Posts Tagged ‘Hot Pepper Festival’

Hot Pepper Festival in Palestine all Day Saturday

October 23, 2021

My Promise to Sketch Daily (framed 8 x 10″ watercolor, $100)

. . . I’ve always had the sense that the muse of the tormented artist–while the artist himself is throwing temper tantrums–is sitting quietly in a corner of the studio, buffing its fingernails, patiently waiting for the guy to calm down and sober up so everyone can get back to work.

Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Thank you, Elizabeth for eliciting a violent belly laugh from me! I knew of this author’s work since Eat Pray Love, but never read her till I picked up Big Magic. Now, as I read these pages, I feel her presence as though she is sitting in the room conversing with me directly about the dynamics of a creative life and the discipline demanded to keep the fires burning. At my current age, I hope I am beyond that temper tantrum stage; I know the frustration of feeling behind in my work, and try to tamp that down as best I can. I’m retired, for God’s sake. I daily have to remind myself that it is O.K. to slow down the pace and be glad to be alive and receptive to what’s going on. Yes, I have a phalanx of deadlines aiming their spears at me, but at 6:30 this Saturday morning, I am glad the weekend is here. Palestine will kick off its 9:00 parade and the Hot Pepper Festival will get underway.

While it was still dark outside this morning, I stepped out onto Queen Street and began my habitual trek toward the Kroger Store at the lower end of town (I’m still on this October challenge–10,000 steps per day). Street vendors are already at work, putting up tents, hauling out tables, crates, furniture, setting up displays, talking softly among themselves–the same sounds I enjoyed two weekends ago at the Edom Art Festival.

Edom Art Festival Two Weeks Ago

For illustration, I choose Edom, since currently the Palestine streets are strewn with boxes, strung out cables, parked trailers and half-raised tents, not a pretty sight. But they still have two-and-a-half hours till show time. Displays will be in place then, and people will flood the booths with enthusiasm. I close my eyes still and smile at the warm memories of the Edom Festival and the good will felt among the multitudes of people finally getting out into the public for an event worth visiting. The temperatures those days were good, and promise to be so today as well.

New Window Display of Gallery at Redlands from the Lobby

I’m looking forward to going downstairs to open the Gallery in a few hours as well. Normally I close from 2:00-5:00 in the middle of the day in order to transition to the restaurant and bar hours lasting till 9:00. But today with the festival just outside, I plan to stay open all day. So it’s going to be a long stretch. Fortunately I have much to do, so if there are long stretches with no one coming inside to browse, I’ll still have assignments to complete.

View from Oak Street

Leaning forward, anticipating a lovely Saturday, I thank you for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Meet Orlando Guillen

October 27, 2018

20181027_1304334581623497241478022.jpgEmerging Artist Orlando Guillen

Orlando introduced himself to me a couple of weeks ago at the Edom Art Festival, giving me his card and letting me know he would be at this Hot Pepper Festival today. I’m glad his phone number was on the card, because the 12-block city event has no map or information tent. I would never have found him because he is in Old Town Palestine across the street from one of my favorite dining places.

Orlando works in an auto body shop and fashions his art from scrap parts. I was astounded when I saw the quality and sophistication of his dogwood blossoms and branches. Palestine is a big draw during the Dogwood Festival every March, and I hope these find a home next time the crowds come to town.


Dogwood Blossoms made from Automobile Scrap Parts


Orlando’s Booth across the Street from the Pint and Barrel


If anyone in the area is reading this today, and planning to attend our Hot Pepper Festival, please visit Orlando at his “Crazy Turtle Art” booth. He is located in front of the coffee shop and across the street from Pint and Barrel.

Thanks for reading.


Morning Coffee: The Calm Before the Calm

October 27, 2018


Smooth Rock 93.5 FM before the Morning Broadcast


Working on a Watercolor before the Festival Begins

Good morning to all of you, just ahead of the Hot Pepper Festival in downtown Palestine, Texas. What a beautiful day, already, bright and sunny with temperatures expected to top out in the seventies.

I awoke in the darkness, staying in my favorite store in rural east Texas. In the darkness of the kitchen I began re-reading with delight over breakfast Natalie Goldberg’s The Great Spring. The Zen-quality of her writing produced a great calm that I much appreciate on a festival day. Thanks to Natalie, I believe I am now experiencing the calm before the calm as I prepare for this festival day.

When I arrived in Palestine shortly after 8:00, I walked through block after block of vendors setting up their booths, and was so glad that this time I was NOT doing that activity (I just went through it, in the rain, a couple of weeks ago). Today I am in The Gallery at Redlands with Kevin Harris and Marc Mitchell. They are in and out of the gallery already, getting their new T-shirts out on display, and making final preparations for today’s broadcast. They are promoting the Hot Pepper Festival, and with this being their third week on the air, they can already feel the adrenaline rush of crowds building outside their “Window to the World”.  The parade is about to commence.

I am looking forward to renewing my acquaintance with emerging artist Orlando Guillen this morning. A couple of weeks ago, he introduced himself to me at the Edom Art Festival, just before the rains arrived and closed us down for good. Orlando told me he was setting up a booth, so I’ll have to go out and find him somewhere in this 12-block conglomeration of displays. Walking the streets this morning, I had the pleasure of meeting a first-time festival participant, Ashley Sturdivant. I still recall the excitement (and anxiety) of my very first art festival years ago. Ashley has a wonderful display set up and we’re all wishing her success in sales today.


Display of Emerging Artist Ashley Sturdivant

We have a splendid day before us. As I write, the parade has just begun, and I am listening to Kevin and Marc’s live commentary on the floats passing by. I’m delighted that The Redlands Hotel has invited me to display my art out in the lobby of the hotel in addition to what I have inside The Gallery at Redlands.




My Lobby Display


“Kevin and Marc in the Morning” covering the Parade Live


Marc Mitchell, sporting the new T-Shirt on sale today

The Red Fire Grille, across the lobby from The Gallery at Redlands, will be serving lunch on this auspicious day, from 10:00-2:00. The food here is fist-rate.


The Red Fire Grille

After eighteen months of displaying out of The Redlands Hotel, I am still making the most precious friendships. Wade and Gail Thomas, owners of the gallery, are always there for me and unfailing in their encouragement and enthusiasm. Jean Mollard, owner of the Redlands Hotel, has welcomed me into this home-away-from-home since day one, and always introduces me to guests as “our Artist in Residence.” Kevin and Marc bring such energy to this place with their radio presence, but in addition to that, they are amazing men whom I am so proud to call “friends.” Conversations I have enjoyed with them in just the past three weeks have been life transforming.

Yesterday, I met a local writer, Jan Johnson, currently writing a work of fiction set in Palestine, drawing on her years of experience in this environment. Always, I feel so enriched when given the opportunity to converse with a writer, and I invite you to check out her work at

I’ve been at this laptop too long, and my coffee cup is empty. It is time to get back out into the booths and meet more artists. So, until next time, this is Dave signing off at the Gallery at Redlands along with Kevin and Marc in the Morning at Smooth Rock 93.5 FM, located in the beautiful historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine.

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.

Perhaps the Centerpiece of my Christmas Show

October 19, 2017

polar first

Recently it’s been difficult to stop and blog because my schedule is stuffed (but all of it is good, fortunately). At 10 this morning, I finally signed this piece and said “Enough!”  I was wishing to leave the right side of the composition trailing off into the void, but kept adding details to it. I’ve done this countless times before and found myself liking my paintings before they were “finished.” My biggest vice, I suppose, is overworking, pushing a painting past its prime. I certainly did not want to do it with this particular work.

My upcoming show, “American Railroad Odyssey”, is posted on my website It will open November 11 at The Gallery at Redlands, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas, and continue until December 16. I’m excited to be putting final pieces in place. This will probably be my centerpiece: the historic T&P 610 that is housed in Palestine. Today I will take it to the print shop for photographing. I want to make limited edition signed & numbered prints available, as well as greeting cards and postcards.

Tomorrow, the painting goes to Palestine to join the rest of the collection already being framed for the show.  I’ve lost count, but I know I have over a dozen original watercolors of historic trains to put on display and sale: Texas State Railroad, Durango-Silverton, Cumbres & Toltec, and Eureka Springs, as well as other scattered paintings of locomotives and rolling stock.

Tomorrow after college, I will travel again to Palestine to set up my art booth in the streets for the Hot Pepper Festival on Saturday. I will still have work inside The Gallery at Redlands, but the Gallery is opening a one-person show for Elaine Cash-Jary, a remarkable watercolor artist that the public must see. Elaine will be greeting patrons inside the Gallery while I “work the streets” at the festival all day! Any of you reading this post who are in travelling distance will not want to miss Elaine’s show. And if you come out to meet her, don’t forget to come find me on the streets! We’re planning on a great day Saturday. The Gallery will remain open until 10 that night, as the patrons of Red Fire Grille often cross the lobby to see what we have going on in there.

Thanks for reading. I’ll try to post again once I’m on site in Palestine.