Posts Tagged ‘gallery at redlands’

Mornings are always good in The Gallery at Redlands

September 9, 2021

Preparing to return to work on the “mules” watercolor

I managed to rise early enough this morning to make the two-hour journey to Palestine, arriving in The Gallery at Redlands at 9:00 sharp. The fatigue from yesterday’s university events still tries to cling to the peripheries of my consciousness. But today is a new day. I love to begin each day with what others laughingly refer to “executive time.” For me actually, it is the quiet, reflective time of the morning before I pursue any kind of major task. I love the quiet, the coffee, the music, the open journal and the open book, and most of all, the open part of a schedule that allows my mind to drift unaffected by the outer world. When I can begin a day this way, I honestly feel I have an advantage against all the forms of negatvitity that show up along the day’s journey.

Since Martin Heidegger was part of what I taught yesterday, I’m reading some of his work, and some secondary material as well. What caught my attention a few moments ago was this from Adam Sharr in Heidegger’s Hut:

The thinking of the Frankfurt school on the one hand and of Heidegger’s school on the other continue to define two forms of modern truth: the one discovered, through work in the metropolitan library and urban loft, by the dialectic of ideal and real, the other revealed by an encounter with an uncorrupted ideal at the rural retreat.

From my reading about Heidegger, I’ve been intrigued by his preference to spend time alone in a cabin built for him in 1922, situated in the Black Forest near the town of Todtnauberg, today a forty-minute drive from Freiburg, where he was teaching in the university. Heidegger did not like the university or urban environment, and escaped as often as he could to this cabin. It was there that he wrote for over five decades his most famous published works, including Being and Time.

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Heidegger’s Hut

Naturally I am smitten by this detail, because it describes my own preferences as well. The city of Arlington holds zero interest for me, though I appreciate owning a home in a nice neighborhood. In my closing years of teaching high school, I was given the key to an old store nearly three hours out of Arlington, in east Texas. The owners of this property trusted me with the key, that I would not tell people where the property was, and I would use it only to get out of the city to pursue my own scholarly or creative interests. I did some of my best painting there, and feel that I wrote some of my finest lectures there as well. But I also spent hours just sitting and pondering.

Sitting outside the old store
Painting inside the old store

For a number of years now I have divided my time between Arlington and Palestine, and now more recently between Texas Wesleyan University and The Gallery at Redlands. I appreciate both worlds, but prefer the quieter world here in The Redlands Hotel. Hopefully the work I am able to do here in solitude at the end of the week will translate well into the work I am called to do when I enter the university halls in the beginning of the week.

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.

Saturday Painting in Progress

September 4, 2021

We cannot will to have insights. We cannot will creativity. But we can will to give ourselves to the encounter with intensity of dedication and commitment. The deeper aspects of awareness are activated to the extent that the person is committed to the encounter.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

Saturday at The Gallery at Redlands has been a good day for working on this watercolor. I’m taking a deep breath and preparing to wander into the reflection of the mounted mule on the left. I’ve only painted water reflections once, and it was so long ago I don’t recall any processes and I didn’t take notes:

It was easier to reflect a stationary building in a still puddle like a mirror. Ripples of a moving stream have always kicked my butt, so we’ll see what happens on this one. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Thanks for reading.

A New Angle on Prometheus

September 3, 2021
Breaking Ground on a New Painting

Zeus was outraged. He decreed that Prometheus be punished by being bound to Mount Caucasus, where a vulture was to come each morning and eat away his liver which would grow again at night. This element in the myth, incidentally, is a vivid symbol of the creative process. All artists have at some time had the experience at the end of the day of feeling tired, spent, and so certain they can never express their vision that they vow to forget it and start all over again on something else the next morning. But during the night their “liver grows back again.” They arise full of energy and go back with renewed hope to their task, again to strive in the smithy of their soul.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

In today’s reading Rollo May has astonished me yet again. From my youth, I’ve heard heard the myth of Prometheus, but with no interpretation, only the gory details. May’s interpretation of this myth as the nightly restoration of the artist to begin again the following morning has suddenly become medicine for my soul. This last week at the university tired me out, and the knowledge of a new class made me crumple a little more. But thanks to a weekend in the Redlands Hotel, I feel renewed, and eager to begin the next painting as well as the next lecture.

Yesterday I broke ground on a new watercolor, drawing in a few essential details, then masquing a myriad of objects that needed protection from the initial washes. Early this morning I laid in the sky, then masqued some more on the landscape elements. Now I’m ready to plunge up to my elbows into the forest behind the pair of mounted mules. I’m anticipating as much fun as a kid in a sandbox as I work with pencils, brushes, Xacto knife, stale bread crumbs, salt, spritzing bottle, and plenty of surprises. Hopefully by the time I’m finished playing, a forest will have emerged. Then I’ll move on to the pair of mounted mules in the creek below.

As the watercolor goes through its series of drying stages, I’ll move to the desk and work on next Wednesday’s ethics lecture (university will be closed for Labor Day). I love this old feel of moving back and forth between making a piece of art and reading/writing in preparation of a new lecture. Always, the dual aspects of art and scholarship have fed each other, nurtured each other. I’m expecting this to continue throughout the semester. Not only do I hope to continue creating art worth looking at (and purchasing, of course), but I also hope to steal fire from the gods and give it to the university students. And every time I experience fatigue, I hope a decent night’s sleep will yield a fresh morning after, my liver restored, and a readiness to face the new day of possibilities. Thanks to Rollo May, The Courage to Create has been creating new fire within my soul along with a procreant urge to create new material for the gallery and the university.

Back to work 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.

Good Thursday Morning from The Gallery at Redlands

September 2, 2021
Gallery at Redlands. Palestine, Texas

Cogito ergo sum (Descartes)

Creo ergo sum (Tripp)

Life has handed me yet another gift. A month ago, I was happily settled into the retired life and adjusting to dividng time between work as a gallerist and that of an artist. Though not in the classroom for four years, I continued to read in my academic fields, because the lifestyle had suited me all those years, and serious reading and thinking contributed to my art.

A few weeks ago, Texas Wesleyan University came calling after a four-semester hiatus. I had never felt comfortable leaving that campus, but adjunct instructors can only wait for contract offers, and I felt that with the advent of COVID those offers would be no more. With the surprise phone call, a Humanities online course was offered and I accepted. Then, a couple of weeks later, an Ethics lecture course was offered in addition. I was grateful to be trusted with the responsibility and accepted. Then, this week, a third course was offered, another Ethics lecture spot. Suddenly, I am saddled with a three-quarter time university faculty load. For two weeks I have absolutely relished time spent in the prior two courses, and as it turns out, the new Ethics course can mirror the one I already have in progress. More grading of course, but not extra prep time for lectures.

RenĂ© Descartes is famous for his dictum “I think therefore I am.” As an educator I have loved the life of the mind and have wanted life as a thinker to ground my art endeavors. But now I’ve decided to fashion the Latin phrase for “I create therefore I am.” Making art has defined me my entire life, truly my raison d’etre.

So, Thursday morning finds me settled into The Gallery at Redlands. I drove down this morning, arriving around 9:00. Some details need to be tended, then I will turn my attention to the new painting I’ve been planning for days. Stay tuned . . .

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

August 29, 2021

The border line is the truly propitious place for acquiring knowledge.

Paul Tillich, The Interpretation of History

With the room darkened from overcast morning skies, I woke at 7:00 this Sunday morning feeling the urge for coffee and books. I have not been disappointed. Paul Tillich is one of my patron saints to whom I return again and again, particularly when I begin a new semester of teaching. After a four-semester hiatus, I was not prepared for the rush of eudaimonia I now feel as we burst into this new semester of academic pursuit.

Tillich’s most famous student, psychologist Rollo May, has authored a precious volume titled Paulus: Reminiscences of a Friendship that provides the most intimate gaze into the persona of Tillich and his effect on students. I re-read several chapters of that volume, then went to Paul Tillich: The Future of Religions, edited by Jerald C. Brauer. Brauer authored the first chapter “Paul Tillich’s Impact on America”, and I am inspired profoundly at the description of Tillich’s analytical and synthetic thought processes:

Paul Tillich had the unusual combination of a powerfully analytic mind yet a constructive or creative mind. The power of analysis was never used simply for its own sake–to analyze the ideas of other men or of other periods of history. His primary task was always to construct his own system, to create his vision of meaning and coherence. This was one of the most compelling forces that attracted and held the attention of students. Finely honed analytic minds are commonplace in universities, but a synthetic mind, a truly constructive or creative mind is a rarity.

Reading this sent me back to Rollo May’s Paulus (this book has become a Bible for me since I first read it in 1993). I knew there was an example of Tillich’s creative synthesis of multiple sources:

Paulus encountered the world in many dimensions at the same time. He was at home with Heraclitus in ancient Greece, with Abelard in the Middle Ages, and with Nicolas of Cusa in the Renaissance. He confronted a person with all these different levels at once. . . . In our day of “intimacy-over-the-weekend” we have forgotten the truth in Tennyson’s “I am a part of all that I have met” . . .

Throughout my years of research and teaching, I have always been fascinated with the world of “connections”, of “seams”, of “junctures”. I know that my habit of stitching together disparate sources to construct some kind of a system extends as far back as my college days when I struggled with demands of my own Bachelor’s Degree and my first pastorate. Just this past weekend while immersed in a painting of Lonesome Dove, I found myself re-thinking ideas I had read from the letters of N. C. Wyeth that seemed to link naturally with portions of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. That is how I am wired. I’m always tearing into the building blocks of texts, down to the foundational words in sentences and suddenly recognizing a connection with a completely different source.

At the moment I’m trying to compose an essay (simply for my own edification) that addresses these seams, these cracks, that Tillich identified as “the propitious place for acquiring knowledge”. I find myself hearing Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” once again:

There is a crack in everything.

That’s how the light gets in.

Thanks for reading. I need to get back to this stuff . . . I stopped in the middle of my reading with this impulse to try and convey to my readers what’s going on in my head this soothing and dark Sunday morning.

Finished Lonesome Dove Sketch

August 29, 2021
Hat Creek Cattle Company (and we still don’t rent pigs), Watercolor 11 x 14″ framed. $350

His plan had been to observe and sketch a cattle roundup for Scribner’s. But as soon as Wyeth was mounted and facing a herd, he became a cowpuncher. Outfitted from hat to stirrup, he hired on at the Gill Ranch and set out with thirty-five cowboys to “hunt and to bring together thousands of cattle scattered over a large part of the country known as the free range.”

N. C. Wyeth: A Biography

Reading the N. C. Wyeth biography along with Larry McMurtry’s four novels unfolding the Call and McCrae saga has motivated me recently to put out a group of watercolor studies of cowboys, horses, longhorns, bison, etc. This is the last one completed and now displayed in our lobby window of The Gallery at Redlands. My next adventure is to paint mules against some magnificent scenery sent to me by a teaching friend, thank you Peggy Kirkland!

And I thank the rest of you for reading.

Finishing a Quick Study

August 28, 2021

Why do we seek climates warmed by another sun? Who is the man that by fleeing from his country, can also flee from himself?

Horace, Ode, ii. 16. 18

One telling Socrates, that such a one was nothing improved by his travels: “I very well believe it,” said he, “for he took himself along with him.”

Montaigne, “Of Solitude”

Reading Montaigne on this early Saturday morning has proved to be a great beginning to a day in the gallery/studio. I am happy to find myself in good company when in solitude, but I also confess that the company will improve greatly once Sandi enters the gallery!

My plan is to finish this 8 x 10″ watercolor today and frame it for the Gallery. We will head back home tonight, but I’m delighted to have begun & completed a painting in the short time we were here.

Back to work! 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.

Quick Work on a Pair

August 27, 2021
Attempting the Lonesome Dove Pairing

I cannot believe the afternoon has already arrived. It’s been a busy Friday in the Gallery at Redlands. I began this 8 x 10″ watercolor around 9:30 and have been dividing my time between Lonesome Dove and Aristotle (painting and Texas Wesleyan ethics lecture). I know this sounds nuts, but I love it everytime two seemingly disparate fields flow into one another. While waiting for portions of the watercolor to dry, I’ve been re-acquainting myself with Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Four Causes as expounded in his Physics.

Aristotle argued that all living things have formal, material, efficient and final causes embedded in them. The efficient cause refers to the energy, the urge for one to develop, to strive, to mature toward that final, complete cause. The final cause is the target, the terminus, the realm of completion. And when people ask where the final cause resides, the answer is: within you. Aristotle (later echoed by T. S. Eliot and a host of others) held that the end is already contained in the beginning. People have their own ways to interpret this, but I like to think about my own impulses to make art. From the time I was quite small, I had the urge to draw, to color, to create my world on paper. No matter what trajectory my life followed, in education, in employment, in profession, I always came back around to art, because it was in me.

Another aspect of this Aristotelian argument that appeals to me is the notion of the painting already residing in the surface, though I’m staring at a blank piece of paper. I’m not as anxious as I used to be to touch the brush or pencil to the paper, because I can already “see” what I want to do within this white rectangle. The reason I couldn’t wait to begin today’s watercolor is because I have had this image in my eye for days after countless hours spent sorting out photos and movie clips of Lonesome Dove. My only regret with this small piece is that I left no room behind the characters; I really wished to overwhelm the composition with the Llano Estacado. Maybe I’ll attempt this again later with more background available.

Thanks for reading.

New Work Commencing at Gallery at Redlands

August 27, 2021
Ready to begin new watercolor studies

Edouard Manet: “This will be my best painting yet.”

Edgar Degas: “You always say that.”

Manet: “Yes, and it’s always true.”

For any of you who have not yet viewed “The Impressionists” on DVD (a BBC production), you simply must! It is a gripping motion picture chronicling the dramatic lives of Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir and Cezanne. You will laugh and you will cry. The dialogue above always fills my head when I am confident over starting a new watercolor series. (This will be my best painting yet!) Last night I prepared three stretched watercolor papers on stretcher bars and today (Friday) I intend to get started on them. If they turn out like I hope they will, I will be blogging their progress.

Newly arranged gallery window
Some early morning reading and writing before I begin watercoloring

Thanks for reading.

Back in The Gallery at Redlands

August 26, 2021

Thursday has turned out to be transition day, from university life to gallery life. Sandi and I have now arrived in Palestine to stay till Saturday night. We reshuffled the gallery’s deck of paintings to present a new look and are proud of what we see now. Unfortunately, I’m dead tired and cannot think of painting tonight. But there is tomorrow . . . and I’m certain I’ll be blogging and reporting on a new watercolor.

Thanks for reading.