Posts Tagged ‘Historic Inn at Redlands’

Retirement Odyssey

June 15, 2017

crockett

My first Retirement Retreat off the Grid

Push it. Examine all things intensely and relentlessly.
Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

1:21 a.m., Thursday morning (barely)
June 15, 2017

Sitting in this dark country kitchen tonight, I feel that I am drifting in the current of a moonless midnight river without oars, and without compass. With the banks on both sides concealed in the night gloom, and unable to discern what lies immediately before me, I find retirement very scintillating and intriguing. The senses feel sharp, and the anticipation positive. In midweek, I decided to make the two-and-a-half-hour road trip to Palestine, Texas, and resettle The Gallery at Redlands for a few days. This new gallery opened in March with my one-man-show, and the relationship I have enjoyed with the proprietors since that day has been deeply satisfying to my soul. When I retired last week from twenty-eight years of teaching school, I was happy to know that a new chapter was waiting to be written.

After yesterday’s road trip following a mostly sleepless night, I found myself extremely exhausted by five in the afternoon. I had already put in six hours at the gallery and another hour at a Rotary Club meeting where I made a number of new acquaintances. I managed to frame a couple of my recent watercolors, began work on a new painting and resumed work on a painting abandoned last year. Ten more works were added to the display I already had in place, and the interior of the gallery felt like home once again to me. I could feel myself smiling internally.

After closing shop, I made the fifty-minute drive out into the country to tuck myself in to my favorite hideaway—an old store that friends allow me to make my home-away-from home, off the grid beside a gravel road. Settling on the porch with a fresh cup of coffee, the cool winds concealed the reality of a 95-degree late Texas afternoon, and I gazed across acres of sun-washed pastureland, letting my thoughts drift. Finally at 7:30, I could no longer keep my eyes open, so I retired to bed, knowing that was probably a mistake. Sure enough, at 11:50 I awakened, and have been unable to sleep since. My mind is too awake, too interested, too consumed with possibilities of the new Thursday that has yet to dawn. I sit now at the large kitchen table of this old store, composing this “blind blog” (no Wi-Fi in this remote location), waiting for drowsiness to lead me back to bed.

Palestine is a city of trains, and the Texas Railroad Authority has granted me access to some of their historic locomotives, including old #610. This behemoth pulled the Texas Freedom Train all over the state during our nation’s bicentennial in 1976. Following that year, the locomotive served time in Atlanta, Georgia until it completely tired out, and was returned to Texas. For nearly three months, I have waited for the opportunity to paint this enormous machine, poring over a number of photos taken from a recent visit to the shed where it’s been parked. I have a number of experimental ideas in mind as I try for the first time to render this loco’s portrait in watercolor and pencil.

While I’m working in the gallery over the next few days, I also hope to complete a larger watercolor of a passenger rail car I found in Eureka Springs, Arkansas during a visit last year. I’ve always been dissatisfied with the muted colors on the side of the car, and think I can try a few tricks to enrich them. The foliage also needs more work.

(Next day) After falling asleep around 2:30 this morning and sleeping till nearly 7:00, I rose to a more promising dawn, and the moonless night river yielded to a sunny morning drive, my Jeep cutting across the countryside, and my heart filled with a renewed sense of adventure. By mid-afternoon things were hopping in The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, as I met several new friends, and managed to frame two more watercolors, finish my Eureka Springs passenger rail car, and break ground on the old #610. This is a retired Texas and Pacific 2-10-4 steam locomotive, the largest I’ve seen in over ten years. Seventy of these 600-series locomotives were manufactured, and this is the only one that still exists.  Right now, I’m waiting for the background of the painting to dry so I can begin work on the actual locomotive.

610 beginning

Old #610 Texas and Pacific in Progress

The draftsman must aggress; only by persistent assault will the live image capitulate and give up its secret to an unrelenting line.

Rico Lebrun

I anticipate a struggle and plenty to learn as I attempt to render the details on this complex locomotive.

eureka springs beginning

Eureka Springs Rail Odyssey, 16 x 12″ unframed, $250

Finally I finished the Eureka Springs passenger car I started long ago and resumed work on yesterday afternoon.  A number of new paintings have been brought out to The Gallery at Redlands for display and sale as well:

old store

Remnants from an Old Store, 11 x 14″ framed, $250

This subject was taken from the store where I gladly live when I retreat to the Texas wilderness.  Before retiring to bed last night, I walked into the store room and looked at this section of shelving behind the cash register, grateful for the memories of painting it last year.

indian corn

Indian Corn, 14 x 18″ framed, $225

I worked on this piece last winter while visiting with my parents in St. Louis, and finally got around to framing it.

palestine

Palestine Memory, 14 x 18″ framed, $200

I painted this scene from the Gallery window during my one-man-show last March, and finally got it framed and presented in the Gallery.

I plan to spend the next three days and evenings in The Gallery at Redlands, making as many watercolors as I can during this period, and continuing to make friends in the city of Palestine.  So far, the experience has been fulfilling.

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.

 

 

 

 

Musings on the Last Day of My Show

April 9, 2017

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Three Views of the Lobby of The Redlands Historic Inn

seam holding

Photo taken by Z Jary

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Selfie taken early this morning before opening, the last day

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Jean Mollard just added me to the historical brochure of The Redlands!

Waking this Sunday morning, I wasn’t sure how I felt. Closing out this three-week show this evening and heading back home flooded me with a sad feeling. Yet, being invited to take part in Palestine’s future cultural events bathed me with warmth and excitement, knowing I can now begin writing a new chapter to this life narrative. So, before I open The Gallery at Redlands for this day, I pause once more to thank everyone who contributed to the excitement and success of the last three weeks–to my friends who visited, my patrons, my new friends I’ve met in this community, my facebook and blogging friends who continually wrote in your support–so many well-wishers–I thank you from the depths. Above all, I thank Wade and Gail for your vision in opening this gallery space, as well as Jean and Mike for your warm friendship and hospitality in this remarkable Redlands Historic Inn. This 102-year-old Inn is a most remarkable environment for overnight or extended stays, and the Red Fire Grille on the ground floor offers a fine dining experience that still leaves me in awe. So, anyone reading this, check out www.RedlandsHistoricInn.com, look at the photos of their spectacular rooms, pack your bags, and move in!  This historic facility and its owners are first-rate. I had friends come out and book suites the past two weekends, and they are still buzzing about the experience of staying here. I too had the privilege of living here the past three weekends and am going to miss the place sorely when I move out today.

Someone who was bound to know what he was talking about, Albrecht Dürer, did after all make the well-known remark: “For in truth, art lies hidden within nature; he who can wrest it from her, has it.” “Wrest” here means to draw out the rift and to draw the design with the drawing-pen on the drawing-board. But we at once raise the counterquestion: how can the rift-design be drawn out if it is not brought into the Open by the creative sketch as a rift, which is to say, brought out beforehand as a conflict of measure and unmeasure? True, there lies hidden in nature a rift-design, a measure and a boundary and, tied to it, a capacity for bringing forth–that is, art. But it is equally certain that this art hidden in nature becomes manifest only through the work, because it lies originally in the work.

Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art”

Over breakfast this morning, I reread portions of Heidegger’s essay that always intrigues me. Next week I will engage in plein air painting as Paint Historic Waxahachie is already under way for those of us who registered early. These words from Heidegger and Dürer will linger with me as I set up my portable easel, fix my eye on a subject, and begin dragging my pencil across the white rectangular surface of stretched watercolor paper, searching out the rift, the boundary, the divisions. I recall Robert Motherwell saying that drawing was the organization of space. I like that perspective. The compositional issues playing out on the white rectangle of space, the abyss, as I organize graphite lines and colored pigments always thrills me when I am outdoors attempting to capture a slice of the scene playing out before me. I got to do some of that inside this gallery the past two weekends as I painted something I could see out the window.

me3apainting

Is it still plein-air when you are standing indoors?!

Next week, I will be outside giving this another try.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Unwinding After a Spectacular Weekend

April 8, 2017

seam

The soul is not a compensation, but a life. The soul is. Under all this running sea of circumstance, whose waters ebb and flow with perfect balance, lies the aboriginal abyss of real Being.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Compensation”

I have hung the painting above, titled “Finding the Seam” in place of the “Fort Worth Cattle Drive” which just went home with its new owner. The fly fishing painting was copied from a photo of me fishing the South Fork of the Rio Grande several years back. I have it listed at $800 framed. I’m happy that it fits the gap just fine that was left by the cattle drive composition.

I am keeping the Gallery at Redlands open till 9:00 p.m., since restaurant patrons are still drifting in and out. But now I finally have some time to read Emerson and reflect over a perfect day. The Emerson quote has come alive for me in the quiet of the evening as the hotel finally grows quiet following a day of high activity. Patrons kept me busy and talking almost the entire day, and sales have kept us all happy. This one-man-show has gone far beyond my highest expectations, and one day remains. A part of me is sad to see it come to a close, but another part of me is bone-tired and could use some rest. For three weekends now, I have felt this pull between the traffic of gallery patrons and the quiet in the recesses of my soul where I contemplate the next painting.

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Elena, Courtney, Morgan and Rachael

One of the highlights of my show featured my teaching colleague, Rachael Peterson, bringing three of my Advanced Placement Art History students all the way out here from Arlington. What a joy to see them outside our everyday school complex. The girls fell in love with Palestine, its businesses and its people. Thank you, girls, for coming out and making this even more fun. You truly are a treasure, and I’m still smiling at every memory of you.

Tripp

Photo by Z Jary

Yesterday I was visited by a pair of artistic friends, Elaine and Z Jary. Elaine is a watercolorist and Z a photographer. Z patiently photographed me repeatedly, inside and outside the gallery, and was kind enough to send me a fistful of photos online. I have selected this one to put up. Z Jary, thank you, I am amazed at your photographic eye.

I will definitely sleep tonight. I was in the gallery before eight this morning, and am now closing it thirteen hours later. But the day has been precious and I appreciate every conversation and every encouraging word I encountered today.

Thank you for reading.

 I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Saturday Morning, Playing in the Gallery

April 8, 2017

gallery two

gallery one

To think is to confine yourself to a single thought that one day stands still like a star in the world’s sky.

Martin Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet”

The cool of a 58-degree Saturday morning was very welcoming to me as I stepped out of the hotel shortly after six and drove out to the Loop to my favorite breakfast diner. I tried to remain after breakfast to read and relax over coffee, since there were plenty of empty tables still. But alas, someone came in and occupied the booth next to me, and in a voice loud enough for the entire cafe to hear, she chatted to her partner about all the properties she was looking at in Mansfield, Arlington, Bedford, McKinney, Frisco . . . . Oh well, I had to remind myself I was not in a public library, and people come to  diners to talk about whatever they wish.

So, I opened The Gallery at Redlands shortly after 7, and have enjoyed a few hours of quiet, reflective reading and writing, inspired by Heidegger’s essay “What Are Poets For?” I love this essay, along with “The Origin of the Work of Art.” Heidegger urges that the creative person confronts the raw materials of earth with his/her “world” (all that that person has gathered into the self by experience) and that out of that confrontation emerges a work of art. I like that–art work emerges when I bring all that I am to encounter the world as I feel it presenting itself to me.

Looking up from my reading and writing, I liked the quality of the light flooding the gallery through the display window, and picking up my phone, snapped several photographs. About an hour later, my phone chimed, surprising me with this Google Photos program that arranged my photos into two panorama compositions. I have posted them above.

Two of my friends came out from the metroplex yesterday and stayed several hours with me, Z and Elaine Jary. Both are artists–Z a photographer and Elaine a watercolorist. Z took a number of photos yesterday and has promised to send some. In the event that he does, I will certainly blog them with proper credit to him.

Well, the gallery is now open for business and people are starting to fill the lobby.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Friday Evening Gallery Serenity

April 7, 2017

redlands

Lately from time to time my work up there is interrupted by long stretches at conferences, lecture trips, committee meetings and my teaching work down here in Freiburg.  But as soon as I go back up there . . . I am simply transported into the work’s own rhythm, and in a fundamental sense I am not in control of its hidden law.

Martin Heidegger, “Why Do I Stay in the Pronvinces?” (1934 radio address)

As the sun lingers a moment longer on the horizon of Palestine, Texas, I pause and enjoy the coolness of the breezes whispering across the quiet streets downtown and the voices of patrons drifting in and out of the Gallery at Redlands as well as the Historic Redlands Inn. It has been a most pleasant afternoon and evening, with friends dropping in from out of town whose company I find rejuvenating to me as an artist and lover of life. Shifting gears away from school life and into this small town and gallery life is comparable to what Heidegger described as he moved back and forth between the University of Freiburg and his cabin in the quiet town of Todtnauberg in the Black Forest.

As this evening grew quiet, I recalled enchanting hours spent on the Laguna Madre the past couple of summers, and drifted across the gallery to see the twelve framed island paintings arranged together on one of the walls.

durer

This one in particular appealed to me, because on the late afternoon I painted it, I was working through Martin Heidegger’s essay “The Origin of the Work of Art.” He quoted the Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer–” ‘For in truth, art lies hidden within nature; he who can wrest it from her, has it.” Laying the book aside, I looked deeply into the cord grasses clustered at my feet, and as I thought of the layers of color embedded in those strands of grasses, my mind concocted a scheme that involved masking, layering, scraping and drawing. I knew that the task would involve layer upon layer of work and scrutiny,  and the effort took me well into the evening hours. By the time the final layers of masking were removed and the last glazes of wash applied, I indeed felt that I had wrested something from nature that evening. Hence, I felt the need to journal all over the page before submitting the work for framing.

The hour is growing late, and I feel the weariness of today’s lengthy travel, followed by long hours in the gallery. A special thanks to all my friends who came and kept me in good company and cheer this afternoon.  I love you all.

And thanks to all of you who read me . . .

Warm Thoughts of Thanksgiving

April 6, 2017

artists

The Gang

The struggle to mold something into language is like the resistance of the towering firs against the storm.

Martin Heidegger, “Why Do I Stay in the Provinces?” (1934 radio address)

Feeling trashed-out due to long afternoons and late nights sifting through business-related data and paperwork, I’m a little thin on inspirational reading tonight, and ready for bed well ahead of my usual bedtime. But as I prepare for my final weekend at The Gallery at Redlands, I’ve received such affirming news throughout this day from friends, colleagues and students planning to make the two-hour trek to east Texas this weekend and wish me well. My feelings of gratitude are impossible to mold adequately into words, just as Heidegger stated in his radio address above.

Making art is a solitary enterprise.  No one can do it for you. And I haven’t placed much stock in collaboration on artistic work. But I know how it is to feel isolated and out of step with the world at times when I’m submerged in my work. When I find occasion to reach out an connect with other kindred spirits, I know I have found something special in this life. I’ve posted a picture of the circle of artistic spirits that I’m honored to know as dear friends. We gather weekly at a cafe on the north side of town to exchange ideas, inspiration and to build one another up. They have repeatedly turned my life and emotions around to the positive side just by their words and enthusiasm. For years, I had wished to know the kind of camaraderie experienced by the Ash Can School, the French Impressionists, the Lot Generation and the New York School as they found a cafe or bar where they could gather and flourish. Finally, I have found a place and a circle of souls to provide that nurture. So, I thank you–Pam, Kelly, Stacy, Elaine and Ian–for what you bring to the table of artistic inspiration. There are so few like you.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Pining for Plein Air Activity

April 5, 2017

South Fork Pine

Plein Air Watercolor Sketch of Colorado Pine

My one-man-show will close Sunday, April 9 at 5:00 p.m. and I hope to take a day or two to catch my breath.  Then I will dive head-first into my favorite annual plein air painting event: Paint Historic Waxahachie.  Artists who registered in advance were given the green light to begin painting April 1, but I’ve been too busy with this show and my daily school responsibilities–next week, I hope.

The watercolor sketch posted above is in my show at the Gallery at Redlands. I painted it in Colorado last summer while relaxing with daily fly fishing and plein air watercoloring. My pulse rate changes dramatically when I am in that Rocky Mountain environment, and I cannot wait to return there for an extended vacation this summer. Every time I look at this small painting, I recall those beautiful, chilly, sun-drenched mornings when I sat out on the porch of my cabin with my coffee, surveying the South Fork of the Rio Grande rolling by below.

I truly miss those days, and can’t wait for them to return.

Thanks for reading.

Thoughts Gathering in the Late Night

April 4, 2017

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Fishing Memories–$1200 framed

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To speak of these things and to try to understand their nature and, having understood it, to try slowly and humbly and constantly to express, to press out again, from the gross earth or what it brings forth, from sound and shape and colour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of the beauty we have come to understand–that is art.

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

I would be lying if I were to call this an inspiring day–after a full day in school, I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening gathering data, crunching numbers and doing all those things related to the business side of art.  I would always rather squint into the surface of a watercolor composition than between the lines of a spreadsheet.

Now that the hour has drawn late and I still haven’t found sleep, I thought I would reward myself by returning to some James Joyce texts. I’m more than halfway through Ulysses, and reading that has been an uneven experience.  Tonight’s reading was rather opaque, so finally I put the volume down and picked up his Portrait to re-read some of the portions I’ve highlighted from earlier readings. The one I quoted above is one of my favorites as the protragonist of the story thoughtfully articulates his theory of the art making enterprise. I find a close similarity between Joyce, Emerson and Heidegger as they describe the origin of art as springing from a struggle between the person and the natural world. In the days ahead, I hope I can spend more time working on the ideas of these three intriguing writers and see if I can explore further what they sought to expound.

But I believe I should retire to bed so that I may have some kind of a pulse when I face my classes yet again tomorrow.

The image I’ve posted above is one of my favorite watercolors that I worked on during winter months two or three years ago. It is my largest painting still in my collection and offered up for sale in the show at The Gallery at Redlands which closes Sunday.

Thanks for reading . . .

Anticipating the Final Stretch

April 3, 2017

Durango SilvertonEureka Springs Iron Horse

sandi (2)

Ridglea Theater

Haltom Jewelers

My soul overflows with feelings of good will tonight as I rest and think over all the splendor of this past weekend at the Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas.  It was the second weekend of my One-Man-Show, and we will close out the show this coming Sunday, April 9 at 5:00.  Immediately afterward, I’m anticipating a great time as I gather with some of the artists of Anderson County Arts Council for dinner and planning of future art endeavors.

I regret that I did not blog from Saturday onward, but I was covered up with patrons and friends who had journeyed a long distance to spend the weekend with me. And I’m excited at the news that other friends have expressed a desire to come out this final weekend. Palestine is a couple hours out of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, but plenty of my loving friends have made the trip and kept me in great company.

I have posted images above of the limited edition prints that all found a home this past weekend. We’re very happy with the sales and success of the show to date. When I have more concrete information, I will gladly pass it on to my readers, but some conversations have transpired over the past 72 hours that have my spirits soaring–Palestine is an historic railroad town, and I’ve been asked to take part in some very exciting art endeavors associated with their railroad history and popular local events. I can’t wait to burrow further into these possibilities in the weeks and months ahead. So stay tuned . . .

 Thanks for reading.

I make art to satisfy my curiosity.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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View from the Gallery Window

April 1, 2017

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Completed watercolor of downtown Palestine, Texas

. . . and the philosophical light around my window is now my joy; may I be able to keep on as I have thus far!

Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin, letter to friend Boehlendorf dated December 2, 1802

Saturday morning began for me on a second-story balcony with coffee and Heidegger’s essay “What Are Poets For?” I was so enriched by the ideas from the essay that I descended the stairs and opened the gallery at 9:00 rather than 10:00 so I could enjoy some time writing at the desk, and then resume work on the watercolor I have been playing with since I started it over a week ago. I finally decided to sign off on it and offer it as a watercolor sketch, unframed, measuring 11 x 11″ for $100.

The day shortly after became busy beyond description with a steady stream of patrons in the gallery, some sales, and wall-to-wall meaningful conversation. I feel that I have made a number of new friends for life. The Palestine experience has been deeply fulfilling. I can’t wait to open again in the morning.

Thanks for reading.