Posts Tagged ‘Edom Festival of the Arts’

Finding Peace in One’s Work

October 11, 2017

polar express drafting

In the Studio this Evening

There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 (King James Version)

sunrise

At the University this Morning

There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual–become clairvoyant. We reach then into reality. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I don’t regard myself as naturally ebullient. I used to laugh with a friend when describing myself as a “gloomy guy.” Throughout lengthy stages of my life, I have known rage, negativity, anxiety, depression and self-doubt. And I have regarded myself as one who just couldn’t seem to get it right. Life and emotions turn on a dime. What I’ve experienced today is not guaranteed to extend into tomorrow. But I’ll still take it.

My life did change profoundly since June 3 when I retired after twenty-eight years of full-time public high school teaching alongside thirty-two years of part-time university teaching. Since the beginning of this semester, I have enjoyed a nine-semester-hour load involving one online Logic course and a pair of Introduction to Ethics courses. My Ethics classes are back-to-back Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9-10:50. That’s it. Day-after-day-after-day I have been rising between 5 and 7 a.m., grateful to the core that I’m not dashing off to a high school by 7:00 and expected to stay until 3:15. On my university mornings, I rise at 5:00, go over my lecture notes, read, write in my journal, and often head to the university, arriving by sunrise so I can sit in the Science/Technical building lobby and watch the morning colors move across the commons. By that time I still have over an hour before strolling over to the lecture hall. I took the above picture this morning while enjoying my coffee and looking once more over my lecture notes on Immanuel Kant and his Categorical Imperative.

After a full afternoon of business-related errands, I settled into some online work for my Logic class, grading exams and posting a new assignment. Then I got to enter the studio and push my “Polar Express” themed watercolor a bit further. I’m going slowly on this, because I’m looking at a picture I took of the historic T&P 610 on a sunny morning, and trying to translate it into a night scene. I’m also contemplating a snowy foreground. So many decisions still to make on it.

It doesn’t seem likely that I’ll get to touch this painting any more this week. Tomorrow I meet with some dear friends at the train museum in Frisco, Texas (I’ve never visited it), and then I have to pack and load my gear for this weekend’s art festival in Edom, Texas. The Edom Art Festival is one of my genuine highlights of the year, with a beautiful setting, great fall weather, and enthusiastic patrons. I’m sorry the event only comes round once a year.

I still have to write Friday morning’s lecture to deliver before I leave town for the art festival. Tonight is going to be a late one, but I’m feeling so positive about life in general that I’m compelled to share with you.

Thanks for reading.

I paint out of a sense of wonder.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

 

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A Past Worth Remembering

October 11, 2016

waynes-bluff

Wayne’s Bluff

high-ridge-bluff-2

David’s Bluff

number three (2)

Ron and Dian’s Bluff

And so it is with our own past. It is a labour in vain to recapture it: all the efforts of our intellect must prove futile. The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm, beyond the reach of intellect, in some material object (in the sensation which that material object will give us) which we do not suspect. And as for that object, it depends on chance whether we come upon it or not before we ourselves must die.”

Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way

Preparing for the upcoming Edom Festival of the Arts has put me in a satisfying frame of mind. Sorting through stacks of watercolors has floated abundant memories toward the surface of a resistant consciousness–resistant mostly due to fall semester industry.  Most of these memories have been most welcome–memories spanning the splendid summer of 2016.

Pulling three watercolors of bluffs from the stack, I have chosen to name the first one after a friend of mine known since the second grade.  Wayne and I have recently re-connected, thanks to Facebook, and have spent some quality time on Missouri rivers kayaking and fishing. I miss him during the months I live in Texas, as he still resides near my home town in Missouri.

The second bluff I have given my own name.  The memory of that post-Thanksgiving morning of 2015 when I was driving through the rain still stays with me.  The memory is mostly comforting.  At any rate, I enjoy looking at this composition as the location is only about four miles from where I lived throughout my youth.

The final painting I did en plein air while vacationing with my friends Ron and Dian Darr in South Fork, Colorado.  I worked on three paintings in this genre outside their travel trailer as we ate and visited together.  Every time I look at this painting, I recall how delicious times are when spent in conversation with these two kindred spirits.

When I sit in my booth in Edom this weekend, I’ll be looking at these works, feeling gratitude for the generous hand life has extended to me.

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.

Preparing for the Big Game

October 11, 2016

edom-festival-entrance

Leonardo is the Hamlet of art history, whom each of us must recreate for himself . . . 

Kenneth Clark, Leonardo da Vinci: An Account of his Development as an Artist

My distracted personality has been tested of late, with time divided between reading several excellent books, completing watercolors, grading papers for school, and preparing inventory for my biggest art show this year: Edom Festival of the Arts, to be held this next weekend, October 15-16 in Edom, Texas.

In recent weeks, I have managed to complete several works which are now being framed or matted professionally for their first public viewing:

claude

Summer Shell (Claude, Texas)

loco (2)

Rounding the Bend (Eureka Springs, Arkansas)

brookfield-gas

Resting in the Heat (Brookfield, Missouri)

arkansas-truck

Arkansas Repose

lexington-pumps

Sleepers (Lexington, Texas)

bucket-of-apples

Autumn at the Back Door

The gas pumps and bucket of apples I had completed long ago and tucked into my portfolio, completely forgetting about them till they were rediscovered yesterday.

Because of yesterday’s school holiday, and Friday’s travel time to east Texas for setup, I have only a three-day week at my school, which in many ways will make it much busier. Once the weekend arrives however, and my booth is set up, I intend to enjoy the October weather of rural east Texas, as well as the crowds that fill the rolling pastureland where the festival is held. Though the location is rural and remote, thousands of patrons pour in from Dallas, Plano, McKinney and several populous cities from the metroplex.

edom-2

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to understand.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone

 

My Favorite Memory from the Art Festival Circuit

March 24, 2014
The Shed cafe, Edom, Texas

The Shed Cafe, Edom, Texas

. . . your desire to make art–beautiful or meaningful or emotive art–is integral to your sense of who you are.  Life and Art, once entwined, can quickly become inseparable; at age ninety Frank Lloyd Wright was still designing, Imogen Cunningham still photographing, Sravinsky still composing, Picasso still painting.

David Bayles & Ted Orland, Art & Fear

I love that point raised by Bayles and Orland.  If I could be fortunate enough to live to see ninety, I would hope that I still have the eye and the steady hand to continue making art.  I still feel like a student, am still filled with surprises at every turn, and love the discovery of new ideas and techniques.  I make art because it is in me; I am not complete when I’m not making something new.  This morning, I am exhausted from finishing a three-day art festival that featured frigid temperatures and high winds.  Nevertheless, sales were O.K., and the conversations with patrons were very warming to my soul.  I am grateful for all the positives that came out of this one.  I have two weeks before the next festival, and plenty of time to rest up and recuperate.  All things considered, the festival was a good experience, but it meant three days without making art, so I am itching to get back into the studio.

I promised in an earlier post to share my favorite memory from the art festival circuit.  Every October, I participate in the Edom Festival of the Arts in remote east Texas.  The setting is rolling pastureland with several barns and sheds scattered around the property and enormous shade trees.  The booths are not lined up in a grid, but arranged organically around the property, inserted between trees, outbuildings, etc.  A tall privacy fence hides the festival grounds from the highway nearby.  There is no electricity on the grounds, so we don’t have to fuss with track lighting, laptops or credit card terminals.  Patrons know that the event is a cash-and-carry affair, with an ATM in the town, and the two-day festival is filled with art shoppers.  Sales and conversations at the Edom Festival of the Arts are first rate, and I can’t wait to go every fall when the weather begins to cool.

Two years back, to save money and time, I decided not to book a hotel (about a thirty-minute drive to the nearest city).  I had this romantic and ludicrous notion that I would sleep in the back of my Jeep Grand Cherokee, disregarding my age and lack of general fitness (also disregarding the soreness and achiness that always comes from loading the Jeep, driving two hours, setting up the tent, furniture, and hanging all the art).  When darkness descended, I crawled into the back of my Jeep that was parked near the forest with all the other artists’ vehicles and trailers (a number of them have camping trailers for accommodations).  The night grew chilly, and I never got comfortable in the back of my vehicle.  I chafed at my lack of judgment and slept very little as the night wore on.

Finally, just before dawn, I decided I had to get back on my feet.  I had slept in my clothes, so I did not have to undergo acrobatic contortions, dressing in the back of the vehicle.  Emerging from the Jeep, I trudged with heavy feet up the hill and through the festival grounds.  The grass was wet with dew, temperatures were in the upper forties (the sweatshirt and jacket were doing their job just fine), and as I walked among the gleaming white tents in silence, I felt an exhilaration I cannot explain.  The morning was crisp, cold and delicious.  I loved the scent of the October pasture.  The artist “village” was so attractive to me, though all the tents were shuttered and no art work was visible at this hour.  But I loved the morning walk through the darkness, and as I wended my way toward The Shed Cafe (not visible because of the privacy fence), I could only hope that it opened according to “traditional country cafe hours”.  It was 6:05 and still dark.  Rounding the corner of the privacy fence, I saw what is posted at the top of this blog (this photo was taken later, nearer Christmas time, hence the holiday lights).  Warm light poured out of every window, smoke was billowing out of the chimney, and I instantly smelled eggs frying, bacon, ham, biscuits, gravy, coffee–the works!  I cannot describe the rush of good will that filled me at that moment.  All the achiness and sleepiness from the goofy night sleeping in the Jeep disappeared, and all that mattered was the warm, affirming feeling of a hot country breakfast.  The food at The Shed is among the finest I’ve ever had, and regardless of the success in sales at the Edom Festival, breakfast at The Shed is the highlight of the weekend.

The Shed Cafe Edom, Texas

The Shed Cafe
Edom, Texas

Last winter, I painted this 8 x 10″ watercolor of my favorite east Texas eatery.

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.

In the Depths of the Night, a Respite in the Studio

November 15, 2013
Entrance to Edom Festival of the Arts

Entrance to Edom Festival of the Arts

Often the work we have not done seems more real in our minds than the pieces we have completed.

David Bayles & Ted Orland, Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Art Making

Another delicious night.  I was able to watercolor for ninety minutes while the velvety quiet of the night enshrouded me and affirmed the drifting of my consciousness backward over the conversations of the school day.  The philosophy class delivered again as they took turns offering their observations gleaned from the “Reading” chapter of Thoreau’s Walden.  What transpired that first ninety minutes of the school day set the tone for success that seemed to roll through the remainder of the class load.  I cannot express the gratitude that I feel for young inquisitive minds willing to strike out and find new ground for ideas.

I’m posting the watercolor sketch that I began last night and pushed along for another hour-and-a-half tonight.  In true spirit of the quote posted above, this painting is more real to me in my imagination than what I see emerging beneath my brush, but I just need to be patient, and to keep believing.  This is the entrance to the annual Edom Festival of the Arts.  The composition will be an extremely busy one, with highway signs, carved hand-made signs, arbors, potted plants, and assorted objects marking the entrance to this festival.  As I get further into it, I’ll try to find some way to harness, or unify the composition.  Right now I’m just fascinated with all the little objects crying out for the attention of any passing pedestrian or motorist.  Every year I laugh when I look at this entrance, so eclectic, so fun, so inviting.  I’m only sorry that I still have to wait a couple of weeks before getting back out there.

Well, midnight has arrived.  My eyes are getting droopy.  I have some heavy A. P. Art History to address the first two periods of tomorrow (Late Antiquity–Roman Christian art of the first few centuries).  I’m glad I got those preps finished early enough tonight that I was able to pick up the brush, even if it was for only ninety minutes.

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.

Further Work on the Stockyards Watercolor

October 18, 2012

Fort Worth Cattle Drive, East Exchange

This is my last evening to work on this watercolor.  I leave immediately after school Friday for Edom Festival of the Arts.  I regret that I will be unable to post to my blog while there.  No Internet service will be available in that remote area.  In fact, there will be no electricity on the festival grounds.  I know that from past experience, this being my third year to participate.  The festival is absolutely wonderful, with patrons driving long distances to reach that remote East-Texas setting.  The beautiful pastureland and shade trees make the festival idyllic, and I can hardly wait to get there.  Once my tent is up, I plan to relax under the trees and perhaps get in some quality plein air watercolor sketching done of the surrounding terrain (I enjoyed doing that last year).

I am getting attached to this stockyards painting.  The color and textures on the hides of the longhorns are proving to be a real challenge, and are pushing me into some color schemes I haven’t explored previously.  The banners hanging from the lamp post also hold a fascination for me, as do the signs in the right background.  I am still exploring the contrasting values of the longhorns and the street surface below, and haven’t quite decided where to push that.  Much work remains on the horse to the left, and the horses and riders in the rear center are not even yet underway.  Plenty of work remains.  At this point, it appears that I will not be able to touch this till Monday.

Thanks for reading.

Watercolor of Trees at Edom Festival of the Arts

October 18, 2011

Afternoon Trees at the Edom Festival of the Arts

Though a few days have passed, I still  find myself lost in wonder, flooded with residual memories of the Edom Festival of the Arts.  The weather was perfect, with mornings beginning in the low 70’s, and plenty of sunshine taking temperatures up into the upper 80’s.  Midway through the first day, I turned around, and was caught by surprise at the sight of this tree behind my booth, flooded with color and light.  I think I felt a tinge of what the French Impressionists experienced–that impulse  that drove them outdoors with their easels to paint en plein air.  I set up my own Winsor & Newton easel and went to work, completing this on the first day of the activities.

Painting out in the open, in public view, also affords conversations with curious onlookers, and thus opens up avenues for new friendships.  I was enriched by that as well.  The temperatures are falling in Texas.  We reached the fifties this morning, and my Man Cave is cooling considerably this evening, with winds coming through the open door.  I’m anticipating some rewarding ventures en plein air as our autumn runs its course.

Thanks for reading.

Completed the Harley Watercolor

October 12, 2011

Time for a Cold One

On a scalding hot day in the Texas hill country, I paused to photograph this pair of road-weary bikers stopping for a refresher.  The motorcycle odyssey has always resonated deeply with me, though I have never owned a Harley.  I recorded this slice of American life in watercolor, attempting to enjoy their moment vicariously.

I’m glad I finished up the painting in just two days, thanks for quality time in the man cave.  I have it matted in a standard 11 x 14″ mat.  Just in time for the Edom Festival of the Arts.  Tonight, I plan to print a sizable quantity of 5 x 7″ greeting cards of it, with the above text on the back.

Thanks for reading.  It’s been another good day to create.

Third Plein Air Watercolor Sketch on a Rainy Texas Day

October 9, 2011

View from the Man Cave 3 of 3

And here is my third watercolor sketch from the Man Cave on a rainy Texas day.  Again, I used Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils along with my Winsor & Newton field box.  I’m ready to pop these three sketches into pre-cut 8 x 10″ white mats.  This next weekend will find me at Edom Festival of the Arts.  I’m pleased that I’ve managed to complete and matt more than half a dozen new watercolors.  My One-Man Show just closed yesterday, so I will also have some framed paintings ready to take to the Edom festival as well.

Tomorrow is Columbus Day–no school.  My sincere wish is to kick out a few more watercolor sketches before classes begin on Tuesday morning.  I’m in the mood.

Thanks for reading.