Posts Tagged ‘Lonesome Dove’

New Greeting Cards made from Recent Watercolors

August 30, 2021

Monday has been dedicated to my Ethics lecture class and Humanities online class, so it doesn’t appear that I’ll get around to art work till tomorrow. However, early this morning I did create two new 5 x 7″ greeting cards from some of my recent paintings, and these I’ll install in The Gallery at Redlands later this week. I sell the cards at $5 each or 5 for $20.

Hat Creek Revisited (we still don’t rent pigs)

Captains Woodrow Call and  Augustus McRae, finally retired from the Texas Rangers, ride out daily to work their Hat Creek Cattle Company. “All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us. Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream.” (T. K. Whipple, Study Out the Land). Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove continues to enrich our lives and feed our imaginative visitations.

Night Vaquero

Black care sits behind the horseman

Horace, Ode, iii.1.4o

Peering out from beneath the shadow of his brim, the vaquero turned his head and listened. He had just heard something in the stillness of the Arizona night. Twenty miles of riding had sent him into a dozing mode, but now he was alert and stiffened to listen further.

The horse seemed unbothered and continued to plod slowly along. The rider decided that they had pushed far enough along on the day’s ride, and a week of riding still stretched out before them. Searching the horizon line of silhouetted buttes, his eye enjoyed the cool ranges of violets and indigos. Somewhere along the strand, he and the horse would find a place to nest for the night.

I am truly enjoying the lifestyle change with the university coming back into my life. The Ethics lecture class I am grateful to lead, and the student responses, both written and oral, have been most engaging. Hopefully I can find a way to navigate the scholarship and the art as I’ve been called on to do before.

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.

Finished Lonesome Dove Sketch

August 29, 2021
Hat Creek Cattle Company (and we still don’t rent pigs), Watercolor 11 x 14″ framed. $350

His plan had been to observe and sketch a cattle roundup for Scribner’s. But as soon as Wyeth was mounted and facing a herd, he became a cowpuncher. Outfitted from hat to stirrup, he hired on at the Gill Ranch and set out with thirty-five cowboys to “hunt and to bring together thousands of cattle scattered over a large part of the country known as the free range.”

N. C. Wyeth: A Biography

Reading the N. C. Wyeth biography along with Larry McMurtry’s four novels unfolding the Call and McCrae saga has motivated me recently to put out a group of watercolor studies of cowboys, horses, longhorns, bison, etc. This is the last one completed and now displayed in our lobby window of The Gallery at Redlands. My next adventure is to paint mules against some magnificent scenery sent to me by a teaching friend, thank you Peggy Kirkland!

And I thank the rest of you for reading.

Finishing a Quick Study

August 28, 2021

Why do we seek climates warmed by another sun? Who is the man that by fleeing from his country, can also flee from himself?

Horace, Ode, ii. 16. 18

One telling Socrates, that such a one was nothing improved by his travels: “I very well believe it,” said he, “for he took himself along with him.”

Montaigne, “Of Solitude”

Reading Montaigne on this early Saturday morning has proved to be a great beginning to a day in the gallery/studio. I am happy to find myself in good company when in solitude, but I also confess that the company will improve greatly once Sandi enters the gallery!

My plan is to finish this 8 x 10″ watercolor today and frame it for the Gallery. We will head back home tonight, but I’m delighted to have begun & completed a painting in the short time we were here.

Back to work! 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.

Quick Work on a Pair

August 27, 2021
Attempting the Lonesome Dove Pairing

I cannot believe the afternoon has already arrived. It’s been a busy Friday in the Gallery at Redlands. I began this 8 x 10″ watercolor around 9:30 and have been dividing my time between Lonesome Dove and Aristotle (painting and Texas Wesleyan ethics lecture). I know this sounds nuts, but I love it everytime two seemingly disparate fields flow into one another. While waiting for portions of the watercolor to dry, I’ve been re-acquainting myself with Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Four Causes as expounded in his Physics.

Aristotle argued that all living things have formal, material, efficient and final causes embedded in them. The efficient cause refers to the energy, the urge for one to develop, to strive, to mature toward that final, complete cause. The final cause is the target, the terminus, the realm of completion. And when people ask where the final cause resides, the answer is: within you. Aristotle (later echoed by T. S. Eliot and a host of others) held that the end is already contained in the beginning. People have their own ways to interpret this, but I like to think about my own impulses to make art. From the time I was quite small, I had the urge to draw, to color, to create my world on paper. No matter what trajectory my life followed, in education, in employment, in profession, I always came back around to art, because it was in me.

Another aspect of this Aristotelian argument that appeals to me is the notion of the painting already residing in the surface, though I’m staring at a blank piece of paper. I’m not as anxious as I used to be to touch the brush or pencil to the paper, because I can already “see” what I want to do within this white rectangle. The reason I couldn’t wait to begin today’s watercolor is because I have had this image in my eye for days after countless hours spent sorting out photos and movie clips of Lonesome Dove. My only regret with this small piece is that I left no room behind the characters; I really wished to overwhelm the composition with the Llano Estacado. Maybe I’ll attempt this again later with more background available.

Thanks for reading.

Thoughts Before the Fire

January 29, 2019

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. . . my methods of approaching the past have scarcely changed since childhood and adolescence. I assemble what pieces there are, contrast and compare, and try to remain in their presence till I can begin to see and hear and love what living men and women once saw and heard and loved, till from these scraps and fragments living men and women begin to emerge and move and live again . . . 

Thomas Cahill, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter

A twenty-eight degree winter morning extended the delightful invitation for me to build a large fire and spend the day in my living room. I have no appointments till this evening, and have resolved to remain planted in the presence of this cheerful hearth while enjoying quiet hours in the pages of books and listening to soft music.

After a week-long detour down the path of Lonesome Dove, I am returning now to The Odyssey of Homer. The hero path has intrigued me throughout my life, and now I find myself sketching out rough parallels between the zig zag voyages of Odysseus and the overland quests of McRae and Call. This also provides me the opportunity to explore my own past and present as I respond to the challenge of Julia Cameron’s book It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again and attempt to draft my own memoir.

I hope soon to be able to expound this idea more fully as it continues to mature–studying New Testament Greek long ago, I noticed that in our religious language we use the words “believe” (verb) and “faith” (noun). They are translations of the same Greek word that is used both ways in the New Testament. As a verb, faith is an act, and as a noun, it is a creed, a position. The former is dynamic while the latter is steadfast. Throughout my years of teaching, I have tried to stress both sides of this equation, of one’s religious sentiment as an odyssey on the one hand, and a fortress on the other. One is risk, the other security.  One tends to Dionysus, the other Apollo. In religious history, one is prophetic, the other priestly.

As I muse over these stories I am currently reading, I am absorbed with this notion of the restless spirit (or hero) as embarking on a journey, seeking his/her foundation on which to build a home.  The Odyssey is always in motion, always changing, and the Destiny is believed to be fixed. I am intrigued by this. All of us are pursuing some kind of goal, some fixed point that seems to lie just ahead of us. But the hero always discovers that that goal has been in his/her life since the start. Aristotle wrote it long ago–the end is in the beginning. What we seek is already in us. As Joseph Campbell used to write, we are on an odyssey that takes us to the center of our selves.

Hopefully, more on this later. I’m still working on it . . .

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to understand.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog, reminding myself I am not alone.

New Year Wanderlust

January 23, 2019

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Pausing to Grade Online at a Coffee Bar

Even though he still came to the river every night, it was obvious to [Captain] Call that Lonesome Dove had long since ceased to need guarding. . . . He came to the river because he liked to be alone for an hour, and not always be crowded.

Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove

As the year 2019 turns over its first few pages, I have decided not to be snared in the doldrums that often occur after the Christmas and New Year holidays close. For the first time in my life, my teaching load is completely online, so I have decided not to allow myself to be restricted to a geographical area often determined by class schedules. My recent travels have taken me across the great Southwest, and San Angelo has proved to be a chain of ephiphanies for which I will always remain grateful.

I have recently taken up Homer’s Odyssey to read, because I have never read that great epic in its entirety. I purchased Robert Fagles’s translation, because of the raving critical reviews over the lengthy introduction submitted by Bernard Knox. I believe the introduction runs around sixty pages, and it took quite awhile to read it in its entirety, but it was worth every hour. In addition to this, I have enjoyed a pair of YouTube lectures on The Odyssey, and have also made use of the Greek text I purchased in the Loeb Classical Library series. The ideas leaping out of the text have yielded hours of scribbled notes and journal entries. The Concho River meandering through San Angelo provided a lyrical setting for such a reading.

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Reading the Greek text on the banks of the Concho River

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While exploring downtown San Angelo, I happened across this book store that gave me a number of pleasant surprises. When I found the collection of Larry McMurtry books, including first editions and signed editions (I avoided the temptation of dropping $400 for a first edition of The Last Picture Show), I then noticed the photographs, greeting cards and handwritten letters tacked on the wall by Robert Duvall, an avid reader and friend of the bookstore’s owner. He drops in frequently to buy books by the stack! He even signed one of McMurtryr’s first-edition Lonesome Dove copies with “Gus”, and it sold immediately.

After visiting with the pleasant proprietor for awhile, I purchased a copy of Lonesome Dove (not a first edition or signed copy!) and am now over a hundred pages into it. This is only the second McMurtry book I’ve purchased, having finished The Last Picture Show recently.

With Odysseus on one side, and Gus on the other, I am enjoying my own journey while reading of theirs. We live in a good age, I believe. Technology has enabled me to earn a wage while being on the move. At the same time, I can enjoy days on end, being unplugged from social media yet knowing I can return to it at anytime to post a blog and read texts or emails waiting in the hopper. And right now, sitting in a coffee bar in a town where no one walking by is going to know who I am, I can enjoy reading books and scribbling thoughts into my journal without interruption, and with no appointments on the horizon.

Thanks for reading.