Posts Tagged ‘Fort Worth Flatiron’

Working into the Night, Drawing more than Painting

October 14, 2020

. . . drawing is the dividing of a plane surface (parallel to Denis’s definition of painting as “essentially a plane surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order”). I personally like that dividing to be as decisive and fast as the cracking of an Argentinean’s bullwhip . . . . Painting can overcome one with its sensuousness, like the soft warm skin of a woman, in a way that drawing cannot. But drawing can be as clear-cut as one’s father’s precepts. Drawing satisfies our sense of definition, even if we cannot define “drawing” itself. Drawing is a racing yacht, cutting through the ocean. Painting is the ocean itself.

Robert Motherwell, “Thoughts on Drawing”

Tonight I feel a kinship with Motherwell because his habit was to work late into the night in his studio. That is seldom my practice, but this evening I have been drawn to this project and have been putting in good time with it.

The quote above about drawing vs. painting has preoccupied me tonight as I was aware of the tension since college days when I worked on my Bachelor’s in art. It was then that my professors told me I was much more the draftsman than painter. That bothered me for years, but in recent times I have owned it; I truly enjoy the precision of drawing much more than the swish of color. I suppose the reason I settled on watercolor as my primary medium is due to its constitution that allows drawing before, during and after the painting disciplines. I am struggling with the issues of color on this flatiron building and will not lay down the broad washes until I settle on a fitting recipe. But the drawing details relax that tension and I feel I could engage in that task for hours (in fact today and tonight I actually have).

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.

The Hollow Men

October 14, 2020
Continued details on the Fort Worth Flatiron

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

T. S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”

My mind wanders far and wide when concentrating on minute details of a large watercolor. Waking this morning, I felt the compulsion to seek out T. S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” for quiet reading over coffee. As I read, my mind drifted to the watercolor in the studio waiting my morning arrival. I thought of the towering flatiron building on the south side of downtown Fort Worth, standing sentinel there for 113 years now, presiding quietly over passing history. And I wondered over the thousands of souls who passed by quietly beneath its shadows during that century-plus, especially in days when the south side witnessed more foot traffic.

We are the hollow men

We are the stuffed men

Leaning together

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

Those lines have always haunted me. I suppose it was during graduate school days in the 1980’s that I encountered the largest number of men around me, working on doctorates, continually complaining about their sense of hollowness and their attempts to fill the void with reservations for a racquetball court, a golf outing, or dinner somewhere with someone, anyone. I never knew those days. Financially I struggled then, and could not engage in social outings, but books were my companion, and now in better days, books remain my companion when no one is around. I don’t understand hollowness, listlessness. Even if I don’t have an art project waiting on the drafting table, I have a library of volumes I will never exhaust in this lifetime, and empty journal pages waiting to be filled. Life is full, and I’m grateful for it.

At this moment, I have four paintings laid out waiting for my attention, but this flatiron has a hard target deadline, so I know what my orders are for the days ahead. But once this painting is finished, several more are already on standby, and the books and ideas will always be swarming about me like a fragrant cloud, and for that I am grateful.

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.

Ruminations in Studio Eidolons

October 11, 2020
Second Day on the Flatiron

The quality of beauty in Hemingway’s work seems to come as naturally as the leaves to a tree.

Carlos Baker, Hemingway: The Writer as Artist

For nearly two weeks I have had rewarding morning hours in Studio Eidolons, mixing my reading and writing with watercoloring. I finished Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and am nearly halfway through Baker’s work on Hemingway’s writing. Years ago I read Baker’s major biography on Hemingway and have retrieved the volume from the bookshelf to re-read key portions I underlined. This has inspired me to write more as well, though I have yet to post the new material online. Maybe later.

While painting today I have been listening (I seldom look at the TV when it plays in the studio) to the motion picture “Papa Hemingway in Cuba.” I have paused to post something on the blog because I was overcome with sadness at the reminder of how deeply unhappy this writer was throughout his life. Having read two biographies and watched a handful of documentaries on his life, I am all-too-familiar with how unlikeable he was to people who knew him. I also know the stories of artists Picasso and Pollock, and countless celebrities who had their ways of making the ones around them nearly as miserable as they were themselves. I have no pity at all for unhappy people who bring nothing good into our society, but do feel a deep sense of hurt for the miserable ones who made contributions in literature, art, philosophy, music and film that enrich and inspire us. I am always saddened to know that they did not know the same enrichment in return.

Daily I receive in my email a word of the day from Word Genius. About once a week, the word is a timely one, and today provided such a word–desideratum. The Latin word depicts “something that is needed or wanted.” My long-time friend Wayne White (now recovering from a complicated surgery requiring extensive rehab–we will probably be hearing much from him in the weeks ahead, which is always a good thing) has shared a sentiment with me repeatedly: both of us hope our blogs fall under the category of desideratum. We truly want our words and images to matter, to comfort, to build people up rather than tear them down.

New member of the family. Meet Paddington
Two Amigos enjoying the Fall Morning

Full disclosure–one of the reasons for my blog hiatus is the new addition to our family. Paddington is a rat terrier we adopted when he was only nine days old, and waiting till he reached the age of two months seemed an eternity. At last he is in our home, and our four-year-old Patches has bonded well with him. Though I’ve stayed busy daily with my art, reading and writing, I have recently found myself spending very little time on social media, choosing instead to roll around on the floor and chase the little beasts around the house. Domestic life is bliss.

The Fort Worth flatiron building is coming along slowly, but thanks to a large flatscreen TV moved to my studio, I have the luxury of blowing up the image and seeing the details better than ever before. The November deadline will keep me glued to this painting for awhile, meaning I’ve had to set aside three other large works that were in progress before the flatiron commission arrived.

I need to return to my painting. 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.

Sunday Morning in Studio Eidolons

October 11, 2020
Inspirational Reading before Painting

The apple-crisp October morning found us strolling southbound on Houston Street in downtown Fort Worth. We walked along, talking little, letting the urban environment flood our sensations. Traffic is always moderate in this downtown, unlike the frantic flow of a Chicago or Manhattan. The scuffing of my boots on the sidewalk could easily be heard above the occasional murmur of passing cars. Picking my way through the cold shadows and warm yellow sunlight between the towering buildings, I adjusted my eyes to catch the first sight of the rising Flatiron building at the intersection of West 9th, posted like a sentry of the south side since 1907.

David Tripp, journal

Fort Worth Flatiron, Houston & West 9th

I realize a long stretch of time has passed since the last blog. Perhaps I’ll record the past week or two’s history in future posts, but for now I’ll just say what is happening now–I’ve been commissioned to paint the historic Forth Worth Flatiron building and am up to my elbows in this new 16 x 20″ watercolor.

16 x 20″ commission underway

I painted this building years ago and sold it out of the Weiler House Gallery in Fort Worth. Limited editions of the work have sold quite well and are still available at $100 unframed.

Previous painting (limited editions still available)

For my new painting, I’ve taken a fresh set of photos and have settled on a closer, lower-angle perspective. I plan to show this work in its developing stages in the days ahead. No limited editions will be available on this work, as agreed upon with the commission.

I’ll try and post again soon, and more often. 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.

Out of the Void

January 27, 2014

Resuming work on the Fort Worth Flatiron

Resuming work on the Fort Worth Flatiron

And, as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name.


Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

We are currently reading Shakespeare in my English II classes.  Throughout this day, his work has lingered and rendered no small measure of sweetness to my soul.  With every stroke of his pen, he called forth worlds that fed the imaginations of hungry audiences.  And so I have also wished to wield a brush, and shape worlds with my own series of strokes.  After all these years, I am still enchanted by the mystique of watercolor.  While working in the studio, as I did this afternoon, I love to watch worlds emerge, shimmering on the wet surface of the paper.  Perhaps the photographer in the dark room felt the same delight, watching the image form on the photo paper as it lay in the fluid.  As I poke around on a new painting, I feel genuine pleasure watching the developing composition respond to my pencil or brush.  Inch by inch, color by color, line by line, I feel a growing satisfaction watching the painting emerge.

I am seriously considering a change in the composition of this Fort Worth Flatiron.  It was going to be a 9 x 12″ vertical piece, with two additional stories developed below where I am working.  This afternoon, I lay a 10 x 8″ horizontal mat over it, and have just about decided I have gone far enough down, and may perhaps move to the right and finish out the cornice and upper story.  I like the horizontal look I saw this afternoon.  So . . . I’ll let this one rest a bit more, and decide later how exactly I want to finish it out.

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.


June 13, 2012

There’s No Place Like Home

I have taken no pleasure in being out of the blog loop this past week, though I have taken sincere delight in different surroundings.  Too much has happened (most of it good) for me to stop long enough to write a reflective blog, until tonight.  “Transitions” is a good topic for this post, because I have certainly encountered, with surprise, several “clearings” in the woodpath I’ve been cutting lately (my favorite Heidegger metaphor).

First, I would like to introduce you to two fascinating personalities, pictured above.  Standing to the right is Abby Pewitt Slayton, owner of There’s No Place Like Home at 855 Foch St. in Fort Worth, in the heart of the museum district.  And at left is Sallie Mitchell of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  It was a pleasure chatting with these ladies this afternoon, and photographing them standing with one of my limited edition giclee prints of the historic Fort Worth Flatiron building located at Ninth and Houston St. (  Abby responded to one of my Facebook posts last week, inviting me to place one of my limited editions in her furniture store for purchase.  No Place Like Home offers buyers a wide variety of furniture, lighting, rugs–the works–from antique to contemporary, rustic to eclectic.  One could truly get lost in wonder and imagination, perusing the merchandise inside this venue .  Today, I would not have traded my conversations with Abby, Sallie and Jodi for anything.  They were truly a respite from the daily grind.  Thanks, all of you.

I would also love to point any local readers to a fabulous cafe I encountered recently.  Z’s Cafe is located at 1116 Pennsylvania Ave., in the hospital district of Fort Worth (  Janet Z. Capua is the owner and chef at that location.  She also responded to my Facebook post, inviting me to display two small prints of my Fort Worth watercolors in her “gallery.”  Janet is a remarkable chef, and tireless promoter of the arts and business on Fort Worth’s south side.  Visual, musical and culinary artists flock to Janet and feed off her energy (and the cuisine is truly exquisite!).  I am abundantly grateful to have found such a friend in Janet.

Summer school began Monday.  And–I don’t say this lightly–my present class has started better than any summer school class I have known in over a decade of summer school sufferings.  My pleasure has found a daily resting place with ten students, all seniors, enrolled in English IV (British Literature), all of them knowing what they want to do with their lives.  They work, they show respect, they make the life of a teacher truly rewarding (that has not been my summer school experience, ever).  I will miss them next week when I travel to Eureka Springs School of the Arts for a one-week watercolor workshop.  But when the workshop is finished, I will have nothing but optimism to look forward to, as I return to study with them.

I am within a few days of leaving for Eureka Springs, that scintillating Victorian town nestled in the Ozark Mountains.  This will be my third consecutive summer teaching there.  I don’t know how I ever deserved this opportunity to teach plein air watercolor to willing adult students.  With sadness, I share that Pat Carmichael, the assistant executive director who hired me three years ago, passed away over the Christmas holidays.  This will be my first time teaching there without seeing and speaking with her.  That is going to be sad beyond words.  Pat, I’ll never forget you for all the encouragement you offered in the past, for your willingness to give me this shot at teaching something I love, in the middle of a place I’ve grown to love, and above all, for sending me your daughter, twice–one of the most inspirational art students I will ever know.  I will feel your affirmation every time I gaze upon that historic town, and touch my brush to the watercolor block.  You have been an unending inspiration.

There is a group on Facebook known as Remember in Fort Worth when . . .  I joined that group last week and began posting images of the watercolors I’ve created lately of Fort Worth landmarks.   The response has been remarkable.  Already sales have been generated, much interest has been posted, and I’ve been offered two venues to display my prints.  I had no idea these kinds of clearings would open in this forest.  This is an exciting time to be engaged in painting.

And, speaking of such–thanks largely to the enthusiasm of my recent Facebook contacts, I am ready to begin work on my next Fort Worth landmark.  I would have it in progress already, but felt this compulsion to push out a blog.  After all, it has been days, and I would not want my readers to think that I had abandoned this odyssey.  The Tarrant County Courthouse is my next engagement.  I found yesterday’s late afternoon light, after the rains, to be clear, clean and bright.  So, Sandi and I drove to Belknap Street in Fort Worth, found a beautiful green belt to walk about after we parked, and I shot over 40 photos of the courthouse cupola.  It is a little after 9:00 p.m. now, and I am ready to begin.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for being patient with me during this recent and unfortunate hiatus.  Hopefully, I’m back!