Posts Tagged ‘Laguna Madre’

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 . . .

How About Joining Me for an Island Workshop?

November 1, 2016

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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 theresa.walker@tamucc.edu.

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.

WEBSITE: http://www.recollections54.com/ and BLOG: davidtripp.wordpress.com

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.

cloudy-vistas

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.

 

 

Working on a Manuscript

July 24, 2016

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What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing?—it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye.  But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

During this dog-day July heat in St. Louis, I’ve spent some time reworking a manuscript I began last year.  I’m releasing the Introduction as it currently stands.  I have six chapters written, but I continue to revise.  I find great pleasure in that.  And I hope someone can find pleasure in reading the following:

A Week on the Laguna Madre

INTRODUCTION

 Cleansing the Eye:

Recollections from a Grateful Artist-in-Residence

“Gauguin returned from his first Tahitian sojourn in 1893 with enough canvases and carvings to constitute a one-man show; but he knew that the strangeness of his Tahitian imagery would require some stage-managing if it was to be a success. He had in mind the idea of producing a book that would introduce and explain his imagery to a Parisian audience.” [1]

How do I introduce myself as quickly as possible and then get out of the way?  I am aware that I am writing a book about what is flowing through my mind, but I hope, Dear Reader, that I am also creating a space into which you may enter, explore and discover deeper layers of yourself as well.  I have never believed that quality reading is a passive exercise; you the reader create your own world as you read my words and interact with this text.  Upon completion and release of this book, I will not go forth into the rest of my life, wondering whether or not I am remembered; I just want to make a contribution.  I want someone’s life to improve because they spent time with me in this work.

So, what exactly am I?  An unfrustrated public school teacher who has had the pleasure (for the most part) of doing as he pleased for more than a quarter of a century.  Like many others, my career did not go in the direction I had intended, but I have found immeasurable pleasures in what I have encountered.  And now, my only real issue is figuring how to make a gift of the knowledge and experiences that have enriched me throughout these years.  My lifestyle, in this worldly sojourn, has been to absorb knowledge, Faustlike, and imbed these observations in lesson plans, lectures and paintings, hoping always that others could receive something significant from the encounters.  I never expected others to see the world my way, but always hoped to deal an ace worth picking up and inserting into someone else’s poker hand.

Why did Henry David Thoreau go to Walden Woods?  My perspective has been this: he received a vaunted Harvard degree, and with it a skill set, an academic toolbox.  But early in life, he reached the conviction that all knowledge he had received up to that point was secondary.  All the divines whom he had read received their truths directly from nature, he from their books and lectures.  He had lived out Emerson’s complaint that opened Nature in 1836:

The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes.  Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?  Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?  Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe?  The sun shines to-day also.  There is more wool and flax in the fields.  There are new lands, new men, new thoughts.  Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.[2]

Travelling to Walden Pond to live for over two years, Thoreau decided it was time to learn directly from nature, to find out what he could learn from her, and then to publish those results to the world.

And hence I find myself this day at the Laguna Madre.  This is a gift.  My education over my past sixty-plus years has been a gift, but nearly all of it secondary.  Now, for the first time, I hope to scoop primary experience and pass it on to other outstretched hands.  Hopefully, by the end of this sojourn I will echo Nietzsche’s words that I have become weary of my wisdom as a bee that has gathered too much honey, needing hands outstretched to receive it.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan- like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.[3]

My conviction has always been grounded in the notion that solitude is the studio for creativity.  I myself have never found fulfilment in collaborative projects in the visual arts, nor have I found my inspiration in the vortex of think tanks.  The school of solitude is where I have always mined my ideas for painting.  Anthony Storr has argued:

The creative person is constantly seeking to discover himself, to remodel his own identity, and to find meaning in the universe through what he creates.  He finds this a valuable integrating process which, like meditation or prayer, has little to do with other people, but which has its own separate validity.  His most significant moments are those in which he attains some new insight, or makes some new discovery; and these moments are chiefly, if not invariably, those in which he is alone.[4]

“Alone” is the key word that describes my life, though I have been in relationships throughout most of my years.  Space has always been required for my own thinking, writing and creating.  This was true in public school, the university, graduate school, the ministry, and all my subsequent years devoted to the classrooms and lecture halls.  I still look back with gratitude at those times spent in library study carrels, in my own study, under trees, beside flowing streams, in hotel rooms and lobbies, coffee bars and book stores, in roadside parks and staring through a windshield while driving across the country.  My private study cubicle has been wherever I could pause, alone, and pull out a journal or laptop or sketchbook, and pour out my thoughts on the pages.  And throughout my years, I have looked at those file drawers filled with stuffed manila folders, those computer files filled with data, the over one hundred volumes of handwritten journals on my bookshelf—and wondered how to distill those memories and research efforts into some kind of a book, my life, my philosophy, my love.  Volumes and volumes, pages and pages, layers and layers of themes and threads seeking some kind of resolution, some kind of synthesis, some kind of understandable “story” for others to read and use as desired.  My clusters of recorded ideas have milled about over the decades, as actors on a stage waiting for a director.

As shared in the opening of this chapter, Gauguin returned from his island excursion with a stack of canvases and sought a way to “stage-manage” his public exhibition. So I too returned from the Laguna Madre with nineteen plein air watercolors, with a plan to show them in two exhibitions, conduct a series of watercolor workshops, deliver some public addresses, and attempt to relay to my audiences what I gleaned from this peak experience.  Today as I edit these pages, I have added three more workshops to the list and am preparing to return to the island for a second week of solitude.  And so, this book will be my first effort, since my doctoral dissertation, to engage in an extended essay, synthesizing the ideas that have meant so much to me over the years and found a way to crystalize while sojourning on a small spoil island in the Texas Laguna Madre.

When Hemingway accepted his Nobel Prize, he declared that “writing, at its best, is a lonely life.”  I would propose the word “solitary.”  The existential theologian Paul Tillich, in a sermon titled “Loneliness and Solitude,” emphasized that loneliness is the cross of humankind, and solitude the glory.  I don’t feel lonely when I make art, though I am alone, solitary.  I find those moments soothing.  When the boat pulled away from the dock that first Sunday morning on June 6, 2015, and I waved good-bye to my new friends, watching as they diminished in size on the horizon, the first thing I noticed was that the island was quiet, very quiet.  And I could feel myself beaming inwardly.  I was in an unspoiled paradise, though standing on a spoil island.  It was time to go to work.  Jack Kerouace said it best:

What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing?—it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye.  But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.[5]

                [1] Wayne Andersen, “Introduction” in Paul Gauguin, The Writings of a Savage, ed. Daniel Guérin (New York: Paragon House, 1974), p. X.

                [2] Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, in Emerson: Essays & Poems ed. Joel Porte et al., (New York: Penguin, 1983), p. 7.

                [3] Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Civil Disobedience, ed. Michael Meyer (New York: Penguin, 1983), p. 135.

[4]Anthony Storr, Solitude: A Return to Self (New York: The Free Press, 1988), p. xiv.

                [5] Jack Kerouac, On the Road (New York: Penguin, 1955), p. 156.

Filling the Lacuna

April 7, 2016

image

Motherwell’s formidable intelligence was matched by his capacity for deep feeling, and the conflict between intellect and instinct formed one of the richest undercurrents of his art. He approached the situations of his life and of his art with a remarkable flexibility–constantly alert, his thought constantly in motion, his attitudes toward the world around him continually in a state of reappraisal.

Jack Flam, Robert Motherwell: 100 Years

There has been a considerable gap since my last blog posting, because I’ve felt that nothing was going on worthy of a post, though I have been extremely busy chasing school-related and income tax deadlines. I seem to be currently slogging around in the swamp water, yet life is good. Grateful for so much good that has washed over me in recent weeks, I still find myself fumbling over what to do just now with my life with this overload of stimuli. Still, that is a good thing, right?

Last Sunday, I stumbled on a Robert Motherwell installation at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the timing couldn’t have been better–Amazon just delivered to me the book I quoted above. I am immersed in the reading of this remarkable text, always in awe of this marvelous, spiritual man.  And I have already returned to visit the show a second time. Thanks to Motherwell, I am drawing more in my sketchbook and plotting out my next series of watercolors. With an art festival approaching in eight days, I doubt that I’ll be able to pursue painting for another week-to-ten days. But at least my mind and heart are fixed on the notion.

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My Tuesday night “Parisian Café” is one of the most precious events to enter my solitary life. As I’ve stated before, “the French Impressionists had their Café Guerbois. Picasso and friends had their Les Deux Magots. The Ash Can School had 806 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. The Abstract Expressionists had the Cedar Bar in Greenwich Village. I myself have ached for an art cafe where I could show up once a week or so and just talk with other creative people . . .”  This gathering of artists and writers fills my cup to overflowing every time I sit down with them. I have gone most of my adult life without a close circle of friends, and I cannot describe the joy and warmth I feel now that I have been embraced. Stacy (seated on the left) is the most soulful poet I have ever known personally, and conversations with her always leave me with an overflowing sense of gratitude.  To make things better, she teaches in the same school as I. Here is a link to Stacy’s blog:

stacycampbell1010.wordpress.com

 

laguna madre poster

Since my last blog post, I’ve cranked out thirty-nine pages of typed rough draft on a book I’m trying to write, recording my Laguna Madre experience of last summer. All my adult life, I’ve wanted to write a book, but never knew how to go about getting it published. I’ve decided I’m writing this one anyway, for me. I’m enclosing the draft of my introductory chapter, and trust me, it’s rough.

Cleansing the Eye:

Recollections from a Grateful Artist-in-Residence

PROLEGOMENA

“Gauguin returned from his first Tahitian sojourn in 1893 with enough canvases and carvings to constitute a one-man show; but he knew that the strangeness of his Tahitian imagery would require some stage-managing if it was to be a success. He had in mind the idea of producing a book that would introduce and explain his imagery to a Parisian audience.” (page X, Writings of a Savage)

How do I introduce myself as quickly as possible and then get out of the way?  I hope that this is not a book about me, but a book about you, dear Reader. I have never believed that quality reading is a passive exercise; you the reader create your own world as you read my words and interact with this text.  Upon completion and release of this book, I will not go forth into the rest of my life, wondering whether or not I am understood; I just want to make a contribution.  I want someone’s life to improve because they spent time with me in this book.

So, what exactly am I?  An unfrustrated public school teacher who has had the pleasure (for the most part) of doing as he pleased for more than a quarter of a century.  My only real issue has been how to make a gift of the knowledge and experiences that have enriched me throughout these years.  My lifestyle, as I’ve sojourned in this world, has been to absorb knowledge, Faustlike, and embed these observations in lesson plans, lectures, and paintings, hoping always that others received something significant from the encounters.  I never expected others to see the world my way, but always hoped to deal an ace worth picking up and inserting into someone else’s poker hand.

Why did Henry David Thoreau go to Walden Woods?  My perspective has been this: he received a vaunted Harvard degree, and with it a skill set, an academic toolbox.  But early in life, he reached the conviction that all knowledge he had received up to that point was secondary.  All the divines whom he had read received their truths directly from nature, he from their books and lectures.  He had lived out Emerson’s complaint that opened Nature in 1836:

The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes.  Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?  Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?  Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe?  The sun shines to-day also.  There is more wool and flax in the fields.  There are new lands, new men, new thoughts.  Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.

Travelling to Walden Pond to live, Thoreau decided it was time to learn directly from nature, to find out what he could learn from her, and then to publish those results to the world.

And hence I find myself this day at the Laguna Madre.  This is a gift.  My education over my past sixty-plus years has been a gift, but nearly all of it secondary.  Now, for the first time, I hope to scoop primary experience and pass it on to other outstretched hands.  Hopefully, by the end of this sojourn I will echo Nietzsche’s words that I have become weary of my wisdom as a bee that has gathered too much honey, needing hands outstretched to receive it.

Quoting Thoreau, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan- like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”

My conviction has always been grounded in the notion that solitude is the studio for creativity.  I myself have never found fulfilment in collaborative projects in the visual arts, nor have I found my inspiration in the vortex of think tanks.  The school of solitude is where I have always mined my ideas for painting.  Anthony Storr has argued:

The creative person is constantly seeking to discover himself, to remodel his own identity, and to find meaning in the universe through what he creates.  He finds this a valuable integrating process which, like meditation or prayer, has little to do with other people, but which has its own separate validity.  His most significant moments are those in which he attains some new insight, or makes some new discovery; and these moments are chiefly, if not invariably, those in which he is alone.[1]

“Alone” is the key word that describes my life, though I have been in relationships for most of my years.  I have always required space for my own thinking, writing and creating.  This was true in public school, the university, graduate school, the ministry, and all my subsequent years devoted to the classrooms and lecture halls.  I still look back with gratitude at those times spent in library study carrels, in my own study, under trees, beside flowing streams, in hotel rooms and lobbies, coffee bars and book stores, in roadside parks or staring through a windshield while driving across the country.  My private study cubicle has been wherever I could pause, alone, and pull out a journal or laptop or sketchbook, and pour out my thoughts on the pages.  And throughout my years, I have looked at those file drawers filled with stuffed manila folders, those computer files filled with data, the over one hundred volumes of handwritten journals on my shelf—and wondered how to distill those memories and research efforts into some kind of a book, my life, my philosophy, my love.  Volumes and volumes, pages and pages, layers and layers of themes and threads seeking some kind of resolution, some kind of synthesis, some kind of understandable “story” for others to read and use as desired.  My clusters of recorded ideas have milled about over the decades, as actors on a stage waiting for a director.

As shared in the opening of this chapter, Gauguin returned from his island excursion with a stack of canvases and sought a way to “stage-manage” his public exhibition. So I too returned from the Laguna Madre with nineteen plein air watercolors, with a plan to show them in two exhibitions, conduct a series of watercolor workshops, deliver some public addresses, and attempt to relay to my audiences what I gleaned from this peak experience.

And so, this book will be my first effort, since my doctoral dissertation, to engage in an extended essay, synthesizing the ideas that have meant so much to me over the years and found a way to crystalize while sojourning on a small spoil island in the Texas Laguna Madre.

When Hemingway accepted his Nobel Prize, he declared that “writing, at its best, is a lonely life.”  I would propose the word “solitary.”  I don’t feel lonely when I make art, though I am alone, solitary.  I find those moments soothing.  When the boat pulled away from the dock that first Sunday morning on June 6, 2015, and I waved good-bye to my new friends, watching as they diminished in size on the horizon, the first thing I noticed was that the island was quiet, very quiet.  And I could feel myself beaming inwardly.  I was in an unspoiled paradise, though standing on a spoil island.  It was time to go to work.

[1]Anthony Storr, Solitude: A Return to Self (New York: The Free Press, 1988),  p. xiv.

Thanks for reading.

 

The Call of the Island

March 10, 2016

Having dashed out a quick watercolor sketch of the morning seascape with as much deep color as possible, I then turned my attention to a bag of assorted seashells that Dinah Bowman had gathered and presented to me the day before. They had been hanging overnight from a hook on the front porch. Taking out a few and pushing them around on a white sheet of watercolor paper in the bright sun, I delighted in the strong shadows cast by the small forms, and felt that I had returned to the discipline of closely-scrutinized still life disciplines.

Lifted from my Laguna Madre journal from June 2015.

Tripp painting number 16

My Second-to-Last Day at the Laguna Madre Field Station

Village Beneath the Lagoon $425

“Village Beneath the Lagooon”

The past several mornings I have awakened to those recurring feelings of being on the island again in the Laguna Madre. Next week I will be privileged to take a group of watercolor artists back to that location for a two-day, overnight plein air watercolor workshop, with the anticipation of reliving those sensations of breathing that air and feeling those breezes. I am posting the pictures above, celebrating my shift from the macrocosm to the microcosm–I had painted and repainted the vistas of cloud-clogged skies with shimmering blue salt water underneath and scattered foliage and sands in teh foregrounds. The sketch above was my first still-life attempt, looking intently at a collection of shells and finding a different kind of delight as I thought of life beneath those waters–a life that only showed its remnants in broken homes.

Thanks for reading.

Good Thoughts Stretching into the Night

March 10, 2016

One Man Show Art Center Poster

Ὁ βίος βραχύς,ἡ δὲ τέχνη μακρή,ὁ δὲ καιρὸς ὀξύς,ἡ δὲ πεῖρα σφαλερή,ἡ δὲ κρίσις χαλεπή.

Life is short, and art long, opportunity fleeting, experience perilous, and decision difficult.

Hippocrates

As my age creeps closer to 62, I find these late-night sessions preparing Advanced Placement Art History classes to be filled with clashing sentiments of a weary body and an exhilarated mind.  Yes, I feel cranky over the loss of sleep, but the ocean of art in which I find myself treading water fills my imagination with childlike wonder.

Late tonight, I finished my last A. P. Art History class before Spring Break and that comes with a splendid feeling of accomplishment.  Above, I’ve posted am image of the poster that the Art Center in Corpus Christi has placed in the midst of my show that opened last week. I’m counting the days till I get to meet interested people at the Artist’s Reception March 16 from 5-7:00. Below I’m going to post a few photos of the thirty-four paintings I’ve placed in the show.

Thanks for reading, and perhaps I’ll have the time and space to post more thoughts tomorrow.

Across the View $550

Across the View

Firewheel Frenzy $450

Firewheel Frenzy

Following the Labyrinthe $750

Following the Labyrinthe

Drybrush Ruminations $525

Drybrush Ruminations

Homer's Wine-Dark Sea $400

Homer’s Wine-Dark Sea

Shell Collaboration $470

Shell Collaboration

From the Island to the Gallery

March 8, 2016

18 paintings

Nine months after leaving the Laguna Madre Field Station, the one-man-show is finally hung at the Art Center of Corpus Christi.  The staff was kind enough to send me pictures of the show, since I won’t get to see it for another week.  The artist’s reception is set for May 16 from 5-7:00.  My mind is having so much trouble concentrating on my work up here on the opposite end of Texas, teaching school, crunching income tax figures and feeling restless.

I was pleased to learn today that enough people signed up for me to teach the 2 1/2 day watercolor workshop at the Art Center, then take a group to the island for an additional 2-day workshop.  I will also judge a watercolor exhibit by their local society. Below are pictures I’ve received of the show.

Thanks for reading.

Art Center 1

Art Center 2

Art Center 3

Watercoloring into the Night

March 2, 2016

image

I have been one acquainted with the night.

Robert Frost

Having been gashed nightly with school-related tasks for nearly two weeks, I find tonight much more satisfying, with grading for high school as well as university all caught up. I regret having such a sour attitude, but having taught high school for twenty-seven years, one would think that I could relax in the evenings, having all my lesson plans essentially built, and only needing to tweak them where I feel it is necessary. But the College Board has decided to trot out a new curriculum for A. P. Art History this year, so every single class now has to be reconstructed from the foundation up, and the man-hours have been excruciating. The timing could not have been worse, because I had that blessed privilege of serving as Artist-in-Residence for Texas A&M University Corpus Christi last summer, and have worked extremely hard to create a total of thirty-four watercolors for a one-man-show to be hung in the Art Center of Corpus Christi.

My show opens tomorrow, and I’m excited just thinking about it, though I am eight hours away, and won’t even see it until Spring Break. The Artist’s Reception will be March 16, and I hope to meet friends there that I haven’t seen in so long, as well as find an opportunity to make new acquaintances. I am also anxious to see how all my larger works look in frames (to date I’ve only seen the small pieces in presentation mode). Despite all the school work, I’m still glad that I managed to push out that many paintings over the past eight months. And I must say, that I feel a measure of sadness that this chapter is nearly complete, and will close at the end of this month. Since May of last year, the Laguna Madre project has been front and center in my day-to-day consciousness. Tonight I really find myself wondering what comes next.

Reading didn’t come easily this evening, so I got this watercolor back out that I haven’t touched in nearly a week. This store front has always held my attention, reminding me of the kinds of country stores I enjoyed in the days of my childhood. I have spoken by phone to the grandaughter of the proprietor of this business, and am excited to hear so many fascinating stories about the days when this business thrived. Perhaps the time has arrived for me to re-open my “Recollections 54” genre of nostalgic middle-America scenes.

Thanks for reading.

 

My Recent Visit posted in Archer County News

February 11, 2016

My recent weekend retreat to Archer City served me so well on many different fronts. The quiet, the space, the weather, the perfect environment for painting, reading, journaling–all of it was so delicious. But one of my genuine highlights featured an afternoon chatting with Sarah Junek, the one who secured my reservation at the Spur Hotel and also writes for the local newspaper. Her work in promoting the arts in that county is exemplary–theater arts, literary arts, visual arts, the works! We discovered that afternoon that we shared many common interests, and neither of us got in the other’s way, she was on assignment and I was working on watercolors.

Sarah expressed an interest in writing about my work, and I just received the link to the article she published in the Archer County News. Thanks Sarah, you are the very best! I’m sharing the link:

http://www.archercountynews.com/news/watercolorist-returns-to-favorite-painting-spot/article_e2547a5a-d0d7-11e5-ab27-a78d1d9ef8ce.html

And thanks to all of you for reading.

Announcing Two Watercolor Workshops in March!

February 9, 2016

My Thoughts are Still at the Laguna Madre

I am deeply pleased to announce that the details have been finalized for two watercolor workshops I will lead in Corpus Christi next month, capping the Artist-in-Residence program I was honored to serve last summer.

The first will last 2 1/2 days, March 15-17 at the Art Center in Corpus Christi. Fee will be $250. The enrollment is open to anyone interested, and is hosted by the Watercolor Society of South Texas. My focus will be on plein air but I’m also pleased to assist anyone wishing to work from photographs or still life objects.

The second will be March 18-19, an overnight excursion on the island in the Laguna Madre where I did my residency last June. Meals will be provided, and we will sleep overnight in the Field Station. This will be limited to six participants, and the fee is $290. Plein air will be the sole focus of this instruction as I gladly introduce participants to painting the splendid environment that still floods my soul with the most splendid memories and sensations. That island experience was life changing for me!

I am posting the link to these two workshops, as enrollment and payment go to two separate institutions, the first to the Art Center of Corpus Christi, and the second to the Center for Coastal Studies. All contact information may be found on this link:

AiR Program News

My one-man show will run through the month of March at the Art Center of Corpus Christi, and I will be present at the Artists Reception, March 16.

After all these months, I am so ecstatic that this time has finally drawn near.

Thanks for reading.