Posts Tagged ‘Cotter’

Soothing Moments in the River

May 5, 2016

 

brown trout 1 photoshopped

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.
Norman Maclean

My friend Bill Barksdale arrived at my door at 6 a.m. and we made our second journey to the waters, this time the White River.  The water levels were low and sluggish, and so were the trout, but I did manage to coax this 5-inch brown to take my fly. Fortunately, I was able to lift his sweet face out of the waters for a portrait, and then a quick release.

I was pleased with the kind of photo my Samsung phone was able to make, but Bill went to work with his high-end camera and took several shots to record our morning:  I’m surprised that I’m not scowling more deeply as this river has required tiny flies that my eyes don’t see as well as they did in younger days.

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I could not have dialed up a more perfect day, spending most of it in the river. Watching trout rise to sip flies from the surface (except for mine), thrills me to the core.  For much of the morning, I gazed at row after row of trout, lined up to feed on whatever drifted past them (except for my own flies), their tails and fins undulating softly in the current.  All of it produced such hypnotic sensations, and I felt that I could have watched these sights for days.  And wade fishing in trout streams has always settled my pulse rate.  The past week has been fast-paced for me, with much travel, many daily appointments and responsibilities, and plenty of second-guessing.  I now face two consecutive days of judging art competitions, but tomorrow’s will be held late in the day, and then Saturday’s will happen in the morning. Fortunately for me, the activities are spread out, allowing me quality time to unwind between my responsibilities.  And so far, I’ve managed the perfect blend of making watercolors outside and fly fishing.  The week has flown by at warp speed and I’m astonished tonight to realize I have only two full days remaining at this event, before journeying back home to return to my full-time job.  I’m confident that once I return home, my batteries will be charged sufficiently for me to resume my duties.

Thanks for staying with me this week.

 

 

Watercolor Published in Outdoor Painter Online Magazine

March 18, 2012

Me painting an aged Desoto in Cotter, Arkansas

We don’t know how it happened.  Last year, I painted an aged Desoto in a pasture in Cotter, Arkansas, during a Plein Air competition that I was judging.  Outdoor Painter magazine (an online home for Plein Air magazine) published my painting in its announcement of this year’s competition.  None of those in charge of the event know how the picture got lifted–it is not included in their Facebook albums.  At any rate, I’m very pleased and proud to be published again.  I just don’t know who to thank.

But I will thank you for reading.  Here is the link to the magazine:

http://www.outdoorpainter.com/news/news-of-upcoming-plein-air-festivals-594.html

 

David Tripp watercoloring a 1903 cabin from Flippin, Arkansas

September 10, 2011

Tripp painting historic cabin in Flippin, Arkansas

 With watercolor pad and digital camera at his side, Texas watercolor artist David Tripp drives his Jeep along meandering county roads, seeking small towns and open countryside to paint.  Every day presents a new opportunity for discovery of some artifact reminiscent of earlier decades of energy and prosperity.  Today, only the shells and husks remain of filling stations, general stores, movie theaters and other public buildings formerly stirring with conversations, stories and glimpses of life. David’s watercolors feature subjects drawn from 1950’s America, now present as mere relics of a once-thriving civilization fading from our American landscape, but not from our memories.

David received his Bachelor’s degree in art from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State) in 1976, focusing on drawing, painting and art history.  Graduate school took David’s curiosity down a more academic path, focusing on philosophy, religion, literature, and art history, finally earning him the Ph.D. in 1987.  Since then he has been a full-time educator in high school and part-time at the university. 

Every derelict commercial structure or private residence leaves this artist with a feeling of profound loss, but at the same time an exhilarating presence. The writer Marcel Proust has pointed out the thrill of beholding an object capable of triggering profound memories from our youth, and our being filled with a sense of warmth and gratitude.  Pausing before these subjects allows space to re-live important elements from our past, the recollections that create what we are now.

Deja Vu–A Second Painting of Cotter Cabin

July 6, 2011

Cotter Cabin Deja Vu

If you have been following my post, you may have read that I “froze up” on my first large painting of this historic cabin in Cotter, Arkansas.  So, I began a second one, and once the juices began flowing, I went back to the original and finished it.  Now I’ve decided to bring closure to this one (though it appears I won’t finish tonight, as much as I wish I could!).  Right now, I’m up-to-my-elbows in it, and very interested.

Today was quite a day.  I rose shortly after sunrise, went to the historic Handley neighborhood and took some digital photos that I think will yield some good watercolor compositions.  By the time 7:30 arrived, I decided to go on into downtown Fort Worth to see how Sundance Square looks in the low-angle morning sunlight.  Choosing to avoid Loop 820 and Interstate 30, I chose to stay on Lancaster, finding it smooth sailing, relatively free of traffic, and conducive therefore for a speed trap.  Yep.  Ticketed for speeding.

Once I got to Sundance Square, I found exquisite yellow sunlight all over the downtown architecture, and focused mostly on Haltom Jewelers, taking about 40 more photos from all angles.  Then I settled into Starbuck’s on Sundance (hadn’t yet had my coffee-fix), opened Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past and found myself lost in a swoon.  I cannot get enough of this guy!  The more he spoke of primal sensations taking us back to childhood memories, the more I thought of the Cotter Cabin with its look, its smells, and its reminders of my parents’ roots in Southeast Missouri near the Mississippi River.  The smell of the damp, rotting wood stuck in my throat, even though I was in modern upscale downtown Fort Worth.  I didn’t want to leave.  I don’t know how long I lingered there, reading, writing in my journal, and gazing across scores of years into my primal past.  I couldn’t wait to get back to the house and resume this painting.

So, yesterday it was William Carlos Williams with his Imagism.  Today it was Proust and his “recollections” (Ha Ha–I call my company Recollections 54) as well as William Wordsworth and his “child is father to the man” mantra.  It’s been a fabulous day, traffic ticket notwithstanding.

Thanks for reading.  Maybe I’ll finish this Cotter Cabin Deja Vu tomorrow.

Finished the Cotter Cabin. Time to Move On

July 4, 2011

Historic Cabin, Cotter, Arkansas

To those of you who have followed my blog, this picture may look no different than the one posted late last night.  Exactly the reason for me to sign it and leave it alone.  I have worked an additional 90 minutes on it this morning, but once I realize that each stroke I add does not radically improve the overall composition, and indeed may diminish it, it is time to let it go.  Perhaps I held on to this painting too long because it reminded me of things in my life that I need to let go.  So, there it is.  Ironically, I have another of the same size started, but I have decided for the moment not to pursue it.  Time to look at something else.

The morning of the 4th of July has started early for me.  I’ve chosen to paint in the garage because of the wonderful light, though I’ve been shirtless for an hour and am still mopping my brow frequently with my gym towel.  But I do love the light.  Funny–I’m not a guy who takes sun well, and doesn’t particularly like it.  Yet when I watercolor outdoors, I find a way to tolerate it.  Granted I would not enjoy pulling weeds or painting the siding of my house in this climate.

I am listening with my whole being as the VCR plays behind me “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.”  That book by James Joyce touched my life at the very core when I read it back in the late 80’s.   I really need to read it again, but I’m hung up in Proust right now, hoping to finish him this summer.  Joyce and Proust both put me in touch with the important elements of my upbringing, and with summer vacation present, I have tried to spend more time pondering those matters.  Unfortunately I let other elements intrude, and they managed to keep me away from my quality reading and painting.  Perhaps Independence Day will be doubly poignant for me if I allow it to mark the first day of my return to what matters.  All I need to determine at this point is–what matters?!

Anyway, for the moment, painting matters.  And having said that, I have a couple of unfinished works at my side that need tending, so I will pursue those.  With some good fortune, I’ll be posting them in the hours ahead.

Thanks for reading, and I hope your 4th of July brings good things your way.  I’m happy to be painting this morning while my wife rides.  The garage studio space is working, for the moment.

Still Working on the Historic Cotter Cabin

July 3, 2011

Historic Cabin in Cotter, Arkansas

I’ve lost a few days of quality painting.  Sometimes life takes a lousy turn, and mine is no exception.  I’m glad I’m out of school for the summer, but hate to waste opportunities because I cannot seem to get myself back to work emotionally.

Having said that, I did return to this one this afternoon, and have stayed rather steadily with it throughout the evening.  I hope to finish it tomorrow, and truly celebrate Independence Day.  I have a second watercolor of this same subject also in progress.  I started it because this one was getting rather tight, and I was fumbling with my next move.  Then other personal things clouded my painting activities and both paintings got abandoned.  At any rate, I’m resolved to work through the emotional baggage and get something creative accomplished.  Perhaps I can finish this one tomorrow, and the other on the following day.  I’ll try.  I have other projects waiting in the wings and would like to move ahead with them.

I’m happy with how the chair emerged in this work, and am getting more satisfied with the table.  I found the stone steps an absolute delight to work with, thanks largely to the practice I got in a few weeks ago when I painted that limestone bluff in Eureka Springs.  I had no idea that that activity would prove so helpful with this current painting.  Now that the masking has been removed, the flowers are showing beneath the cabin, and out front as well.  I’m seeing a few elements emerge that are beginning to please me with this painting.

Thanks for reading.

Feelings Evoked from a 1903 Cabin in Arkansas

June 26, 2011

1903 Cabin in Cotter, Arkansas

I’m surprised at how quickly this composition is shaping up.  It measures 20 x 24″ and I began it yesterday evening with only about an hour of daylight remaining.  I took a reference photo of this 1903 cabin in Cotter, Arkansas when I was visiting there last May.  I actually did a plein air watercolor sketch of it during that visit, devoting about 90 minutes to the session.  I blogged it in an earlier post.  Though it’s taken over a month, I’ve had it on my mind to do a larger studio watercolor of this sketch, using the photo.  I love working from natural light so much that I choose not to work on it inside my house.  So, today, with temperatures soaring past 100 degrees again, I spent the morning and evening in my open garage working on it, ever so grateful for gusty winds (though at times they gave about as much relief as a hair dryer).

In order to work on this, I’ve spent considerable time poring over Andrew Wyeth drybrush studies of frame houses and barns.  I’ve also looked carefully at how he renders grasses in watercolor.  It surprises me that I’m moving so quickly through this piece, when I thought that I would be working slowly and methodically.  When it comes to the ongoing art historical debate between the Poussinistes and Rubenistes (drawing vs. painting/Nicholas Poussin followers vs. Peter Paul Rubens followers–sorry, just had to throw that one in!), I always came down on the side of Poussin, Wyeth, and all others who approach painting as an extension of drawing.  For decades, I’ve wanted my own watercolors to model fine draftsmanship.  But over the past couple of years, I’ve tilted more toward color exploration and quality, and have found myself moving away from drawing.  Drawing always slows down my work.  I guess I’m surprised that I’m not spending more time drawing in detail on this piece.  But . . . the painting is not yet finished.  Who knows–perhaps tomorrow I’ll return to drawing and slow my pace.  We’ll see.  The bottom line is that I’m having fun with it.

Thanks for reading.

Watercoloring a 1903 Cabin in Cotter, Arkansas

May 22, 2011

Tripp Painting at 1903 Cabin, Cotter, Arkansas

Finally got home before 9:00 p.m. Sunday night, exhausted.  I promise much, much more concerning the Plein Air on the White River event.  I have many, many photos, thanks to Bill Barksdale and my wife Sandi.  I just haven’t the time tonight to get them all posted, as I have to rise at 5:30 a.m. and begin teaching school again tomorrow.

This is a photo Bill took of me very early Saturday morning, as we studied this 1903 cabin, I believe to be the third home built in Cotter, Arkansas.  The sun was just breaking through and the subject was filled with such a magnificent “presence” as I beheld it.  I’ll have plenty more to add tomorrow.

I promised to fill you in on the Emergency Room story.  About 30 minutes after I finished judging the show and the awards were announced, I was visiting with two of the winning artists–Best of Show and Purchase Award winners.  In the midst of our conversation under a tree, a fly or some kind of unidentified insect flew deep into my ear and commenced vibrating so loudly I thought my eardrum was going to explode.  Never had I experienced such pain from a tiny insect.  I could not dig it out, and 3-4 times it shrieked loudly from deep within my ear (I believe it was the wings beating) and the pain was excruciating.  I was driven to the Emergency Room in Mountain Home (about a 30-minute drive as we had trouble finding the darned hospital), and got to go through all that process of checking in, waiting, examination, etc.  Whatever the insect was, it was finally extracted as they flushed my ear with some kind of hot liquid, discovered an ear infection where the alien had been working, and gave me antibiotics and something with which to flush the ear daily.  I was glad to know upon dismissal that whatever the assailant was, it was finally gone, my ear was clean, and there wasn’t going to be anything vile “hatching” somewhere between my inner ear and brain.  A weird, weird event indeed, and I missed meeting all the artists, the wine, the cheese, the conversations–all the wonderful things that wrap up a show, I missed.

Thanks for reading.  More tomorrow . . .

When it Rains, You Move your Plein Air Indoors!

May 20, 2011

Tripp painting in the tower

It rained cats and dogs all day in Cotter, Arkansas and the surrounding towns.  My friend Bill took me to the Gaston Visitor’s Center in Bull Shoals, and secured permission for me to set up my plein air easel and paint inside the facility.  We went to the top floor and looked through the pouring rain to the exciting terrain below.  Here is the photo Bill took of me as I got into the work.  The painting is not yet finished, so I don’t anticipate putting it on the blog at least until tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

First Day of the Plein Air on the White River, Cotter, Arkansas

May 19, 2011

Billingsley House - Cotter

Tripp Demonstrating at the Plein Air on the White River EventBillingsley House - Cotter

Thursday, May 19, 2011, First Day of the Plein Air on the White River, Cotter, Arkansas.  The first day is in the books.  My eyelids are heavy, but I really wish to get this information on the blog.  Yesterday, Sandi and I made the nine-hour drive from Arlington, Texas to Cotter, Arkansas to begin this event this morning at 8:00.

Twenty-seven artists registered today, and quickly dispersed throughout the thirty-mile designated radius of small Ozark Mountain towns in search of subjects to paint en plein air.  It is my privilege this year to judge the competition, and I found it difficult to avoid seeing the artists’ paintings (I am supposed to judge the works without signatures and without prior knowledge of who painted what).  It seemed that everywhere I turned throughout the day, there was an artist working at an easel!

The town of Cotter was bathed in yellow sunlight throughout this afternoon, and I think I felt some of that joy that Winslow Homer knew in 1878 when he figured it out that transparent watercolor offers a magnificent way of experiencing the effects of light shimmering off the white paper as it glows through the washes of transparent watercolor.  This afternoon I was privileged to experience the excitement of layering washes of transparent color and experiencing the changes in light that appeared through the layers from the paper surface beneath.  I cannot wait to get in on this some more tomorrow.  I have quite a few experimental ideas percolating this night.

My only responsibility today was to present a 3:00 demonstration of the plein air process in watercolor.  I chose this house built around 1914, today known as the Billingsley House.  As I looked across the backyard and attempted to paint what I saw, and enjoyed the participating artists gathered to watch the demonstration, I could not help but wonder what kind of personal history this property carried with it.  I was to find out later that evening.  Mrs. Billingsley lived alone in this house during the 1950’s and the story is that she would stand inside her fenced-in yard and visit with students walking by on their way to school.  She would walk the entire property, talking with the children all the way to her furthest boundary, and continue talking as they journeyed further and further away, en route to the school house.  No doubt much of what they were learning from textbooks contained a diminished value compared to what she had lived, witnessed and was willing to share to anyone who would listen.

Cotter was launched with the coming of the railroad around 1902 and the erection of a lumber company between 1903 and 1904.  With the lumber company came the construction of the most famous landmark houses of this small town, now with a population slightly under 1,000.

Hopefully I will be able to recover some lost sleep tonight and put in a productive day of painting tomorrow.  I already look forward to posting more tomorrow evening when the day is done.

Thanks for reading.