El Despoblado

March 18, 2018

el despoblado

Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”

Today I wait for a plane to take me back to the suburbs where I will thrive only if able to sustain a life of the mind. I return from a week spent in the open country. I believe that El Despoblado could be translated “open country.” That is one of the descriptive titles of Big Bend National Park, a site that I have just visited for the first time in my life. Throughout the past week, canyons have overpowered me, embraced me, enfolded me, deeply delighted me. I was privileged to visit Caprock, Palo Duro and Big Bend over the past seven days. I believe that this is the best Spring Break I have ever known in all my decades of school employment.

Thanks to technology, by use of my phone I have been able to send a few snapshots of what I encountered this past week. Once back in the suburbs, I will perhaps have these myriad sensations sorted out and be able to post something commensurate to what I feel right now. Meanwhile, I sit and mentally, emotionally compost these rich experiences.

Thanks always for reading.

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Painting Near the Border

March 16, 2018

Once I reached the Rio Grande, I found the region choked with tourists. So I chose to take a dirt road away from the masses, and set up an easel along one of the other mountain ranges in the Chihuahuan Desert. the temperatures grew hot, but I’m glad I took the time to attempt this.

Painting Near the Border

March 16, 2018

The Dawn

March 16, 2018

When the early morning light quietly grows above the mountains . . . The world’s darkening never reaches to the light of Being.

Martin Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet”

It’s chilly this morning in Terlingua, but worth the effort to rise, pour a cup of coffee, and scribble in a journal while greeting Aurora’s slow ascent.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll visit the Rio Grand for the first time.

Plein Air Attempt at Chisos Basin

March 15, 2018

This is my first visit to Big Bend National Park and I took about 45 minutes to sketch this peak that captured my attention at Chisos Basin.

The Silence of the Canyon Evening

March 14, 2018

palo duro

Palo Duro Canyon

Meanwhile, there rages round the earth an unbridled yet clever talking, writing, and broadcasting of spoken words. 

Martin Heidegger, ” . . . Poetically Man Dwells . . .”

Spring Break brings me abundant blessing on many fronts. The most obvious is the chance to escape the clangor of city and suburban life. Since last weekend, I have forsaken 24/7 news and Internet searching. I packed only one book (I’ve always had this penchant for loading dozens of volumes–stupid!) and my journal, and I significantly downsized my art supplies–only three brushes along with portable plein air watercolor kit. I chose to bring my wooden pochade box because it mounts to the camera stand, and when opened, will hold the small kit.

Last evening in the quiet of Palo Duro Canyon, I set up about an hour before sundown and the place had already turned windy and chilly. The stillness and sanctuary of this enormous fissure in the earth was so soothing as I worked about 45 minutes to lay down the 5 x 7″ sketch above.

It is so soothing and fulfilling, being out here with all this natural space and quiet.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

 

Entering the Canyon

March 13, 2018

Tripp at easel

To be old means: to stop in time at

that place where the unique

thought of a thought train has

swung into its joint.

Martin Heidegger, “The Thinker As Poet”

Spring Break has arrived. And after a few days of rest and catching up on postponed details, I managed to find myself at Caprock Canyons State Park. For me, it was the fullness of time. For about a week now, I’ve been reading a collection of seven Heidegger essays under the title Poetry, Language, Thought.

heidegger

The section posted above comes from his opening poem, one that caught my eye last summer while vacationing in Colorado. Just as much time has been spent on these poetic verses than on his extended essays. The reason I like the line posted above is because I feel that thought has slowed down for me during these senior years, now especially since I only teach two days a week at the college, and am covering courses I’ve taught for decades. Finally, I am afforded quality time to savor ideas and synthesize topics, with no pressing deadline, and without a log of five subjects swarming around my head like angry hornets. As a result, quite a few train cars have naturally swung into joint, aligning with idea trains that I’ve assembled throughout my life.

plein air

In his seminal essay “The Origin of the Work of Art,” Heidegger discusses the process of art being created as a result of an arena of conflict between earth and world–earth representing the raw material that is there, and world representing everything we humans bring to the earth as we enter this arena of conflict. The result is that art emerges in this nexus of conflict, with the earth refusing to yield willingly, and our world continually finding ways to work the elements of the earth. I experienced this exhilarating feeling last evening as I stood at Caprock, surveying the horizon and attempting to capture some of it on paper.

The child is father of the man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
(Wordsworth, “My Heart Leaps Up”)
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day.
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
(Wordsworth, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality”)
For years, I have read Wordsworth with deep-seated joy. But as I worked yesterday evening on this plein air watercolor sketch, I realized that I do not share the sentiments of the words above that were playing through my soul. Yes, my childhood has fathered my present condition, but no, I cannot say that I no longer feel the soothing richness I knew as a child playing outdoors alone at age four, with the wind caressing my hair, the sand blowing and sticking to my arms, and the sounds of the breeze rushing through the canyon. I am just as much stirred by these natural delights as I was as a child, and pray that the feelings never ebb.
Thank you for reading.
I make art in order to discover.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Decompression after the Show

March 9, 2018

opening 2

The day following the reception for a solo show is always my better day, even when the show is well-attended. And indeed I was thrilled to see so many people come to my event, a number of them driving for hours. The time went by fast, then I had to drive two hours to my Palestine gallery to set up some new work and re-install all my limited edition prints, then another two-hour drive back home, getting me back around midnight. Today I am somewhat tired, but no regrets about last night.

opening 3

opening 4

I took a pair of photos as the first people arrived, then forgot to take any more, because as the people continued to come in (the librarian estimated fifty) I got busy talking to them, and after we closed, I remembered that I forgot to take more photos!

opening

I’ll close with a few close-ups of paintings that hung in the show.

crockett

rsz_heideggers_hut

20180106_114507

Arkansas truck better

Fishing Memories.jpg

Thanks for reading.

Artist Reception is Tonight

March 8, 2018

closeup

I am working to stave off nerves as time draws nearer for the reception for my show. My heartfelt thanks goes out to friends who have already said they plan to attend (nothing ties my stomach in knots more than the thought of going to my reception, and no one showing up!). Mark Twain joked about how it feels to stand around like an envelope without an address.

The gallery has agreed to set up a bin with all my limited edition prints available for sale as an added bonus to the show. I will need to get there early in order to facilitate the added display. I am also bringing along a brand new watercolor, framed, in case there is an easel available to put it on display and sale as well.

oxbow angled

Thanks always for reading.

artist reception

Another Framed Watercolor for the Gallery

March 6, 2018

oxbow angled

I just got one of my recent watercolors back from the frame shop. This is my second painting of the Oxbow General Store located in Old Town Palestine, not far from The Redlands Hotel. I’ll put it up for sale in The Gallery at Redlands later in the week. We’re asking $500 for this one, $700 for the larger one posted below.

redlands finished oxbow

Thanks for reading.