Posts Tagged ‘chuck wagon’

Art Rhapsody on a Sunday

February 20, 2022
Early Start in Studio Eidolons

Before we do any actual translating, he says, we must translate ourselves to what a fragment says, what it is thinking; we must first arrive on its foreign shores and, like Hermes on Ogygia, stop to contemplate before we can return with some fitting memento of it to the land of our own language.

David Farrell Krell, speaking of Martin Heidegger, in “The Anaximander Fragment”

I have tried for years to explain to anyone interested that most of my inspiration for making art comes from literature or philosophy; writers inspire me to paint just as much as other artists. Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell confessed that James Joyce, “the Shakespeare of modernism” (Motherwell’s words) inspired him to paint above most other influences. This morning’s reading from Heidegger’s lectures on Nietzsche inspired me to write in my journal and now to pass on these new ideas to you . . .

Breakfast at the Woodshed Smokehouse

The morning’s reading set the table for what I wanted to do in the studio today, but I first decided I needed a good breakfast. So . . . I journeyed to Fort Worth’s Woodshed Smokehouse and found a seat overlooking the Trinity River with the smoke of a wood fire blowing directly into my face (it was still cold and windy outside, so the smell and warmth of the fire was delicious). Waiting for breakfast also afforded me quality time to continue hammering out in my journal these ideas from Heidegger that were still incubating . . .

My opening quote above points out Heidegger’s views on the art of translation. This has stirred me for years, because I regard making art as translation–we are translating our sensations of the world enveloping us and trying to capture these sensations on a blank picture plane before us.

Years ago, I made friends with a couple who owned an old general store that they had transported to their ranch. They graciously gave me a key to the store (which has a residence attached to it) to use as a special hideaway anytime I needed to get away from the city and school teaching job that I had at the time. On their property was this covered chuck wagon stowed away in a barn. I took a number of pictures of the wagon and even painted a small plein air sketch of it during one of my stays at the old store.

Still on the Easel
Completed Sketch

I still remember how much I enjoyed the time spent staring at the congeries of cooking utenstils and food containers on the wagon and the attempt to capture them on paper. But I balked at the thought of translating this entire subject into a larger watercolor; I had never really experienced a chuck wagon meal or campsite. My friend Wayne White is a master “cowboy cook” and has used these kinds of utensils to cook for me while we’ve been out camping and fishing. But the actual chuck wagon experience has never been mine, and I felt inadequate to “translate” such a subject into a painting.

Watching 1883 on TV for the past couple of months has changed my perspective. Thanks to that film experience, I’ve found myself poring over old photographs published in books and on the Internet until finally I went back into my own archives and pulled out the dozen photos I took of this chuck wagon out on the ranch from years ago. And I decided: Now is the time. Just do it.

Nearing Completion of the Chuck Wagon Watercolor

This is my first real attempt. I’m certain others will follow. If viewers could experience even half the depth of joy and fulfilment I’ve known while staring at this subject and chipping away at its details, then I’ll say the experience has been worth the effort.

More later. 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.

Sunny Saturday for Mardi Gras Weekend

February 19, 2022
Morning Sunlight out the window of our suite at The Redlands Hotel
Sacred Heart Church across street from The Gallery at Redlands

For the Greeks, phusis is the first and the essential name for beings themselves and as a whole. For them the being is what flourishes on its own, in no way compelled, what rises and comes forward, and what goes back into itself and passes away.

Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche

The church bells at Sacred Heart across the street tolled nine times this morning to let me know it was 7:00 a.m. I still laugh at that every morning while residing here in The Redlands Hotel, wondering if anyone has told those in charge that the morning toll is always wrong. The bells don’t ring throughout the night, allowing city folk to sleep in the quiet. But the first tolling occurs at seven, and it is nine bells. After that, the count is correct.

Looking out at the lovely Carnegie Library building, I felt enraptured to see the dynamics of the sun all over the facade of the structure. I felt the same way looking out the southeast window toward Sacred Heart. The bright sun is deceiving as it is 27 degrees outdoors. Mardi Gras is being celebrated today in the city of Palestine, and already folks are buzzing out about town.

“Executive Time” in The Gallery at Redlands

Descending the stairs to the first floor and entering The Gallery at Redlands, I felt warmed by the sun despite the frigid temperatures outdoors.

At my Desk in the Gallery

The Heidegger reading has me buzzed already. I love the idea of meshing with the natural world as it ebbs and flows, and trying to adjust to the flow of its rhythms. I’m ready to return to the Chuck Wagon watercolor and intend to have it finished and framed before closing the gallery tonight at 9:00.

Time to return to work on the Chuck Wagon Study

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to disover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Call Me Knish

February 13, 2022
Studio Eidolons
Joey Knish is a New York legend.

            He's been a rounder, earning his living at cards...

from the motion picture "Rounders"

I am not a poker player. but I love good movies about the card-playing lifestyle, and I have watched none better than "Rounders". John Turturro plays the role of Joey Knish, modeled after poker legend Joel "Bagels" Rosenberg, center of the New York poker world who died in 2014 at age 58. 

Joey Knish is labeled as a "grinder", making money by playing poker his entire life, never getting rich, but grinding it out through his many connections rather than gunning for the big score at some high-stakes poker tournament. 

I consider myself I grinder in the art circle. For twenty years I have managed to cobble together a plethora of revenue streams: galleries, art festivals, workshops, public demonstrations, private art lessons and commissions. The last seventeen years of my school teaching tenure were indeed grinding years, as I determined to carve out some kind of niche for myself in the art world. Working the art circuit in additon to teaching high school fulltime and college part-time indeed sharpened my consciousness of what it means to grind. 

In the movie "Rounders", Joey Knish is a mentor to other poker players trying to find their way, offering wise counsel on how to protect their winnings and how not to throw away their hard-earned money. And I like to consider myself a mentor to other artists seeking a path into the art world. I have no secrets and plenty of advice. Above all, I know to warn others about costly mistakes I've made over the years.

Life is no longer the same kind of grind as before. I'm happy to be retired and on a teacher's pension, and happier now to own a gallery where I feel I have a showroom for my art beyond my private home. Sandi and I divide our time weekly between our home where my studio remains and The Gallery at Redlands where we also have a residence to rent in The Redlands Hotel above the gallery. Teaching only six hours at the university is nowhere near the grind that I knew in fulltime high school teaching, so life is quieter now and deadlines are not as crushing. 

Today is Super Bowl Sunday and I have zero interest in the two teams playing for the trophy. With splendid light flooding Studio Eidolons, I am happy to divide my time between working on a pair of watercolors and finishing up my college obligations for tomorrow's class.
Working on the Chuck Wagon
The Lone Bison
Paddington, my Studio Companion

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.

Center of Saturday

February 11, 2022
Morning Sketch of Neal Cassady

” . . . no guy . . . could ever find the center of Saturday night in America . . .”

Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody

Friday morning in The Redlands Hotel finds my mind awake with memories still quickened by last evening’s events. Local Palestine musician Kevin Harris collaborated with other musicians in the lobby of the Redlands Hotel and delighted an audience with an intimate live performance of original tunes. The Gallery at Redlands was open, and Sandi and I enjoyed seeing our friends again after being snowed/iced out last weekend from this town’s events. Throughout the night we took turns occupying the gallery and stepping out into the lobby to hear the soul-stirring music. I read the words of Kerouac this morning about no one being able to find the center of Saturday night in America. Anyone stopping by the Redlands last night would certainly have found the center of Thursday night in America. I’m still vibrating from the event.

I am proud to announce that Kevin will team up with me next Friday night in The Gallery at Redlands to host a discussion sharing our personal perspectives about living a creative life in the midst of a busy and demanding environment. Kevin with his music and I with my art are always striving to carve out quality time to focus on our creative attempts while trying to satisfy the demands of day-to-day living. We think we will be able open up a live discussion and hope you will join us for the event. Next weekend Palestine has a host of Mardis Gras activities scheduled, and we’re delighted to be in the midst of it.

Kevin Harris performing live

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music–the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.

Henry Miller

Henry Miller’s words rung true throughout last night and again throughout this morning. The patrons and friends who have entered the gallery this weekend have given me so much more to think about as we continue planning for our events ahead. In the Gallery, Deanna Pickett Frye’s work remains our focus as we continue to spotlight her through February.

Deanna Pickett Frye spotlighted through February
New work from Cecilia Bramhall

Local artist Cecilia Bramhall hung three of her new pieces in the gallery this morning. We appreciate our artists’ willingness to continue bringing in new creations and rotating them with the earlier pieces they’ve displayed. The rotation, along with the recent surge in sales, guarantees that people looking through the lobby windows will not see the same gallery display month after month.

Still chipping away at the Chuck Wagon

I hope to finish up this composition within a week. I have wanted to paint this chuck wagon since my friend first showed it to me on his property nearly five years ago. My binge-watching 1883 on television recently has gotten me in the mood to paint westward expansion subjects.

Last Night’s live music venue. Photo by Dave Shultz
Sandi and Me working in The Gallery at Redlands. Photo by Dave Shultz

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.

Chuck Wagon Explorations

February 7, 2022

The day was pretty chewed up with our return to the classroom at college followed by other meetings and engagements I had on the calendar. But I was able to spend some quality time in the evening here in Studio Eidolons and chip away at this larger chuck wagon watercolor composition. The more time I spend watching 1883 on TV the more engrossed I become with wagon trains and related images.

A few years back, I spent an entire day sketching and photographing the chuck wagon above and then the preliminaries got shoved to the back of my art closet, until last week. I’m thrilled that the images are seeing the light of day again, and hope that my time away from the subject has somehow “composted” these images into a decent series of paintngs and drawings in teh months ahead.

Thanks for reading.

Earlier Work on the Chuck Wagon

February 6, 2022
Chuckwagon Watercolor created on site in 2016

I did not pick up the brush today as I had too much college work to catch up since we are returning to the classroom in the morning. I’m excited finally to get to deliver my inaugural semester lecture to students I have not yet seen.

Before retiring to bed last night, I pulled all my journal volumes from 2016-2017 in order to re-read what I had recorded during all my stays in the remote East Texas store that my friends allow me to live in during periodic escapes from city life. I had forgotten that I had set up a plein air easel and painted on site a watercolor of a chuck wagon on the property. Having recently developed an addiction to watching 1883 on television, I decided I wanted to paint a wagon train much like what is seen on the series. I hope my schedule will allow me a visit again soon to the old country store. It’s been a few years since I last resided there.

A Lyrical Moment at the Old Store

Thanks for reading.