus steering many of the tourists arriving for the Dogwood Trails Celebration to this site.

The experience here in Palestine has been rewarding, and I would love to meet any of you reading this who may be close enough to come out and visit.  I will be here Friday afternoon as well as Saturday and Sunday this weekend. We close next weekend.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Unveiling a New Addition to the Show this Weekend

March 29, 2017

card Weatherford Victorian Salute vertical

“Angel’s Nest” Weatherford, Texas

This striving after imitative expression, which one meets every where, is significant of the aim of nature, but is mere stenography.  There are higher degrees, and nature has more splendid endowments for those whom she elects to a superior office; for the class of scholars or writers, who see connection where the multitude see fragments, and who are impelled to exhibit the facts in order, and so to supply the axis on which the frame of things turns.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Goethe; or, the Writer”

Returning to a day job after an exciting weekend of art-related activities could be compared to diving into a warm pond after a sauna.  It is only Wednesday, but the week has been comparatively tepid. The watercolor posted above is on a full-sized sheet of 300# D’Arches paper. The original frame was damaged, so I’ve decided to re-frame it and bring it to hang in my show this weekend. It has been out of the public eye for about three years now, and the time is long past due to make repairs and bring it back out.

I have returned to reading Goethe during this week, and decided to pick up Emeson’s essay on that marvelous sage, probably the Shakespeare of Gemany. On Monday evening, feeling a bit hungover from the weekend show, I drove out to a beautiful green belt on the east side of Arlington, found a park bench, and read this essay until dark.  I cannot describe the feelings that washed over me, but the passage I’ve cited above gripped me the most.  With Emerson and Hemingway, I have frequently translated the theories of writing to the visual arts, and here is another example.  Emerson contrasts the stenographer with the poetic writer, and I always feel the conflict between the illustrator and the fine artist when I attempt to paint.  When I decided to tackle this magnificent Victorian house in Weatherford, Texas (where I stayed during my 60th birthday), I knew that I wanted to go beyond mere description of that intriguing structure, to transcend the architect’s rendering of the subject. That is the main reason I kept the subject small on the paper and devoted the greatest expanse to the sprawling lawn in the foreground. I am wishing to paint this subject again, because I’m not satisfied with every aspect of it and would love to have another run at it. I have always loved Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” and have always wished to render a house atop a hill with that expansive sense of space surrounding it.

Thanks for reading. I can’t wait to return the The Gallery at Redlands for the weekend.

I paint in order to learn.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Waking to Reminiscences of Emerson

June 15, 2014
Finishing an Abandoned Sketch of the Stage Coach Hotel, Fort Worth Stockyards

Finishing an Abandoned Sketch of the Stage Coach Hotel, Fort Worth Stockyards

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages.  Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his.  In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majestry.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”

The moment I awoke this morning, I had two images in my mind’s eye.  They were beginnings to small watercolor sketches that I began long ago and had tossed aside.  I don’t know why I awoke with them on my mind, but decided to take that seriously.  Emerson’s words continue to abide with me, and I never want to fall back into that notion of insecurity that dismisses my ideas as worthless because they are mine.

The studio has been quiet this Sunday morning, and I have worked slowly, but with a heart of content.  In the background, I have played DVDs on the television that feed creative thought.  The company has been sublime.

My first post is an abandoned 5 x 7″ sketch that I began of the remnants of Fort Worth’s Stage Coach Hotel on North Main, in the Stockyards region.  I started a second one and did a better job (it was larger, too) and sold it immediately.  I had forgotten about this aborted one.  It is nearly finished now.  What I looked at this morning was about 40% of what is posted now.  I’m glad I decided to go back to it in an attempt to salvage it.  I’ll put it in a mat and see what I have.

Second 5 x 7" watercolor sketch of Weatherford's Angel's Nest

Second 5 x 7″ watercolor sketch of Weatherford’s Angel’s Nest

Last night I finished a sketch I had begun of the historic Victorian home in Weatherford, Texas.  There was a second one also waiting in the docks.  So, after piddling around with the Stage Coach Hotel, I turned my attention to this one and added about 60% more work and detail to it. I may be close to finishing this one as well.  I’ll then put it in a white mat and see what I have.

Thanks for reading.  I’m ready to go out and try some more plein air rendering this afternoon.  I’m back in the watercoloring mood, and am glad.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.


A Certain Slant of Light

June 14, 2014
Silence of Saturday Morning

Silence of Saturday Morning

There’s a certain Slant of light,

Winter Afternoons – 

That oppresses, like the Heft

Of Cathedral Tunes – 


Heavenly Hurt, it gives us – 

We can find no scar,

But internal difference,

Where the Meanings, are – 

.  .  .

Emily Dickinson

This particular Saturday has been a lengthy, pensive one.  Recent events brought me to a state of mind where I thought it best to stay indoors the entire day and devote this space for important, quiet matters.  As I sat at breakfast, the words from Emily Dickinson continued to murmur throughout my soul, again and again.  It was necessary to think on these matters, and I believe her words set me on a fitting course for the day.

Reading Away a Quiet Saturday

Reading Away a Quiet Saturday

Following breakfast, I returned to the pages of Thoreau, and was filled with wonder that a twenty-four year old could write out such incisive thoughts:

A momentous silence reigns always in the woods, and their meaning seems just ripening into expression.  But alas!  they make no haste.  The rush sparrow, Nature’s minstrel of serene hours, sings of an immense leisure and duration.

When I hear a robin sing at sunset, I cannot help contrasting the equanimity of Nature with the bustle and impatience of man.  We return from the lyceum and caucus with such stir and excitement, as if a crisis were at hand; but no natural scene or sound sympathizes with us, for Nature is always silent and unpretending as at the break of day.

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, April 25, 1841

Thoreau’s thoughts threw into bold relief the reality of how busy my life had become of late.  I have been out of school a week, but never found the brake to slow things down, until yesterday.  Tuesday I will return to begin summer school, but that is Tuesday–right now, I need to “be still and know.”  Thanks to the morning’s meditations over Thoreau, I managed to relax in the chair well into the afternoon, thinking, writing in the journal, and reading the kinds of things I need to be reading at this moment in my life.

I did return to the drafting table.  Taking out a watercolor sketch I began shortly after Easter, I decided to complete it and make a 5 x 7″ composition, suitable for matting.  This is a Victorian home in Weatherford that has been converted into a popular Bed and Breakfast, The Angel’s Nest:

As for the Edward Hopper study of Marshall’s House, I spent hours this afternoon masquing, applying wash, masquing further, drybrushing, and masquing some more.  This required long stretches of drying (and reading) time.  I also tightened up some of the details on the house, thinking of Andrew Wyeth’s pencil work and precision.  I have now stripped away the masquing and need time to decide how to “clean up” those areas around the masque marks.  There is plenty of time for that later.  For right now, I would like to stop with this one and spend more time looking at it and figuring out what exactly to do next.  I do like the way the contrast is beginning to pop.

Still Experimenting with the Hopper Composition

Still Experimenting with the Hopper Composition

Afternoon has now stretched into evening.   I am not exactly sure what to do next, but thought I would go ahead and release this blog, and thank all of you for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.








April 23, 2014
New Watercolor Sketch over the Lunch Hour

New Watercolor Sketch over the Lunch Hour

The creative process is determined not only by the medium but also by the inner vision.

Edouard Manet

I decided to come home from school over the lunch hour and begin a second watercolor sketch of the same subject as the one I attempted late last night.  I titled this blog entry Palimpsest which refers to a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain.  I could have called most of my past oil and acrylic-on-canvas paintings palimpsests, because I continued to revise and obliterate my earlier rescensions of design.  I do some of that in watercolor as well, but late last night decided to begin a series of sketches of the same Victorian house and compare them side-by-side to get a sense of what I want to do next.  Next month I will begin my annual plein air excursion to Waxahachie, Texas, a German town rich in Victorian and Gingerbread architecture.  This year I would like to feel more practiced and primed for those kinds of compositions that I will do on location.  For now, I’m studying photos that I’ve taken over the years, hoping to improve my skills in architectural rendering and composition.

Thanks for reading.  I need to get back for an afternoon class.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.


April 22, 2014
Quick Sketch of a Victorian House after a Long Work Day

Quick Sketch of a Victorian House after a Long Work Day

Must a painter paint everything?  Can’t he leave anything to my imagination?


“Lacuna” (plural lacunae) is defined as a “gap or missing part, as in a manuscript, series, or logical argument; hiatus”.  I have gaps in mind as I work on a quick, quick watercolor sketch late at night, after a long afternoon of art history preparations for tomorrow’s slate of classes.  I began this sketch with the deliberate intention of leaving large parts unfinished.  Some refer to watercolors as “vignettes” when they have undeveloped perimeters.  But I am thinking seriously of letting pencil work finish out much of this Victorian house I’m rendering.  At any rate, I won’t “complete” it tonight.  I still have more art history to prepare and the hour is getting late.

In my weekend reading, I spent considerable time in Diderot’s writings.  He began publishing critical articles, reviewing the annual Salon in Paris as early as 1759.  I like his comment (posted above) and the way Andrew Wyeth echoed those sentiments in recent years.  Wyeth always said the strength of the composition lay in what you could leave out.  As one who has always enjoyed chasing and nailing down details in drawing and painting, it takes real fortitude for me to stop and walk away from a work when I feel there is so much left to be done.  But tonight, being tired, and still behind in my responsibilities, I thought “Why not?”  Do a quick, quick pencil and watercolor sketch, leave it, and see how it looks in the days following.

Thanks for reading.  I have more work to do.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.


Plein Air Workshop with David Tripp

June 8, 2013

Plein Air Workshop with David Tripp.

Yesterday, not knowing how to post this video, I posted the link.  I hope, this time, that the actual video is loaded for anyone interested to view.  The Eureka Springs School of the Arts was gracious enough to put it together, and I’m extremely proud to share it.

Eureka Springs School of the Arts ( has provided for me the most perfect plein air workshop environment I have ever known.  This is the fourth year I’ve been afforded the chance to teach the five-day workshop which  is scheduled to begin one week from Monday, June 17.  We still have availability, and if anyone reading this has any interest in painting a mountain Victorian town replete with 19th-century architecture, cliffs, flowerbeds, quaint store facades, and the most lovely sunlight available, then please sign up and come spend a week with me.  I guarantee an experience you’ll never forget.

Plein Air Watercolor of a Eureka Springs House in the Evening

September 7, 2012

Eureka Springs House in the Evening

Here is a small plein air watercolor I did after my first class at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts last summer.  I only had an hour to get it done, as the late afternoon sunlight was waning, and seemed to linger on this house just long enough for me to finish it.  I’ll never forget the fun I had, as tourists continued to stop and look over my shoulder to see what I was doing out on that public sidewalk.  Eureka Springs has always been a fun place to paint in public.

I just finished putting this in a matte and shinkwrap bag and am glad to add it to my festival inventory next week.  I think I’ll put a $125 price on it.  The image is 8 x 10″ and is inserted in an 11 x 14″ white matte.

Thanks for reading.