Archive for the ‘Waxahachie’ Category

Friday Night in the Gallery with Kevin & Marc

September 28, 2018

 20180928_1712318416263159858386608.jpg

Marc Mitchell & Kevin Harris doing mic check before going live

Dad had once said, “It takes genius to elevate the ordinary, a very ordinary genius,” and that’s exactly what I am, Frank thought, an ordinary genius. He had unlocked the secret of radio. The sport of the ordinary! Brilliant men like Reed Seymour couldn’t figure this out for the life of them! Reed was ashamed of radio. Vesta was ashamed of it. Reed wanted to do something worthy with his life, like write books. He had part of a manuscript in his desk drawer. Frank had read it. Very intense, very poetic. And very hard going. Vesta wanted to bring in the treasures of the world and display them on the air, like opening a museum and showing postcards of the Venus de Milo. No, radio was a cinch if you kept reaching down and grabbing up handfuls of the ordinary. Keep your feet on the ground.

Garrison Keillor, WLT: A Radio Romance

The late afternoon autumn sun cast its warm glow across the town as I motored into Palestine, Texas. Stepping out of the Jeep and into the cool winds felt terrific as I unloaded new watercolors for the gallery. My heart was lifted even more when I discovered my new friends, Kevin and Marc, already inside the gallery, testing out the three mics in the control booth. I was introduced to Ken, the engineer working on the finer details of the new system. I tried to take a decent picture from the hotel lobby, through the gallery door, to capture the broadcasters seated at their “Window to the World.”

En route to Palestine, I dropped by Art on the Square in Waxahachie and picked up three of the seven pieces I’ve had on display there. I thought I would see if a new venue would assist in finding homes for them.

20180928_173619848010128048915105.jpg

Fort Worth Flatiron on the Left; Waxahachie Depot on the Right

20180509_1333118206425578660625828.jpg

Ellis County Courthouse, Waxahachie

20180928_1736542992441132043162995.jpg

Waxahachie Depot in Foreground; Courthouse in Background

As it got closer to dark, I needed to leave the gallery to run some business errands. Kevin and Marc were still testing the mics while the station aired pre-taped music. As I was driving around town, I tuned in to 93.5 and they were live! It was so fun, listening to their on-air banter as they confessed to the listeners that they were just checking things out to make sure the system was working. They explained that the gallery studio signal went up to the second floor to another studio in their offices, and then to the antenna atop the hotel and finally out to the listeners. The broadcasters sounded like they were having great fun, and so was I, just listening and knowing the fellows behind the voices.

I brought my painting supplies to the gallery with me and plan to do some serious work tonight, Saturday and Sunday. As I work and play, I will find a way to send pictures and words out to any of you who wish to read what we’re doing here in Palestine, Texas.

And so, this is Dave signing off from The Gallery at Redlands alongside Smooth Rock 93.5 FM inside the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine, Texas.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Advertisements

Shifting Gears

May 9, 2018

waxahachie 1 framed

Lone Sentinel Over Waxahachie (11 x 14″ framed watercolor)

waxahachie 2 framed

Waxahachie Rail Odyssey (11 x 14″ framed watercolor)

waxahachie 3 framed

Watching Over Ellis County (11 x 14″ framed watercolor)

Paint Historic Waxahachie will enter into its judging phase Friday afternoon, and all work will go on sale Saturday and Sunday. Sadly, I will be unable to attend, because tomorrow I set up my booth for Arlington’s Art on the Greene. For any of you local readers, I would encourage you to take in the Waxahachie exhbit of plein air paintings. Thirty-six artists participated this year, and the quality of the exhibit is extremely high. Art on the Square is located at 113 W. Franklin Street, on the town square in Waxahachie. My three new paintings are now hanging there for judging and selling. I also have four Waxahachie paintings from last year on display and sale as well.

As for me, I’ll be in Booth #1 at Arlington’s Art on the Greene, located at Richard Greene Linear Park on 1601 E. Randol Mill Road. This park is located between Globe Life Park and AT&T Stadium. Hours for this festival are 3-10:00 Friday, 11-10:00 Saturday, and 11-5:00 Sunday. Admission and parking are free. Since my last festival two weeks ago, I have already completed and framed several new watercolors that I am gladly bringing out for the festival. Hours in the booth can grow quite long over the weekend, so I welcome company and conversation (and sales)!

Though my body is tired from finishing and framing the three Waxahachie paintings, I’m glad that I can now be single-minded about the Arlington festival. Until this evening, I’ve had both art events clanging about in my head as I chafed over details and deadlines. With the completion of today’s work, the world is moving much slower now tonight, and I welcome that.

Thanks for reading.

Rest in the Midst of the Torrent

May 9, 2018

waxahachie 1

Plein air in progress–Ellis County Courthousewaxahachie 2

Plein air in progress–Waxahachie, Texas

waxahachie 3.jpg

Plein air in progress–Waxahachie, Texas

When she was working, Georgia rose at six and was off by six-thirty. She would bring a painting back to work on it further indoors. Her paintings began by being straightforward and representational, done from life. Later, as she worked over them n her studio, they took on the emotional resonance that gave them their power.

Roxana Robinson, Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life

Recently, my blogging has been sporadic, not because I have had nothing to report, but because I have been mobile. For the next week, the work will only increase. I find this time of year extremely busy with the art calendar. When I taught high school full-time, I had to say No to most of this activity. Retirement, for me, has been a sweet, sweet reward, allowing me to pursue things that truly matter to me. It’s a good thing, being able to rest and compose this blog in the mid-morning hours. But soon, that will radically change as I burst out the door and pursue a schedule that will not let up till late tonight.

Our annual Paint Historic Waxahachie event is now in full swing, but alas, my time is sharply divided between participation in this endeavor while also preparing for Arlington’s annual Art on the Greene this coming weekend. Every morning I have made the 40-minute drive to Waxahachie to work on plein air watercolors for the competition and sale, and have come home in the evening, too weary to write or post my activities. Tonight, I will need to load the Jeep with all my booth equipment so I can set up tomorrow for the weekend Arlington festival, and sadly miss the Waxahachie awards and dinner event Friday night and Saturday sale. Artists are fortunate to have so many opportunities to select what they wish to pursue, but we feel unfortunate when two worthy events collide over the same weekend.

The three paintings posted above have been in progress over several days, as I’ve traveled to Waxahachie and set up at a certain location at a particular time of day to set the light and shadows as I wish. I never worked longer than an hour at at a time at each station, always moving on to the next and also taking breaks in the shade for water, reading good books and scribbling in the journal. At my (retired!) age, I find that I work better by taking many breaks instead of pursuing a single painting for hours as I used to do. This way, I am better able to conserve energy, as I spread it out throughout the day and not find myself wearing down after a few hours.

I posted the Georgia O’Keeffe text above because I drew considerable inspiration from these words while resting between painting activity. I hope my plein air endeavors will mature and improve by following this practice of stopping and re-evaluating. The rules of this Paint Historic Waxahachie competition prohibit working on the paintings away from the location, and I follow that principle respectfully. But when home at night, I am happy to look over the paintings and evaluate how they are progressing, and make mental notes of what I wish to pursue with them when I return to the scene the next day. Taking my favorite word from the writer, Natalie Goldberg, “composting” describes this mental activity of maturing an idea as it slowly grows. Later today or tomorrow, I’ll finish these three paintings and re-post them.

As a guitar player performing in bands, I knew what it meant to be “page-bound” as I could not seem to find any kind of artistic, musical flourish while focused on the chords on a sheet of music while rehearsing. Only when getting away from the page could I find those spontaneous moments of guitar riffs and fillers that punctuated the song I was trying to play. Likewise with plein air painting. I delight in focusing on the subject live before me, my eye excitedly poring over the details, colors and textures within that field of vision. But I have trouble seeing the compositional picture forming on my watercolor page. I guess I need to call this dilemma “subject bound” because the page is not really getting my full attention. It is not until I am away from the subject that I can then focus on the rectangular space of my paper and make decisions on how to complete the painting. When I return to the scene of creation, I no longer see just the subject before me, but also the composition I am trying to complete.

Goethe and Heidegger both have articulated theories of art as a merger of the subject matter and the artist’s inner vision. Some day I hope to compose a meaningful statement of my own to that effect. But as for now, I need to pack my gear, run a few business errands, and then dash to Waxahachie for another full day of painting and decision-making.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blot to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Reflections Over another Good Day of Painting

May 14, 2017

waxahachie final

One Last Waxahachie Plein Air Watercolor

Here’s a quote that I think will interest you–“Great painting like Bach’s music, in texture closely woven, subdued like the early Gobelin tapestries, no emphasis, no climaxes, no beginnings or endings, merely resumptions and transitions, a design so sustained that there is no effort in starting and every casual statement is equally great.”

But of course such depth presupposes another mode of feeling. One has to be Bach before one can paint in his power and richness. Depth of style can only spring from a deepening of our emotional life. 

Letter from NC Wyeth to his son Andrew, February 16, 1944

Today grew into a hot 91-degree afternoon in Waxahachie. Returning to the spot that I occupied yesterday, I was delighted to find “Spider”, my new musician friend, there again, playing his guitar and harmonica, and keeping me company and inspired as the temperatures climbed.

waxahachie final2

Though I continued to withdraw further and further into the shade, there was no wind where we were positioned, so I continued to feel hotter and fainter as the day wore on. But still, I could not stop hearing those words from NC Wyeth that I’ve posted above–words I read before setting up my easel and making a second start on this ground-level series of arches and portals of the Ellis County courthouse. Like the allusion to a Bach composition, I had no particular starting or ending point or even a focal point as I worked all over this composition before me, sometimes drawing, sometimes measuring, sometimes splashing, sometimes washing, sometimes drybrushing, sometimes scraping–everything I did to this painting felt right, and I loved the intimate connection I felt with the gigantic architectural wonder rising high over my head across the street. I thought of another NC Wyeth quote:

A great truth is like a mountain that one walks around, and the changes of its contour as one moves his position only emphasize and revivify its majesty.

After about three hours of working this composition, with a lunch break in the midst. I decided to sign it and call it finished.

courthouse finished

Romanesque Redivivus

When 5:00 arrived, signalling the end of Paint Historic Waxahachie, I returned to the Art on the Square gallery to gather up my paintings on display, and then learned that despite a slow day of traffic (only about thirty patrons came into the gallery today), the painting above, “Romanesque Redivivus” was purchased this afternoon. That brought me great joy. Three paintings sold and one honorable mention made this show a good experience for me. Now I can perhaps find some rest over the next two weeks before I set up for the three-day Art on the Greene art festival in Arlington.

Thanks for reading. It’s been another excellent day.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Loving the Work Itself

May 13, 2017

The week has been, to me, a singular mixture of ineffable sadness and inspiration–two moods that often happen together. But there is a persistent melancholy which I seem unable to shake off.

To circumvent these feelings I have devoted most of my spare time to reading, especially at night when sleep eludes me.–Thoreau, Goethe, Emerson, Tolstoy–all have struck me, as always, with incisive vitality and freshness. My ruminations have again been vividly stirred.

These great men forever radiate a sharp sense of that profound requirement of the artist, to fully understand that consequences of what he creates are unimportant. “Let the motive for action be in the action itself and not in the event.”

I know from my own experience that when I create with any degree of strength and beauty I have had no thought of consequences. Anyone who creates for effect—to score a hit–does not know what he is missing!

N. C. Wyeth letter to his son Andrew, February 16, 1944, a year before his death

sata

My entire day in Waxahachie was spent in this rapturous spot

The 40-minute drive through the country on this 63-degree morning was drenched with scintillating sunlight and excellent vibes. Artists were requested to paint on the courthouse square from 9:00-to-noon, then sell their work from their easels from 1-to-3:00. As it turned out, not many artists showed up for this event, but I was in place by 8:30, parking adjacent to the spot I had selected where I knew the sun’s angle on the courthouse would be favorable for me throughout the day.

With thirty minutes to spare before beginning, I sat in the shade on a stone bench and opened my book The Wyeths, which contains the complete correspondence of N. C. Wyeth. For years I have been enthralled with N. C.’s breadth of reading and thought throughout his years, and was excited when I found out his correspondence was available to read. When I read this morning his closing letters to his son, I was stirred to find that he read the same men that I read with profound pleasure. And I loved his manifesto which matches mine–making art has reward in itself, even if no one comes to look at it or purchase it. I was thrilled to know that this entire day was a gift, and I could do with it whatever I wished.

The courthouse clock struck 9:00, and I approached my easel with a plan–to knock out three watercolor sketches of the same subject in three hours’ time. I selected a 5 x 7″ picture plane, knowing I had three mats and picture frames in the Jeep that would accommodate them if they were worth framing.

satb

Candid Photo taken by my friend Pamela Brocato.  Thanks, Pam!

satc

In progress watercolor sketches

I drew the first courthouse cupola, then laid in the wet sky. I then turned to number 2 and repeated the process, then again with number 3.  Returning to the first one, I then painted the top part of the cupola, then moved to the other two. Returning to number 1, I fleshed out the bottom part of my building composition, then repeated with the other two. At 11:15, I despaired of finishing by noon, and set out to work fast and furiously and spontaneously on the tree cover, moving quickly from one to the next to the next. Finally, I put in whatever remaining details on the three buildings I had time to do.  At 11:55 I stopped, took the pieces into Art on the Square, the gallery at 113 W. Franklin St., inserted them into their 8 x 10″ frames and hung them with the rest of my work.

satd

123

I have priced the three paintings at $65 each framed in the 8 x 10″ frame, or $50 with only the mat. They will hang in the Art on the Square gallery until tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Making art is a solitary activity, and I don’t believe I have every complained about that. Solitude contains its own rewards, and when I feel that I have entered the “zone”, there is no such sentiment as “loneliness” in my soul. But today, I was definitely not alone. My phone jangled all day with well-wishers, online observers and all kinds of good words. Then companions began to drift in and out of my area the entire day, and it was sublime!

spider

Drew Minshew, alias “Spider”

A fellow about my age took his seat on the bench in the courtyard behind me and commenced playing his acoustic guitar, harmonica and singing. I seldom hear such talented musicians playing out in public like this, purely for their own enjoyment. This man was professional, and he sang and played the songs that resonate with me from my past–“Dust in the Wind,” “Turn the Page,” “Tears in Heaven,” and many, many more. He stayed until noon, as I did, playing till his fingers got sore. We exchanged business cards, and I intend to hear him perform. He stays busy with gigs. I think I enjoyed him the most, because he gets the same thrill from making music that I do from making art–the joy is in the process.

spider & skeeter

Spider and Skeeter

Skeeter Murley, a long-time friend and watercolor enthusiast of mine, surprised me by dropping by. He had work to do in nearby Midlothian, and decided to swing by Waxahachie, knowing this Paint Historic Waxahachie was in progress. Skeeter has a job that takes him on the road too much for him to paint as much as he wishes. Hopefully, he’ll find a way around that soon.  His skill is phenomenal, and I’m proud to belong to the same Society of Watercolor Artists as he.

Cheryl Rose

Cheryl Rose and Me

I have known Cheryl Rose for decades, as we both worked in the Arlington Independent School District. She has retired, and I look forward to joining her ranks in a few weeks. She surprised me with a text that she was coming to town. Cheryl lives in Arlington, and made the 40-minute trek alone, finding no one available to make the trip with her. She came to town to peruse our gallery as well as the antique stores around the square. Cheryl has been a wonderful patron, picking up my limited editions, but today she decided to purchase an orginal.  Thank you, Cheryl!

caboose (2)

“Odysseus on the Rail,” now in the Cheryl Rose collection

cheryl rose photo

Cheryl Rose took this photo

cheryl rose photo 2

. . . and this one as well!  Thanks!

pam and annabelle

Pamela Brocato and “Annabelle”

Pamela Brocato is one of the beautiful artistic spirits I gather with on Tuesday evenings for our “artists cafe” in north Arlington. She is a graphics design artist and pastelist, who also works long hours, travels extensively for her job, and struggles to find quality time to make art. But she is a delight in art-related conversations, and when she is in town, she joins our cafe and inspires us. She surprised me with a visit as well, and her adorable Pomeranian is as soft as a cat and just as quiet! The dog never made a sound the entire time Pam visited together at my easel. Pam also surprised me with some fabulous pics and I have to post those as well (she took the photo I posted near the top of this blog as well).

pam brocato photo of me

As the afternoon grew hot and I began to feel my energy fading, I decided I might try one more shot at the courthouse, this time at the ground level.

saturday portal

Ground Level Portal of Ellis County Courthouse

I worked fast on this one, as I was growing tired and the sun finally found me where I had earlier enjoyed the shade. It was time to call it a day and head back to the house.

This day has been fulfilling on so many levels. I’m happy that I ground out four watercolors, and happier that I met a new friend, and familiar friends cared enough to make the journey to spend time with me.  Thanks to all my friends, and thanks to all of you who follow me on this blog.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Prepping for the Final Weekend in Waxahachie

May 12, 2017

court1

Honorable Mention at Paint Historic Waxahachie judging

wax7

Sold on opening night of Paint Historic Waxahachie reception

It was a good night.  The courthouse window posted above received an Honorable Mention and a gift certificate of $100 for Jack Richeson & Co. art supplies.  And before the evening was over, my first attempt at the courthouse sold. I drove home happy, thinking about tomorrow’s endeavor.

I will participate in the town square paint-out tomorrow from 9-12:00, followed by the sidewalk art sale from 1-3:00. My plan is to paint at least three 5 x 7″ watercolor vignettes of the courthouse cupola to insert into 8 x 10″ mats and simple frames. We’ll see if they can sell. Meanwhile, I have six additional paintings hanging inside Art on the Square, 113 W. Franklin St. (on the square!) still looking for a home.

If I still have the stamina after 3:00, I plan to retreat to the scenic areas surrounding the town of Waxahachie and focus on some landscape painting. Artists who have registered for Paint Historic Waxahachie can still create new work to sell until 5:00 Sunday. I have blocked off this weekend, hoping to have enough energy to continue painting till it’s over.

Thanks for reading.

Waxahachie Paintings Completed

May 11, 2017

courthouse finished

“Romanesque Redivivus”

The week has been a long grind, but I managed this afternoon to complete painting #7 and titled it “Romanesque Redivivus” since the architectural style is known as Romanesque Revival. I’m too sleepy tonight to record thoughts or musings with any kind of depth or twist, but I did want to show my readers this final painting. All seven paintings are now framed and six of them will be entered into the judging tomorrow. Wish me luck, and thanks for reading!

Crossing Language Barriers

May 10, 2017

courthouse 2

All good drawing or painting is compositional.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

And so I come to my final night before turning in everything by the competition deadline. Paint Historic Waxahachie will continue until Sunday at 5 p.m., but the judging for the competition takes place Friday afternoon, and all work must be submitted by noon Friday. That means Thursday at 6 p.m. for me, because I cannot leave school in time to get to Waxahachie by noon on Friday.

The painting above will need to be completed and framed by tomorrow evening, so I’ve decided to spend tonight looking it over and making compositional decisions regarding the crowns of trees surrounding the structure underneath. I’m satisfied with how the building has turned out, but am unsure of just how to fill in the foliage around the bottom perimeter. I’m confident I’ll make a decision by the time I pick up the brush tomorrow afternoon.

A wonderful encounter took place on the sidewalk today as I worked on this piece. Three men who work at the Foot Spa near Art on the Square came over and looked at my work, speaking only their own language (Japanese?–I’m still unsure). They gestured to me with thumbs up and smiles and nods and continued talking among themselves as they pored over my work in progress. Finally, the man in the red shirt took out his smart phone, typed Asian characters into his keyboard, and then hit translation. He then showed me his phone–“INK?”  I shook my head and typed “WATERCOLOR” into my phone and showed it to him. Quizzically, he copied “WATERCOLOR” into his own phone, hit the translation key, and then nodded and smiled and gave me a thumbs up.  He then spoke in his language to the other two, and they then nodded and continued to talk.

I felt like I was in the “Dances with Wolves” movie as Kevin Costner tried to discuss “BUFFALO” with the Sioux visiting his campsite. But I felt wonderful.  They hung out with me for about fifteen minutes before returning to work, and we never exchanged words. Yet there was a wonderful connection, thanks to art and phone technology. They watched me paint a little while longer before customers began showing up at their business again.

asian friends

My new friends from the Foot Spa

Before retiring for the night, I prepared six 11 x 14″ frames and one 12 x 16″ to take to Waxahachie tomorrow afternoon. The paintings I’ve completed have to be framed for display, competition and sale. Once the deadline passes, I have to option of continuing to make new paintings in hopes of selling them, or I may just collapse into a long overdue rest period. I’m not sure yet what will happen after 6 tomorrow evening. It’s been quite a grind, but I’m happy with all of it, and cannot wait to see my trio of new friends when I return tomorrow.

UPDATE !!!!   Someone named Caryl just read my blog a few minutes after I posted it, and emailed me to say the men are Chinese, and the establishment is Yayas Foot Spa, featuring ancient Chinese foot massage techniques. Thank you, Caryl!

Thanks for reading and following our events.

I paint in order to learn.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

The French Impressionist Legacy in Waxahachie

May 9, 2017

blog2.jpg

. . . to transfer the atmosphere of the artist’s studio to the boulevard.

Sue Roe, the private lives of the impressionists

Despite the physical fatigue factor from daily 40-minute afternoon drives and setting up to paint, I cannot describe how invigorating and inspiring the Waxahachie environment has become during this week of plein air activity.  The enthusiasm of the artists coming and going out of Art on the Square at 113 W. Franklin St. is beyond description. And the residents of this town are so friendly, eager to approach our easels to see what we’re working on, and to offer kind words and express appreciation for us coming to town to paint daily.

The skies turned dark over Waxahachie, threatening rain. I chose to set up my easel under the awning of the businesses on the west side of the town square. Measuring out a 9 x 12″ surface, I began carefully drawing out the details of the Ellis County Courthouse’s complex cupola. I worked slowly, taking several breaks, and got to renew friendships with other plein air artists I haven’t seen for over two years. I’ve missed the recent seasons of Paint Historic Waxahachie, and cannot wait to reconnect with other artitsts I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in this area.

And speaking of reconnecting–I have been unable recently to meet my friends at our weekly “artists cafe” gathering on Tuesday nights.  So . . . this afternoon Kelly Noonan and Elaine Jary brought the cafe to me! They made the 40-minute drive to Waxahachie and we had an evening meal, drinks and rewarding conversation at the College Street Pub on 210 N. College Street. This has become my favorite place to decompress after a long afternoon of painting, and what could be better than chatting with kindred spirits. Thanks, Kelly and Elaine for bringing the Cafe Gerbois back to life in this century!

And thanks to all of you who are following this activity. Thank you for keeping me inspired.

I paint in order to discover. 

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Weary in Waxahachie

May 8, 2017

caboose (2)

Waxahachie Depot on South Rogers Street

I am so thrilled, surprised and grateful to see so many following my blog as I make my daily trek to Waxahachie. Today I was more tired than ever, since I was out late last night and rose at 5 this morning to face my classes at school.  As soon as I was free, I made the drive south and managed to finish this caboose composition that I started two days ago and couldn’t seem to manage. I haven’t participated in Paint Historic Waxahachie over the past two years due to scheduling conflicts, and I am finding myself far out of rhythm this go around. It seems that I have to set up two to three times on separate days before I can finish a simple 8 x 10″ painting, and in prior years I was doing them within the hour.

My intention this evening was to complete this painting and then try to start and finish a second one in just one sitting. But I was too sleepy and too out of the mood once this one was finished and hung in the gallery. So, hopefully tonight I will get a decent night’s sleep and find sufficient energy tomorrow evening to start and finish a painting.

Meanwhile, thanks all of you for following me this week.

I paint in order to learn.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.