Posts Tagged ‘Corpus Christi’

From the Island to the Gallery

March 8, 2016

18 paintings

Nine months after leaving the Laguna Madre Field Station, the one-man-show is finally hung at the Art Center of Corpus Christi.  The staff was kind enough to send me pictures of the show, since I won’t get to see it for another week.  The artist’s reception is set for May 16 from 5-7:00.  My mind is having so much trouble concentrating on my work up here on the opposite end of Texas, teaching school, crunching income tax figures and feeling restless.

I was pleased to learn today that enough people signed up for me to teach the 2 1/2 day watercolor workshop at the Art Center, then take a group to the island for an additional 2-day workshop.  I will also judge a watercolor exhibit by their local society. Below are pictures I’ve received of the show.

Thanks for reading.

Art Center 1

Art Center 2

Art Center 3

Preparations for a One Man Show

July 27, 2015
Looking out over the Gulf of Mexico before sunrise

Looking out over the Gulf of Mexico before sunrise

All poets and heroes, like Memnon, are the children of Aurora, and emit their music at sunrise. To him whose elastic and vigourous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I knew today was going to be a full and busy one, but set my alarm for 6:00 a.m. so I could walk to the Gulf and look over the waters before sunrise. I took this quiet opportunity to scribble in my journal and read from Thoreau’s A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. The hour proved to be a perfect beginning to what would become a very satisfying day. Lately I have given much thought to how we as humans are a driven race, whether we are striving for wealth, attention, intellectual growth–we tend to push and push and push. Reading Thoreau haunts me, because I perceive in him a quiet soul, a soothing kind of presence. I think there is much we could learn from him. When I get back home, I may need to pull some volumes from my shelf and revisit some of the ancient Indian, Japanese and Chinese writings I have collected, but haven’t read in quite a number of years.

Portfolio for One Man Show

Portfolio for One Man Show

Returning to the house in Portland where I am staying as a guest, I laid out my portfolio to see one more time this collection of thirty paintings and drawings of the Laguna Madre. Nineteen of them were done on site, the remaining ones in my studio after the residency. I am happy that the entire collection was chosen for the show which will tentaively run the last three weeks in October at the Texas A&M University Corpus Christi library. A second, larger show will follow in March at The Art Center of Corpus Christi. I will be scrambling to add works to that show, as this upcoming show has claimed 100% of the paintings and drawings completed up till now. But I am more than happy to rise to this challenge.

After we made decisions on matting and framing the collection, Dinah Bowman made a suggestion that I have longed to do for years: selecting three of my pieces (two watercolors and a drawing) she asked that I write in pencil a journal or blog entry on the pieces, in the negative areas. She will then frame them with the texts showing along with the art work. She wishes that my show emphasize that I journaled and blogged, in addition to painting, and that these disciplines fed off each other while I was on the island. I have never had the guts to frame and display pieces combining images and texts, and am delighted at her suggestion. Traveling to a nearby Starbucks for an iced coffee, I spent the rest of the afternoon drafting my entries, and then writing them on the three pieces.

Combining artwork with journal entries

Combining artwork with journal entries

The day has been long, but invigorating. I’m delighted to engage in this level of creative business in the Corpus Christi community.

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.

Trying to Close out a Laguna Madre Painting

June 17, 2015
Studio Version of Laguna Madre Field Station

Studio Version of Laguna Madre Field Station

I loathe posting a late-night blog as the classic whiner, but this week has been too demanding of me. After my eight-hour session at the Summer Institute today, I went immediately to another 90-minute session with members of the faculty and administration of my high school. And now I have homework to complete for tomorrow’s Institute, it is 9:27 p.m, and my eyes are closing.

All this to say–I may be nearing the end of this painting, but I’m honestly too exhausted to know. I did work on it awhile tonight, detailing the building in the distance and continuing to work the drybrush foreground. Tomorrow the Institute ends, I plan on catching up on several days’ worth of lost sleep, and then we’ll find out if this painting is going to be O.K. or if I should simply move on to the next.

Thanks for reading. Next time I blog I should be more awake and alert.

Revised Wednesday on the Laguna Madre

June 17, 2015

Note to readers: The following is what I wrote one week ago while on the island, but was unable to post on the blog.

W E D N E S D A Y

Media Day at the Laguna Madre Field Station

The Dawn of Media Day

The Dawn of Media Day

But what does all this scribbling amount to? What is now scribbled in the heat of the moment one can contemplate with somewhat of satisfaction, but alas! to-morrow–aye, to-night–it is stale, flat, and unprofitable,–in fine, is not, only its shell remains, like some red parboiled lobster-shell which, kicked aside never so often, still stares at you in the path.

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, March 5, 1838

Rising refreshed at 6:10, I pulled on my clothes and wandered out behind the field station to take a picture of the eastern horizon. After taking the photograph and looking at my phone, I discovered such a backlog of blog and facebook posts, that I felt a compulsion to answer every single one, and it took a full thirty minutes. Then, taking time out to read from Thoreau’s Journal, I smiled inwardly at the piles of journal pages I’ve piled up since 1986, wondering how many of them are good only for starting fires this winter when the fireplace is ready. I found out that the media would be arriving between 10:00 and 11:00. I went ahead and began laying out a composition for the fire wheel flowers I have been practicing throughout the week, hoping to accomplish more of the Albrecht Dürer discipline.

Painting Fire Wheels in Preparation for the Media

Painting Fire Wheels in Preparation for the Media

Boats moved up and down the lagoon throughout the morning, each containing one or two occupants. When I looked up and saw with surprise a boat filled with nine people, I figured it must be my guests for the morning. As it slowed to approach the dock, I walked the distance from the field station to the end of the dock. A videographer already had a giant camera trained on me, and others raised their 35mm cameras and smart phones and began shutterbugging. I felt quite overwhelmed by all of this; there is no way to explain their enthusiasm and hearty greeting, and the effect it had on me.

The Media Arrives

The Media Arrives

The morning was like a press conference with interviews on TV (it was the NBC affiliate from Corpus Christi, KRIS-TV) and recorded for the local newspaper (The Caller-Times) and university communications department. Every single person was a ball of enthusiasm, filled with ideas and good words. I could have stayed all day with them, and was sorry when time came for them to leave. I photographed the boat pulling away, and they were photographing me, still!

http://www.kristv.com/clip/11598233/artist-paints-laguna-madre-part-of-new-program-at-tamucc#.VX9XGZV6Mc1.wordpress

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wr03ZJB84TI&feature=youtu.be

http://www.tamucc.edu/news/2015/06/061115%20Dr.%20David%20Tripp%20.html#.VXnajXoo7qB

Once the media departed, I felt more charged than ever to paint. Finding a better quality watercolor paper among my stock, I decided to stop using the Utrecht brand paper I had been using up to this point (a quantity of it had been given me), and went back to my old stand by: D’Arches 140-pound paper. As soon as I laid in the flat wash of a sky, I knew my problem had been solved. There was also no problem in lifting out the wet color for cloud effects with a cotton towel and Q-Tips.

Painting Number 12, on Quality Paper

Painting Number 12, on Quality Paper

Dinah Bowman, a well-known local artist in the Corpus Christi area who was the main driving force behind securing this Artist in Residence position for me, gathered shells and brought them to me so I could try some close drybrush study of them as well. For years, I had admired the Andrew Wyeth seashore studies executed during his summer months in Maine. This would be my first time to attempt painting seashells, the remains of a crab, and a discarded fishing lure.

Drybrush Study of Shore Debris

Drybrush Study of Shore Debris

As the sun sunk low and the sky and land filled with warm colors, I decided to try one more plein air study of the lagoon on the south side of me.

South Side Laguna Madre

South Side Laguna Madre

The day had been satisfied beyond description. Night is coming on. Time to lie down to sleep before it gets too dark to find my way to the bed.

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.

 

Struggling for Time to Paint

June 16, 2015

I’m working late into the night, as my daily summer institute schedule has me committed for eight hours of prime time daily, and tomorrow evening I will be attending a book study that I committed to earlier this year. I don’t have the proper lighting for photography late at night, so I’m not showing my readers a very good representation of this Laguna Madre site that I photographed last week. But I feel that I owe it to my readers to see my daily work, as I did while on the island. I very much appreciate everyone’s willingness to take a look, and don’t want to let anyone down by skipping a day. So, here it is:

The painting measures 14 x 18″ and I really thought I could complete it in two days. But the daily institute meetings are draining my battery, and now this is the third evening I have labored over this. It should be finished by the weekend. I am already wanting to move on to the next one.

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.

Cleansing the Eye

November 6, 2013
"Fishing Memories" now at Bowman Studios, Portland, Texas

“Fishing Memories” now at Bowman Studios, Portland, Texas

But the painter most vividly present in [Matisse’s] mind in Tangier was Delacroix, who had recharged his own vision eighty years before under the brilliant soft light of the Moroccan sun, drawing strength, like Matisse, from the power and harmony of Oriental design and colour.  Matisse dismissed suggestions that he (like the Orientalists) had picked Morocco in order to retrace the footsteps of Delacroix, but he saw his work reflected everywhere in the landscape, even recognising the background to The Capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders as the view from the terrace of the Casbah cafe.   . . . For Matisse, as for Delacroix, travel was a means of cleansing the eye.  He needed an unfamiliar world and a new light, for the same reason that he needed the alien decorative discipline of Oriental art, so as to break through to a fresh way of seeing.

Hilary Spurling, Matisse the Master: A Life of Henri Marisse, The Conquest of Colour, 1909-1954.

Throughout his painting career, Henri Matisse travelled broadly to different regions in search of different landscapes and subject matter.  This practice of getting out of his painting rut he called “cleansing the eye.”  I had the rare privilege of cleansing my eye over this past weekend, travelling to Corpus Christi for the first time in my life.

I am proud to announce that I have added a second art gallery to my market.  The Dinah Bowman Studio and Gallery has ten of my original watercolors on display and sale.  This gallery is located in Portland, Texas, just up the coast from Corpus Christi.  The eye-cleansing weekend was just what the doctor ordered for my recent treadmill of high school/university grading and teaching, along with the weekend art festivals.  It’s been hard to find quality down time.  In recent philosophy classes, we have discussed Descartes and his stove, Hume and his cottage, Emerson and his European Odyssey, and we are about to get into Thoreau and his Walden Pond.  I have ached for leisure, for quiet, for solitude.  I have needed a retreat, a getaway, a healthy withdrawal from this daily grind.

The six-and-a-half-hour drive Friday night from Arlington to Portland was only the beginning.  Driving through the darkness down Texas highway 77 (I chose to avoid most of I-35 with its infamous Austin and San Antonio traffic snarls), I rolled down my Jeep windows and breathed deeply the autumn night air, listened to the wind, and enjoyed the space.  After a good night’s sleep at the Days Inn, I enjoyed breakfast on the outdoor patio of La Iguana.  Breakfast was beyond excellence, and the extra cups of coffee over my journal and reading from the Hemingway biography provided a perfect respite from the recent labors.

Breakfast

Breakfast on the patio of La Iguana, Portland, Texas

Meeting with Mike Catlin, manager of the gallery and a former student of mine, was a perfect closure to a circle forming since 1990.  We looked through my porfolio at leisure, and he selected ten pieces for the gallery.  Later, as Mike met with one of his other studio artists, I retreated to a quiet place on the gulf beach, and sat beneath a shelter to write further in the journal and read from my Hemingway biography.  As I wrote, I felt that warm connection with Hemingway’s Key West days as a morning writer.  The winds carrying the salt scent from the gulf seemed to wash over me in the gentlest, most affirming way.

Hemingway Outdoors

Quality Time for Reflection over Hemingway

The remainder of my Saturday was spent with Mike as we travelled to Rockport and Corpus Christi, photographing everything available that would lend itself to a watercolor composition.  On Sunday morning, rising early, I made my return trip to Arlington, retracing my route on Texas highway 77 and photographing historic architecture in the towns of Refugio, Victoria, Hallettsville, Schulenberg, La Grange and Lexington.  The sun was bright, contrasts were strong, and the 65-degree windy day was perfect as I photographed nineteenth-century Catholic churches, courthouses, Victorian homes, and vintage gas stations.  I have enough material to last me through more than a dozen watercolors.  All I have to do now is find time to get after them.

I reach in vain for words to express the gratitude I feel for such a wholesome weekend of travel, art, photography and friendship.

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.