Posts Tagged ‘Arlington’

Preparing for Friday Night, Piccolo Mondo Restaurant and Bar

June 27, 2012

Piccolo Mondo Restaurant, Arlington, Texas

I just completed my second consecutive night in the sweaty, 97-degree man cave, gathering and packing my inventory for Friday night.  Five local artists will be displaying and selling art out of the Piccolo Mondo Restaurant in north Arlington Friday from 5:30-11:30.  This will be the first time I have set up inside an elegant restaurant and bar.  The Friday night clientele has been described as a good audience for an art show, so I guess we are about to find out.   At any rate, it will be nice to hang out with my friends in a lovely setting.  We will set up our exhibits at 3:00 and the establishment opens for dinner at 5:30.  We have been told that reservations are the wise choice for a Friday night, but walk-ins are accommodated as well.  Our display area is one of the dining rooms clearly visible from the waiting and bar area.  The French doors will all be opened, and the art work will be visible to anyone entering the establishment.  I’m getting excited as the time nears.

Tomorrow will end my summer school for the week–it’s so nice not to teach on Fridays.  I had hoped to paint tonight, but ran out of time.  The hour is getting late and 6:00 will come all-too-quickly for me, again.  But I have every hope of painting tomorrow after school, as the weekend officially begins.

For any of you in the area, I would love to see you Friday evening.  For all the rest of you, I pledge to be painting and blogging again tomorrow.  Thanks for reading.  I’m not sure if this virtual tour of the restaurant is going to work, but here is the link:


Greetings from the Levitt Pavilion in Arlington!

May 25, 2012

Tripp’s Booth at the Arlington Levitt Pavilion

I’m very pleased to find Internet access here at the Levitt Pavilion festival!  It was a hot afternoon for setting up, but the booths were provided, along with some globe lighting.  They gave me permission to install my own track lighting as well, and invited me to take over the space in the booth behind me that did not rent.  So . . . I have 10 x 20 feet to work with, plenty of area space, and excellent storage in the rear.  We are set up on a street that has been closed, the asphalt is level, and the two area rugs I laid down have nicely covered all the heavy cables that were run to provide electricity from nearby generators.

I’m very pleased to bring out about a dozen watercolors that have not been made public before, along with several limited edition and special edition giclee prints.  Dozens of new greeting cards have also been processed, many of them reproductions of work I have not yet put before the public.

Tonight’s music features Michael Martin Murphey.  When he sings “Wildfire,” I’ll get chills–my band played “Wildfire” at the very first gig we ever did.  I’ll never forget that night, and what joy it brought to me (though we were scared half to death).   “Wildfire” was one of our best songs.   So . . . I’ll be looking forward to that song later tonight, and will re-live the memories with gratitude.

Festivals are fun.  I’m glad the Texas temperatures are slowly dropping, the breezes are picking up, the crowds are gathering, and I’m feeling pretty serene.  I’m looking forward to this weekend.

Thanks for reading.

I Would Rather Be Fly Fishing

April 5, 2012

I Would Rather Be Fly Fishing

Again, I admit a blog hiatus.  After last weekend’s three-day art festival, I was exhausted, returning to school at 7:35 the next morning, still ill from the allergy symptoms suffered last week, and totally run-down. I’ve spent most of this week in school and in bed, with little in between.

Two days ago, tornadoes destroyed over 400 homes in my city, coming within 1/4 mile of my house.  Surrounded by destruction, and looking at the faces of many of my students who have lost their homes, I’m devastated at this turn of fortune.  There is no describing the loss that I see all around me now.  There is so much pain.

I think I have finished this watercolor sketch that I began while in my booth at the last festival (Kennedale’s Art in the Park).  While my Art I students are finishing an assignment before sailing into the three-day weekend, I’ve been at my desk fiddling with it.  I changed the color of my shirt in order to make me stick out a little more.  Also I darkened and salted the water more for contrast and drybrushed lightly more weeds about my feet and landing net.  More tree foliage needed to be drybrushed as well.  I think I have done about all I can.  The setting of this sketch is Troublesome Creek, northwest of Denver, and east of the town of Kremmling.  The creek flows into the Colorado River.  Trophy trout cruise those waters, and I have pulled out dozens of them–rainbows, brookies, cutthroats and browns.  I even hit a grandslam the last time I visited there (all four species caught in the same day).

Soon, I hope to pursue a series of watercolors on the fly fishing theme.  I have dozens and dozens of digital photos on file that I have taken over the years during my own excursions to Colorado, north Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas in search of trout.  I am looking over a museum catalog I purchased on Winslow Homer’s fly fishing watercolors.  I attended that show when it came to Fort Worth’s Amon Carter Museum, and saw another major retrospective of his watercolors at the Art Institute of Chicago a few years ago.  I need to  devote more time to studying his techniques.

I miss Colorado so much that I ache.  It has been two summers since I last enjoyed those mountain streams and the thrill of painting the front range.  I wish to God I could get there this summer, but I’ll have to wait and see.

Tomorrow I will visit Malakoff, Texas for the first time and experiment with some plein air painting.  I am thrilled to have been invited to teach a two-day workshop there next Thursday and Friday.  I’m going there tomorrow to “scout” the town so I can know in advance what kind of landmarks my workshop participants can sketch in watercolor.  I really hope to meet some of the participants tomorrow when I get there.

Though I have been under the weather for a considerable time (and doing very little blogging) I have been immersed in the writings of Paul Gauguin (The Writings of a Savage).  I don’t have the itch to go to Tahiti, but I would love to adopt his “savage” lifestyle in the mountains of Colorado, if only I could go there for awhile.  I have no foolish ideas about living off the land and the trout I catch–I would be satisfied with canned goods.  But I would love to study the color and light there, the mountains, rock formations, streams and Aspens.  I really need to find new directions in my work.  I hate it when I feel that I am doing “hack” work, whipping out watercolors for the trade.  I’m only happy when I’m a student of this craft, always learning new things.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday at Art on the Greene

March 25, 2012

Saturday at Art on the Greene

Good morning.  I am posting yesterday’s blog today, from home, because I choose not to pay for the AT&T Wi-Fi at Cowboys Stadium.  Following  is what I wrote in yesterday’s journal while seated outside my booth, waiting for the show to open:

I entered Richard Greene Linear Park on a sun-washed spring morning with the temperatures holding at a sensuous 70 degrees.  The canal flowing behind my booth provided a meeting place for a circle of giggling birds.  Twenty minutes later, I sat serenely in my director’s chair beneath the enormous canopy tree on the north side of my booth.  The walls of the booth were rolled up, breezes were flowing through, the art work was all in place, and patrons were already beginning to drift by.  The Advil successfully fought back the aches my body suffered from yesterday’s six-hour load-in and set-up.  The Starbuck’s bistro “breakfast-on-the-run” proved the perfect respite beneath the tree–coffee, sliced apple, grapes, cheese slices, English muffin and honey peanut butter.  I have a watercolor easel set up at my side, and I’m thinking seriously about beginning a plein air sketch for my own a, and perhaps for the passers-by.  It is not an easy task, trying to describe the long stretches of space spent alone in the artist’s booth during a three-day festival.  But conversations with patrons who enjoy festival art replenish my weary spirits more than I can say, and I cherish every one of them. 

Now, on the morning after, I can add to my journal entry.  Saturday was remarkable, with throngs of people who never diminished throughout the day and evening.  With this being the first large art festival in the history of Arlington, Texas, it proved a real homecoming for me, with teachers, former colleagues and former students coming by in droves and renewing acquaintances.  I cannot begin to describe the well-being and comfort I drew from talking with all of them.  The sales were phenomenal, and I even managed to create three plein air watercolor sketches at the easel, thus opening up further opportunities for conversation with those curious enough to approach and see what I was attempting.

A splendid day indeed.  Now today, Sunday, we are there once more from 11 to 5:00.  Then comes the break-down and load-out, and a weary trip to the bed so I can rise at 6:00 tomorrow and begin another week at school.

Thanks always for reading.

Plein Air Watercolor Sketching from the Man Cave on a Rainy Day

October 9, 2011

View from the Man Cave 1 of 3

It has been days since the last blog.  Too much work demanded from school and upcoming festivals.  I got a reprieve from yesterday’s festival due to a scheduling snafu.  My name was not on the master list.  They offered me a booth in the food section, and I decided “No thanks.”  It was nice to be home for a Saturday.

Today it rained cats and dogs all day in Texas.  I re-opened my “man cave” in the garage, with cooling temperatures caressing the environment.  The cool rains made the morning very pleasant, so I stared out at the trees and bushes of my neighbor’s front yard and began work on a series of small watercolors I’ll insert into pre-cut 8 x 10″ mats.  This is the first of the series of three.  I relied on Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils and Winsor & Newton colors from my field box.  I found the sketching to be a nice “loosening up” exercise, and therefore very enjoyable.

Thanks for reading.

Seeking Andrew Wyeth’s Help with the Pine Trees

June 24, 2011

Early Summer Morning at Stovall Park, Arlington, Texas

I rose at sunrise earlier this week, and tried my hand at plein air watercolor at Stovall Park in south Arlington, Texas, about 5 minutes from where I reside.  I found the warm sunlight alternating with cool shadows extremely delicious and wanted to try and capture some of that on paper.  I worked on it long enough to realize that I had no clue how to render the pine needles in the foreground tree.  So I finished blocking in the rest of the composition with wet-on-wet layers and called it quits for a few days.

Late this afternoon, I set up my easel in the garage, took another look at this sketch, and decided to consult Andrew Wyeth, my patron saint, my guiding force, my all-around heroic drybrush Meister.  Perusing a series of his drybrush sketches rendered en plein air at Kuerner’s farm led me to take another crack at this quick composition.  I pushed it about as far as I could go, then worked to get the background shadows much deeper, hoping to set off the pine needles more effectively.  I think I’m going to return to Stovall and try another of these.  Pine trees have intimidated me for too many years now.  It’s past time to do something about them.

Thanks for reading.  It’s been a delightful day painting.  Glad there is still plenty of summer left.

Saying Goodbye to a Friend, July 12, 2010

July 12, 2010

Ronny Hopkins, 1950-2010

This morning, we said “Goodbye” to Ronnie Hopkins, our lead singer, vocalist and creator of the Acoustic River Band.  Ron passed away last Thursday, at age 59, after a two-year battle with liver disease.  It remains such a bitter irony–Ron lived a clean and wholesome lifestyle.  We are flooded with stories of musicians and their deaths from substance abuse, but this gentleman lived a life where he did everything right, and currently none of us can find peace with the reality of his leaving the earth while still in his prime, and with so much left to offer. He leaves behind a wife of nearly forty years (he missed their anniversary by two weeks), two daughters and two grandchildren.  He managed to witness his younger daughter’s wedding scarcely a month ago.

Ron was undoubtedly the best guitarist I ever knew, who knew me by name.  He is the best guitarist I’ve heard without being charged admission.  And I was profoundly honored to be invited to join his band.  Technically, I played second guitar, but beside him, I felt like the tenth guitar.  Acoustic River was invited to play two selections at his services this morning, but frankly, Acoustic River without Ron Hopkins was Creedence Clearwater Revival without John Fogerty.  We played his favorite pieces, but knew that we were a mere shadow of the sound we heard when he sat among us, and his guitar resting on the empty chair was the visual reminder of what is no longer with us.

Shortly after Ron became ill, I was commissioned by David Slight, our bassist, to create this portrait as a surprise for Ron while he was in the hospital.  Using a photograph, we tried to capture his quintessential smile that continually disarmed us, and will continue to do so with every memory.

Thanks to all of you who read this blog.  I’ll be getting back to the studio watercolors, but not just now.  It’s taking awhile to absorb all of this.  Thanks Ron, for including me in your full and fruitful musical circle.

Another watercolor finished at the festival, April 17, 2010

April 17, 2010

Arlington Railroad trestle

This is the second watercolor I finished today while sitting in my art booth, avoiding the downpour that cursed us the entire day.  Fortunately, the sales were still good, and ultimately, I got to “make hay while the sun didn’t shine.”  Tomorrow is the final day of the festival, and I wish to God I could get through a day without rain.  If not, I’ll just work on more watercolors, I suppose.

So Little Time, March 22, 2010

March 22, 2010

Arlington RxR trestle

Today it’s back to school after Spring Break.  I have classes all day and a college class tonight, so I won’t even look at this until late tonight.  But I shall look at it and nudge it some more then.  I set the alarm a half-hour early, rising at 5:00 this morning, so I could give this 30 minutes of nudging.  It will no doubt come along more slowly than what I’ve grown used to, but nevertheless, I will pledge to do art everyday, even if for only small spaces of time.

Thanks for reading.

Kat Under a Hot Tin Roof, February 11, 2010

February 11, 2010

Kat Under a Hot Tin Roof

Isn’t it funny how we as artists practice the “dance of avoidance” (Ted Orland, Creative Authenticity) when we have all the time in the world to practice our craft?  Why do we do that?  Why do I do that?  I got sick last week, the doctor ordered me to stay home for four days and recuperate, and what did I do?  I worked harder on my lesson plans, anticipating my return to the classroom.  I’ve taught 22 years!  I don’t have to re-invent the wheel for public school!

Now, north Texas is expecting up to 8 inches of snow.  Tomorrow’s (Friday) classes are already canceled, and Monday is President’s Day.  So–I’ve just inherited another 4-day weekend.  I’ll get to know myself a little better this time, perhaps, and have something to show for the hiatus before I get back into the classroom next Tuesday.  Right now, I’m just sitting, chilling, and rhapsodizing on the huge, HUGE snowflakes filling the sky outside my study window, and recalling–Oh yeah!  a blog for today!  So, here goes. . .

I’ve had the privilege of playing acoustic guitar and singing in a band for a number of years now.  I have posted a watercolor of Kat Duke, one of our most amazing charter band members.  Kat is a gifted, soulful song writer, acoustic guitar player and vocalist (my how dusky and sultry her alto voice is!).  She and I began pulling people aside back in 2004 to play together, and, next thing we knew, we were a band with gigs on the calendar.  Through the years, band members came and went, but Kat always remained steadfast.

Finally in January 2008 Kat decided to pursue her long deferred dream of moving to the Pacific Northwest and living out the life of a folk singer.  She boarded a plane for Seattle, and we were all saddened to lose her, yet proud of her brave step into the future.  Before she departed, I secretly created this watercolor of her.  The pose came from a photo I took of her playing my guitar in my art booth at a festival at Kessler Park in Oak Cliff, Dallas.  I created the brick wall from my imagination, and added graffiti of all the band members who had played with her since 2004, and a logo of the band that she and I stayed with the longest–Interchangeable Parts.

Anytime I want to hear Kat’s voice, I only have to look at this painting.  And it all comes back . . .