Posts Tagged ‘Music’

The Fall Season is Picking Up

October 2, 2017

Orange diesel

30 finished

Night Train Blue

Chevron Diesel.jpg

Night Train Violet

Blue & Red diesel

610 cab

I just finished a whirlwind of a weekend in Palestine, and am finishing several train watercolors at last. I just placed my first order for 1500 postcards of the historic #30 steam engine from the Texas State Railroad. In time, I will have postcards, greeting cards, and limited edition prints of all the trains of Palestine I’ve posted above. We’re trying to put on a big train show at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas this coming holiday season. I’ve been working on watercolors for the event all summer and am getting ready to make a deal with a framer to get them ready for presentation.

Thanks for reading.


So, why do you think that is ever going to change?

February 21, 2016


Today has been a day for cleaning up many unfinished art projects and sorting out new ideas for the studio. I have begun a new watercolor of an old subject I did years ago (twice) and am excited about its prospects. I am unable to post it because it is so pale with preliminary washes that no reader would be able to discern the subject yet. Soon, I hope!

My dear poet friend Stacy published on her blog this morning and knocked the wind out of me. I am posting the link below.

Later in the day, over coffee, we discussed this thing about being “blocked.” I know all-too-well the moments when I’m wondering just what to tackle next in my painting, accompanied by the self-doubt that is convinced that my efforts will fall short of my aspirations.  And as I read Stacy’s post repeatedly, one idea rose to the surface–a guitar master once listened as his student complained that he heard the music better than he was able to make it come out of his fingers. The master asked, “And why do you think that is ever going to change?”

That is exactly the point. My thoughts are always better than my expressions, whether they be public discourse, playing guitar, singing, writing, making art, even journaling. My expression never reaches the quality of my idea. My works of art never reach the level of Art. I suppose the sooner we accept that reality, the easier it will be to pick up the pen or brush or musical instrument.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

My Watercolor Featured on a CD Cover

September 11, 2015
My Watercolor on a CD Cover

My Watercolor on a CD Cover

I am pleased to share an image of a watercolor of mine now serving as a backdrop on a CD of Rachel Lahr’s latest release “Leaves in San Diego.” The watercolor of the palms is a quick plein air watercolor sketch I did in Los Angeles at the close of a spectacular day while I was training for the International Baccalaureate Program (that was later cancelled for my school). The cancellation of the program will always be a bitter pill in my mouth, but something beyond my control. I’m glad that at least something I did while in training that week went for a purpose in which I believe–marketing the skills of creative artists. Congratulations, Rachel, and I hope you go far with your spectacular music. I’m pleased to have purchased and downloaded this song. I love it!

Thanks for reading.

Saturday Morning Musings with Thoreau

December 6, 2014
Preparing to Paint, while reading Thoreau and Listening to Music

Preparing to Paint, while reading Thoreau and Listening to Music

Of what manner of stuff is the web of time wove, when these consecutive sounds called a strain of music can be wafted down through the centuries from Homer to me, and Homer have been conversant with that same unfathomable mystery and charm which so newly tingles my ears?  These single strains, these melodious cadences which plainly proceed out of a very deep meaning and a sustained soul, are the interjections of God. . .  But ah, I hear them but rarely! . . . The clear, liquid notes from the morning fields beyond seem to come through a vale of sadness to man, which gives all music a plaintive air.  It hath caught a higher pace than any virtue I know. . . . What then, can I do to hasten that other time, or that space where there shall be no time, and these things be a more living part of my life, — where there will be no discords in my life?

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, January 8, 1842

It was soothing to awaken on a Saturday morning without an alarm at 8:13 a.m., to shower, prepare a hot breakfast and enter my garage studio before 9:00.  I continued arranging the fly fishing still life that I began assembling late last night while playing a tape of instrumental music similar to the kind I heard played live in Creede, Colorado many summers ago.  The strains of music took me back to that day filled with wonder, and then when I sat at my drafting table to read some more pages from Thoreau’s Journal, I was moved by the serendipitous nature of what I read, and now post these words to introduce my blog.  I’m still amazed that a twenty-five-year-old Thoreau thought and wrote in this manner.  In my own senior years, I am continually stirred by the wisdom of this young, active mind.

Yesterday my Philosophy class was visited by a lecturer possessing an electric spirit who earned his Ph.D. in Hegel’s philosophy.  He spent more than an hour discussing with my students the contributions of Hegel’s comprehensive system, and as he spoke, I continually felt the stirrings of ancient breezes from Asia Minor and Greece, as well as the hum of contemporary ideas that we as a class had explored over the past several weeks.  I cannot put words to these stirrings, but music comes close.  Like chamber music, these strains swept gently through the corridors of my soul, and have remained with me, throughout last night’s activities and on into this morning.  Experiences like this I call a Gift, I can think of no better word.  I do not feel that I did anything to deserve such a visitation, but I am grateful for this Gift in ways that defy description.

Thoreau’s final sentence reads like that of a twenty-five-year-old, to me.  When I was much younger, and in the pastoral ministry, we always searched for some kind of evangelical revival, or awakening, sometimes even resorting to methods to induce such experiences.  I reached a point where I confessed that I could not make these kinds of peak experiences happen, I just have to accept them when they come, and since those years, they have come with ever-greater frequency, it seems.  I cannot make the wind blow, but I can adjust my sails to catch it when it does blow.  This I try to do with my own daily habits of reading, journaling, creating art and always trying to think on transcendent matters.  Yes, I have a job and deadlines to meet always, but I’m finding in these later years that these promises can be kept more easily by applying some discipline to the daily schedule and creating space for what others might call “down time” but I prefer to call “solitude.”

I hope some of what I wrote made sense.  It’s time for me to move on to making art . . .

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.



Preparing for the Fort Worth Music Festival

September 19, 2011

St. Louis Jazz at the Bistro

The Fort Worth Music Festival is two weeks away, so I’m dusting off my music subjects.  This watercolor was completed in the summer of 2010, then promptly stolen.  Fortunately,  I had a photograph made, so giclee prints are now available.

Jazz at the Bistro is located in St. Louis, just around the corner from their historic Fox Theater.  The cool blue hues of this facade, to me, reflected cool jazz, and I couldn’t resist a watercolor of the subject.  I’ve been asked recently to work on some watercolor compositions, using Prismacolor watercolor pencils exclusively.  This particular painting made heavy use of Prismacolor pencils over my Winsor and Newton watercolors.  This week I plan to do some experimenting with Prismacolor watercolor pencils, a first for me.  Tomorrow, I hope to begin a series of watercolor sketches at various Fort Worth locations.  I need new material for the various art festivals coming up the next two months.

Thanks for reading.


A Shout Out to the little town of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois!

March 10, 2011

Turvey's Corner

I am posting a watercolor that I completed in 1999, the first completed watercolor from my intensified quest to become a “professional” watercolorist, rather than a novice or Sunday Painter type.  The actual setting is a composite of three places I had visited throughout my life.  The Switzer building I always knew from downtown St. Louis, near where I grew up (sadly that building/landmark  has since been torn down).  The buildings on the left margin came from New Bern, North Carolina, a town I visited only one time in the mid-1990’s, and actually used the interior of a coffee shop there (the Trent River Coffee Company) to compose a mural at Arlington Martin High School (that mural can be viewed under the “Murals” tab of my website

The building on the right, with the Budweiser and Busch ghost signs, I only knew as coming from a town in Illinois.  I scoured a number of those towns very early in the 1990’s with my father, but did not take good notes in my journal.  Since 1999, I have been unable to tell people specifically where I found that striking building to anchor the right side of this composition.

All of that changed at Open House last Monday night.  Parents of one of my A. P. Art History students were visiting with me, and as we shared our backgrounds, it was established that the father had grown up in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, near  Fort de Chartes.  I recognized those names immediately as two of the places I had scouted with my father during that summer excursion in the early ’90s.  I told this gentleman about my painting titled “Turvey’s Corner,”  explaining that one of the buildings came from a small Illinois town in his general area.  Today I received the surprise email from him, informing me that he had looked up my painting on the website and immediately recognized this “phantom” building as Lisa’s Market Street Grille in downtown Prairie du Rocher!

How thrilling to meet someone who connected with one of these small towns far, far away that connected with me in my travels!  Having an identity now for that building means everything to me, as I now can tell people more about the painting and what generated the idea for it.  I am adding the Facebook link to Lisa’s Market Street Grille, encouraging any of you interested to check out this business.  I was a patron there when I took my photographs of the establishment with my 35mm camera long ago, and still have fond memories of the place.  How happy I am to re-discover the business, and I cannot wait to return some day.

Thank you, Mike and Karen, for providing this information for me.

And thanks to all of you for reading.


The Passing of a Local Blues Guitar Legend

February 9, 2011

Zeb Cash-Lane, holding his Fender Jazzmaster

My Watercolor Tribute to Zeb

Zeb Cash-Lane passed away yesterday, February 8, 2011.  He had taken me under his wing back in 2006 when I was trying to find my way as a blues guitarist.  I played side guitar for him at the Peppermill Lounge in east Fort Worth, Texas for a few months spanning 2006-2007.  Zeb’s health was failing then, and when news came this morning that he had died, I could only hope he hadn’t suffered.  I had seen him on many days when it was a struggle just to draw a breath.  I’ll always remember with gratitude what he taught me about guitar, music, performance and a host of other matters relative to the music environment.  And I will always recall the sensations of his Fender Stratocaster shrieking in the night as he belted out his original blues compositions.

I close by posting recollections recorded in my personal journal the morning after I met him:

Friday morning, October 13, 2006, 7:50 a.m., Martin High School Philosophy Class:

Last night, I had a life-altering encounter at a recording studio in east Arlington.  I met for the first time Zeb Cash-Lane, an aged blues musician, specializing in harp and searing electric guitar (Fender Jazzman played through a Fender tube amp).  It was a night to remember always and I now attempt to record the visions . . .

7:00 p.m. Thursday found me pushing my Jeep westward on Abram, with temperatures dropping, a chilly October evening and a sun sinking large, flooding the western sky with color.  Looming silhouettes of tire shops and tattoo parlors paraded down the corridors of my peripheral glances.  Finally, the cinder block building came into sight.  Jim Farmer waited outside on the parking lot with a slender, rangy man sporting a Rasputin-like full white beard, faded jeans, suspenders and a gray-blue “Charley Guitar Shop” T-shirt.  I was introduced and shook hands with Zeb Cash-Lane.

Inside the dim studio room that doubled as Zeb’s dorm room, we heard the searing electric blues that Zeb ripped.  It was an authentic Blues environ: whiskey bottles, ashtrays, Zeb rolling his own cigarettes, scattered amps, guitars, a cello and even an upright piano.  The room had the clutter of a maintenance shed or electrician’s shop, but it was a music room.  A Blues room, a three-dimensional photo gallery of where Zeb was and where Zeb had been.  Jim Farmer played his new electric bass, Zeb played his Fender Jazzman and I played my Martin D-35.  The Blues seared, screamed and moaned late into that cold October night.  Inside, the guitars cried while outside, the winds answered with a chorus of mournful, yet affirming howls. Stormy Monday set the tone for the Blues night in the studio.

After hours of playing, we sat outside on the concrete steps, weary but full of hope about our musical collaboration, and shared stories over cold beers.  I drove home, late in the night, numbed by the experience.

Return to the Silver Dollar Tavern, November 7, 2010

November 7, 2010

Silver Dollar Tavern

With a gallery opening this coming weekend, and another art festival running at the same time, I’m in a pinch to finish some paintings.  This one I abandoned a few months back.  Earlier photos of it have already been posted on the blog.  I am the guitar player–a friend photographed me playing at an art festival several years back.  The GMC pickup is from an abandoned site somewhere in New Mexico (I remember the summer but not the town).  The abandoned tavern is in Old Appleton, Missouri, alongside old Highway 61, north of Cape Girardeau.  My father frequented this joint when he was a young adult.  He recalls that the bar was on the ground floor, and the dance floor on the second story.  I haven’t visited the site since about the year 2000, and it was in bad shape.  I fear that I will return one day to find it gone, like so many other derelict character-laden structures I have painted over the years.

Thanks for reading.

Zeb Plays the Blues, November 7, 2010

November 7, 2010

Zeb Plays the Blues

I’m getting closer to finishing this one out.  I have another gallery opening and art festival next weekend.  I’m pushing hard, trying to finish watercolors in progress that have been dormant far too long.

Thanks for reading.

Zeb Plays the Blues, November 5, 2010

November 5, 2010

Zeb Plays the Blues

I’ve been engaged with this piece for about 3 days now.  This is Zeb Cash-Lane of Arlington, Texas.  A few years back, I played in a blues band with him that did regular gigs at the Peppermill Lounge in east Fort Worth.  Zeb is an outstanding electric bluesman, with a host of original songs to his credit and plenty of experience in the recording studio.  Hopefully I can finish this over the weekend.  I have another festival approaching in eight days, and the school schedule is becoming less flexible.  It’s getting harder to find quality time for plein air or studio work.

Thanks for reading.