Posts Tagged ‘Eyes of Texas Fine Art Magazine’

Sweet Evening Solitude & Recovery

July 30, 2022
Working Lightly in Studio Eidolons Tonight

Current wisdom, especially that propagated by the various schools of psychoanalysis, assumes that man is a social being who needs the companionship and affection of other human beings from cradle to grave. It is widely believed that interpersonal relationships of an intimate kind are the chief, if not the only, source of human happiness. Yet the lives of creative individuals often seem to run counter to this assumption.

Anthony Storr, Solitude: A Return to the Self

Storr’s book has been like a Bible in my collection for over thirty years now. This was the first book, read when I was in my thirties, that convinced me I was O.K. even though I didn’t have much of a social life. The ministry dripped with a sense of alienation. Graduate school meant long solitary days in a library carrell. Welding-well, how many people stand around to visit with you when you’re under the hood while the arc lights up the room? Public education for nearly three decades saw me scrambling for privacy at the end of each school day. So yes, I have regarded myself, despite having a family whom I love, as largely private.

I don’t recall the last time I was ill; it hadn’t occurred since 2017 when I retired from teaching. And I don’t recall the last time I missed school due to illness. I have lived a life for the most part without need for doctor’s visits or medication. I wasn’t prepared for what happened when I tested positive for COVID yesterday morning. The good news was that Sandi was already in Palestine to run the gallery in my stead, leaving me to attend tonight’s artists’ reception in Granbury. She has since tested negative, so she will be staying out of our house till I am past all this. To repeat–I wasn’t prepared for this enforced isolation. Yesterday and today were among the longest days in my life, here in my home and studio, alone with a pair of small dogs.

This afternoon, while the isolation had reached its bleakest moment, the phone calls started coming in. Three of my paintings sold, two of them major works.

Six Subjects in Search of a Painter. SOLD

The New Owners

I was elated to learn that a student of mine from fifteen years back purchased my large still life at Baron’s Creek Winery in Granbury. I was deeply saddened that I was unable to attend this event.

He Was Here Yesterday SOLD

And then . . . Sandi phoned from our Gallery at Redlands. She had just sold another large watercolor of mine to a local automobile restoration artist. She told me he was fascinated with my collection of gas station compositions and chose the large one from among the pack.

Evening Hole. SOLD

Sandi also sold this mid-size watercolor of me fly-fishing Troublesome Creek in Colorado.

Needless to say, news of the triple sales (and boy, Sandi sold quite a number of other artists’ works the past three days in the gallery!) created somewhat of a soothing balm for my tortured feelings the past pair of days. Though absent in body, I’m glad that my “spirit” somehow lingered in the events where my work was on display. The affirmation helps, believe me.

I believe I will sleep better tonight. I have completed the first day taking dosages of Paxlovid, and already am feeling some physical relief from this dreaded illness. And news of the art sales has certainly provided a strong measure of good will; I feel much less isolated now.

More tomorrow. 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.


Preparing to Hit the Road

April 20, 2022
Five framed limited editions ready to pack and load

Destination City                                                       

Muses again whisper in the air.

Healing breezes stir.

Like monks in their cells, creative spirits toil

in the city.



Believers once again are painting, carving,

writing, singing, acting.

East Texas again awakens, breathes,

stretches the limbs.

Railroads once united communities.

Art becomes the New Railroad.

And all Railroads lead to Palestine.

David Tripp, April 20, 2022

Good morning, Friends. I wish I had more time to write, but we’re packing and loading for our journey to Palestine, our new Destination City. From 5 till 8 this evening, we’ll celebrate the coming out of volume 7 of The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine. The city is proud to join the host of fine arts communities of East Texas featured in this magazine, and we’re anticipating exciting days ahead. I’ll try to continue writing and sharing this new spirit in the air that has refreshed our arts community. The poem above was my first attempt, and I have several other pieces in the hopper that I’m still trying to edit. I’ve laughed at the metaphor of nailing Jell-o to the wall. That is exactly what I feel when I try to describe the happenings around here of late.

2:15 a.m. this morning marked the 68th year of my entry into this astonishing world. I cannot say that life has diminished for me, yet. Funny, I thought when I was younger that these senior years were to be the most pitied. Who would have guessed that they are far better than any era I’ve previously encountered. I am grateful that I have been allowed to remain. It would have been tragic to miss the past five years I’ve known since the Palestine community entered my life.

I’ve posted above five of my favorite limited edition giclee prints recently framed and ready to hang in The Gallery at Redlands.

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.

Easter Predawn Musings

April 17, 2022
Looking up at the 2nd-story unit where we reside during gallery weekends

By reality and perfection I understand the same thing.

Baruch Spinoza, Ethics

Early morning reading and scribbling

The words were spoken as if there was no book,

Except that the reader leaned above the page . . .

Wallace Stevens, “The House was Quiet and the World was Calm”

Waking at 5:17 a.m. is never my plan. But there it was. Knowing my gas tank was nearly empty and we have a long country drive ahead of us in a few hours, I decided to get dressed, go downstairs and take my vehicle out for a fill-up. The Kroger pumps were active so I filled up, then walked to the donut shop nearby. The lone friendly attendant was chatty and cheerful, commenting on my being up so early. “What about you?” I asked. “When did you have to open up?” “At 4, he replied with a grin. But Pop is already baking by 2, otherwise we’re behind!” At that moment the light went on in my brain: most independent donut shops close early in the day. Of course! They have already put in their time. I immediately recalled those bleak times when I worked for UPS unloading 40-foot trailers at 3:15 am. I was working on my doctorate and had to study throughout the daytime hours. Then I was off to bed early in the evening, knowing I would have to set the alarm for 2:30 to get to work on time. I’m glad those hours are behind me (until days like this, which are elective–today excepted).

Trekking back upstairs to the second floor, I found my favorite place beside the floor lamp at the kitchen table near the windows and waited for the light to come up over Palestine.

My favorite morning vista of Palestine

I’m looking out the kitchen window now, through the fire escape, at the Carnegie Library which will soon house Palestine’s public library once again (when that happens, I’ll probably have to put a sign on our locked gallery door saying something like: “IF YOU WANT ACCESS TO THE GALLERY, YOU’LL HAVE TO CROSS THE STREET AND FIND ME IN THE LIBRARY!”

I enjoy gazing out through the fire escape, because I have had this romantic notion of Palestine embodying the best of Manhattan’s 1950’s art culture. Fire escapes on buildings such as this 1914 hotel make me think of Manhattan. I was writing out these sentiments a year ago when we took possession of The Gallery at Redlands and readied ourselves for the annual Dogwood Art Festival. And of course I was ecstatic the morning of the festival when a Manhattan sculptor responded to this blog and sent us her well wishes.

Though finishing the book, I am still re-reading and re-hashing much of New Art City as I discover striking parallels between the Abstract Expressionist artists of New York in mid-century and the climate we artists are discovering lately in east Texas. The following quote I find particularly striking:

For New York artists, who take it for granted that they live in a city that is less than perfectly beautiful, the idea of asserting that reality and perfection are one and the same may be a way of asserting the possibility that art will be able to flourish in an environment that pushes against the idea of art. A New York artist has to believe that beauty can be found in the bare, immediate facts, for only if reality, which is by its nature imperfect, has a chance of perfection, can an artist who lives in this unpredictable environment have a chance to create something with a permanent value.

I am still searching for adequate words to express what is happening in east Texas recently. There is a growing number of creative spirits (artists, musicians, writers, actors) in this region who sense a surge of enthusiasm for the arts as new venues are opening and new public events keep popping up in our communities to promote the arts. At the same time, we find ourselves surrounded by a climate of gross negativity, particularly in social media and news outlets. I always wonder why so many seek out ways to spread unhappiness. We creatives are determined to keep doing what we do, refusing to listen to the sourpusses. Recently I’ve been studying the art culture of ancient Byzantium and how much of it inspired the rising tide of New York art in the 1950’s. The result is that I am beginning to see East Texas through the lenses of Byzantium, the ancient citadel for the arts. I plan to write much more of this in the days ahead.

Gallery at Redlands lobby window display

We hope you will join us for our Magazine Launch party next Wednesday, April 20 from 5-8 pm as we celebrate the arrival of Volume 7 of The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine. Palestine has been designated as one of the “Destination Cities” and has taken out ten pages of advertisements with sponsors promoting the creative spirits of this town. Publisher Gloria Hood will join us for this party as will the artists and sponsors featured in the ads. We are offering wine and refreshments and much fun as we gather.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for coming art-related events.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

An Artful Palestine Weekend

April 16, 2022
Mike Long posing beside his Father’s Art Work

“Mitcha, why aren’t you at home painting?”

Hans Hofmann, chiding Joan Mitchell for walking her dog

For the past 72 hours, I’ve heard Hofmann’s stinging rebuke in my ears as I closed the door to my Studio Eidolons and bowed to the ugly task of consolidating all my financial data to submit to my tax preparer yesterday. I absolutely hate going over volumes of spreadsheets of dollar figures to submit to IRS once a year, and swear every year that I will do a better job daily or weekly of consolidating all that stuff rather than poring over it for days on end once a year. Today is Saturday, and my dream for two weeks has been to paint the Chamber of Commerce building across the street from The Gallery at Redlands. Well guess what–it is dark and overcast all day today, so there will be no sun on the side of this building, so I won’t paint today after all. But I can blog . . .

Postponement of painting till the sun emerges again. At least the preliminary drawing is in place

So . . . the photo of the Dr. Pepper ghost sign at the top . . . Last night we were surprised in the gallery by a visit from Mike Long. His father, Donnie Long, painted this Dr. Pepper billboard on the side of the building next door to The Redlands Hotel in 1964. I have been looking at the ghost sign since 2017 when I arrived and have yet to paint it, though Dave Shultz our local friend and photographer, has photographed and enhanced the image numerous times since I’ve known him.

Mike’s information about the Dr. Pepper sign still has my head swimming today. His father painted it free-hand. I have a special gift book about ghost signs that my dear friend Dian Darr handed to me not long after I completed the ghost sign watercolor last year from Hot Springs, Arkansas.

“Palimpsest” Framed Watercolor 22 x 33″. $800

I am fascinated by the stories I read of sign painters and the special templates and tools they used to render their images and slogans. Hearing that this sign was painted free-hand has made me go out there and look at it more closely with astonishment.

I’m sorry to learn that Mike’s father is deceased, and in fact had passed away in 1979, before the sign had been covered over by some kind of new siding. In the late 1990’s, Mike got a surprising phone call from the business across the street while he was working in his office across town. “Come down here, now. And bring your camera.” Mike closed his office and drove to the location to see the “ghost sign” that had been covered over for decades. No one present knew the sign was underneath the siding until it was removed. Mike had even forgotten about it, because he was only a boy when his father painted it. As it turns out, the siding protected the paint from the elements for over twenty years.

As Mike and I visited, he reminisced about his father’s studio, filled with paintings in progress. Mike said his dad would work on whatever his mood directed each day, some of the paintings lying incomplete for months or years before finishing. This fact made me feel better, because I have closets and file drawers filled with “in-progress” watercolors dating back to 2006, some of which may never be finished. I suppose I have more patience in my senior years of work being postponed. After all, I thought I was plein air painting today, and the weather said No. Another time. There are plenty of other tasks to chase today.

Sandi, always working, cleaning, tidying in the gallery

I’m grateful to Sandi and her partnership in this endeavor. All morning she has been working on the gallery, tidying, re-arranging, etc. while I’ve pursued paperwork, this blog, and made preparations for an art lesson this afternoon. There is always something to do in The Gallery at Redlands.

Magazine Launch Party Announcement

Speaking of which–we have a Magazine Launch Party next Wednesday, April 20, from 5-8 pm here in the gallery. The new magazine has come out, Palestine as a “Destination City” has ten pages of ads in the publication, promoting artists and local business sponsors of the arts. If you’re in the area, we would love for you to stop by, meet the artists, sponsors, and Gloria Hood the magazine publisher. The magazines will be available here, and I’m sure that artists would be happy to autograph their pages! We’re looking for a good time that night. Special treats are being prepared, and there will plenty of wine to pour.

Thanks for reading. I’m always happier when I land in Palestine, city of the arts, to pursue new adventures.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Awash in the Memories

April 10, 2022
Last Night’s Art Reception at Barons Creek Vineyards

. . . really like a Byzantine city.

Willem de Kooning, describing New York City art culture

New York City is a Constantinople, a great Bazaar

Robert Motherwell

I woke this Sunday morning while it was still dark, and Paul Goodman’s poem “To Dawn” was in my head:

Gray-suited Dawn O Day

of many voices, ma-

            trix of moments, speak

            to and bring this thing I seek

My mind this morning is awash with memories of last night co-mingled with ideas and aspirations of what is yet to come. We attended the Spring Art Show last night, hosted by Eyes of Texas Fine Art Magazine, and the Barons Creek venue was perfection. I have had the rich pleasure of attending myriads of art openings, but this event far exceeded all my previous experiences. I cannot say enough Thank Yous to my friends who drove all this distance to be a part of this enchanting day. Please know that you are loved and appreciated.

For over a year now, I have been reading with delight New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century by Jed Perl. I finally finished the lengthy book a few days ago, and have no intention of letting its rich material fade from my memory. My experiences of Palestine, Texas, from the time I entered The Gallery at Redlands in 2017 till Sandi and I took over the lease last year, have had striking parallels to what I read about the New York City art scene. Stories ranging from the Abstract Expressionists, through the Pop Artists to the Minimalists have convinced me of the cohesive power art exudes over people looking for something meaningful to experience. After more than twenty years of this odyssey through the tangled woodpaths of festivals, exhibitions, competitions and parties, I truly believe I have found the multi-dimensional Byzantium in places including Palestine, Granbury, Cleburne, Crockett and Tyler, Texas.

Vol. 7 of the Magazine coming out next week
Publisher Gloria Hood and Me
Signing the Poster with Co-Cover Artist Sabrina Franklin

In the coming weeks, Palestine will have a party to launch the new Eyes of Texas magazine, volume 7. Our city will be featured in at least ten pages of advertisements including artists and businesses currently thriving in the area. Art, music, theater and literature are combining to inject a new, vital spirit in this community like never experienced before. I’m thrilled to feel this vortex of inspiration swirling round us, and invite any of you in the vicinity to come and experience the magic with us.

I cannot close without some pictures of my friends who made the long trip to be with us. Thanks to you all.

Gallery at Redlands artist Stacy Campbell with my wife and gallerist Sandi Jones
Stacy and Me
With Suzanne Severens, librarian and friend from the Martin High School days
Gloria sits for a Caricature
Friends Christine and Greg

With that, I now return to a day of grading stacks and stacks of essays and preparing for a class in the morning. I’m ecstatic that this will be my final semester and days ahead can be devoted to doing what I choose.

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.

Morning Musings in Studio Eidolons

March 29, 2022
Running out of places to stash my framed watercolors and prints
Puzzling over James Joyce’s Ulysses (so, what else is new?)

In the years after I learned how to make meaning, it was fun to meet others who were experiencing meaning too. I could recognize them immediately. They were building a family or a company. They were leading a team. They were trying to write a book or record an album or create enough art for a gallery showing. They were in motion. They were building something.

Donald Miller, Hero on a Mission

I’ll lay my cards on the table. The day at hand is challenging, but I’m not screaming or throwing furniture across the room. After I finish this blog I’ll give the rest of this entire day to grading and making final preparations for tomorrow’s college lecture. As I wrote in the last blog, I’m ready to leave the college experience behind. After grinding out adjunct contracts since 1985, I’ve decided it is time to end this, just like I ended the high school tenure five years ago. The art side of my life (business as well as creative studio time) has grown to the point that I can no longer pursue a task as time consuming as the university. Though my schedule says I only teach on Mondays and Wednesdays, the reality is that the college owns Tuesday as well with all the grading, administrative stuff and lecture prep. And then, they frequently need me to tend to details the remaining seven days of the week, though I’m in the gallery, trying to give that business my full attention. I’ve finally decided that the university contracts have to end. I feel relief as I write this.

Because I’ve been absorbed of late with the odyssey theme, I’ve divided my reading between Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce’s Ulysses and Proust’s’ Remembrance of Things Past. A few nuggets have been gleaned (though not so much from Joyce!). Returning to my reading of the Donald Miller text (posted above), I felt the drawstring pulling together the ideas that have been floating around me of late.

For decades, I’ve been conscious of my attempts to create meaning, to create a story for my life to follow. In all my years of classroom experience, I was conscious that I was seeking to balance my academic pursuits with my artistic ones. Hence I thoroughly loved reading about the lives of artists such as Robert Motherwell and Edward Hopper, brilliant academic minds who never turned their back on intellectual pursuits as they continued to create art. And though I always felt that the university and high school students, faculty and administrators were interested in about 2% of what I studied, wrote and taught (nothing personal intended here–of course they all have their own lives and agendas), I was never deterred from my pursuit of ideas and art. They kept me growing, kept me moving forward.

Though I’ll be leaving the classroom, I’ll not be abandoning scholarly study; these things feed my imagination and artistic creations in ways I’ll probably never be able to express adequately. I just won’t have a forum to talk publicly about these matters, though they will no doubt leak into the blogs. What I do anticipate in the months ahead is more quality time to pursue the arts. So many events are already coming up that I regret have to share time with the university commitments. On April 9 from 4-7pm, a reception for an art exhibit (including five of my own watercolors) will open at Barons Creek Wine Room, 115 E. Bridge St., Granbury, Texas 76048. At the end of next month, April 30-May 1, Artscape 2022 will be held at the Dallas Arboretum. This is my biggest art festival of the year and already I am laying foundations for what I hope is my best tent display ever. Over the past three months I have created a vast inventory of new art to put on display and sale. These things I’ve managed to do in addition to the college grind. How gladly I anticipate focusing only on these creative matters.

In the text above, Donald Miller expressed his pleasure in meeting with other creative people, and that is what I hope to accomplish more in the future. I am now announcing our next Palestine Artists Cafe to be held Friday night at 9:00 (after we close the gallery) at the Pint and Barrel Drafthouse at 302 E. Crawford St. Feel free to join us, and if you don’t know what we look like, look for the people gathered around the table with open books before us; we’re always sharing what we’ve read recently that inspires us to create art. Or just email me at or phone me at (817) 821-8702.

The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine will be coming out in April as well. I’m proud to be one of the two artists featured on the front cover. I will also have a full-page artist ad inside (in addition to the page shown above), our gallery will have a full-page ad, and the City of Palestine and other businesses and artists from our gallery will have over ten full pages of ads as well. As soon as we know where the “coming out party” for the magazine is held, we’ll send out the information to you. Sandi and I are proud to be part of this front line of Palestine becoming a “Destination City” in this fine arts magazine.

There is so much going on now. 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.