Posts Tagged ‘Eureka Springs School of the Arts’

Final Plein Air Day from Eureka Springs School of the Arts

June 23, 2012

Tripp Demonstrating a Plein Air Watercolor Sketch on Final Day

This post is coming a day late.  Yesterday, I finished up my last class at 4:00, and one hour later was packed and on the road for the seven-hour Road Odyssey back Home.  I arrived around 12:30 midnight.  Rising earlier than planned this  morning, I’m feeling more-than-a-tad sluggish today, but nevertheless wish to post the final blog pictures celebrating a very rewarding week.  The one above is me, demonstrating a quick sketch of the facade of the Eureka Springs Railroad Depot.  The setting was a perfect place for the students to experience their finale in this enterprise.

Below are a few shots of the students studiously executing their pieces:




Thanks for reading.  More later today.

Lingering over a Courthouse Watercolor Experiment

June 16, 2012

Tarrant County Courthouse

What a whirlwind of a day!  It began at 5:00 this morning, in the quiet of my man cave, pondering words from the Journals of Henry David Thoreau.  From there I had the quiet privilege of bending over this Tarrant County courthouse watercolor that I began only a few days ago.  Then I had the privilege of teaching a two-hour watercolor lesson in my studio.   Next came some computer work, helping a friend digitize his watercolor and format it to fit onto a greeting card.  From there it was mad dashes to an art supply store, a frame shop (twice), a gallery (twice), a grocery store, a tire center to get mine rotated, a gas station, laundry, packing, gathering my art supplies and gear, and now here I am, at nearly 7 p.m., needing to get some sleep as I plan to rise before dawn and hit the road for the seven-hour drive to the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.

One item I was unable to cross off my agenda was finishing this courthouse watercolor.  I had fervently hoped to finish it during the morning hours, and if not, to have time and energy to complete it tonight.  That will not happen.  I will just have to let it sit and compost for a week before I can take it up again.  For the next week, I will trade in studio work for plein air work (a trade I am always happy to make).

So, until tomorrow dear friends, the next words you read from me will be coming from Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Thanks for reading.

I journal because I am alone;

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Return to the Man Cave, Ezra Pound and the St. Elmo Watercolor

June 5, 2012

St. Elmo, Colorado

Sandi plans to leave around 5:30 a.m. to work horses.  It’s good to see her pursuing her bliss as retirement commences.  I’ve decided to rise early as well, and see if the man cave is cooler than the 92 degrees it was at 11:00 this evening.  I loathe Texas summers.  Sure, the sunlight creates potentially pleasing landscape subjects to paint.  But it also invites heat stroke, skin cancer and plenty of other assorted wholesome features.  At any rate, I’ll work in the man cave in the morning for as long as the temperatures allow, then move my work inside and work under whatever light I can set up.  I’ve posted the St. Elmo painting that I started and abandoned over two weeks ago.  I would love to finish that one in the morning.

Today I stood in a 45-minute line at Arlington’s Municipal Court to settle up on a traffic violation from last month.  I brought with me Literary Essays of Ezra Pound.  It was good reading while I stood and waited.  I’m extrapolating his three tenets of Imagist poetry and applying them to my ideas of watercoloring:

1. Direct treatment of the “thing” whether subjective or objective.

Edward Hopper, when referring to his earlier days of plein air painting, said that he used to work “from the fact,” but in later years, relied on his memory and imagination.  In my plein air work of recent years, I have tried to focus more on a single, concentrated subject on which to build my composition.  My greatest challenge in painting on site is learning to focus on one subject, and trying to disregard all the other objects in front of me, all clamoring for my attention and focus.

2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.

I am trying to return to the “vignette” approach of watercoloring, allowing the perimeters of my composition to go out of focus, and eventually fade to white.  Taking a step further, I am trying to avoid detailing elements that are not central to my subject.  I’ve always been attracted to the words of Andrew Wyeth, saying that the strength of a composition is not what you put in, but what you leave out.  I also liked Henry David Thoreau writing that a person was rich in proportion to what things he could leave alone.  I’m still working on this, the idea that less is more.  My watercolors too often have too much in them, competing for the viewer’s attention.

3. As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome. 

I may be misinterpreting all of Pound’s tenets, but I’m at least using his words as a springboard for my own ideas as I pursue my place in the art enterprise.  When I read statement #3, I think of my notion that there are no sequential rules to painting out a composition.  I don’t always start with the sky.  I don’t always lay down my planes of color before detailing.  I don’t always draw out every detail in pencil before laying down water and pigment.  I just don’t follow a sequence of steps from start to finish in a painting; I work on what I feel like working on, from one moment to the next, and the only time I am forced is when the painting becomes too wet in one area, and I must devote my attention to another place where it is dry and controllable.

So.  There is my though of the day.  Ezra Pound’s tenets for Imagism (I like William Carlos Williams: “No ideas but in things.”) applied to my own watercolor ideas.

In less than two weeks, I have the privilege of traveling to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to teach a one-week plein air watercolor workshop.  I have already spoken to seven of the nine students enrolled in the course, and found them all to be fascinating and engaging in conversation.  I cannot wait to meet them and get to work.  This will be my third year to do this, and I absolutely love that school, its staff, its Board, and that town.  I cannot wait to get there.

Thanks for reading.

First Plein Air Watercolor Morning in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

June 8, 2011

First Morning in Eureka Springs

Greetings from Eureka Springs, Arkansas!   I’ve been sick with a sinus infection for four days now, but today am much better, a little stronger, and very interested in painting.  I finished out the Waxahachie Paint Out totally spent of energy, and that is probably why the illness set in.  The long drive to Eureka Springs was not without its wrong turns and missed signposts (my nickname is Magellan).  So we arrived yesterday evening and relaxed awhile, and retired to bed early.

I awoke without an alarm at 6:30 and decided to descend upon the sleepy historic district of Eureka Springs.  From my cabin, I shambled down “shin splint” mountain, finally getting to the bottom and finding my self surrounded by scenic structures bathed in the morning sunlight.  I didn’t know where to begin.  I walked about another half mile through the town and out the other side, along the lowest route, avoiding Spring Street (I’ve already done a number of paintings along that street, and no doubt will do more the next couple of weeks).  Finally I found this abandoned facade, with sign missing, and loved the light tumbling down the side-gable.  I surprised myself by completing the pencil sketch in 11 minutes, and the watercolor sketch in one hour and six minutes.  Finally my speed is returning.  I’ve always been happier with plein air works as quick sketches, with studio work coming at another (and slower) time.

I feel terrific now, and cannot wait for my next subject (probably tomorrow morning).  Thanks for reading.

Ghosts of Eureka Springs Past

March 13, 2011

Ghosts of Eureka Springs PastI just got my painting framed at the Weiler House Gallery ( and will soon deliver it to the Eureka Springs School of the Arts for their first faculty art show.  I haven’t seen the town since I left it last June, when I was privileged to teach a one-week plein air watercolor class to an outstanding group of painters.

I’m glad the painting is finally framed, and that I am at the beginning of a one-week Spring Break from school.  Already I’m in the garage planing out my next composition, and hopefully will have it posted soon.

Thank you for reading.