Posts Tagged ‘Artscape 2019’

Morning Thoughts from the Gallery

April 30, 2019

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Where there is no vision the people perish.

Proverbs 29:18

The scholars are the priests of that thought which establishes the foundations of the earth. No matter what is their special work or profession, they stand for the spiritual interest of the world, and it is a common calamity if they neglect their post in a country where the material interest is so predominant as it is in America.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Method of Nature”

creel redone

Thinking of the Next Catch

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Trophy from the “Spirit is Ageless” Art & Writing Contest

Artscape 2019 at the Dallas Arboretum is in the books, and I am still awash in splendid recollections from the weekend spent there. As of this writing, I am finally rested from the exertion of breaking down the show, driving it home, then rising yesterday morning to drive two hours to Palestine and unload all my festival gear and art work at the Redlands Hotel, then put the Gallery at Redlands all back together again.

Sunday at the festival allowed me some time for reading in the shade, and Emerson’s essay penetrated my soul in a way that escapes words. I often have to close the book, sigh, and gaze into the distance to absorb the beauty of his prose. What a lovely literary sage he is! I have difficulty explaining the “spirituality” of  art, but I told my students over the years that I am happier making art than selling it, or sitting in a festival or gallery showing it off. The act of painting restores my soul, making me feel alive and purposeful on this earth. The material benefit of selling art is appreciated, but the restored spirit I feel while making it far exceeds the rewards of sales or words of praise.

Part of the weekend activities included a reception at CC Young: The Point & Pavilion adjacent to White Rock Lake. I accepted the trophy posted above as they read my written submission accompanying the watercolor:

Though the old fellow spent most of his days drinking coffee and dozing in his shed, he still kept his fly fishing gear piled on the chair across the room in perfect view so he could continue to remember those days when fishing was at its best. He smiled at every memory of Indian Creek with its holes teaming with black bass, and Beaver’s Bend with the long gurgling runs lined with rainbow trout.

The neighbors entered his darkened house after several days of silence, and found him dead, seated in his rocker, his half-cup of cold coffee at his elbow. The fishing gear was still piled in the chair across the room, offering mute tribute to his wholesome days.

This morning’s pleasure included spending time on the air with Kevin Harris and Alan Wade on Smooth Rock 93.5. I miss Marc Mitchell, who recently accepted a position with the Palestine Herald-Press, just down the road from the Redlands Hotel. Alan has provided warm friendship and excellent conversation, and adds another quality presence to the broadcast team.

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.

 

 

The Refuge of Art

April 25, 2019

Art still has truth. Seek refuge there.

Matthew Arnold

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Seated this morning in The Gallery at Redlands, I confess that Art is indeed my refugue, my inner calm. I have heard fishermen claim that even if they fish all day without a bite, it was still an excellent day. I disagree. No matter how serene the surroundings, if I fish all day without success, I am soured. But art is a different story; I can paint all day and create junk, but I still have experienced a sublime day. The act of making art floods my being with sentiments that are just as genuine as the satisfaction I know when creating something worth viewing.

Soon I will be packing my art out of here to take to the Dallas Arboretum for Artscape 2019. I set up Friday morning and we have a Members Only Preview Show that evening. The actual show opens Saturday morning at 9:00 and runs till 5:00. Same hours on Sunday.

https://www.dallasarboretum.org/events-activities/artscape/

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Smooth Rock 93.5 is broadcasting at the moment, so I am keeping things quiet at my end of the gallery. After the morning show is over at 10:00, I’ll begin taking down my paintings and loading the Jeep for the show. Meanwhile, it feels good to enjoy the calm of the morning, and spend this quality time reading and scribbling in the journal.

My next blog will feature photos of my new booth appearance at Artscape 2019. I have made a number of profound changes in my display, and after a month of seeing the visions in my head, I look forward to seeing the real edifice raised in the morning. And then, I hope to enjoy a pair of relaxing days seated in the booth, meeting art lovers and feeling the genuine gratitude of being invited to participate in such an event as this. I love the environment of a quality art festival, and this particular one is one of the most successful I have experienced over the past fifteen years.

Throughout my decades of employment, I cannot say that I was always surrounded by creative, optimistic personnel. But art festivals are different–from set up till break down, I always find my neighboring artistic spirits to be filled with a joie de vi·vre that buoys my spirits. And I look forward to seeing many of these artists whom I haven’t seen in a year. Catching up is always a joy. Being a part of this kind of community reminds me of how blessed I am.

This book, Culture Care, that my friend Ben gave me yesterday is providing much food for thought this morning. I hope to have more to say about it in the days ahead. But now, the broadcast team has finished their work of the morning, and it is time for me to load the paintings.

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.

 

 

The Quiet Before the Big Festival

April 24, 2019

artscape 2019

The Greeks had a concept of Kairos time, which is not quantitative like our normal conception of time, but qualitative–rich or empty, the meaningful hour or the hurried moment. When you’re with beauty, in art or in nature, you tend to move at Kairos time–slowly, serenely but thickly.

David Brooks, “We need more timelessness, outside the speed of social media”

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Beneath our loquacious chatter, there is a silent language of our whole being which yearns for art and the beauty from which art comes.

Rollo May, My Quest for Beauty

Since my last post, I have journeyed to Palestine, Abilene, Lubbock and San Angelo. The whirlwind of activity made it difficult to stop long enough to post a blog. Now I am sequestered in The Redlands Hotel, my home-away-from-home, and I am packing and loading for Artscape 2019 at the beautiful Dallas Arboretum.

https://www.dallasarboretum.org/events-activities/artscape/

The event will be held Saturday and Sunday, 9-5, and it is my biggest art show of the year. This will be my second time to participate, and I am still awash in splendid memories of last year’s encounter. I have framed the watercolor pictured below and am looking forward to bringing it out for its first public viewing.

brookfield

I am also bringing out a number of plein air experimental watercolors I have made over the past six months.

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cloudcroft

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This is an exciting time for me, but I’m glad it is only Wednesday. My Jeep is already loaded with all my booth furniture and the only job left for me is to pack the paintings. It is nice to approach the event without feeling my hair is on fire.

My friend Ben Campbell from the Texas State Railroad dropped by the gallery this afternoon. He was one of the first friends I made when we opened The Gallery at Redlands a little over two years ago. He gave me a gift, the book Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for our Common Life, by Makoto Fujimura. I am already immersed in this beautiful literary work. I posted above the quote by David Brooks from an article he published introducing the book. Ben was profoundly moved in his reading of it and purchased an extra copy for me. I love reading the works of reflective minds who manage to steer clear of the frenetic pace set by social media and our culture in general. So, thank you, Ben. This is a timely (in the kairos sense) gift that I am already treasuring. The evening is still young. I’m going to go upstairs and read this volume in the quiet comfort of the Redlands Hotel.

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.

Sunday Evening Soundings

April 7, 2019

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Be open to mystery. Not everything needs sharp lines.

Walter Isaacson, Leonardo da Vinci

Although we all started life with a Da Vinci-like insatiable curiosity, most of us learned, once we got to school, that answers were more important than questions. In most cases, schooling does not develop curiosity, delight in ambiguity, and question-asking skill. . . . The authority-pleasing, question-suppressing, rule-following approach to education may have served to provide society with assembly-line workers and bureaucrats, but it does not do much to prepare us for a new Renaissance.

Michael J. Gelb, How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day 

Today has been the finest Sunday I can recall for months, perhaps even years. Cool, breezy temperatures throughout the day set the stage for pleasurable reading and journaling outdoors. This new Michael Gelb book I picked up recently has been great company, sending me alternately to my journal and my sketchbook. In fact, this day in retrospect appears to be comprised of one lengthy, continuous sketchbook/journal. For one day at least, I have broken the dividing line between sketchbook and journal, and have found myself throughout most of the day alternating between writing and drawing on the same pages.

Wordsworth’s sentiment about the child being father to the man has lingered with me throughout the day as I continually alIowed myself the leisure of free, unbridled thought, particularly questions. I have already jumped into the thick of the spring art festival season, participating in plenty of events already, and looking ahead to some big ones just around the corner. Questions which have dogged me for years finally were faced honestly today, and I have a genuine feeling of being re-born because I arrived at some solutions I am willing to try.  Artscape 2019 will arrive at the Dallas Arboretum April 27-28. This is a high-end festival that last year filled my innermost being with memories for which I’ll always remain grateful.20180427_1343502567829112073059263.jpg

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(Last Year)–Artscape 2018

https://www.dallasarboretum.org/events-activities/artscap

After years of struggling with the specifics of booth presentation, I have finally found great help in consultation with a dear, close friend, and thanks to further research, have come up with some new ideas. The next few weeks, I’ll be working on this project with renewed enthusiasm. I can hardly wait to present my new booth format. I’ll gladly photograph and post it when the time arrives.

It is Sunday night as I sit and write this. Finally, after nearly two years, I have accepted retirement. I will not be rising at six in the morning to scramble and arrive in time to teach a full slate of crowded high school classes beginning at 7:35. I will not come home tired at the end of tomorrow afternoon with enough grading and prepping to keep me busy till bedtime so I can get up and dash to the high school again for another weary round. I will not go to bed every night with the realization that I did not do everything expected from me, though I never taught less than four subjects per semester. Finally, that albatross has been cut loose from around my neck, and every day is mine to chart and navigate as I choose. I wondered how long it would take for this feeling to set in. Nearly two years. Thank God the sentiment has finally settled in on my contented soul. Maybe that is another reason why Sundays are so good now; they no longer serve as preludes to grinding, mostly thankless work weeks. I rise early on Monday mornings now, but not to dash to school. Mornings have finally become sacred.

Reading all this da Vinci material now reminds me of all the ideas that surged in me during my three decades of teaching–the primacy of curiosity, the value of open questioning, the belief that the journey is just as important as the destination. I believed all that then, and believe it now. But I saw little interest in these matters inside those institutional walls, despite the lip service paid to the themes during those annual inservice rituals. One would think that I now would be saying–“if only I realized these values when I was teaching . . .” But the fact is, I did. And I gave my best to facilitate an environment for such inquiry. And sometimes it worked. I’ll try to dwell on those sacred times when it in fact worked, and be watchful not to dwell on the darker, sterile memories when it didn’t.

The bottom line–today was a special, enlightening, Renaissance-type of Sunday.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to question.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.