Archive for the ‘watercolor’ Category

Sunday in the Gallery

December 10, 2017

I begin a painting with a series of mistakes . . . 

Robert Motherwell

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It is Sunday morning, and I feel well-rested, despite a Saturday filled with events lasting into the night. Palestine had its Main Street Wine Swirl and over 400 people purchased tickets for the event that took them to places all around the business district, including the Redlands Hotel. Knowing the lobby would be filled with people, I took advantage of an opportunity to play guitars and sing with my new friend Drew Minshew that I met while painting on the Waxahachie town square last spring. Drew and I spent the evening filling the gallery with our favorite tunes, and everyone coming in seemed to have a good time.

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This morning, I have begun work on a new painting of the Chamber of Commerce building across the intersection from the Gallery. The one I started a few weeks ago sold off the easel unfinished, and I was delighted that the buyer preferred the vignette look of the work in progress. Nevertheless, I have begun another, hoping I could perhaps finish this one. I cannot say I agree with Motherwell’s sentiments of beginning a painting with a series of mistakes, though I know that experience all-too-well. I just don’t prefer it!  Instead, I like Andrew Wyeth’s sentiment that working with watercolor and pencil is much like fencing–you need to thrust the point of  the pencil with precision and confidence, with no second-guessing.

Thanks for reading. Sundays are usually quiet around here, but this morning has been filled with interruptions as more people seem to be getting out on this sunny, cold Sunday morning in Palestine. I opened the gallery at 9:00 and found people all over the hotel lobby already.

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Distractions

November 10, 2017

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Finally, at 9:30 p.m., I’m settling into The Gallery at Redlands for a quiet night of finishing the show details. Even though the show official opens tomorrow, I don’t feel the time pressure, because I’ve completed all the ground work and now just have to complete the unpacking and setting up. The Red Fire Grille across the hall has closed for the night, so there are no longer people coming in and out of the gallery. The conversations have been wonderful, and I’m excited about having met some new friends.

On the way to dinner tonight, I picked up the local paper, The Palestine Herald-Press. I had already read the article they published online last night, but I wanted a hard copy. Reading it over dinner was gratifying. I laugh at stories of Andy Warhol combing the New York papers every single day, looking for some mention of him. It was said that if he wasn’t mentioned, he was depressed for the day!

I really like the feel of this, though. Palestine is a town of 18,000, and its citizens read the newspaper. I was featured in the paper last March when my One-Man-Show opened this gallery, and a number of patrons coming in the day after said that they came to check out the gallery because they had read about it in the papers.

A number of friends in this town have gone the extra mile to broadcast this show. The Vistiors Center reached out to me yesterday asking for details, having received an announcement through social media. They now have a box of my assorted greeting cards in their store, advertising and telling patrons about our show.

Well, I guess I have procrastinated my job long enough–time to finish out this display. Thanks always for reading.

Somewhere Beneath this Pile Exists an Art Gallery

November 10, 2017

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Working Overtime Tonight in The Gallery at Redlands

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Four hours’ worth of sleep won’t generally work for me. Last night I stayed up late due to some issues with my printer and the labels for ninety new limited edition prints as well as the framed paintings recently hung in our gallery. Around midnight, the printer stopped working and I threw in the towel and went to bed. I was awakened at 1 o’clock by the printer suddenly “waking up” and printing again. At 5, a decided to rise and finish the job before going to my 9 and 10 o’clock classes. Following classes, I drove the two hours to The Gallery at Redlands, and with abundant help from Mike, moved a large quantity of framed paintings out of the gallery and into storage several floors upstairs. By then, I was too dumb with sleep deprivation to spell my own name,  so I went to my hotel room upstairs (The Historic Inn at Redlands is indeed the greatest place I’ve ever experienced for overnight stays and even general living!) and crashed into a nap. Now, after 7 o’clock, it’s gotten dark outside, and the gallery still looks as it did when I hauled all the freight in yesterday and today. My “American Railroad Odyssey” show opens in the morning, and I know we will be ready.

I am indeed looking forward to this quiet evening working in The Gallery at Redlands, after I dash out for a quick supper. I have no other commitments, its Friday night, and the only thing I need to do now is affix labels to about one hundred fifty limited edition prints, arrange them in the bin, and then put the labels and placards up with all the new paintings that were hung yesterday. Then I need to carry out boxes and boxes and boxes to my Jeep. I know that from underneath all this debris a gallery will emerge once again and I’ll be sitting in the midst of it, living the dream.

I could never sufficiently thank Wade, Gail, Jean and Mike for all they’ve done to make this gallery a reality. I can’t recall a time in my life when I have felt more fulfilled. This is a beautiful space.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Shaping the Gallery for the Show

November 10, 2017

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Display Window at The Gallery at Redlands

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Setting Up Some of the New Merchandise

Today we reaped the whirlwind Wade and Gail Thomas met me this morning at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine and immediately we set to work, each of us on a different track and working quickly–taking down old paintings, hanging new ones, decorating windows on both ends of the gallery, rearranging furniture. Several times I nearly laughed out loud because I felt that we were in Andy Warhol’s Factory, there was so much going on.

Penny Webb, editor of the Palestine Herald-Press newspaper, arrived in the afternoon and interviewed me. I found her to be so personable and attentive to detail. She made it so easy to visit about the work and share ideas concerning the upcoming show.  Already the article is posted for the Friday edition of the paper:

http://www.palestineherald.com/community/your-life-david-tripp-s-american-railroad-odyssey/article_8551b23c-c5cc-11e7-8da0-b79faf2304d4.html

Tomorrow (Friday) is my last day to get the final details in place. Paintings are hung. Limited edition signed & numbered prints arrive tomorrow. Saturday, ready or not, the show must go on.

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.

A Grinding Day, Yet Rewarding

November 7, 2017

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“I work. I slave. I drive myself like a locomotive.”

Vincent Van Gogh (from Akira Kurosawa’s film Dreams)

Throughout this day, the words above have surged through my consciousness. I breathed a sigh of relief yesterday afternoon when I realized that I had no appointments between then and tonight when I meet with my circle of artist friends. Rising at 6:00 this morning, I thought I would enjoy a day of relative leisure, tweaking details for Saturday’s show. Instead I spent every hour either at the computer or at the workbench packaging my inventory–greeting cards, limited edition prints, postcards, details, details, details . . .

The call came from my printer friends that the limited editions were all ready for signing–all ninety of them.  This is the first time I have signed and numbered so many editions.

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At least I am not behind the curve this week; the show will go on as scheduled, and I don’t anticipate feelings of being harried the day before. I could not have asked for better cooperation from all the friends and agencies that have worked together with me in this endeavor.

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.

Working on an Artist’s Bio

October 29, 2017

With my gallery show opening in less than two weeks, I’ve retreated from my home and business life in order to recharge my batteries and get ready for festivals and shows running through the next month-and-a-half. On November 4, I’ll be showing at the Genny Wood Art Show and Sale in Bullard, Texas. November 11 will feature the opening of my “American Railroad Odyssey” show at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas. That show will run until December 16. I will also spend three days at the Randy Brodnax and Friends Christmas Show in Dallas at the Sons of Hermann Hall December 1-3.  All of this information may be found on my website www.recollections54.com.

I’m working on a number of promotional items, including revision of my Artist’s Bio. Below is my latest version as it currently stands:

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David Tripp at The Gallery at Redlands (photo by Dave Shultz)

The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas, nestled on the ground floor of The Redlands Historic Inn at 400 N. Queen Street, opened in March 2017 with a one-man-show of David Tripp’s watercolors. Once the show ended, David was invited to remain where he now enjoys creating and selling his art.

Retiring after three decades in a classroom, David currently enjoys his new role as Adjunct Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Texas Wesleyan University, and more time pursuing his passion in the art studio.  His watercolors feature small-town American sights fading from our landscape, but not our memories. In 2015 he discovered a new genre, the Texas Laguna Madre, and spent two weeks living alone on an island there, painting as Artist-in-Residence for Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.

David, a native Missourian, grew up in St. Louis and studied art in rural northeast Missouri while earning his Bachelor’s Degree from Truman State University.  Residing in Texas since 1977, he draws his watercolor subjects from a host of “recollections” involving cities, small towns and rural stretches throughout the Midwest and Southwest, particularly old Route 66.

David finds inspiration for his art from the life and works of Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. Having earned his Masters and Ph.D., he seeks ways to blend his academic studies with his art creations, and particularly loves the writings of artists Robert Motherwell and Robert Henri, along with literary giants including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Marcel Proust. The poetry of William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost and Walt Whitman also drive his imagination. These artistic and literary geniuses he regards as kindred spirits. They were frequently surprised by the revelatory powers of objects connecting them with primal memories from the past.  These objects, viewed on location, as well as in works of art, have a way of “drawing the viewer in.”  And we are usually grateful for that primal experience.

Since March of 2017, David has focused most of his artistic energies in pursuit of subjects from the Texas State Railroad in addition to the broader legacy of the American railroad.

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.

Grinding, but Happy Again

September 26, 2017

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Current Watercolor in Progress

The creative geniuses of art and science work obsessively. They do not lounge under apple trees waiting for fruit to fall or lightning to strike. “When inspiration does not come to me,” Freud once said, “I go halfway to meet it.” Bach wrote a cantata every week, even when he was sick or exhausted. Though most composers would kill to have written even one of his best pieces, some were little more than wallpaper music. Eliot’s numerous drafts of “The Waste Land” constitute what one scholar called “a jumble of good and bad passages [that he turned] into a poem.” In a study of 2,036 scientists throughout history, Simonton found that the most respected produced not only more great works, but also more “bad” ones. They produced. Period.

Sharon Begley, “The Puzzle of Genius,” Newsweek, June 28, 1993

Good morning, blog readers. I regret that I have been away so long, but I just emerged from a punishing two-week schedule of engagements and only this morning woke to a dawn with no appointments till tonight. I’m happy in the studio once again, and decided to take a break to write you . . .

The past several weekends have been spent in The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas, where I have begun four new watercolors of trains: the Texas State Railroad #30 (above) along with the Durango-Silverton, Cumbres & Toltec, and the historic T & P #610, now housed in Palestine. I have been working since last March on a train show I plan to open in the gallery during this upcoming holiday season. The show will feature a number of framed original watercolors of historic trains, along with limited edition prints, greeting cards and postcards. We’re really hoping to increase the traffic through our new gallery that opened last March.

I posted the quote above from a magazine article I tore out of Newsweek in 1993 and have shared with students every year since that day till I retired. I have to return to it to remind myself that I’ll never produce quality art until I am willing to make a large quantity of work and not fear the “bad” works that emerge. From my current four watercolors in progress, the one above is coming along as I like it. The other four, well, I’m not too pleased with what I see so far, but the one above didn’t start out so great either. I’ll just keep chipping away and grinding at the process. I do indeed love the work, and today has been sublime, and I’m not even close to the noon hour yet.

One week ago, I had the daunting task of demonstrating my watercolor techniques before the Society of Watercolor Artists who meet in Fort Worth, Texas. I was invited nearly a year ago to do this, and had the entire year to worry over the details. As the day drew nearer, I felt sicker. This is an assembly of outstanding watercolorists, and I constantly second-guessed my worthiness to stand before them. Once the night was over, I could breathe again. The members of the Society were generous and affirming beyond description, but I’m just so happy to have that one behind me. I love watching other watercolorists share their craft, but just cringe when it’s my turn to stand and deliver. Thank you, SWA; I am sincerely grateful for your kind words and encouragement that night.

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Thank you, Heidi Russel, for posting this photo on Facebook

I need to get back to work, but thank you for reading. Below, I’m posting some of my recent photos–an instant replay of the life I’m loving when I get to stay and work in Palestine, Texas

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Working inside The Gallery at Redlands

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A collection of new paintings–several of them in progress still

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A spectacularly cool morning on the balcony of The Historic Redlands Inn

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The T&P #610 was towed outdoors last weekend for a photo-op

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I always linger a moment outside the Gallery before leaving to return home–I absolutely love working here, and remain so grateful to all those who made this available to me.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

 

 

A Life of the Mind

September 14, 2017

Blog Thursday

Morning Meditation over the Journals of Eugene Delacroix

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Working on Watercolors as the Dawn Breaks

There, seated on a bench, I started to jot down in my notebook some reflections similar to those that I am tracing here. . . . I cannot and must not live in any other way than through the mind; the food that it demands is more necessary to my life than that which my body calls for.

Eugene Delacroix, Journal, July 14, 1850

Finally, a genuine “off” day between college lecturing. After the third week of the semester, I finally have my ducks in a row so that on the days I don’t have class I can actually spend my hours doing what I feel is most central to my life–reading, writing in my journal, blogging and making art. Tomorrow’s college lecture is ready so I don’t have to fret over those details.

I rose at 5 a.m., with a sense of joy and anticipation. Following breakfast, I found myself in the watercolor studio picking at a composition I had been working on the night before. I now have three railroad watercolors in progress, and am happily moving to and fro among them. By 6:15, I decided to break from the painting and retreat to my study to continue my reading from Delacroix’s journals. I laughed out loud when I read the passage posted above, because I have felt foolish keeping a handwritten journal religiously since 1985, and still scribbling in it almost daily, then occasionally writing a blog from what I’ve already written in my journal. And here, I find Delacroix admitting the same thing–keeping a notebook, then re-writing, editing what he first wrote as he transfers it into the journal now published. From time to time, I wonder if I should print out all my blog pages, then wonder if that is really necessary, since I’ve already recorded most of this stuff in my handwritten journals.

I have always loved this notion of “the life of the mind” and am gratified this morning to read Delacroix expressing the same sentiment. I’ve always feared that it sounded arrogant to say that I live a life of the mind, perhaps even foolish and impractical. But it’s accurate. Forty years ago this fall, I embarked on the life of the mind when I entered graduate school, thrilled at the daily pursuit of the history of ideas, and over these decades, reading has been my food, and attempting to express my ideas by making art and standing to deliver in classrooms has been my exercise.

On Monday evening, I will stand before the Society of Watercolor Artists in Fort Worth for the purpose of doing a watercolor demonstration. To describe this event as daunting is a gross understatement. I’ve known of the assignment for a number of months, but still, the anxiety of standing and delivering amidst a body of seasoned watercolorists keeps my inner doubts churning. At any rate, I’m preparing daily now to have something (hopefully) worthy to say and demonstrate when that hour arrives. Wish me luck!

Much of what I express on these blog pages is being shaped into the coming presentation. So, again, I thank all of you for your reading and your responses.

Until next time then . . .

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

The Harmony Beneath the Disarray

August 29, 2017

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Nearing Completion of Another Watercolor 

The ancients, struck with this irreducibleness of the elements of human life to calculation, exalted Chance into a divinity, but that is to stay too long at the spark,–which glitters truly at one point,–but the universe is warm with the latency of the same fire. . . . Underneath the inharmonious and trivial particulars, is a musical perfection, the Ideal journeying always with us, the heaven without rent or seam.  Do but observe the mode of our illumination. When I converse with a profound mind, or if at any time being alone I have good thoughts, I do not at once arrive at satisfactions, as when, being thirsty, I drink water, or go to the fire, being cold: no! but I am at first apprised of my vicinity to a new and excellent region of life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience”

Rising at 5:40 this morning, without an alarm, it didn’t take long before I felt bathed in the warmth of Emerson’s words. As an older man, he soberly assessed “experience” as a replacement for his earlier romantic flourishes as a thinker and writer. I love the quote above as he acknowledges that the spark in later years may lack the white hot dynamic of ideas that struck him in his youth, but the warmth and duration remained. Ideas such as this have helped me in my transitions in life, from a young educator, to one middle aged, and now retired.

More than ever before, I have come to embrace the “musical perfection” underlying the “inharmonious and trivial particulars” of daily life. In my early days of the ministry, I would devote all my energies of a particular day to poring over the biblical writings, believing that they contained the Word of God, and that I would be encountered, confronted by their message. I expected some kind of an oracle. For the past several decades, I have known that oracles would come through a multiplicity of avenues–literature, philosophy, conversation, art, music; I would no longer have to seek an encounter aggressively, but rather let it happen when it happens.

Today has been spectacular, though the bare details of the day sound pedestrian. I have divided my time between reading Emerson, writing a college lecture for tomorrow, listening to documentaries on YouTube on Hemingway and Joyce, finishing up a watercolor begun two days ago, and practicing guitar songs for tonight’s Open Mic. And all day long, a Presence has lingered with me, though I live alone. That Presence has been the underlying harmony of all the disjunctive tasks I have pursued. And I didn’t have to force any kind of encounter; it just happened, as it always does.

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Fun at Dr. Jeckyll’s Open Mic

Thanks for reading.

 

Thoughts Concerning Creative Energy

August 26, 2017

train drawing finished

Did our birth fall in some fit of indigence and frugality in nature, that she was so sparing of her fire and so liberal of her earth, that it appears to us that we lack the affirmative principle, and though we have health and reason, yet we have no superfluity of spirit for new creation? . . . We are like millers on the lower levels of a stream, when the factories above them have exhausted the water. We too fancy that the upper people must have raised their dams.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience”

As I grow older and find creative energy harder to sustain, I take solace in reading testimonies from Emerson and Walt Whitman, who knew all-too-well the difficulty of continuing the push for creative eros.  Emerson’s essay “Circles” has a great metaphor, describing the endeavor as pushing outward in concentric circles one’s creative energy. Each circle goes out a certain distance, then piles up and hardens into a berm. A harder effort is required to push the new wave of energy with enough force to burst that dam, but alas, the new circle also rises into a new berm, further away and higher. As one continues to create, more and more force is required to break through the earlier barricades.

At my age, I find that I’m sleeping longer and having to be more thoughtful of my diet. And I have to be more reasonable about deadlines and how much time is required to do quality work. Drawing and painting today has been a genuine joy, but I feel the weariness, and notice that the work requires more scrutiny than it seemed to before. But I still want to create, to live an artful life. I’m grateful to Texas Wesleyan University, for giving me a creative outlet in classes only three times a week, and to The  Gallery at Redlands for giving me a place to create and display my art. The patrons today have given me profound joy in conversation and encouragement. Palestine is a remarkable town.

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.