Posts Tagged ‘Fort Worth Stockyards’

Ghosts of the New Isis Theater

July 1, 2013
New Issis Theater, Fort Worth Stockyards

New Isis Theater, Fort Worth Stockyards

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more.  It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

William Shakespeare, Macbeth

In summer school, we began studying Shakespeare this morning in preparation for the reading of Macbeth.  Part of our background study was the phenomenon of the Globe Theater in Shakespeare’s Renaissance England, with its magnetic pull on the surrounding population.  I came home this afternoon, took one look at this New Isis theater I began recently, and felt mingled emotions of sadness and comfort as I re-read its history.  I find it difficult to convey my feelings when looking on historic monuments such as this without resorting to some form of double-speak (funny to realize that Macbeth opens with three witches and their double-speak).  But my feelings are conveyed in this comment from David Farrell Krell in his Introduction to Early Greek Thinking: Martin Heidegger:

Four fragments of early Greek thinking dominate Heidegger’s thoughts in the present collection.  Each is a truncated monument of thinking.  Like the torso of a river god or the temple of Poseidon at Sounion, each fragment conveys a sense of loss, of tragic withdrawal and absence; yet each is a remnant of an exhilarating presence.

Loss and presence–those are what I feel when I look at a building such as the New Isis, and feel the myriad of ghosts lingering in its midst.  How many first dates took place here?  How many times did a couple hold hands for the first time?  How many saw their first feature film here?  What famous films from cinematic history ran here?  Movie houses move me profoundly when I look upon their facades, and even more so when I study photographs I have taken and look more closely at the architectural details.

Macbeth, in his closing moments, mused about life strutting and fretting its life upon the stage.  Movie houses come and go, wax and wane, rise and fall, marking time much in the same way that we do.  As I look upon the New Isis, I feel many of the Wordsworthian sentiments expresssed in his Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey.  One can look upon a structure such as this theater for a matter of minutes, take a few pictures, but carry the haunting and comforting sentiments in the heart for days and years afterward.  My only regret is that I never entered this movie house when it was open.  All I can do now is read of its past, and connect with parallel expeiences of my own, and then paint what remains.

I don’t intend for this to be my only attempt at rendering this historic structure.  But this first attempt has already flooded my being with plenty of reward, and for that I am grateful.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel that I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

First Attempt of the New Isis Theater in the Fort Worth Stockyards

June 30, 2013
New Isis Theater, Fort Worth

New Isis Theater, Fort Worth

. . . having a working command of the creative process–that is, all those elements that lead to the making of art–is truly essential.  The creative process unfolds as you find the essential tools in your toolkit.  It means finding your subjects (not someone else’s) and finding your materials (not someone else’s) and most of all it means finding a way to live your life so that you can engage again and again the things you care about the most.  

Ted Orland, The View From the Studio Door

As Sunday fades into the late afternoon, I realize that I will soon have to lay aside my art work and take up Shakespeare for tomorrow morning’s summer school class.  Teaching pays the bills; I do that so I can live to make art.  Teaching supports my habit, though I must immediately add that this is the only profession in my career that has truly fit me.  I have never stopped loving the educational enterprise.  Perhaps that is because I am still a student, and always will be.

I have made two trips to the Fort Worth Stockyards in the past four days, both times in triple-digit temperatures, and both times returning to my studio with a renewed interest in pursuing a series of studies in the edifices on North Main, especially the New Isis theater.  As I continue to work on this watercolor, as well as additional compositions of this historic theater, I will have much to report concerning its history.  I have been fascinated to find pages and pages of data on this remarkable structure and the stories it embodies.

I have not put much work into this piece yet, save for the sign, the part that holds the most fascination for me.  I’m about ready to move down into the awning and left to the pair of doors ready for rendering.  The sign was a great source of joy, and I guess I can say that the most “fun” part of the painting is now behind me; everything else should just be supporting detail.  Having said that, I may be closer to the end of this sketch than I realized when I began this blog post.  But so it goes.

Thank you for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel that I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.