Posts Tagged ‘Ovilla Texas’

A Barn Covered in Memories

May 31, 2014
Finally Finished the Ovilla, Texas Barn

Finally Finished the Ovilla, Texas Barn

It took me a few days, but I finally finished this one.  I have a number of other projects in progress as well that I feel a compulsion for finishing.  Tomorrow promises another Waxahachie adventure in plein air painting, and I’m ready.

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.

Sweet Solitude in the Studio

May 30, 2014
Friday Night in the Studio

Friday Night in the Studio

I am here because “art” brought me here.  Obedient, I came.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Still Later in the Night

Still Later in the Night

Artists toil in cells all over Manhattan.  We have a monk’s devotion to our work–and, like monks, some of us will be visited by visions and others will toil out our days knowing glory only at a distance, kneeling in the chapel but never receiving the visitation of a Tony, an Oscar, a National Book Award.  And yet the still, small voice may speak as loud in us as in any.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s I toiled late into the night in the minister’s study, writing sermons, preparing Bible lectures and writing papers for seminary classes.  From the 1990’s until now I have exchanged that discipline for the production of lectures and lesson plans for university and high school classes.  Since about 2006, I have also spent thousands of solitary hours in the painter’s studio.  The one constant throughout all those decades of creative solitude has been the conviction that revelation was about to happen, that a visitation would occur, that darkness would yield to the light.  And I still live that way.  This has been an amazingly quiet Friday night, after a noisy day in public school.  The weekend offers organized plein air activity, and I plan to participate in that as well.  Time spent with other painters is always time well-spent.  But I would not have exchanged the sweetness of this evening for anything.  Julia Cameron wrote it well–artists toil in cells like monks, expecting the glory of some kind of visitation.

I am nearing completion on this barn I encountered in Ovilla, Texas a couple of weekends ago, and am also finding joy in a large painting of an historic Louisiana house.  The quiet of the evening has found ways to nurture me and affirm that what I am doing is quality work.  That alone is sufficient reward, filling me with a sense of eudaimonia.

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.

 

A Cool, Overcast Morning for Small Town Musings

May 25, 2014
Second Attempt at Plein Air Painting the Abandoned Gas Station

Second Attempt at Plein Air Painting the Abandoned Gas Station

I think an artist should be a sounding board for all these nervous vibrations, and should not just carry a set of rules and tricks around with him, and use them on different objects.

Andrew Wyeth

The madness continues.  Yesterday, having slept too little, I arose around 7:00 and dashed south to Maypearl to paint en plein air, then returned to open the second day of a festival at 4:00 p.m.  Getting home after 10:00 last night, sleep managed to elude me until nearly 4:00 a.m.  Nevertheless I rose at 7:00 and returned to Ovilla (where I painted last weekend) and made my second attempt at capturing the essence of this abandoned gas station on the main drag of old downtown.  The weather remained overcast so I had to invent shadows, but I still liked the cool breezes in the air following last night’s welcome rain.  I worked on this piece for two hours and decided to call it quits, return home and prepare to close out the festival tonight.  I’m feeling the effects of sleep deprivation, and may have to sleep in tomorrow before going to Ferris, Texas for a second round of plein air activity.  The madness of which I speak concerns the simulaneous events of the Downtown Arlington Levitt Pavilion Music Festival (at night) and the Paint Historic Waxahachie plein air event (during the day).  Friends call this burning the candle at both ends; I call it too much of a good thing.  Right now I’m a painter by day and a festival participant by night, and I hope I’m not coming across as “whiney”.  I made this choice.

I spent a great deal of time in my art booth last night reading the interview of Andrew Wyeth recorded in the book The Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth.  I had his work heavy on my mind when I came across this filling station this morning and regarded its remnants, thinking of how it had served out its usefulness before the owners moved on to other things.  How many of us in life feel that sentiment of being used and discarded?  I cannot explain the aesthetic sense of “beauty” I feel when gazing on remnants of abandoned businesses such as this.  But the longer I look at them and attempt to paint them, I can only think of what it must have been like to enter this establishment when it was viable, when the proprietors knew their customers in the small town of Ovilla on a first-name basis.  When I painted this subject last week, I enjoyed overhearing the conversations of the men who sat out in front of the open garage bay in their lawn chairs, soaking up the afternoon.  Today (Sunday) there was not a soul to be seen or a voice to be heard.  But I enjoyed the silence and the musings as I worked over this piece.

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.

 

Retreat to the Wilderness

May 18, 2014
Plein Air Sketch of a Former Gas Station in Ovilla, Texas

Plein Air Sketch of a Former Gas Station in Ovilla, Texas

Once the voices inside the classroom ceased for the weekend, I cloistered myself at home and spent a quiet Friday night poring over Martin Heidegger texts.  Cleansing waves of revelation washed over me, and the late night hours were indescribable.  I have enjoyed for years reading over the general themes of existential thinkers, but Heidegger’s three-part discussion of the human condition I found so appropros for matters I have felt for years, especially these senior years.  Heidegger breaks the subject into facticity, existentiality, and forfeiture.  

Facticity is the world into which I’ve been cast, my world.  It is the world that I inherited, the world in which I find myself entangled.  Existentiality is my anticipation of possibilities.  I want more, want to be more.  Existentiality is my way of appropriating my world and transcending it.  Existentiality is my aiming toward what has not yet occurred.  It is the primal energy to push beyond these boundaries, to learn more, become more.  My art and my academic pursuits are my way of pushing beyond what I’ve inherited from my world.  Forfeiture is the reality that this world is not only the material offering itself for existentiality, but also the agent that seduces me away from my pursuits.  There are so many distractions from the enterprise that I wish to pursue.  There is the everyday call to perform duties.  I know what I want to do, but I also know that I often turn away from these exploits, and perform the everyday tasks.  I forfeit the opportunity to be more.

O.K., now that I have  dropped the Heidegger bomb, I move on to discuss the sketch posted above.  Friday night was the Heidegger delight;  Saturday was my retreat to the wilderness.  The 2014 “Paint Historic Waxahachie” assignment for this past weekend included an excursion to Ovilla, Texas to paint en plein air the sights found there.  The old downtown is quite small, with the Main Street twisting and turning, and heavily trafficked.  I had to be careful of the constant passing cars and trucks.  But my eye was filled with delight at this old structure that the locals told me was formerly a filling station and general store.  Currently a man sells resale items out of this store.  I met him and had a very pleasant conversation about his business and the general business about town.  In fact, I met a host of pleasant people as I painted the day away here.  There were half a dozen plein air painters present from the Ellis County Art Association, and all the businessmen up and down the street came out to look, to chat, and exchange pleasantries.  The day was filled with charm.

I cannot say I’m happy with this watercolor.  I overworked it, and actually it looked better 30 minutes before I quit.  I still haven’t quite figured out when to leave something alone (and may never figure it out!).  But the experience was deeply satisfying, and I’m happy that I spent the best part of my Saturday in Ovilla.  The setting and the people were very charming and memorable.

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.