Posts Tagged ‘Lexington Texas’

Momentum

April 23, 2015
Lexington, Texas Gas Station Finished (Perhaps)

Lexington, Texas Gas Station Finished (Perhaps)

I can’t get them out fast enough.

Frank Lloyd Wright

This afternoon I was in a watercoloring mood, and felt a little disappointed when I brought the old white house to a close. Then I poked around and found this one that I had forgotten some weeks ago. Without a second thought I went to work on the left gas pump which had been barely underway, then worked on the foundation underneath. All the while, I listened to the very lengthy Ken Burns documentary playing on the life of Frank Lloyd Wright. I was thrilled to hear how prolific he became around age 80, almost fifteen years before his death. When asked how he managed to tend the details of so many works under construction at once, his answer was: “I can’t get them out fast enough.” I have known that feeling personally from time to time, but would like to experience it again. Maybe it’s about to happen. At any rate, I’m closing in on finishing this gas station from Lexington, Texas that I love seeing on my trips to the coast. I’ll try to make a decision soon on bringing it to a close, and then see about 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.

Art as Spelunking?

March 30, 2015
Stolen Afternoon Moments to Resume work on the latest Watercolor

Stolen Afternoon Moments to Resume work on the latest Watercolor

Art is an act of tuning in and dropping down the well. It is as though all the stories, painting, music, performances in the world live just under the surface of our normal consciousness. Like an underground river, they flow through us as a stream of ideas that we can tap down into. As artists, we drop down the well into the stream. We hear what’s down there and we act on it–more like taking dictation than anything fancy having to do with art.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

The bulk of my school day was unusual, but worked well for me. It was the first day of EOC testing, and my assignment was to keep a classroom full of 10th-11th grade students relatively quiet and engaged in homework assignments for five hours, while a large portion of our building was testing. The students followed the instruction, and I found myself seated in front of them, working on ideas, reading five volumes of my old journals from 2001-2002, and digging down to the roots of some things that have lingered with me for decades. The students remained engaged in their tasks, and I was free to explore ideas. I couldn’t have ordered up a more perfecct agenda for the day. It was a very productive and appreciated five hours.

However, EOC testing, plus a schedule of regular classes afterward, leads to a much longer and draining day. By the time I did get home I was exhausted, but when I bent over this watercolor, my enthusiasm and energy seemed to rise once again. I’m focusing on the damaged framework exterior of this abandoned gas station, and find myself getting lost in a myriad of details and textures in the shadows of all that wood, glass, dust and grime. I’m enjoying myself.

I love the Julia Cameron quote above, and it dovetailed nicely with some notes I had recorded a decade-and-a-half ago from my readings of Heidegger. I love his metaphor of following a path into the dense, dark woods, making one’s way to a clearing in the midst where light suddenly breaks through. I have been excited by that picture for years. As my philosophy class is wrapping up the 18th-century Age of Enlightenment, I like calling up Heidegger’s metaphors regarding the pursuit of knowledge, hacking one’s way through the thickets, following dark paths, and feeling the experience of epiphany once the light breaks through. His German words are rich indeed: Weg, Holzwege, Lichtung.  Those along with Kant’s essay Was ist Aufklärung have always fueled my imagination.

The reason for my gas station subject is that I was visited by an idea as I was about to fall asleep the night before I left for the college tour, that I should return to some primal subjects of my past that I haven’t pursued in a few years. Hence the abandoned filling station with all those attendant memories from my childhood. I’m experiencing some deep feelings as I work on this one, and am interested in seeing where the painting takes me.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to understand.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Texaco Gas Pumps in Lexington, Texas

December 28, 2013
Gas Pumps in Lexington, Texas

Gas Pumps in Lexington, Texas

A car whipped past, the driver eating and a passenger clicking a camera.  Moving without going anywhere, taking a trip instead of making one.  I laughed at the absurdity of the photographs and then realized I, too, was rolling effortlessly along, turning the windshield into a movie screen in which I, the viewer, did the moving while the subject held still.  That was the temptation of the American highway, of the American vacation (from the Latin vacare, “to be empty”).  

[A woman in Texas] longed for the true journey of an Odysseus or Ishmael or Gulliver or even a Dorothy of Kansas, wherein passage through space and time becomes only a metaphor of a movement through the interior of being.  A true journey, no matter how long the travel takes, has no end.

William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways

On November 3, while returning from Bowman Gallery in Portland, Texas, I chose to take the long road home, avoiding Austin and San Antonio (it was Sunday and I did not want to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic).  The trip lasted the entire day, as I could not help stopping in virtually every small town along the way to take photographs and record information for potential sketches and watercolors.  This abandoned Texaco station I found on Highway 77 in Lexington, Texas, next door to the Texas 77 Diner at North Street.  So far, I have been unsuccessful in finding information on the station’s history, ownership, closure, etc.  Below is the thumbnail tonal sketch I attempted before beginning the watercolor while at my parent’s house near St. Louis this past week.  I spent about a day on the painting.  It measures 8 x 10″ and I am listing it for $150.  I will probably attempt additional compositions, as I took over twenty photos of the structure from various angles.

Thumbnail Sketch

Thumbnail Sketch

Texaco Pumps in Lexington, Texas

Texaco Pumps in Lexington, Texas

In my quiet moments, I have been re-reading portions of William Least Heat-Moon’s Blue Highways, along with other works he’s produced.  At midnight last night, I completed a fifteen-hour road trip with my son, returning from our Christmas vacation with my parents and siblings.  Our conversations along the open road, in both directions, I found very fulfilling, as he’s always been a fabulous conversationalist.  And during the quiet moments, I was grateful for the vistas that filled my imagination, priming my aesthetic pump to get new work started for the coming season.  The American road trip has been my passion since the 1980’s, and I hope that good health will allow me to pursue this for several more years to come.

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.