Posts Tagged ‘Art on the Greene’

Today I Build my House Again

May 10, 2018

Terlingua framed

Framed watercolor of Terlingua Ghost Town

The beginning and the end of all literary activity is the reproduction of the world that surrounds me by means of the world that is in me, all things being grasped, related, recreated, molded, and reconstructed in a personal form and an original manner.

Quotation from Goethe to Jacobi, Frankfurt, letter of August 21, 1774

While assembling my gear for today’s load-in at Arlington’s Art on the Greene, I brought up YouTube on my television and listened to the “Edward Hopper and the Blank Canvas” documentary. I had to stop loading and write out the Goethe quote that really resonated with me. It is said that Hopper carried this quote on a piece of paper in his pocket as he went about looking for subjects to paint. I someday would like to construct a well-worded definition of art as a number of these remarkable thinkers have done before us. Anytime a muse speaks of art as a combination of our inner world with the outer world, I feel a rush of new energy and enthusiasm.

In an earlier post, I tried to explain how my theory of plein air painting parallels the practice of Georgia O’Keeffe. She painted her landscapes directly, then brought them into the studio to revise. The finished result was the abstract work that we admire. For me, it is a little different–I love to paint directly from nature, but sometimes do not finish the work on site. I’ll take a reference photo, and for days the image of what I tried to paint will compost in my mind until I think of compositional matters to resolve in the piece. When I return to the work with fresh eyes, I make whatever alteration is necessary, most of it involving the perimeter of the painting as I decide which portions to leave blank and which ones to render in some combination of texture and color. One of the things that made this past week so difficult was the plein air competition in Waxahachie–all works must be created exclusively on site. Therefore, I could not work in the studio, but chose to return daily at the same hour to the sites where I began each of my three paintings, and push further with the composition. Still, the composting activity happened in the evenings when I looked at the in-progress paintings and made mental notes of what I wished to accomplish at my next session.

This morning I finally framed the Terlingua ghost town I visited about a month ago. I took a number of photographs of the church on the hill as the sun was setting, and for weeks afterward continued to re-visit the subject in my mind’s eye. Once I set out to paint it, I reproduced the church, looking at the photos I took. Then again I laid it aside as I continued to ponder (compost!) how to render the surrounding terrain. After a few more days, I reached a decision and finished it.

The theory of books is noble. The scholar of the first age received into him the world around; brooded thereon; gave it the new arrangement of his own mind, and uttered it again. It came into him, life; it went out from him, truth. It came to him, short-lived actions it went out from him, immortal thoughts. It came to him, business; it went from him, poetry. It was dead fact; now, it is quick thought. It can stand, and it can go. It now endures, it now flies, it now inspires. Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar”

This Emerson quote has flooded my soul since 1992, when I first read it while studying in Oregon, and I have re-read “The American Scholar” every semester since that remarkable day. Every word of the statement clamors for my attention, but this morning I’m fastened on this portion: “Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing.” When I was young, I relied on my eye-to-hand coordination and what others call “talent” while trying to make art. In my senior years, things have changed. I am wishing more and more to pour a life of experience and depth of feeling into my paintings. When viewers see my work, I appreciate them telling me I am “talented.” But frankly, I have known that from my youth. What I really want to know is if anything I paint stirs them, holds them, resonates with them. Ken Wilber wrote that beauty “suspends the desire to be elsewhere.” I guess what I wish to know is that someone experiences “beauty” when they look at something I painted. That fact holds much more value with me than someone acknowledging that I have talent.

All creation, because it is such a drawing-up, is a drawing, as of water from a spring.

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

This afternoon I’ll experience the rebuilding of my house, as I set up the 10 x 10 booth for display and sale of my work. There have been times past where I dreaded this moment, but this isn’t one of those. A couple of weeks ago, I had my best experience of assembling and disassembling my booth and gear at the Dallas Arboretum. Richard Greene Linear Park, where I set up today, is filled with large shade trees, and wind often blows across the lake to provide comfort as we labor over our steel poles and vinyl tents. I’m looking forward to another good festival.

Richard Greene Linear Park is located in Arlington at 1601 E. Randol Mill Road. Hours for this event are Friday 3-10; Saturday 11-10; Sunday 11-5.

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.

 

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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.

 

In the Flow

April 24, 2018

ghost ranch upright

Plein air watercolor of Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico

Perhaps I feel happiest when, during the creative process, I simply let work “pour out,” so to speak, without critical intervention or editing.

Robert Motherwell

For weeks now, art work has been pouring out of me, and I’ve fallen far behind in blogging the adventures. Since my recent plein air sojourn into New Mexico, I have travelled to east Texas to plein air paint, and am now making daily trips to Waxahachie to take part in the annual Paint Historic Waxahachie event. This weekend I will exhibit for the first time at Artscape 2018 held in the Dallas Arboretum. Two weeks later I’ll be exhibiting at Arlington’s Art on the Greene. Soon, I plan to post many new images, as I have completed a number of new paintings and am currently having them reproduced in limited edition prints as well as greeting cards. Preparing for this weekend’s show while painting daily in Waxahachie and maintaining my Monday and Wednesday college classes has my head spinning, but it’s a good life.

bullard 1

bullard 2

bullard 3

Oh yes, and by the way, I’ve done other things besides paint. Fly fishing is another passion of mine. I landed fourteen of these.

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.

 

 

 

Closing out the Art Festival

May 28, 2017

booth

Art on the Greene, Booth #30

There are two things in painting: the eye and the brain, and they have to help each other; you have to work on their mutual development, but painter-fashion: the eye, for the vision of nature; the brain, for the logic of organized senesations which give the means of expression.

Paul Cezanne

tree.jpg

During a quiet moment in the festival yesterday afternoon (humidity and temperatures exceeding 90 degrees thinned the crowd), I sat in the shad behind my booth and sketched the trees above me, applying Cezanne’s two-pronged theory of making art.  My eye studied the textures and tones of the bark on the tree trunk above, but my brain knew that the composition needed more than a diagonal tree trunk.  So I selected a network of limbs from someplace else, as there were no limbs to fill out the composition I felt was needed here.

Today we close out Art on the Greene.  It’s raining this morning, but preliminary reports indicate it could quit by noon (we open at 11:00) and the duration of the day will be twenty degrees cooler than yesterday.  I’m bringing along my Cezanne biography just in case bad weather chases away patrons for the day.  We close at 5:00, and six hours with few-to-no patrons is a long stretch if one has nothing to do.

Thanks for reading.

My Own Mental Map of the World

May 27, 2017

20170526_175454

Art on the Greene this Weekend, Richard Greene Linear Park, Arlington, Texas

. . . we each construct our own mental map of the world, its major landmarks already drawn in at birh–coded into our genes–while vast blank areas wait to be filled in from experience.

Ted Orland, The View from the Studio Door

Art on the Greene began yesterday afternoon, and once my booth was open for business, I was grateful to have a shady spot behind my display to sit in the breeze, enjoy talking to patrons as they came along, and spend some time sketching trees in the vicinity.

20170527_074255 (1)

20170527_074249 (1)

Both of these drawings are 5 x 7″ mounted in 8 x 10″ white mats. I’ve tossed them into my booth with the rest of my display, priced at $40 each. I’m bringing my art supplies and easel today, and if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll do some watercolor sketching on location.

2016 MADE Layout

20170526_161608

I’m in Booth #30, in the center of the park

Before leaving school yesterday to finish setting up for this festival, I was called out of my classroom, saying I was needed in the gym.  I wasn’t sure what this was about, knowing the gym was filled with the senior class, preparing for their end of the year Send Out.  As it turned out, the new yearbook coming out was dedicated to me, and the assembled senior class congratulated me on my retirement. I didn’t see this coming, and now, the morning after, I am still numb with wonder over this moment.

20170526_113841

Caption reads: “dedicated to dr. david tripp for his positivity, wisdom, advice, guitar skills, and coffee and round table talks”

Thank you, James Martin High School, for making me feel special on this day, and for all the positive memories of the decades.

And thanks all of you for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Opening Day of Art on the Greene

May 26, 2017

Fishing Memories

Fishing Memories–Now available in limited edition

In the artist, there are two men, the poet and the worker.  One is born a poet, one becomes a worker.

–Emile Zola, letter to Paul Cecanne

An artist is developed, not born.

–Robie Scucchi, art teacher, note written to me in my ninth-grade research paper

At 3:00 this afternoon, Arlington’s Art on the Greene art festival opens for the weekend, closing Sunday night.  I am bringing out for the first time a new set of signed-and-numbered giclee prints of Fishing Memories, the original painting now hanging in a competition at the Desoto Art League.  This print is full-size and priced at $100.  The first edition has already sold (in fact, the sale is the reason the prints are actually a reality today).

I have begun reading an engaging biography, Cezanne: A Life, by Alex Danchev.  The quote from Emile Zola came from this reading.  I’m grateful that my high school art teacher wrote to me what he did when I was so young–I never forgot that statement.  In my opinion, talent is only a small part of being artistic, and one has the capability of improving and maturing over time.

After such a spastic schedule over the past several weeks, I had a dear friend help me with the setting up of my art booth last night (thanks so much, Kelly!), so I was afforded a delicious evening of rest and retirement to bed early in anticipation of a festival weekend.  Being rested now, I am festival-ready, and enthused about how my booth is shaping up.  I’ll send pictures probably later today.

waxahachie final

If any of you readers are in my area, I will be in Booth #30, in the heart of the park, and adjacent to the major walkway going through the midst. I have a prime location (thank you Steve and Janis!).  We will be open till 8:00 tonight.  I would love to see you.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

The Art Festival from the Inside

March 22, 2014
Art on the Greene, March 21, 2014

Art on the Greene, March 21, 2014

There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual.  Such are the moments of our greatest happiness.  Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom.  If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign.  It was in this hope that the arts were invented.  Sign-posts on the way to what may be.  Sign-posts toward greater knowledge.  

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

As I write this it is Saturday morning.  Though I did not get in until after midnight last night, and the preceding 48 hours were consumed by the packing, loading, traveling and setting up of my tent at the Art on the Greene festival, I awoke several times in the pre-dawn, and finally got up a little before 7:00.  The printer has been busy, with over thirty 8 x 10″ prints now ready for matting and sleeving in plastic.  I’m opening the blinds to let the dim early morning light enter my studio, and am pouring my first cup of coffee.  And I am smiling inwardly with contentment.

We opened yesterday at 3:00 to perfect weather and good crowds.  I enjoyed many, many conversations with patrons, and this morning I cannot let go of the words of one who purchased several works: “I cannot stop looking through all these, because your paintings move me.”  Purchases are wonderful, but nothing gratifies me more than hearing someone say that s/he is moved when looking at my work.  I know how stirred up I am when I see something that compels me to paint, and I know how I am moved when I work on a painting and everything seems to be coming together.  But everytime an observer shares with me that s/he is moved when looking at my paintings, I feel that rush anew.  So, this morning the light through the window is better, and the coffee is better.

For a number of years, I walked through art festivals, making the occasional purchase, chatting up the artists and admiring the works on display.  Being an artist myself, I often wondered what it would be like to be on the inside of this operation.  I finally threw my hat in the ring, and have now lost track of how many years I have moved in the festival circuit.  It feels like seven or eight maybe.  I could probably write a book on that experience, but I doubt that it would be an interesting read.  Some years I have participated in as many as a dozen festivals, while holding down full-time high school and three-quarter time college positions.  That was too much.  Now I have my routine down to about a half dozen festivals per calendar year.

Since I do this alone, I cannot exactly mingle about the festival and leave my booth unattended.  But I do feel a calm sense of contentment when I arrive early and move through the “village” as booths are opening, and artists are all in a chatty frame of mind.  I enjoy the sounds of the morning conversations and the “waking up” of the art scene.  Perhaps one day I’ll tell my favorite story involving a delicious experience at Edom Festival of the Arts that occurred in the wee morning hours.

But for now, I have packaging to do in prepartion for this Saturday, an  eleven-hour run.

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.

 

Inside the Texaco Station

March 18, 2014
Inside the Texaco Station (22 x 28" framed watercolor)

Inside the Texaco Station (22 x 28″ framed watercolor)

The young man was up late again, bedding down in the store room of the old filling station.  He had closed the place at dark, but was too engrossed in his college studies to pack up the books and head for his garage apartment in the next county.  So, with the owner’s permission, he would spend another night in this shack, amidst the smells of gasoline, oil, pit grease and the grime that had built up over two generations.  The Texaco station was anchored on historic Route 66 in an obscure town east of Amarillo, Texas.  Interstate commerce had all but obliterated the sleepy town, and as soon as this fellow graduated from the community college, he would depart as well.  The local townspeople and patrons had no knowledge or regard for the things that stirred the soul of this young man.  His volumes of Thoreau, Frost, Whitman and Twain had opened to him worlds beyond this community.  And his few camping possessions stored in this room (Griswold frying pan, stove top percolator, kerosene lantern, Maxwell House tin) were the tether that kept him bound to the wild.  He would be packing up his gear in a week and leaving without notice.  It was time to emerge from this cocoon and embrace the world that was calling out to him.

I hope to display this companion still life piece beside the fishing still life in the weekend art festival approaching–Art on the Greene in Arlington, Texas.  http://www.artonthegreene.com/  Again, I have fabricated a short story to put on the back of the 5 x 7″ greeting cards bearing the image.  I sell these cards for $5 each, five for $20.  Sometimes, the greeting cards sell better out of my booth than the limited edition prints and orginal watercolors.  

He’s No Longer Here

March 18, 2014
Fishing Memories (22 x 28" framed watercolor)

Fishing Memories (22 x 28″ framed watercolor)

When the neighbors hammered the padlock off the deceased man’s fishing shed, they peered inside the darkened room with sadness at the world of memories their dear friend had left behind.  Guarding the assembly from its high perch, the kerosene lantern called to memory nights spent on the Mississippi River dikes, waiting for catfish that would find their way to the Griswold skillet. The Canada Dry crate was the old fisherman’s stool for the nightlong vigils.

Bass fishing featured the Garcia Mitchell open-faced reel and the vintage wooden plugs for the area lakes and ponds.  In his retirement years, fly fishing took over, and the old man delighted in the long road trips in his Dodge pickup to the Colorado Rockies where he would not be heard from for weeks at a time.  The battered suitcase was his lifelong road companion, as was the dark leather knapsack that he bought from an old leathershop on the dusty streets of Athens during his European excursions.

The old man had not been heard from for more than a week, and the inquiring neighbors were saddened to enter his home and find him in his final resting place–his favorite recliner in the small front room of his ramshackle house.  His cup was still half-filled with the Dining Car Coffee he relished throughout his years working on the Frisco railroad.  Now, only his possessions remained to tell his life’s story.

I’m gearing up for a three-day art festival this weekend: Art on the Greene in Arlington, Texas.  I brought back from the Bowman Gallery in Portland my large framed fishing still life watercolor that I plan to install as a centerpiece to my booth display.  Greeting cards of the painting have just been printed, and posted above is the text I just composed that will appear on the back of the 5 x 7″ cards.  I wanted the painting to tell a story, so this is the one I just pulled together.  The story is one that I’ve carried in my consciousness for quite a few years now, wishing that I could write a novel or short story around the old man’s life and travels.  At any rate, I have a small piece to put on the back of a card.  I love watching patrons reading the backs of my cards when I’m selling out of an art booth.  It shows me that they have imagination and interest that go beyond just the images of the art work.

Thanks for reading.  I still have quite a bit to assemble and pack tonight.  The show is just a matter of days away.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.