Archive for the ‘watercolor’ Category

Late Afternoon Plein Air Painting in Waxahachie

April 24, 2017

Structure, I believe, is the giver of light.

Louis I. Kahn

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By the time I finished all my school responsibilities late this afternoon, I was so fatigued that I was trying to talk myself out of the 40-minute drive to Waxahachie to continue work on the Painting Historic Waxahachie project. By the time we reach the submission deadline May 11, I want to have as many paintings as possible to display and sell. But I was sooooo tired!

The weather was 81 degrees and brightly sunny, and when I parked on the courthouse square and saw the magnificence of the Ellis County Courthouse towering above, reflecting the late afternoon sun, I was glad I decided to make the trip. I set up my easel on College Street again, and like last Saturday, a strong, cold wind was blasting up the street. It felt really good on my back, and removed any discomfort that a Texas sun would try to bring.

Drawing this courthouse has always been a chore for me. I lack formal training in architectural rendering, and am always intimidated when I attack a building, one small piece at a time, with pencil on paper. I drew on this a long time, and erased plenty. Finally, when time came to flood the sky with blue hues, I felt that I had a chance at a decent composition.

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The afternoon passed quickly, and again the Waxahachie folks proved themselves to be among the most friendly on the planet. I talked to over a dozen people–artists working on this same project, couples out for a stroll, and a couple of young girls interested in becoming artists who were out with their mother. All the conversations were engaging, and I appreciated every good sentiment.

Once the sun set and the light turned to gray, I knew it was time to stop and take a day or two to evaluate whether this is finished or needs further development. Unfortunately I have meetings tomorrow afternoon and night, so I won’t be able to paint tomorrow. Hopefully by Wednesday I will have made a decsision on this one. At any rate, it turned out to be a great afternoon for painting.

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The College Street Pub has become my favorite “decompression hangout” in Waxahachie when I am in town painting. Dinner was a great experience this evening as temperatures continued to cool and I enjoyed the back patio with its soothing surrounding scenery. I spread out my three Waxahachie paintings and spent some time taking critical notes on them and making decisions on what to do next.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to learn.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Musings on the Last Day of My Show

April 9, 2017

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Three Views of the Lobby of The Redlands Historic Inn

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Photo taken by Z Jary

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Selfie taken early this morning before opening, the last day

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Jean Mollard just added me to the historical brochure of The Redlands!

Waking this Sunday morning, I wasn’t sure how I felt. Closing out this three-week show this evening and heading back home flooded me with a sad feeling. Yet, being invited to take part in Palestine’s future cultural events bathed me with warmth and excitement, knowing I can now begin writing a new chapter to this life narrative. So, before I open The Gallery at Redlands for this day, I pause once more to thank everyone who contributed to the excitement and success of the last three weeks–to my friends who visited, my patrons, my new friends I’ve met in this community, my facebook and blogging friends who continually wrote in your support–so many well-wishers–I thank you from the depths. Above all, I thank Wade and Gail for your vision in opening this gallery space, as well as Jean and Mike for your warm friendship and hospitality in this remarkable Redlands Historic Inn. This 102-year-old Inn is a most remarkable environment for overnight or extended stays, and the Red Fire Grille on the ground floor offers a fine dining experience that still leaves me in awe. So, anyone reading this, check out www.RedlandsHistoricInn.com, look at the photos of their spectacular rooms, pack your bags, and move in!  This historic facility and its owners are first-rate. I had friends come out and book suites the past two weekends, and they are still buzzing about the experience of staying here. I too had the privilege of living here the past three weekends and am going to miss the place sorely when I move out today.

Someone who was bound to know what he was talking about, Albrecht Dürer, did after all make the well-known remark: “For in truth, art lies hidden within nature; he who can wrest it from her, has it.” “Wrest” here means to draw out the rift and to draw the design with the drawing-pen on the drawing-board. But we at once raise the counterquestion: how can the rift-design be drawn out if it is not brought into the Open by the creative sketch as a rift, which is to say, brought out beforehand as a conflict of measure and unmeasure? True, there lies hidden in nature a rift-design, a measure and a boundary and, tied to it, a capacity for bringing forth–that is, art. But it is equally certain that this art hidden in nature becomes manifest only through the work, because it lies originally in the work.

Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art”

Over breakfast this morning, I reread portions of Heidegger’s essay that always intrigues me. Next week I will engage in plein air painting as Paint Historic Waxahachie is already under way for those of us who registered early. These words from Heidegger and Dürer will linger with me as I set up my portable easel, fix my eye on a subject, and begin dragging my pencil across the white rectangular surface of stretched watercolor paper, searching out the rift, the boundary, the divisions. I recall Robert Motherwell saying that drawing was the organization of space. I like that perspective. The compositional issues playing out on the white rectangle of space, the abyss, as I organize graphite lines and colored pigments always thrills me when I am outdoors attempting to capture a slice of the scene playing out before me. I got to do some of that inside this gallery the past two weekends as I painted something I could see out the window.

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Is it still plein-air when you are standing indoors?!

Next week, I will be outside giving this another try.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Unwinding After a Spectacular Weekend

April 8, 2017

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The soul is not a compensation, but a life. The soul is. Under all this running sea of circumstance, whose waters ebb and flow with perfect balance, lies the aboriginal abyss of real Being.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Compensation”

I have hung the painting above, titled “Finding the Seam” in place of the “Fort Worth Cattle Drive” which just went home with its new owner. The fly fishing painting was copied from a photo of me fishing the South Fork of the Rio Grande several years back. I have it listed at $800 framed. I’m happy that it fits the gap just fine that was left by the cattle drive composition.

I am keeping the Gallery at Redlands open till 9:00 p.m., since restaurant patrons are still drifting in and out. But now I finally have some time to read Emerson and reflect over a perfect day. The Emerson quote has come alive for me in the quiet of the evening as the hotel finally grows quiet following a day of high activity. Patrons kept me busy and talking almost the entire day, and sales have kept us all happy. This one-man-show has gone far beyond my highest expectations, and one day remains. A part of me is sad to see it come to a close, but another part of me is bone-tired and could use some rest. For three weekends now, I have felt this pull between the traffic of gallery patrons and the quiet in the recesses of my soul where I contemplate the next painting.

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Elena, Courtney, Morgan and Rachael

One of the highlights of my show featured my teaching colleague, Rachael Peterson, bringing three of my Advanced Placement Art History students all the way out here from Arlington. What a joy to see them outside our everyday school complex. The girls fell in love with Palestine, its businesses and its people. Thank you, girls, for coming out and making this even more fun. You truly are a treasure, and I’m still smiling at every memory of you.

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Photo by Z Jary

Yesterday I was visited by a pair of artistic friends, Elaine and Z Jary. Elaine is a watercolorist and Z a photographer. Z patiently photographed me repeatedly, inside and outside the gallery, and was kind enough to send me a fistful of photos online. I have selected this one to put up. Z Jary, thank you, I am amazed at your photographic eye.

I will definitely sleep tonight. I was in the gallery before eight this morning, and am now closing it thirteen hours later. But the day has been precious and I appreciate every conversation and every encouraging word I encountered today.

Thank you for reading.

 I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Pining for Plein Air Activity

April 5, 2017

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Plein Air Watercolor Sketch of Colorado Pine

My one-man-show will close Sunday, April 9 at 5:00 p.m. and I hope to take a day or two to catch my breath.  Then I will dive head-first into my favorite annual plein air painting event: Paint Historic Waxahachie.  Artists who registered in advance were given the green light to begin painting April 1, but I’ve been too busy with this show and my daily school responsibilities–next week, I hope.

The watercolor sketch posted above is in my show at the Gallery at Redlands. I painted it in Colorado last summer while relaxing with daily fly fishing and plein air watercoloring. My pulse rate changes dramatically when I am in that Rocky Mountain environment, and I cannot wait to return there for an extended vacation this summer. Every time I look at this small painting, I recall those beautiful, chilly, sun-drenched mornings when I sat out on the porch of my cabin with my coffee, surveying the South Fork of the Rio Grande rolling by below.

I truly miss those days, and can’t wait for them to return.

Thanks for reading.

Thoughts Gathering in the Late Night

April 4, 2017

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Fishing Memories–$1200 framed

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To speak of these things and to try to understand their nature and, having understood it, to try slowly and humbly and constantly to express, to press out again, from the gross earth or what it brings forth, from sound and shape and colour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of the beauty we have come to understand–that is art.

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

I would be lying if I were to call this an inspiring day–after a full day in school, I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening gathering data, crunching numbers and doing all those things related to the business side of art.  I would always rather squint into the surface of a watercolor composition than between the lines of a spreadsheet.

Now that the hour has drawn late and I still haven’t found sleep, I thought I would reward myself by returning to some James Joyce texts. I’m more than halfway through Ulysses, and reading that has been an uneven experience.  Tonight’s reading was rather opaque, so finally I put the volume down and picked up his Portrait to re-read some of the portions I’ve highlighted from earlier readings. The one I quoted above is one of my favorites as the protragonist of the story thoughtfully articulates his theory of the art making enterprise. I find a close similarity between Joyce, Emerson and Heidegger as they describe the origin of art as springing from a struggle between the person and the natural world. In the days ahead, I hope I can spend more time working on the ideas of these three intriguing writers and see if I can explore further what they sought to expound.

But I believe I should retire to bed so that I may have some kind of a pulse when I face my classes yet again tomorrow.

The image I’ve posted above is one of my favorite watercolors that I worked on during winter months two or three years ago. It is my largest painting still in my collection and offered up for sale in the show at The Gallery at Redlands which closes Sunday.

Thanks for reading . . .

View from the Gallery Window

April 1, 2017

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Completed watercolor of downtown Palestine, Texas

. . . and the philosophical light around my window is now my joy; may I be able to keep on as I have thus far!

Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin, letter to friend Boehlendorf dated December 2, 1802

Saturday morning began for me on a second-story balcony with coffee and Heidegger’s essay “What Are Poets For?” I was so enriched by the ideas from the essay that I descended the stairs and opened the gallery at 9:00 rather than 10:00 so I could enjoy some time writing at the desk, and then resume work on the watercolor I have been playing with since I started it over a week ago. I finally decided to sign off on it and offer it as a watercolor sketch, unframed, measuring 11 x 11″ for $100.

The day shortly after became busy beyond description with a steady stream of patrons in the gallery, some sales, and wall-to-wall meaningful conversation. I feel that I have made a number of new friends for life. The Palestine experience has been deeply fulfilling. I can’t wait to open again in the morning.

Thanks for reading.

A New Look in the Gallery this Weekend

March 31, 2017

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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.

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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.

Another Limited Edition for the Weekend Show

March 30, 2017

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Christmas at Spencer’s Grill

And finally, I’m bringing this limited edition back out for the weekend show at The Gallery at Redlands, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas.  It is priced at $80.

Spencer’s Grill is located on Kirkwood Road (old Route 66) in St. Louis, Missouri. The business has been there since 1947, and the colorful billboard that advertised the place caught my eye since the days I was too young yet to read. Nearly every time I visit my family in St. Louis, I go to this establishment for an old-fashioned breakfast, seated at a counter stool, feeling that I have entered Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks. I guess I will always be a painter of memories.

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Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

New Work for the Weekend Show

March 30, 2017

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The Splendor of a Morning Ride

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Surveying the Results

As my show continues through the next two weekends at The Gallery at Redlands, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas, I am bringing out more work not on display before. The original watercolors featured above have already sold. I have on hand two limited editions of the equestrian subject, and one of the pheasant hunt. The equestrian limited edition sells for $100 and the pheasant for $80.

These subjects I used to paint quite often in my past, but I’ve gotten away from them recently. Once this show is over, I intend to return to some of my earlier subjects, particularly railroad themes and Victorian homes. I haven’t gotten to paint seriously in several weeks as I’ve been busy getting ready for this show.

Thanks for reading. I have at least one more image I hope to post later today.

Bringing out New Work for the Show

March 30, 2017

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Durango-Silverton Train, limited edition giclee print

Throughout today, I intend to post new images of work to be added to this weekend’s one-man-show at The Gallery at Redlands, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas.  The above image is a limited edition giclee print of the Durango-Silverton Railroad that I painted in watercolor, years ago. The original has long since found a home, but the prints have been quite popular, and last weekend I sold out of the gallery the last one in stock. I managed to place a new order Monday for six that will be ready for pick up before I return to the gallery this weekend. These images are $70 and are preserved shrinkwrapped against a foamboard backing.

Several more giclee prints are forthcoming, and i will post images of them later today when I have a break in my schedule.

Thanks for reading.