Posts Tagged ‘David Tripp workshop’

Weaving Disparate Strands

February 20, 2021

You know, there is a philosopher who says, As you live your life, it appears to be anarchy and chaos and random events, nonrelated events smashing into each other and causing this situation, and then this happens, and it’s overwhelming, and it just looks like: What in the world is going on? And later, when you look back at it, it looks like a finely-crafted novel. . . But at the time, it don’t!

Joe Walsh, History of the Eagles

I awoke this sunny, snow-covered wintry morning, my mind jarred by a collision of stories, images and ideas for writing, painting, journaling, blogging, and while I made coffee, I wondered what in the devil I was going to do once I sat down at my desk in Studio Eidolons. The words of Joe Walsh of The Eagles came back to me, so I recorded them, then made the decision to weave the disparate threads of memory that woke me a little while ago.

Life imitates art. Art imitates life. For decades I have chipped away at a project combining my personal memoir with a fiction narrative titled Turvey’s Corner 63050. Pieces of this narrative have been dropped into my blog for over a year now. Today, as I work on piecing together a pair of stories from the Hank cycle, merging bison with diesel locomotives, I am sharing portions of my personal journal along with the newly-crafted stories. Hank is my alter-ego, inspired by friend Wayne White from second grade who will join me along with The Twelve artists re-opening The Gallery at Redlands next month. Wayne is currently a photographer residing in Missouri not far from where we grew up. Most of the stories of Hank are my own, co-mingled with made-up episodes. In this blog, I’ll share the fact along with the fiction.

Last September, Sandi and I traveled to Kanab, Utah to visit Zion National Park. On September 12, returning to our hotel from Zion, we encountered a herd of bison on a ranch near a stock tank. We had seen the herd that morning, but twenty-or-so tourists lined the perimeter fence and we decided not to stop. On the return, no one was at the fence, so we pulled over and I strolled down to the fence line and stayed about twenty minutes, observing the movements of the herd and taking numerous photos with my phone. I did not write about the enounter till September 17, back home in Arlington, Texas. The encounter had composted in my memory for nearly a week.

From my journal, September 17, 9:54 p.m.

So what happened with the bison? I was moved by the idyllic setting. The dust cloud raised. The density of the herd. The cow & calf stepping toward me, then moving into the tank to drink. The amber evening sunset on their coats, highlighting them in golds & oranges, while purple ruled the shadows. I felt a connection, a closeness . . .

The next day, I sat down in Studio Eidolons to attempt my first watercolor sketch of a single bison, using photos from my phone as a reference:

Two days later I decided to attempt a second sketch, this time of the herd, again looking at photos on my phone. I had just laid down Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time, which I had been reading since our return home a few days before. I chose to write of myself in the third person.

From my journal September 19, 2020, 1:57 p.m., Motherwell station:

The mad scientist Heideggerian is probing the mists of Being as he bends over the drafting table, spritzes the watercolor sketchbook with a mist of water, then drops in a mixture of Daniel Smith Shadow Violet with Winsor & Newton Cerulean Blue. Then a ribbon of Cerulean below to establish a horizon. Spaced below the horizon, a horizontal line of pale Green-Gold. Below that a hoirzontal line of Transparent Yello & Winsor Violet.

Then, he touched Shadow Violet D.S. in the mists above to begin the shadowy forms of bison emerging from the mist . . .

Returning now @ 2:24 p.m.

Time to draw out the forms, looking at my mist configurations.

Now, I’m sketching out a Hank narrative to illustrate this moment in my life.

Hank gazed across the ranchland at the distant bison herd gathered beside a stock tank, its derelict windmill towering above. He felt a shudder as he watched the sun rippling across the backs of the behemoths. Slowly they grazed among the tall grasses, some of them ambling down into the waters to drink. Adjusting his easel and quickly sketching the profile of the nearest one, he splashed water across the broad body. Then quickly dipping his brush into the Winsor Violet and Transparent Yellow, he touched with the tip of his brush the newly mixed mixture of warm brown, and as the pigment quickly billowed into the water on the paper, Hank tilted the easel just a bit to encourage more movement and watched the color quickly fill the contours of the beast.

As the bison slowly emerged on the wet surface of the paper, Hank recalled the words of Abstract Expressionist painter Robert Motherwell in a recent interview. The artist had driven his car across France toward Spain, arriving at Alta Mira around sundown just as the guard was closing the gate to the cave with the famous prehistoric paintings inside. Motherwell offered the guard a fistful of paper currency, and with a nod, the employee swung the gate back open and let him inside the cave. Finding the ceiling to be low, Motherwell had to lie on his back on an upraised plateau to gaze up at the wounded bison, lit by a single electric bulb. Finding the viewing unsatisfactory, the artist was suddenly handed a lighted candle by the guard who then turned out the electric light. In the flicker of the candle, Motherwell suddenly noticed the impression of the bison moving, shuddering, and he was filled with an emotion never created by the viewing of the photographs in art history books.

Recalling this, Hank looked up at the herd of bison and down at his sketch with renewed fascination. The single watercolor sketch would do for the time being. But one day he would focus on a composition of a bison herd emerging from a dim, misty landscape.

My next watercolor will be a repeat of the Fort Worth Tower 55 I painted a few days ago, but this time with considerably more atmospheric traces of fog and diesel exhaust. As Hank looks at the scene in the early dawn, he will recall the sight of the bison and draw parallels between the diesels and bison stirring up the atmosphere.

In closing, I’m posting a pair of watercolors I attempted of the bison. Neither have yet been framed or put on public display.

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.

Looking Ahead, to Making Art and Workshops

February 27, 2016

long dock

The little stump of candle left by the memory of his predecessors casts no light on the way ahead, only on what lies behind. The artist is so made that he can’t go back without giving himself up for dead. He must go forward in whatever direction his efforts may carry him—for every generation the ground behind you is a quicksand.

Henri Matisse

Though my body resides in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex this weekend, my spirit has soared ahead to Spring Break and my return to Corpus Christi for my one-man show, “A Week on the Laguna Madre,”showing March 3-26. The artist’s reception will be held Wednesday evening March 16, from 5 till 7:00. I have been invited to conduct two plein air watercolor workshops while there that week. The first will be for two and one-half days, March 15-17 at the Art Center. Tuition for this one is $250. Details for this show are on the following link.

https://app.etapestry.com/cart/ArtCenterofCorpusChristi/default/category.php?ref=364.0.11100181

Immediately following that workshop, I will take six applicants for a two-day (0ver night) workshop on the spoil island in the Laguna Madre, where I served my residency in June of last year. Tuition for this is $290. Anyone interested in applying for the island workshop may go to the following link:

AiR Program News

Below is a cool link of a helicopter video taken while flying over that island:

I have spent most of this Saturday morning writing, an activity I wish I would practice more often, like my poet-friend. But I awoke with so much on my mind and had to find a way to get it on paper. Below is a portion of what I’ve written:

You won’t find Poussin in Cézanne.

You won’t find Cézanne in Matisse.

You won’t find Matisse in Motherwell.

And you won’t find Motherwell in me. But the passion, the ideas are still there, undulating beneath the placid surface waves of my consciousness. When I make art, I enter a different world. And it is the act of drawing and painting—the dance—that moves me more than the image that emerges from the white picture plane. And the dialectical struggles inherent in composition also energize me. One stroke calls out for a second. A warm color coos for a cooler one. A dark tone whispers for a lighter one to conjoin. I hear this conversation among the elements as I arrange them like a little boy arranging his miniature soldiers on the field of combat. And I feel that in this action I am partaking in something cosmic and historical—I am part of this web of current existence as well as an extension from the past. And my directional light comes from the past, from behind. It is never found out front.

(Matisse) “The little stump of candle left by the memory of his predecessors casts no light on the way ahead, only on what lies behind. The artist is so made that he can’t go back without giving himself up for dead. He must go forward in whatever direction his efforts may carry him—for every generation the ground behind you is a quicksand.”

And then there is this, lifted from a journal entry dated August 19, 2007, following a 3200-mile road trip from Texas to Missouri to Kansas to Colorado to New Mexico and back home. I was seated on the front porch of the Peter Hurd Ranch in San Patricio, New Mexico:

leaf

I am the artist. Like Andrew Wyeth I now focus on the close-up leaves and plan to study Albrecht Dürer. Remember [my high school art teacher] Mr. Scucchi’s crow quill pen and ink wash of the corn stalk. Amazing! I will study these. Now, I am more artist than teacher or philosopher or musician. My imagination is flooded with images of the beautiful world which I have always loved, always scrutinized. But now, somewhere between Thoreau and Wyeth, I let nature seep through my pores.

Somewhere Between Wyeth and Thoreau

Somewhere, between Wyeth and Thoreau, I pause. Like Wordsworth I pause. My Grandma Tripp’s yard with all its odd fencing, vegetation and brooder house, comes back to me in waves. Ghosts. Voices. Whispers. I pause. Epiphany is there. The drawing and watercolor emerge from the white void, the white cloud of the paper plane. Surely there is Oriental thought here as well. Explore. Gaze. Contemplate. Ruminate. Let the images emerge. In the words of William Carlos Williams, “Let it come to you!” Myriads of images. And when the dust settles, package them and store them for future display or studio use.

Thanks for reading my wandering thoughts . . . It’s been a most pleasant Saturday morning over coffee.

Video of the Laguna Madre Field Station

February 9, 2016

I just found this cool 41-second video filmed from a helicopter approaching the Laguna Madre Field Station where I did my artist-in-residence in June 2015. This will be the site of our island watercolor workshop March 18-19. Enjoy! Hope you can join us. Remember, only six will be selected to participate.

Announcing Two Watercolor Workshops in March!

February 9, 2016

My Thoughts are Still at the Laguna Madre

I am deeply pleased to announce that the details have been finalized for two watercolor workshops I will lead in Corpus Christi next month, capping the Artist-in-Residence program I was honored to serve last summer.

The first will last 2 1/2 days, March 15-17 at the Art Center in Corpus Christi. Fee will be $250. The enrollment is open to anyone interested, and is hosted by the Watercolor Society of South Texas. My focus will be on plein air but I’m also pleased to assist anyone wishing to work from photographs or still life objects.

The second will be March 18-19, an overnight excursion on the island in the Laguna Madre where I did my residency last June. Meals will be provided, and we will sleep overnight in the Field Station. This will be limited to six participants, and the fee is $290. Plein air will be the sole focus of this instruction as I gladly introduce participants to painting the splendid environment that still floods my soul with the most splendid memories and sensations. That island experience was life changing for me!

I am posting the link to these two workshops, as enrollment and payment go to two separate institutions, the first to the Art Center of Corpus Christi, and the second to the Center for Coastal Studies. All contact information may be found on this link:

AiR Program News

My one-man show will run through the month of March at the Art Center of Corpus Christi, and I will be present at the Artists Reception, March 16.

After all these months, I am so ecstatic that this time has finally drawn near.

Thanks for reading.