Posts Tagged ‘Fort Worth Texas’

Musing over the Creative Efforts

August 11, 2018

nearing closure

Closing in on the Finish of this Watercolor (I think)

Creative algorithms undulate beneath the dark, quiet pools of solitude.

David Tripp

O.K., so I open with a post of one of my original quotes, not even half-baked, being less than an hour old at this time. This morning, at the dining room table, I was feeling creatively “flat”, and chafed inwardly that it was Saturday morning and I was still unsatisfied at the progress I was making on my preparations for this fall’s term.

After breakfast, I put on my Big Boy pants, and went out, looking for a public, yet quiet spot to work on my courses. I settled on a public library, and before roughing out my syllabus for Classical Judaism, opened Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet and began reading, for about the fourth or fifth time, these marvelously personal documents.

Rilke writes so eloquently about the gift of solitude for creative exploits, and as I wrote, I began compiling a list of books from my personal library that I plan to place on my writing desk once I get back home again: Solitude, by Anthony Storr, A Sand County Almanac, by Leopold Bloom, Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, The Eternal Now, by Paul Tillich, Quiet, by Susan Cain and Hamlet’s Blackberry, by William Powers.

As I began writing from memory some of my favorite quotes about solitude, and then exploring the Internet for more quotes, I wondered why I had not by now come up with my own original line about solitude. So, I fiddled with this, and before long had a page of quotes, stopping with the one I posted above.

I plan to continue noodling with this quote because I am still wrestling with some of the ideas. To begin with, I have difficulty associating “algorithm” with “creativity”, I suppose because I cannot conceive of a set of rules or specific process that guarantees creative results. That is why I used the word “undulating” to describe these steps, because they seem always to be changing, for me as well as for all that I have read of the myriad of creative spirits who have preceded us and left behind testimonies of their processes.

The image in my memory that inspired the quote I am composing is what I saw at Beaver Creek Reservoir on a couple of occasions recently in South Fork, Colorado. While moving from place to place, seeking a decent spot to fish for trout, I happened across this location in the reservoir where the creek flowed into the enormous lake. The water was clear as crystal, the sun was low on the horizon, and with the help of polarized sunglasses, I was allowed to peer deep beneath the surface where I saw myriads of rainbow and brown trout, darting and circling deep below. I felt a calming effect as I contrasted the glassy, mirror-like surface of the quiet waters with the constantly changing configurations of trout too numerous to count, congregating, separating, clustering again, scattering again. As I watched this constant pulse, I laughed, remembering a scene from the film A Beautiful Mind. John Nash’s colleagues at Princeton were making fun of him as he walked backward, stooped over a cluster of pigeons in the grass. He responded that he was trying to determine the algorithm of the pigeons’ movements as they searched for food.

I suppose that is the fallacy of trying to write about the creative process. But at any rate, I found the inspiration to dive back into my course on Classical Judaism, and before I knew it, managed to organize the body of research I have worked on all summer into a semester’s strategy, and then arranged it into my fifteen-week schedule. So . . . the early morning’s chafing finally yielded to a satisfying conclusion.

I have posted above the watercolor commission that I began about a month ago, and recently resumed after a vacation hiatus. I feel that I am getting closer to the end, and that is a good thing. College begins for me in about ten days, and I need to begin pouring more daily hours into that endeavor. I am privileged to teach Classical Judaism (online) for the first time ever, and will also devise a way to coordinate a pair of Logic classes (one online, the other in the classroom). I am sufficiently rested from my travels and changes in perspective, and though I still have New Mexico and Colorado in my dreams, I am grounded once again in Texas soil.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

 

 

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Musings of Gratitude

June 30, 2018

Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful; patience is everything!”

Rainer Rilke, in a letter to his young disciple Franz Xaver Kappus

Adobe

The Adobe Western Art Gallery located in the Stockyards in Fort Worth

Many days have slid past without my posting a blog. The online summer school class has kept me busy, as well as everyday matters that demand attention as well. Summers can be dog days for the artist, but I’m grateful that they offer a long spread of time to make art while the galleries and festivals slide into their annual hiatus. And with summer school ending next week, I’ve packed my art and fly fishing gear and am ready to take off for some serious fishing and plein air painting.

I love the quote from Rilke, and laugh at the impatience I suffered needlessly over the decades. In my senior years, things are making more sense, and my art is bringing me more pleasure than ever before. I’m proud to announce that I have been accepted into the Adobe Western Art Gallery at 2400 North Main ‘Street, in the Stockyards at Fort Worth. I have heard artists speak in awe of this gallery over the past ten years, and always wondered what it would like to be on the inside. My friend Wade Thomas, who leases the Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, pitched my work to the manager, and he invited me in. Currently I have only giclee prints in the gallery, but originals have been requested and I’m working earnestly on filling the order. I’m extremely grateful for this exposure.

MADE

My Set-up for the M.A.D.E. festival at Stage West in Fort Worth

Tomorrow (Sunday) from noon till five p.m., I’ll be at Stage West Theater for their annual M.A.D.E. (music, art, drinks, eats) festival. I had good times here for two years, then missed last year because it occurred during my Colorado vacation. I’m delighted this year to learn that I did not lose my place in line. In fact, they assigned me Booth #1. This will be first time I have been in the front gallery of the event. This will be my only summer art event, as Texas doesn’t seem interested in holding indoor events, and the temperatures today soared to 106 degrees. I’m glad that Stage West has the vision to put on this indoor show.

Thank you for reading. I hope to post again soon, because I have exciting news about changes on the way at the Gallery at Redlands in Palestine.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

The Passing of a Local Blues Guitar Legend

February 9, 2011

The Passing of a Local Blues Guitar Legend

Zeb Cash-Lane passed away yesterday, February 8, 2011.  He had taken me under his wing back in 2006 when I was trying to find my way as a blues guitarist.  I played side guitar for him at the Peppermill Lounge in east Fort Worth, Texas for a few months spanning 2006-2007.  Zeb’s health was failing then, and when news came this morning that he had died, I could only hope he hadn’t suffered.  I had seen him on many days when it was a struggle just to draw a breath.  I’ll always remember with gratitude what he taught me about guitar, music, performance and a host of other matters relative to the music environment.  And I will always recall the sensations of his Fender Stratocaster shrieking in the night as he belted out his original blues compositions.

I close by posting recollections recorded in my personal journal the morning after I met him:

Friday morning, October 13, 2006, 7:50 a.m., Martin High School Philosophy Class:

Last night, I had a life-altering encounter at a recording studio in east Arlington.  I met for the first time Zeb Cash-Lane, an aged blues musician, specializing in harp and searing electric guitar (Fender Jazzman played through a Fender tube amp).  It was a night to remember always and I now attempt to record the visions . . .

7:00 p.m. Thursday found me pushing my Jeep westward on Abram, with temperatures dropping, a chilly October evening and a sun sinking large, flooding the western sky with color.  Looming silhouettes of tire shops and tattoo parlors paraded down the corridors of my peripheral glances.  Finally, the cinder block building came into sight.  Jim Farmer waited outside on the parking lot with a slender, rangy man sporting a Rasputin-like full white beard, faded jeans, suspenders and a gray-blue “Charley Guitar Shop” T-shirt.  I was introduced and shook hands with Zeb Cash-Lane.

Inside the dim studio room that doubled as Zeb’s dorm room, we heard the searing electric blues that Zeb ripped.  It was an authentic Blues environ: whiskey bottles, ashtrays, Zeb rolling his own cigarettes, scattered amps, guitars, a cello and even an upright piano.  The room had the clutter of a maintenance shed or electrician’s shop, but it was a music room.  A Blues room, a three-dimensional photo gallery of where Zeb was and where Zeb had been.  Jim Farmer played his new electric bass, Zeb played his Fender Jazzman and I played my Martin D-35.  The Blues seared, screamed and moaned late into that cold October night.  Inside, the guitars cried while outside, the winds answered with a chorus of mournful, yet affirming howls. Stormy Monday set the tone for the Blues night in the studio.

After hours of playing, we sat outside on the concrete steps, weary but full of hope about our musical collaboration, and shared stories over cold beers.  I drove home, late in the night, numbed by the experience.

An evening at the Drafting Table, April 12, 2010

April 12, 2010

Union Pacific #844 in progress

It’s hard to concentrate on school work daily when I have this image burned into my retina from last Friday and Saturday of the Union Pacific #844 that visited Fort Worth.  I had a full slate of high school classes today, and a college class tonight, but managed to steal about 90 minutes at my drafting table this evening and resume work on this composition.  All I’ve managed to do this evening is work on the wheels, track and cowcatcher.  At least it’s starting to look more like a steam locomotive now.  I think it will really begin to “pop” once I add the numbers and lettering to the signboards on front.  The bell could use a little more burnishing as well.

My major challenge with this watercolor is rendering the “blackness” of the locomotive.  I threw away my black pigments in June of last year, and have really enjoyed the challenges of mixing my own cool and warm blacks.  Of course with this image, it’s been a challenge, because I have to keep finding ways to separate the cool and warm dynamics of the overall black color of this locomotive.

This is turning out to be great fun, and I’m delighted that I have two of these in progress (the first one I haven’t touched since Friday night, but I will).  I plan to do a third, because I was smitten when the morning sun came out strong, and lit up the front of this train with bright gold colors.  I had already committed to the muted, overcast lighting, and had the basic washes already laid in.  Fortunately, my camera was with me, and  I captured some nice photographs of the sunlit locomotive, before the sun hid itself for good.  So, I plan to do a sun-washed gold-highlighted rendering of this loco as well.

I’m just sorry that I have to put in the lion’s share of my daily hours tending to school details.  Tomorrow I’ll face three different preps with three different classes.  And, of course, I have a 3-day art festival coming up this weekend.  There is still plenty of matting, shrinkwrapping, labeling, and inventory checking to do before the big weekend arrives.  And . . . I’m hoping to finish this along with the other two freight train paintings posted previously (a UP and a GATX freight).  So little time . . .

The woods are lovely, dark and deep

But I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep . . .

Thanks for reading.

Vaughn Boulevard Relic, February 9, 2010

February 9, 2010

Vaughn Boulevard Relic

Still making too little headway on my new watercolors.  I would love to post them when they get a bit more “substance.”  As this evening draws to a close, I now post a second watercolor I entered last night in the Arlington Visual Art Association regional show about to open.  I title this “Vaughn Boulevard Relic.”  This defunct theater is located in the decaying Polytechnic Heights neighborhood in southeast Fort Worth, Texas, just east of Martin Luther King/U.S. 287 on Vaughn Blvd.  I pass this sad theater facade in the evenings while en route to the night classes I teach at Texas Wesleyan University.  Throughout the years, I have laughed at the stories passed on my former patrons of this theater.  They tell of an elderly female proprietor in a cotton dress with flashlight who threw out the “talkers” nightly.  I have sold quite a number of signed and numbered giclee prints of this, along with smaller, inexpensive ones, and scores of 5 x 7″ greeting cards with the image and the story on the back.  Most of the buyers are those from the neighborhood who remember the experience of attending shows here for 24 cents.  They even recall the prices of soda and popcorn, and of course, the experience of the elderly usherette.

Two years ago, while selling out of my booth at Fort Worth’s Jazz by the Boulevard, a lady came by and purchased one of the limited editions, recalling this theater from her teenage years.  I asked her if she ever got thrown out by the old lady with the flashlight and the cotton dress, and she gave me a curious look, saying “No.  I never saw such a person there, nor did I ever see that happen.”  While she was paying by credit card, another patron walked up, saw the print in her hand and exclaimed: “The Poly Theater!  I went there as a child!”  The buyer said, “So did I.  I was just telling this artist.”  The newcomer then asked: “Did you ever get thrown out by that mean old lady with the flashlight?”  The moment was too good not to re-tell.

I have done two studies of this theater.  Both are posted on my website.  What delights me about this one is my retreat into some earlier techniques I had picked up from the Andrew Wyeth drybrush studies.  I always liked the way he left the perimeter of his watercolors blank or faded out.  I also like how Wyeth rendered his focal areas with the sharpest detail, but as he moved further away from the area, he let the watercolor fade out, leaving only the pencil structure to stand alone.  I have tried that on quite a few watercolors, and personally like this effect more than the more traditional compositions where I take everything to the borders.  I guess I like this Wyeth effect more because (to me) it echoes the fact that the eye can only focus on one element at a time, while the surrounding elements are present, but out of focus.  I like to sharpen only part of my composition, and let the rest of it drift out of focus and finally into the white void.