Posts Tagged ‘gallery at redlands’

Workshop Afterglow

June 10, 2019

workshop

Summer Rapture, 8 x 10, in 11 x 14″ white mat, $100

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Summer Rapture II, 8 x 10, in 11 x 14″ white mat, $100

. . . even the brightest and most creative aren’t immune to this nagging sense of dread–a feeling that, eventually, someone will pull back the curtain and reveal just how untalented and unworthy they truly are. Maya Angelou once confessed, “I have written eleven books, but each time I think ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'”

Rich Karlgaard, Late Bloomers

Quality sleep eluded me last night. I retired to bed around 1 a.m., and then REM activity aroused me at 4:50. Wishing to hold on to these details, I turned on the light, retrieved my journal, and recorded the dream for over thirty minutes. The time was well-spent, I believe. Turning the light out, I tried to return to sleep, but realized thirty minutes later that it wasn’t going to happen. So . . .

My morning in the Gallery at Redlands has been quiet and very satisfying. I have nearly finished reading Late Bloomers, and am so enriched by it. I used the quote above for a portion of my “talking points” that opened the weekend’s watercolor workshop in Flint, Texas. I shared with the group my embarrassment when introduced with glowing words such as my host had just used. After all these years of painting and workshops, I still feel that Toto from the Wizard of Oz is going to pull back the curtain, and the workshop participants will see that the “artist” is just a bent old man pulling levers, not accomplishing anything of value.

The format for this workshop was a first for me. I pre-planned every step of the painting process, and thought through how I could present this one-day session without making the participants think they were merely taking a “Painting with a Twist” class. The image sent me was taken from an Italian setting:

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I received the image via email, and as I painted it ahead of time, I recorded in my journal the steps I took from start to finish. I emailed the line drawing, encouraging the participants to trace it onto their watercolor paper before coming to the workshop.

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Next, I determined that I wished to render the top portion with Winsor & Newton Transparent Yellow, the bottom with Winsor Violet and a touch of Transparent Yellow, and the center with an even blend of the two colors.

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From this point forward, I would take the students from the top of the composition to the bottom, demonstrating various techniques for rendering details.

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I took my finished painting to the workshop for them to see as a reference painting, then began a second one from the initial line drawing, and demonstrated the stages in the same order as I had done just a few days earlier. I was astounded at the quality of all the paintings that emerged, and the enthusiasm of the participants still has me feeling warm inside.

All of this is just to say–this is not the way I paint. I have always disdained a formulaic approach to making art, and so have struggled with the pedagogical aspects of the artistic enterprise. Reading Late Bloomers has brought many of my feelings to the surface and I am attempting to get them out in the open. Because I didn’t learn the way I was expected to from my youth, I always harbored self-doubt about my abilities. And as a public school teacher, I always loathed the formulaic approaches handed me–lesson plans, teaching students the “steps” to the process, data analysis, grade distribution, ad infinausea. I still believe curiosity is the student’s greatest resource, and if s/he has the drive and courage to explore the frontiers of knowledge, this student should not be confined to “steps” of a process.

So. For the first time, I took my students through “steps” to a painting, but tried all along to convince them that following the steps wasn’t what made them an artist–each one had her own vision, and that vision is sacred. I didn’t expect identical paintings from them, and I didn’t get them. What I did get was an amazing array of paintings of an Italian scene. And each student seemed satisfied that she had created a quality piece of art and not a cookie-cutter reproduction of the teacher’s work.

I believe that all legitimate art is a synthesis of Apollo and Dionysus, the two competing gods behind Greek drama. Apollo represents the steps, the discipline, the rules of the craft. Dionysus represents the spontaneity, the passion, the individual’s creative eros. Last weekend, I brought Apollo to the session, but the students allowed their own Dionysus to enter the arena of creativity. And I still smile at the memories of that day.

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.

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Quiet Day to Work in the Gallery at Redlands

June 6, 2019

workshop

Finished Watercolor Sketch for Workshop Activity

Creativity is not the sole province of the young. Some of us simply need more time, experience, and experimentation to develop a path and realize our talents. Life is often defined by snags and setbacks, by detours and disappointments. Purpose and wisdom, strengths of the late bloomer, come from a portfolio of these experiences, making late bloomers more reflective, more considerate, and more patient.

Rich Karlgaard, Late Bloomers

Today has been a rich day for me. The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas has been nice and quiet, offering me plenty of time for reflection and painting. I finally finished the preliminary sketch I will use as a sample during Saturday’s watercolor workshop in east Texas.

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View from the Gallery Desk

I have several more watercolors in progress that are waiting for my attention, so . . . 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 Thoughts from the Gallery

April 30, 2019

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Where there is no vision the people perish.

Proverbs 29:18

The scholars are the priests of that thought which establishes the foundations of the earth. No matter what is their special work or profession, they stand for the spiritual interest of the world, and it is a common calamity if they neglect their post in a country where the material interest is so predominant as it is in America.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Method of Nature”

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Thinking of the Next Catch

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Trophy from the “Spirit is Ageless” Art & Writing Contest

Artscape 2019 at the Dallas Arboretum is in the books, and I am still awash in splendid recollections from the weekend spent there. As of this writing, I am finally rested from the exertion of breaking down the show, driving it home, then rising yesterday morning to drive two hours to Palestine and unload all my festival gear and art work at the Redlands Hotel, then put the Gallery at Redlands all back together again.

Sunday at the festival allowed me some time for reading in the shade, and Emerson’s essay penetrated my soul in a way that escapes words. I often have to close the book, sigh, and gaze into the distance to absorb the beauty of his prose. What a lovely literary sage he is! I have difficulty explaining the “spirituality” of  art, but I told my students over the years that I am happier making art than selling it, or sitting in a festival or gallery showing it off. The act of painting restores my soul, making me feel alive and purposeful on this earth. The material benefit of selling art is appreciated, but the restored spirit I feel while making it far exceeds the rewards of sales or words of praise.

Part of the weekend activities included a reception at CC Young: The Point & Pavilion adjacent to White Rock Lake. I accepted the trophy posted above as they read my written submission accompanying the watercolor:

Though the old fellow spent most of his days drinking coffee and dozing in his shed, he still kept his fly fishing gear piled on the chair across the room in perfect view so he could continue to remember those days when fishing was at its best. He smiled at every memory of Indian Creek with its holes teaming with black bass, and Beaver’s Bend with the long gurgling runs lined with rainbow trout.

The neighbors entered his darkened house after several days of silence, and found him dead, seated in his rocker, his half-cup of cold coffee at his elbow. The fishing gear was still piled in the chair across the room, offering mute tribute to his wholesome days.

This morning’s pleasure included spending time on the air with Kevin Harris and Alan Wade on Smooth Rock 93.5. I miss Marc Mitchell, who recently accepted a position with the Palestine Herald-Press, just down the road from the Redlands Hotel. Alan has provided warm friendship and excellent conversation, and adds another quality presence to the broadcast team.

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.

 

 

Chaotic Dreams

March 11, 2019

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View of Palo Duro Canyon

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Beginning of a Plein-Air Watercolor Sketch

You know, there’s a philosopher who says: as you live your life, it appears to be anarchy and chaos, and random events, non-related events, smashing into each other and causing this situation or that situation, and then, this happens, and it’s overwhelming, and it just looks like what in the world is going on? And later, when you look back at it, it looks like a finely crafted novel. but at the time, it don’t.

Joe Walsh, History of the Eagles, 2013 documentary

Blame it on the one-hour time change? Who knows? All I can think of this morning is the night’s attempted sleep just completed: an entire night blistered by an annoying, chaotic, sustained dream. I was put in charge of a community event: a reading of Molière’s play “Tartuffe”. The event was staged in a bowling alley/roller rink, and all of us tried our best to look composed on roller skates as we tried to figure out how to configure the seating: a circle? Rows? Groups? I was put in charge of the reading. Others entered the fray to take charge of casting, costuming, stage props. No matter how hard we tried to organize the event, something always intruded to disrupt whatever flow was initiated. And someone continued to shout from offstage: “Donnie, you’re out of your element!” When I finally awoke, it was still dark (time change) and I just lay there in the pre-dawn, taking the dream seriously. It rang true. We move through life, attempting to organize the chaos enveloping us. We schedule, we keep appointments, we tend to our biological necessities, and continue to move through the 24-hour cycle, handling whatever approaches us. As I write this, I fear my tone will read as one of panic. It isn’t. In fact, when I was a full-time employee, I never really collapsed under this kind of a schedule; I just accepted it as life. Now, being semi-retired, I do indeed feel that I am living a much fuller, more satisfied life, and wish I could have about 500 more years of it. Life is a gift, and I’m grateful for its abundance, even when the abundance comes as an avalanche of chaos.

The weeks ahead will indeed be stuffed with activity. My plan for teaching a 3-hour beginning watercolor workshop next Saturday in Palestine has morphed into back-to-back workshops, since the twenty we restricted the enrollment for has now grown to thirty (and still counting, perhaps?). I’m delighted and shocked to find such an interest. We will hold the event in the lobby of the Redlands Hotel, just down the hall from our gallery. The first session will be at 10:00, the second at 1:00. The first session has filled, but there is still room in the afternoon session. If you are interested, just contact me (you can text me at 817-821-8702) or respond to this blog. We are expecting an exciting day of activity.

The following week will be even busier as we kick off the 81st annual Dogwood Trails Art & Music Festival in downtown Palestine. Artists will be featured under a large tent on the parking lot across the street from the Redlands Hotel. Friday night from 7-9, a V.I.P. pre-sale event will feature a meeting with the artists. Tickets are $10 as wine & cheese will be served, and a classical guitarist will provide music. Already we have a good number pre-registered to attend.

The next day from 9-4:00 will be the actual festival, the crowds will be enormous, and the artists are hoping for an excellent day of sales. At 1:00, I will hold my first scheduled Gallery Talk in the lobby of The Redlands Hotel. The topic will be “Art in a Small Town” and my presentation will feature nostalgic portrayals of small-town America in art and literature. The lobby has a large flat-screen TV on which I’ll be able to project visuals during the talk. I have been excited over this opportunity for weeks and have enjoyed immensely the experience of putting the presentation together. This will be my first public presentation on art since retiring from all those years teaching art history in the schools. How nice, finally to present something that is not curriculum-driven (restricted)!

I am posting the beginning of a plein air watercolor sketch I started a couple of evenings ago while visiting Amarillo’s Palo Duro Canyon. The afternoon had been spent in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas. For years I had wanted to visit that institution, knowing that Georgia O’Keeffe had taught at West Texas State Normal College and that this museum had at least one of her early paintings in its collection. What I wasn’t prepared for was the amazing holdings the museum has, not only in Texas panhandle history (this is Texas’s largest history museum), but in paintings. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing amazing landscape paintings from Inness, Moran and N. C. Wyeth. And then spent a long time lingering in a gallery filled with the amazing work of Frank Reaugh. Upon leaving the museum, it was only fitting to travel to the canyon and spend some time sketching the horizon as the sun dropped low in the sky.

My past weeks have been devoted mostly to traveling, reading and journaling. I finished Virginia Woolf’s engaging Mrs. Dalloway and am now nearly 200 pages into N. C. Wyeth: A Biography by David Michaelis. I also have four small watercolors in progress that I hope to post on the blog soon.

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Completed Watercolor Sketch

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

“Marc & Dave in the Morning”?

February 20, 2019

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A surprise greeted me when I came to Palestine to work in The Gallery at Redlands. My “radio roommates” Kevin Harris and Marc Mitchell always provide lively company while broadcasting “Kevin and Marc in the Morning.” As it turns out, Kevin has been in Atlanta, conducting radio business, leaving Marc to anchor the morning show. So, Marc has invited me to join him this morning. And so, I am writing this in the gallery, waiting for us to go on the air.

If you read this during our actual broadcast hours, you may stream us live at Smooth Rock 93.5 FM. We will be on from 6-10:00 a.m. today.

Kevin Harris                                      Marc Mitchell

The March calendar is filling up for Palestine. On Saturday, March 16, I am offering a Beginning Watercolor Class in the Redlands Hotel Lobby from 10-1:00. The cost is $30 and it includes lunch and a beverage. All supplies are provided.  Our maximum enrollment is twenty, and seven have already enrolled. If you have an interest, please notify me (dmtripp2000@yahoo.com) and I will gladly sign you up.

Our 81st Dogwood Trails Arts & Music Festival will be March 23, from 9-4:00. I will be participating in this festival. We have added a special component: twenty artists will be selected to display under a large tent on the parking lot. The night before, March 22, from 7-9 p.m. will feature a V.I.P. reception and pre-sale. Tickets for this event are $10 at the door. Wine and cheese will be served and live classical guitar featured. This will be a special moment to meet the artists, and make any purchases you wish before the festival begins the following day.

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.

 

Commission Finished

February 3, 2019

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Thank you, all of you who have shown interest in the development of this watercolor. There have been requests to post it, so here it is, everything except the signature. This was a labor of love, as the stories behind it warm my heart and are very similar to experiences I knew, growing up and visiting my grandparents on the farm. The patron is a published author, with many fine stories to tell. I hope she publishes the stories surrounding this picture, as they have kept me good company while working on it.

Thanks for reading.

Return to the Gallery at Redlands

January 11, 2019

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Early Morning Country Drive

Waking at 5 a.m. is not my cup of tea, but I was motivated this morning: Smooth Rock 93.5 FM broadcasts out of the Gallery at Redlands in the historic Redlands Hotel in Palestine, Texas, two hours from my home. So, after being away several weeks over Christmas and New Year holidays, I decided I wanted to see my friends again, Kevin Harris and Marc Mitchell, during their live broadcast. Thanks to streaming, I listen to them nearly every weekday morning from 7-10:00 (I live outside their broadcast range), but this morning I decided I wanted to be in the gallery while they performed their magic. After driving through ninety minutes of miserable rain, I was greeted by an idyllic sunrise, and by the time I reached Palestine, was in the dry once again.

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Kevin Harris Broadcasting “Kevin and Marc in the Morning”

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And here is Marc Mitchell

Sure enough, when I entered the gallery, they immediately invited me to join them in the live broadcast. Oftentimes, Kevin gives me a heads up about what we are going to discuss, and then there are those times when I just hear the prompts the same time the listening audience does. This morning featured a little of both, as we discussed Leonardo da Vinci, Johannes Vermeer, and some related art ideas. I have that live slot behind me now, so I can just enjoy working at my desk and listening to this pair create this amazing radio presence.

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How many Radio Stations broadcast from an Art Gallery?

When I was notified last summer that a radio station was moving into The Gallery at Redlands, I was immediately enthusiastic, but had no idea just how magnificent this arrangement would turn out to be. I could not have asked for friendlier and more interesting “roommates” as I find with this duo. Their broadcast experience they manage to blend with a sense of humor and all-around joie de vivre that makes them a true delight to know. I have told countless friends that anyone feeling nervous about participating in a live broadcast will immediately find their fears allayed by the way these men handle live discussion formats; they melt the fear away immediately. And they have real fun in their work.

Moving on to another subject now . . .

I always love to pause and reflect over the emergence of a new year. Over the past two months, I have adopted the “Janus-faced” perspective I addressed in a recent blog. January is named after the Roman god Janus, depicted by a double-face looking simultaneously ahead and behind. As I prepare to retire 2018 and lean forward into 2019, I wish to comment on this morose passage I just read from Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf:

And while I ate and drank there came over me that feeling of change and decay and of farewell celebrations, that sweet and inwardly painful feeling of being a living part of all the scenes and all the things of an earlier life that has never yet been parted from, and from which the time to part has come. The modern man calls this sentimentality.

Frankly, I don’t recall ever entertaining these feelings during a New Year’s watch. For me, such times have always been an invitation to reflect, be thankful for the good that has been received, and find ways to deal with the not-so-good. I don’t look upon this past year as a bad one in my personal life, though plenty happened that I didn’t relish, and I don’t feel the need to gnaw on those distasteful bones any longer. Many wonderful things came my way, and I am thrilled to bring them into 2019 with me.

As far as goals and planning are concerned, I am very happy not to enter a classroom for an entire semester, and to see how successfully I can manage online instruction. As to art shows, I have nothing on my calendar until March and April, so, like a farmer in winter that gives attention to maintenance issues, I welcome this time to work on my art, my business, and tend details that need my attention. The planting season will arrive soon, and I pray for a successful harvest later in the year.

I have a wonderful stack of books waiting to be read, and am so glad to be free of deadlines for awhile. Hopefully, I’ll continue to find passages worthy of comment in future blogs.

Thanks for reading. And so, until next time, this is David Tripp signing off from the Gallery at Redlands, home of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM, situated in the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine, Texas.  I wish all of you an exquisite day.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

The Next Turn of the Wheel

December 20, 2018

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New Work on a Commission

There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual, such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign. It was in this hope that the arts were invented. Sign-posts on the way to what may be. Sign-posts toward greater knowledge.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

Finally, I am painting again! Nearly a month has passed since I’ve worked seriously in watercolor, as the college schedule heated up before dismissing for Christmas, and then a surgical procedure rendered me dormant for over a week.

I am writing now from the Gallery at Redlands, and listening to my roommates “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” on Smooth Rock 93.5 FM, less than twenty feet to my right. Last night the radio station hosted the Blue Santa Toy Drive with the Palestine Police Department in the driver’s seat. The evening was filled with acoustic musical performances, all of them first-rate. The lobby and gallery were filled with people all night and the unwrapped toy donations filled the space beneath the lobby tree, and then the histoiric elevator car was filled to capacity. I worked on the painting above as people moved in and out of the gallery, and our open door allowed the live music to flow in.

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Our Gallery Window, Tricked out for Christmas

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Heather Little performing in the Lobby

As warm music and conversation filled the Redlands Hotel last night, I felt the lovely spirit of Christmas joy.  Among the many highlights of my night was meeting Heather Little, a singer/songwriter from the area whose presence helped light up the night. Before she went on, she introduced herself to me in the gallery, admired my work, and visited with me awhile, answering all my questions about song writing. Her original tunes created a hush among the formerly loquacious gathering, and I am proud to insert her website below for your listening pleasure. If you are in the Dallas area, I highly recommend you checking out her venues.

http://www.heatherlittlemusic.com/

After the evening wound down, I retired to my suite upstairs and resumed reading Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, a novel I read with great fulfilment around 1987, and decided to re-read after a number of references popped up about the work and its background in my recent reading of John Kaag’s Hiking with Nietzsche. Last night the following words found their mark in my soul:

And these men, for whom life has no repose, live at times in their rare moments of happiness with such strength and indescribable beauty, the spray of their moment’s happiness is flung so high and dazzlingly over the wide sea of suffering, that the light of it, spreading its radiance, touches others too with its enchantment. Thus, like a precious, fleeting foam over the sea of suffering arise all those works of art, in which a single individual lifts himself for an hour so high above his personal destiny that his happiness shines like a star and appears to all who see it as something eternal and as a happiness of their own. 

While reading these words, I reflected over the lovely night I had enjoyed downstairs in the gallery and lobby. As the night filled with patrons and acoustic musicians, I watched from my drafting table as a world slowly emerged from my brush. Out of the white abyss, a house and trees slowly took form with layers of color combinations I had not previously used. This is the part of making art that moves me in ways I cannot describe. As I have told my friends, I love the Genesis creation narrative, of God creating a world out of chaos. Every time I gaze into a white rectangular space with brush in hand I feel a shiver as I ponder the possibilities that could emerge from that space. Watching something take shape from the tip of my brush still moves me. The Genesis narrative says God created people in his own image. I have long maintained that that “image” is the creative instinct that is inborn with all of us. Why do we create? Because we were created with that drive.

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 Coffee Before the Escape

November 8, 2018

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Preparing more Collage Materials

. . . the might-have-been is but boggy ground to build on.

Herman Melville, Billy Budd

“The things we could have done together.”

Steve Jobs speaking to John Sculley near the close of the film Steve Jobs

Days have rolled by since my last post. I just finished a whirlwind of activity between my college classes, art gallery and art festivals. In addition, there was plenty of travel for business purposes. And I have had some meaningful visits and conversations with friends. The fall season is always busy for art. And, I experienced a profound loss as well during this space in time. Hence, the quotes above.

At the time of this writing, I am preparing to meet my last college class of the week, and then will leave for the wilderness for awhile. The vacation was planned long ago, and it includes my closest and steadiest friends over the past thirty years. In fact, they were the ones that made the cabin arrangements and invited me to join. I am glad the day has finally arrived. I need the rest. This could prove to be the fullness of time.

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My Favorite Trout Stream within Driving Distance

Years ago, on a chilly November morning, I pulled four 20-inch rainbow trout out of this stream. It was the best fishing I had known in years, and I haven’t returned, until today. I hope the re-visit will fill me with the same calm that I knew back then. Few things stir me more deeply than the sounds of a flowing trout stream beneath towering bluffs. Times like this call to memory a text I read long ago:

Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. 

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.

Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

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My Attempt to Paint that Scene

I have packed my supplies for watercolor as the fall colors are peaking at this location (hopefully I can do some plein air painting, though forecasts call for temperatures to dip into the thirties). I also have a number of collage ideas surging in my head, mostly of Jack Kerouac themes. Happily, I sold my recent Kerouac collage to genuine friends I have happily known for a number of years. And of course, a stack of books have been packed along as well, mostly Kerouac, Thoreau, Annie Dillard, and a few others. I intend to devote days to meaningful conversations with my close friends, reading, writing, painting, journaling and thinking. I don’t yet know if I will have Wi-fii access where I am. So, if I go quiet a few days, the readers will know I am off the grid, which is also good.

At this time, I also wish to offer my sincere “Congratulations” to the Historic Redlands Hotel for being awarded Best Renovation/Rehab/Restoration by the Texas Downtown Association! I still cannot believe I have been offered the most beautiful gallery space in this special building!  And now, I have been joined by the best roommates I could ever imagine: Smooth Rock 93.5 FM. I miss the “boys” already. “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” from 7-10:00 provides great company for me at my desk every weekday morning.

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 Redlands Hotel, Palestine, Texas

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Joined by the “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” Personalities

So, until next time . . . thanks for reading.

I make art, hoping to discover.

I journal, being mostly alone.

I blog to remind myself sometimes I am not alone.

 

 

 

 

Another Buddhist Monastery Morning?

October 29, 2018

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2:17 a.m.

This happens often when I spend my nights in the country at my favorite hideaway—I’ll retire to bed around 8 or 9:00 and find myself awake at this mystical/magical/meditative hour.

Waking in the midst of yet another night, I lay in the quiet darkness and could not stop thinking about the enchanting day I spent yesterday at this place. Having slept late into yesterday morning, I made the decision to spend the entire Sunday here and not make the fifty-minute drive to the gallery. Sundays in the gallery usually are spent completely alone; hardly anyone comes into the Redlands Hotel or gallery on Sundays. I manage to get plenty of work done then, but this time I just wanted to let the day drift by slowly with reading and contemplation.

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The owners of the Gallery at Redlands own this property where I am privileged to spend weekends when the Redlands is completely booked. They come out to their ranch to feed livestock daily, and I always enjoy moments visiting with them. But yesterday was different; they had more time on their hands, and stopped by for a visit on the veranda that extended for quite a stretch. The conversation inspired me so much that I wrote the rest of the day in the journal, fleshing out the ideas we discussed. They are just as inspired as I with the possibilities now for an art culture to take root in Palestine. With the arrival of the radio station in the gallery and the enthusiasm of the personnel there, I was able to see during the weekend’s Hot Pepper Festival the possibilities now awaiting all of us. We have decided to launch an art festival next fall for the very first time in Palestine. I’ll be discussing more of this in the months ahead.

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As evening descended, I sat motionless in the rocker, hoping for deer to come and visit. I wasn’t disappointed. Looking way off across the pastureland to my right, I saw one, two, three, four, then five deer emerge from the edge of the forest and slowly make their way out into the pastureland to graze. Turning my head back to the yard in front of me, I felt a jolt like electricity flashing through me—a deer was standing thirty yards directly in front of me. She had stepped out from the shadows of the trees behind the barn. As I continued to watch her, a second one then materialized out of the darkness. Then a third. A fourth. A fifth. A sixth. And as I continued to watch, I then saw silhouettes of more in the shadowed woods—seven, eight, nine and ten. I continued to sit still for about fifteen more minutes, watching all of them, grazing, suddenly jerking their heads up and standing erect, ears out, listening, then lowering their heads to graze, then heads up again—a continual rhythm of eating and watching for potential danger. Then, as if following a signal, one exited stage left, followed by the next, then the next, and in less than a minute they were all gone. I then looked out over the pastureland, and all the deer out there had vanished as well. The moment had passed.

Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear. In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,—no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground,—my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,—all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all . . . 

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature 

Most of yesterday was spent on the veranda reading slowly and taking observational notes from Philip Kapleau’s The Three Pillars of Zen. Fifty-four pages into the text, I find myself very absorbed with this practice of zazen, having already become acquainted with it from occasionally teaching World Religions at TCU and Texas Wesleyan University, and reading Natalie Goldberg the past couple of days has once again brought these ideas to my attention. I cannot honestly say that I have spent time seated in the lotus position, and have yet to spend time counting my breathing, but I am intrigued at the Buddhist writings concerning enlightenment, and these writings convinced me to stay here at this country retreat for an extra day yesterday. Now, having risen at this hour, I have a few more hours to spend with these writings before driving to the gallery to join my radio friends.

7:25 a.m.

Smooth Rock 93.5 FM is in full swing with the “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” show underway. Kevin Harris and Marc Mitchell are always in good spirits when I see them in the studio, and this morning is no different, though they were stretched considerably by the weekend’s festivities. It has to be rough rising before daylight on Mondays when you have hosted a huge weekend event. The Hot Pepper Festival is in the books, and I’m sure they feel no regrets over its success.

And so, this is Dave, along with Kevin and Marc wishing you a splendid day as we send out our greetings from The Gallery at Redlands and Smooth Rock 93.5 FM, live from the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine, Texas.