Posts Tagged ‘Laguna Madre Field Station’

How About Joining Me for an Island Workshop?

November 1, 2016



I have great news.  The Center for Coastal Studies has covered expenses to where they can now offer a reduced price for my Island Watercolor Workshop on the Texas Laguna Madre just prior to Thanksgiving. The three-day adventure is now offered at a price of $350 that covers meals and lodging. This will be my third time to reside on this island where my adventure as Artist-in-Residence began in 2015.  Last spring I was delighted to offer our first workshop to a group of five participants.  The Center is now accepting applications and will take up to eight particpants to the island.

For anyone interested in joining us November 20-22, the information is posted below:

Dr. Tripp’s specialty is painting his surroundings “en plein air” (outdoors) and he will be teaching a workshop November 20-22, 2016. If you are an aspiring artist, or an artist already, we highly recommend that you sign up for a workshop to spend some quality time with him. He is truly a unique individual!

November 20-22, 2016 at the Laguna Madre Field Station

For registration information on this 3 day workshop at the LMFS please call the Center for Coastal Studies at 361.825.2736 or email

Cost $350.00 and seating is limited (8 people) so sign up now! Deadline to sign up is November 13.

Registration costs cover:

  • Transportation and lodging at the LMFS
  • All meals and drinks

Please plan on bringing your own bedroll, pillow, and personal care items. The field station has electricity, running water for showers, bunk beds and composting toilets.

Dr. David Tripp will be your guide to this unique experience in the Laguna Madre. For more about the man and his art please visit the links below.


David Tripp’s Suggested Watercolor Supplies for Workshop

If you already have your own watercolors, brushes, palette and paper, then bring them to the workshop and we will work with them. If you have no supplies, or wonder what I prefer, then continue reading.

Watercolors. I prefer Winsor & Newton (I know, they are pricey, but professional, and you get back all the value you invest in them). I use the professional pigments, not the Cotman brand (which is a “school boy” substitute). I avoid the use of gouache, and go with the pigments.

My restricted palette is:

  • Winsor Green and Alizarin Crimson (for mixing black)
  • Winsor Red
  • Winsor Blue (this comes in Red Shade and Green Shade-I use both)
  • Transparent Yellow

The above colors are all I need to make a decent painting. I will occasionally throw in the following colors: Winsor Violet, Quinachridone Red, Permanent Rose, Cadmium Red, Cerulean Blue and Winsor Lemon. I will have extra colors in tubes if you need to squirt some onto your palette. I always have these available in workshops at no extra charge.

BRUSHES: For the kind of paintings I do, I require a good liner brush (one that will give me the sharpest details possible), and a good round brush of size 10 or 12. For large washes, I generally use a cheap flat brush or a large round (as large as I can afford). I also find flat brushes helpful, between sizes ¼” to ½”. For the bare minimum (especially if I’m painting in the field), I use a liner brush and a size 12 round. Sometimes I complete an entire painting outside, using one brush, a size 12 round. For foliage, I use what I call an “ugly” brush-one that I have modified. It begins as a flat brush and I alter it with a razor. If you would like an “ugly” brush for foliage, then bring a flat brush that you can abuse, and I’ll be happy to help you make it. The flat brush should be at least ¼” and ½” is probably better. I always let workshop students use mine (but they often fight over it-there is only one!)

PAPER: I prefer cold-press paper. 140-pound is good, if l can keep it flat (by soaking and stapling it to plywood or around canvas stretchers, or if it is attached to a watercolor block, like a tablet fastened on all four sides). If using single paper without attachment, I use 300 pound (again that is quite pricey-about $20 for one sheet 22 x 30″. My favorite brand is D’Arches (again pricey), but I’ll use any paper I can acquire. I have discovered that when using brands such as Utrecht or Canson, that I have difficulty getting a flat wash, as in a blue sky for instance.

You will need a white palette to hold your pigments. I use a butcher’s tray (I purchase mine at Asel Arts) because they are quite low-cost. I also have a large watercolor palette (but they’re not cheap). When desperate I can use a paper plate or a ceramic plate, but it has to have a white surface-watercolor pigments are transparent and you cannot really see their colors on surfaces that are not white.

If you like to work from reference photographs, feel free to bring them to the workshop. I will bring a box of my own (all of them 8 x 10″, and over a hundred of them-all suitable watercolor subjects). I will also bring a Jeep load of antique still life objects if the class is interested in working in that genre during the indoor studio time. If weather permits, then I would love to get us outdoors on one or both days, for some of the time. Anyone who has not participated in plein air watercolor activity has really missed out on something special. I regret that I never started that until I was over fifty years of age-now I’m addicted to outdoor water coloring on site.

There is not space here in writing to tell of all the splendid benefits that come from plein air studies-those disciplines revolutionized my still life and reference photo watercolor endeavors. If we do get outdoors, you will want something for seating. Perhaps you have folding chairs in the studio, but they are rather cumbersome for carrying around. Lawn chairs and camping stools are much lighter and often have a shoulder strap for toting.

And of course, you need a container to hold your water. The larger the container the better, as you will constantly have to refresh it with clean water-larger ones “dirty” slower than small ones.


Thanks for reading, and I hope you will consider joining us!

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.




Video of the Laguna Madre Field Station

February 9, 2016

I just found this cool 41-second video filmed from a helicopter approaching the Laguna Madre Field Station where I did my artist-in-residence in June 2015. This will be the site of our island watercolor workshop March 18-19. Enjoy! Hope you can join us. Remember, only six will be selected to participate.

Another beginning to a Laguna Madre painting

January 17, 2016


A series can be thought of as one problem, constantly reworked and unfinishable, or as a set of different and finished solutions to the same problem, the two sides of [Motherwell’s] philosophical pursuit of variousness.

Bernard Jacobson, Robert Motherwell: The Making of an American Giant

My drawing and painting have been curtailed for the past twenty-four hours, mostly because Amazon delivered to me the book I just quoted above. For hours I have been sitting and soaking the pages of this text, enriched beyond description. I like the way different scholars approach the issue of Motherwell’s series paintings, most notably his Elegies and his Open works–each series comprising more than two hundred paintings. Motherwell once remarked that he continually tried to depict the same subject because he never felt he got it right, and mused that that could have been the reason for Cézanne’s obsession with Mont Sainte-Victoire.

I have a different reason for the Laguna Madre works–my one-man-show opens in about a month and a half, and I still would like to try a few more angles of the subject. The one I started today is of the field station where I spent my nights.

Trying to Close out a Laguna Madre Painting

June 17, 2015
Studio Version of Laguna Madre Field Station

Studio Version of Laguna Madre Field Station

I loathe posting a late-night blog as the classic whiner, but this week has been too demanding of me. After my eight-hour session at the Summer Institute today, I went immediately to another 90-minute session with members of the faculty and administration of my high school. And now I have homework to complete for tomorrow’s Institute, it is 9:27 p.m, and my eyes are closing.

All this to say–I may be nearing the end of this painting, but I’m honestly too exhausted to know. I did work on it awhile tonight, detailing the building in the distance and continuing to work the drybrush foreground. Tomorrow the Institute ends, I plan on catching up on several days’ worth of lost sleep, and then we’ll find out if this painting is going to be O.K. or if I should simply move on to the next.

Thanks for reading. Next time I blog I should be more awake and alert.

Struggling for Time to Paint

June 16, 2015

I’m working late into the night, as my daily summer institute schedule has me committed for eight hours of prime time daily, and tomorrow evening I will be attending a book study that I committed to earlier this year. I don’t have the proper lighting for photography late at night, so I’m not showing my readers a very good representation of this Laguna Madre site that I photographed last week. But I feel that I owe it to my readers to see my daily work, as I did while on the island. I very much appreciate everyone’s willingness to take a look, and don’t want to let anyone down by skipping a day. So, here it is:

The painting measures 14 x 18″ and I really thought I could complete it in two days. But the daily institute meetings are draining my battery, and now this is the third evening I have labored over this. It should be finished by the weekend. I am already wanting to move on to the next one.

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.