Posts Tagged ‘movie theater’

First Attempt of the New Isis Theater in the Fort Worth Stockyards

June 30, 2013
New Isis Theater, Fort Worth

New Isis Theater, Fort Worth

. . . having a working command of the creative process–that is, all those elements that lead to the making of art–is truly essential.  The creative process unfolds as you find the essential tools in your toolkit.  It means finding your subjects (not someone else’s) and finding your materials (not someone else’s) and most of all it means finding a way to live your life so that you can engage again and again the things you care about the most.  

Ted Orland, The View From the Studio Door

As Sunday fades into the late afternoon, I realize that I will soon have to lay aside my art work and take up Shakespeare for tomorrow morning’s summer school class.  Teaching pays the bills; I do that so I can live to make art.  Teaching supports my habit, though I must immediately add that this is the only profession in my career that has truly fit me.  I have never stopped loving the educational enterprise.  Perhaps that is because I am still a student, and always will be.

I have made two trips to the Fort Worth Stockyards in the past four days, both times in triple-digit temperatures, and both times returning to my studio with a renewed interest in pursuing a series of studies in the edifices on North Main, especially the New Isis theater.  As I continue to work on this watercolor, as well as additional compositions of this historic theater, I will have much to report concerning its history.  I have been fascinated to find pages and pages of data on this remarkable structure and the stories it embodies.

I have not put much work into this piece yet, save for the sign, the part that holds the most fascination for me.  I’m about ready to move down into the awning and left to the pair of doors ready for rendering.  The sign was a great source of joy, and I guess I can say that the most “fun” part of the painting is now behind me; everything else should just be supporting detail.  Having said that, I may be closer to the end of this sketch than I realized when I began this blog post.  But so it goes.

Thank you for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel that I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Resuming Work on the Ridglea Theater Watercolor

February 29, 2012

Ridglea Theater, Fort Worth, Texas

Texas temperatures soared above the 70’s today, and the landscape of my neighborhood is bathed in yellow light as the afternoon fades.  One-third of me wants to go out with the watercolor block and find a plein air setting to sketch.  But there is this other third that has missed this large watercolor languishing for two days in my garage.  And then, the final third misses reading and decompressing.  The week in school has sucked most of the intellectual juices out of me.  So . . . I just took another large bite out of this 30 x 22″ watercolor, getting lost in the large letters hanging on the tower, as well as all the wonderful rusticated cut stone of this magnificent structure.  I had to stop when the entire tower flooded with washes of  warm layers of rose and gold.  Now, the entire painting is very wet, and will remain so for quite awhile.  When working on 300-lb. paper, I notice that the pools of wash tend to linger forever.

I have pulled out some reading on Kant and the eighteenth-century Enlightenment.  I have been immersed in this topic for a couple of weeks now, and even when I’m not reading, I’m composting all the ideas that have been stored up from the texts, and as the days go by, more thoughts begin to fertilize and grow.  Right now, I’m enjoying in the most profound sense the sounds of the mocking birds all over my watered lawn, the jazz playing on my stereo, and the whispered approvals of Kant and Company as I continue to try and understand what these great thinkers were all about in their day, and what they can offer to mine.

As for this painting, I have not been able to reach any satisfaction with the tonal colors of the tower, on either the shadow side or the lighted one.  Right now, I am liking more the color on the sunny side.  I mixed some cadmium yellow deep with a little cadmium red medium, along with whatever was still in my brush (some sepia, alizarin crimson, and ultramarine blue).  The large washes of warm color are looking good (while the painting is wet–we’ll see what happens when it dries out).  The shadow sides are still eluding me.  I have tried mixtures of ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow deep, and a little sepia, and am still unsatisfied with the colors emerging.  I’m glad watercolor is transparent.  I’ll just have to keep glazing and see what finally comes to the surface.  I’m not frustrated, just intrigued as I try to match the colors of the cut stone that makes up this tower.  I’m also finding the neon tubing in the letters a challenge.  Once I feel that I have what I want, I’ll strengthen the colors and contrasts and let them stand out a little better.  Right now, I’m keeping them subtle, because I still haven’t really “solved” them.

I thought this painting was going to be easy.  Serves me right, I guess.  Perhaps I’ll get more done on it tonight.  As I write this, the sun has disappeared behind the ridge and I now have to resort to artificial lamp light and fluorescent overheads in my garage–not my favorite way to work, but still, it beats waiting for the next day to roll up.  A large black cat with a red collar has just dropped by to say Hello.  He does this at some point every evening that I spend working in the garage.  I have no idea who owns him, but I know his visit is always good for about five minutes–long enough to examine and sniff everything around the perimeter of my garage–and then he moves on without a word, I guess to his next stop.  But he always comes to me to rise on his hind legs like a kangaroo and let me scratch the back of his neck, a friendly soul.

It’s good to be painting again.  Thanks for reading.

A Little More Watercolor “Construction” on the Ridglea Theater

February 26, 2012

Work on the Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth, Texas

Good day to all of you.  I am sitting in my Garage Studio with my eyes half-shut!  I slept 12 hours last night, but only 3 the night before.  It has caught up with me on this gorgeous sun-washed Sunday afternoon.  What a tragedy.  Friday’s humanities class at my high school was an absolutely magnificent moment for me, though we also had plenty of laughs, reviewing for an exam that showed the students didn’t absorb nearly what I had hoped for them.  But Friday afternoon left me awash in desires to explore Kant, Rousseau and some of the Neo-Classical painters, which I did.  Then the urge hit late, late Friday night to do the foundational work on this full-size Ridglea Theater watercolor.  I retired to bed at 3 a.m., but rose again at 6, and went back after it.  Following that was a band rehearsal (we have an engagement in a week), then more work on the watercolor, and then a late Saturday night.

My third cup of coffee isn’t doing it for me.  I’ve been reading extensively from Rollo May’s book on Paul Tillich, titled Paulus: Reminiscences of a Friendship.  Here is a portion of the text that resonates with me right now:

Such intensity of consciousness is a real problem.  One cannot have peak experience all the time, nor does anyone want to.  Hence the infusion of Hindu meditation in our culture to give a constructive tone to solitude and to stop the machinery for a little while.  Alcohol also serves to do this; it is a requirement, as Harry Stack Sullivan put it, of an industrial civilization, where it sets up a state of a partial withdrawal from the mechanical pressure. 

So.  I’m pursuing neither Hindu meditation or alcohol.  Just reading, journaling, listening to the gentle breezes outside my open garage door, and chipping away further at this Ridglea Theater watercolor.  It is a most beautiful day out, and I am “amost” out, sitting 10 feet inside my open garage door with the sun beside me, jazz music playing on my stereo, Paul Tillich’s ideas surging through my being, and a watercolor emerging beneath my excited brush.

Hopefully, I’ll post more later today.  Thanks for reading.

Downtown Fort Worth Musings

October 19, 2011

Ghosts of Sundance Square

I’m still working to finish a pair of Harley watercolors, that I’ve already posted.  Today’s schedule was too full for me to get in some real quality painting time.  I’m posting this picture, because of my afternoon spent rhapsodizing over the downtown Fort Worth vistas.  Here are the remnants of what used to be Red Goose Shoes and the Sundance 11 Theater.  My history with Fort Worth extends only as far back as 1977, and I love to hear stories of these business establishments from locals who knew these places during their viable years.  Hats off to memories that matter, and to those of you who keep them alive.  I’m hoping that my near future will witness the painting of the Flat Iron building on the south side of Fort Worth, and the Ridglea Theater, now being restored on Camp Bowie Blvd., in far west Fort Worth.  Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading.

Attempting Watercolor Plein Air over Dinner

October 2, 2011

Historic Ridglea Theater on Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas

It has been days since I last posted to the blog.  I participated in the Fort Worth Music Festival, which took me away from my work Thursday through Saturday.  Today, Sunday, was my decompression day.  Though weary from the festival exertion, I chose to spend most of my day at the Fort Worth Modern Art Museum and the Kimbell Art Museum.  The Richard Diebenkorn Ocean Park Series has just opened at the Modern–an enormous show.  I have seen it twice now, and still cannot absorb what is going on in all those galleries.  What a marvelous body of work.  I purchased the museum catalogue and hope to find some quality reading time in the days ahead.  I really want to know more about Diebenkorn’s approach to abstraction.

When the museums closed, I decided it was time to eat, and preferred to be seated outdoors.  La Madeleine (French cafe) on the west side of Fort Worth was an excellent choice.  I thought I would sit outside, and while lingering over Caesar salad and tomato basil soup, see if I could get in some good work with the Diebenkorn publication.  But the slanting light of the western sun was exquisite on the historic Ridglea Theater across the street, and I found myself fishing watercolor supplies out of my shoulder bag, and before I knew it, I was attempting a sketch of this edifice once again.  There are a few things I like about this attempt that I haven’t been able to capture in earlier endeavors, most particularly the popping red colors of the sign letters facing away from the viewer on the left side of the tower.  I found a little more satisfaction with the brickwork on the tower as well.  This will certainly not be my last attempt to capture the Ridglea on paper.

Thanks for reading.

Lingering Ghosts of Sundance Square

September 8, 2011

Lingering Ghosts of Sundance Square

Marcel Proust reminds us in his Remembrance of Things Past that the mere sight, sound or smell of something has the power to transport us back to primal memories from our childhood that fill us with warmth and gratitude.  These are the kinds of subjects I attempt to capture in watercolor for my company that I have named Recollections 54 (  This past summer, while cruising Sundance Square one morning, I saw how the sun washed the yellow, blue and red facades of the Red Goose Shoe store and what used to be the Sundance 11 theater.  Though saddened by the demise of these companies, I felt at the same time a gratitude for the memories that flooded my being.  Having grown up in St. Louis, I watched the Red Goose Shoes commercials on children’s television and fantasized about the golden eggs filled with prizes available with the purchase of a pair of shoes.  I also recall the abundance of art deco theaters that I frequented in the greater St. Louis area during those early years.  Now they are mostly gone.  When I encounter sights such as these, I linger in the moment, feeling that profound sense of loss, but also an exhilarating presence.  The memories matter, and they leave me with a comfort too profound for words.

Thank you for reading.  My One-Man Show opens Saturday night from 5:00-9:00 at the Weiler House Fine Art Gallery, 3126 Handley Drive, Fort Worth 76112.  I would love to see you there.  Currently, we have about forty watercolors at the location, ready for showtime.