Posts Tagged ‘palestine texas’

Thrilling Transitions

July 3, 2018

Redlands first

Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.

Henry David Thoreau


Good morning from the Redlands Hotel in Palestine. I have taken my seat inside the newly-reconfigured Gallery at Redlands, Room 109. Fascinating changes have occurred inside this historic hotel, with more to come.

Redlands FM

In a previous blog, I mentioned that the Red Fire Grille came under new ownership earlier this year, and with that change came hotel renovations that created the beautiful RFG “Sparq Bar” just down the hall from the gallery. Patrons are now coming in great number to enjoy fine dining as well as cocktails in the evening. And just recently, the Red Fire Grille opened with lunch hours for the first time. Now we don’t have to wait till evening for people to visit the first floor of the hotel.

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You may have seen the new entry at the bottom of the window sign: Smooth Rock 93.5. The offices of this new FM station will be opening upstairs in Room 205, but the broadcast booth will be my new roommate in the gallery. This radio station, currently based in San Antonio, will be moving to Palestine this month, and launching their first broadcast August 1. The broadcast booth will occupy the south end of the gallery at the display window facing the street. Broadcasts will occur Monday through Friday, and I will work the gallery most weekends. But, with a college schedule of Tuesday-Thursday classes, I’ll be sure to spend some Fridays and Mondays inside the gallery so I can soak up the atmosphere of FM radio featuring Eric Clapton and other musicians of that genre. The radio has pledged aggressive advertising for the hotel, gallery, restaurant and bar, so naturally, we are all excited to welcome our new resident.

I arrived yesterday with my Jeep packed to the gills with all the art merchandise and furnishings from my festival last weekend. Once I unloaded everything into the gallery, it was time to begin work re-configuring the Gallery at Redlands to make room for our new residents. This involved moving the heavy desk from the site of the future broadcast booth to the front of the gallery near the lobby window. Then, we set up my Pro Panels to form a temporary wall separating the gallery from the broadcast area, but allowing passage on both sides from one space to the next.

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Redlands wall

redlands wall 2

The gallery has a completely new, more intimate feel now.

Gallery window

The lobby of this historic hotel, dating from 1915, has been completely renovated, with offices removed and a large, open lounge area inviting people to relax in conversation, books, television, and drinks.

Redlands lobby

Redlands lobby 3

Redlands lobby 2

The Redlands Hotel, dating from 1915, is a veritable time warp for me every time I enter the main hall, and I’m thrilled that the gallery is in this hall. When I climb those stairs to move into the suite that provides a luxurious dwelling, I feel I’m supposed to be wearing spats from the previous century, a vest with watch chain, and a fat cigar in my mouth.

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The Gallery at Redlands is open, on the right

These are truly exciting days in Palestine, Texas. For anyone reading this, I sincerely hope you will find the time to visit us at The Redlands Hotel on 400 N. Queen Street. The rooms are absolutely stunning, and the prices are very reasonable. The gallery is improving each week, and come August we will welcome FM 92.5 Smooth Rock to the premises. Unfortunately, I will be out of town when that occasion arises, and I hope I will be able to stream the inaugural broadcast on the Internet. I’m preparing to leave for the mountains for some exquisite time to paint and fly fish. I’ll return to the gallery in mid-August.

Thanks always for reading.

I paint in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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A Quiet, Restful Sunday

May 27, 2018

gallery

Relaxing in The Gallery at Redlands after Saturday’s Depot Exhibit

I sensed a direct line from the eminent figures of ancient Greece–Aeschylus, Sophocles, Phidias–down to [Paul Tillich] himself. Each seemed to me intensely vital; each lived with a seriousness that was not sober; each knew that death would come sooner or later and that there was therefore no time for prevarication or dishonesty with oneself. Each burned with the gemlike flame that comes from the knowledge that we are on this crust of earth for our little moment to build our machines or think and speak our thoughts or sing our poems. 

Rollo May, Paulus: Reminscences of a Friendship

I am deeply grateful for this Sunday of restoration. Over the past forty-eight hours, I’ve driven long distances, set up and broken down a booth for my art exhibit, and sat for an entire day in a hot and extremely humid environment. The labor paid off wonderfully, but today I feel spent, and am happy to regather my strength. It’s been awhile since I read Paul Tillich’s work, and I thought I would begin the morning with some re-reading of the testimony of his most famous student, psychologist Rollo May. A good friend has given me a copy of Tillich’s Dynamics of Faith, and I’ve enjoyed reading sections of it during my quiet moments this weekend.

I was invited to display my railroad art at the opening of the Texas State Railroad’s new season that features excursion train rides from Palestine to Rusk. My day at the Palestine Depot was very rewarding, as the depot sold 280 tickets for the day’s train ride, and many rail enthusiasts visited my tent, made purchases, and engaged me in intriguing conversations concerning their connections to our rich railroad history.

booth

My Booth outside the Palestine Depot

Palestine express

Afternoon train returning to Palestine from Rusk, finishing the Inaugural run of the New Season

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A Pair of Vintage Locomotives towed out from the Palestine Train Shed

clouds

Gorgeous Evening Vista following my All-Day Depot Exhibition

I could not resist pulling my Jeep over last night to try and capture the scintillating colors emanating from the clouds that hovered over this church in Palestine. I’m thinking seriously of getting out the watercolors to see if I can capture some of that billowy dynamic of the amazing clouds I saw.

Sunday morning railyard

Sunday Morning view from Second-Floor Balcony of the Redlands Hotel

Rising early this Sunday morning, I took my coffee out to my favorite balcony of this historic hotel. The winds were cool, and the train yard seemed to be working overtime, as I watched eleven diesels move through the yards in fifteen minutes. Of course, I could not stop staring at the Chamber of Commerce Building on the right which used to be the headquarters for the railroad during the earlier parts of this century. I have done four watercolors of the structure from this angle.

The day has been restful, and I close with the repeated note of gratitude for quality rest following an arduous schedule.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Preparing for a Plein Air Paint-Out

March 29, 2018

azalea plein air

Historic Home on Magnolia Street in Palestine, Texas

The approaching weekend is offering a world of excitement as the Society of Watercolor Artists descends upon Palestine for a weekend of plein air painting during their ongoing Dogwood Festival. I arrived in town today and immediately went to work on the 8 x 10″ watercolor posted above. There has been plenty of rain lately, and the colors of nature are really popping in this quaint historic town.

The artists will display and sell out of The Gallery at Redlands here in the Redlands Hotel throughout the weekend, and we have plenty of fun scheduled for Saturday evening as we relax and dine at the Red Fire Grille, also located in this hotel.

If you live close enough, we hope you’ll consider a trip into town to meet us as we paint to our delight.

Thanks for reading.

Acceptance into SWA International Juried Show

March 21, 2018

redlands finished oxbow

Old Town Palestine

I was pleased this afternoon to be notified that the painting above has been juried into the 2018 Society of Watercolor Artists International Juried Exhibition, to be held in Fort Worth April 15-May 20. I thought there was something special happening as I worked on this composition last month. The Oxbow is located in the old historic downtown section of Palestine, across the street from the popular Pint and Barrel pub. This establishment is famous for its home-baked pies. I’m thrilled that we’re able to inject some Palestine history into this upcoming show.

Thanks for reading.

Plein Air Zeitgeist

March 21, 2018

redlands finished oxbow

The Oxbow. Palestine, Texas

Framed watercolor: $700

Though the time is still a week and a half away, I’m trembling this morning with anticipation over our upcoming plein air painting event in Palestine, Texas. At least a half dozen painters from the Society of Watercolor Artists (SWA) will take up residence in the historic Redlands Hotel the weekend of March 30-April 1 in conjunction with the city’s annual Dogwood Festival. For three days we will “paint the town” with enthusiasm.

These are my new and dear friends, and we’re looking forward to putting up new work in The Gallery at Redlands for display and sale over the weekend. Over the past year, I have had this delightful privilege of painting historic Palestine, and now look forward to introducing these artists to the local sights. Several of the local residents have also volunteered to serve as tour guides as needed.

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Our headquarters for the weekend will be The Gallery at Redlands on the main floor of the Redlands Hotel. The artists have been invited to bring their previous framed works to put up for display and sale. Plein air watercolors created throughout the weekend will also appear in the gallery for Dogwood Festival patrons to view as they tour the hotel.

The Zeitgeist of plein air painting has been an exciting one that I have enjoyed for over a decade now, beginning with my experience of Paint Historic Waxahachie (I just registered for that event last night and will have more to say about it as the event approaches in April-May). I had no idea when I began this adventure in Waxahachie long ago that I would find myself adopting this lifestyle. The experience of painting live on site has given me the adventure of residing on an island in the Texas Laguna Madre twice as Artist-in-Residence for Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. It has also taken me to canyons in west Texas, mountains in Colorado and quaint towns in northern Arkansas. I’ve had the privilege of conducting several plein air watercolor workshops across Texas and Arkansas, and now eagerly anticipate this inaugural plein air gathering in Palestine, Texas. I’ll have plenty more to report as our event draws nearer.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

 

 

Sunday Morning Splendor

March 4, 2018

Hopper church

11×14″ framed Sacred Heart Catholic Church. $200

Waking at 4:18 this morning was not part of the plan, but nevertheless I got up, feeling rested. Enjoying the dark and quiet of the basement studio of The Redlands Hotel, I managed to finish all my grading, so I can now return the writing portfolios to my Humanities classes tomorrow afternoon. I did not anticipate the elevated mood that grading these works would generate. The subjects ranged from art in the Baroque, Neoclassical and Romantic periods, along with poetry from Wordsworth and Whitman. Many of the students indeed poured out their hearts onto the typed pages, and the more I read and graded, the happier I grew. By the time I was finished at 6:30, I was ready to go out and try to do something creative.

The painting posted above I managed to frame and hang yesterday in The Gallery at Redlands. Last night, I completed work on a piece I had begun en plein air during a Mississippi stay over in February when I drove to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama to deliver two watercolors (the auction was March 1 and I’m still waiting to find out what happened).  The Mississippi piece I matted and put up in the gallery last night as well.

Mississippi snow

Snowfall in Clarksdale, Mississippi, 11×14″ matted. $100

Shelton Hall

Shelton Hall, 11×14″ matted.  $100

I finally completed work on a plein air attempt of Shelton Hall, located in Old Town Palestine, several blocks from the gallery.

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Sacred Heart Catholic Church. 8×10″ framed.  $50

Once the grading was completed this morning, I left the dark basement and emerged into the early light, finding the environment overcast and ready to rain. I sketched out the Sacred Heart Catholic Church while seated on a bench outside the Carnegie Library building. Once I began painting, the cold winds began to stir and knocked over my container of water. The brushes were also blowing off the bench, so I decided to take a reference photo and descend once again into the basement where I have set up one of my drafting tables. I worked quickly on this 5×7″ composition, then inserted it into an 8×10″ frame and installed it into the gallery as well.

Chamber of Commerce

Currently I am working on the Chamber of Commerce building, for the fourth time, somewhat disappointed that there is no sunlight on it today. But it is still refreshing to look out the gallery window and see it directly, instead of relying on photos of it.

The day is shaping up to be another productive one, and it feels good. Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Driven

March 2, 2018

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I must say something certainly got into me today, a surge of energy to paint. I awoke around 6 this morning, feeling confident and ready to face a new day, which turned out to be sunny for the first time in a couple of weeks, and very pleasant and cool outdoors.

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After working on my large Catholic church painting for awhile, I decided to take a book outside and read in the cool shade. Finding a bench beneath a tree in front of what used to be a Carnegie Library next to this Redlands Hotel, I sat and enjoyed about thirty minutes of thoughtful reading from Hannah Arendt’s The Life of the Mind. I became aware of her work through my studies in Heidegger, but had never read her directly. I am finding this book to be very thought-provoking, after the first seventy pages.

Walking back to the gallery, I looked up at the top of the church as the bells tolled the twelve o’clock hour. I was attracted to the strong sun and shadow, and dashed into the gallery for a sketchbook. I am the world’s worst when it comes to keeping a sketchbook; I believe in it, but don’t practice it, and always feel shamed by this fact. Today was a rare moment–I sat on a bench and rapidly blocked out this sketch, then went inside and began on a 9 x 12″ watercolor block. Later this evening, I finished it.

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Before completing the small watercolor, I returned to the larger one I’ve worked on for a few days and finished it.

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My body is tired, but I need to complete my grading of this stack of writing portfolios for my Humanities class so I can return them Monday. I’m deeply satisfied with the day’s output. I began another painting of the Chamber of Commerce building, visible through the window of this gallery. I’ve already painted the subject three times, and sold all three quite quickly. Still, I cannot stop gazing at the sun lighting up the side of the ancient brick structure which used to be the headquarters for the railroad here in Palestine. I plan to post the progress of that painting tomorrow. Currently there is not much to see.

Thanks always for reading and for sharing this day.

I paint in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

 

 

 

Quality Time and Space

March 2, 2018

basement

Early Morning Sanctuary

. . . the loss of common sense is neither the vice nor the virtue of Kant’s “professional thinkers”; it happens to everybody who ever reflects on something; it only happens more often to professional thinkers. These we call philosophers, and their way of life will always be “the life of a stranger” (bios senikos), As Aristotle called it in his PoliticsAnd the reason that strangeness and absent-mindedness are not more dangerous, that all “thinkers,” professionals and laymen alike, survive so easily the loss of the feeling of realness, is just that the thinking ego asserts itself only temporarily: every thinker no matter how eminent remains “a man like you and me” (Plato), an appearance among appearances equipped with common sense and knowing enough common-sense reasoning to survive.

Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind

The last time I knew this level of serenity and heartfelt satisfaction was when I awoke mornings on the island at the Laguna Madre during my stays in 2015 and 2016. As artist-in-residence for Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, I was given two six-day stays alone at their field station on the spoil island. The quiet that enveloped me throughout each day as I divided my time between painting, reading and writing was much like what I know in the basement of the Redlands Hotel in Palestine, Texas. During these quiet mornings, punctuated by the hourly tolling bells of Sacred Heart Catholic Church above me, and directly across the street, I feel my soul slowly waking after a good night’s sleep, and reading Hannah Arendt over a cup of coffee is deeply satisfying. Time to read, reflect and write at this study table has been luxurious, and I feel a genuine surge of energy rising to meet the tasks of the day. Later in the morning, I’ll walk across the studio to the drafting table and contemplate the next steps on this new watercolor. Then, around 10 o’clock, I plan to open the gallery upstairs.

draft

I cannot say enough about the value of space and quiet for serious thinking. Throughout my years of full-time teaching, it was a struggle to escape the rat race of daily routines, so much valuable time was wasted on tasks required by the job, yet so useless and devoid of quality when it came to the main task of educating young minds. How refreshing now to meet classes only twice a week and have an abundance of quality time to research and write new presentations. Last week I had the privilege of presenting Impressionist art in a way I never could before, because there was so much more time to focus on the subject and develop new angles of approach. As Hannah Arendt wrote above, we don’t expect to spend entire days contemplating our navels; we just wish for some space to pull back from the agenda and think seriously over things that matter.

Likewise with my painting–at this point in my life I’m enraptured at the increased opportunities to study theory and art history. In addition, I have more time to spend with other artists in dialogue, and hence gain new insights into this enterprise of making art that matters. Without time set aside for serious consideration about the kind of art I’m trying to make, I could easily find my brush drifting into automatic pilot and merely cranking out a product that has been swept clean of inspiration.  I have always wanted my paintings to matter, to myself as well as to the viewers.

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.

 

Monastic Thoughts

February 25, 2018

church study

Early Morning Hours in the Basement of Redlands Hotel

. . . each individual life, its growth and decline, is a developmental process in which an entity unfolds itself in an upward movement until all its properties are fully exposed; this phase is followed by a period of standstill–its bloom or epiphany, as it were–which in turn is succeeded by the downward movement of disintegration that is terminated by complete disappearance.

Hannah Arrendt, The Life of the Mind

Having just undergone a medical procedure that had me preoccupied over past weeks, I’m happy now to be back at work, doing things that interest me. Part of my weekend was swallowed up by the hospital visit, but I managed to travel to Palestine later, and woke this Sunday morning beneath the hotel gallery, and enjoyed some quiet moments in this “monastic space” that I have come to enjoy so much. The sub-street level windows in the background look up to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church across the street. Recently I photographed the church from the gallery during a looming storm, and today decided I would try to paint it.

catholic straight

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

church painting

Beginning of a 16 x 20″ watercolor

Drawing this structure has taken a ton of my time–so much geometry and precision to consider! I’m taking my time with it, hoping to turn out something worth viewing.

I’m pleased that the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama has posted details of its Art Auction 18. They have selected two of my watercolors to put up for sale after displaying them since February 15. The bidding has now opened and the link is below:

http://mmfaauction.com/

I’m choosing to spend Sunday night in the hotel since my Monday class at the university doesn’t begin till noon. I’ll see how the two-hour drive time plays out in the morning.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

David, don’t you ever finish anything?

February 17, 2018

St. Louis winter

St. Louis Snow Scene

David, don’t you ever finish anything?!

That’s exactly what a man said to me years ago when he walked into my temporary studio and saw half a dozen half-finished watercolors. Of course, he wasn’t present when I delivered all of those, plus three more a few weeks later to be framed. Long ago, I realized that if I continually start new pieces, especially when I get stuck on one particular watercolor, that I could increase my productivity. Sometimes I feel like Andy Warhol’s “factory”, especially when a show is approaching. But I consider it a luxury to finish several paintings in a day or two rather than linger two-to-three weeks on one piece, finish it, then lack the momentum to begin anew. With several pieces in progress, I can work on whichever one interests me at the moment, and anytime I get hung up on a particular composition, I can lay it aside and let it compost awhile before returning to it.

The painting above I finished after beginning it last Christmas. I just now framed it and hung it here in The Gallery at Redlands. It is an 11 x 14″ framed watercolor that I’ve priced at $100.

Little Ox

Here is the smaller “Oxbow” watercolor I began yesterday after framing the larger one. I’ve started and stopped on it a dozen times, continually questioning its direction and how to complete the composition.

Colorado

South Fork, Colorado

During one of my stops today, I returned to this piece that I began en plein air last summer in South Fork, Colorado.  The view overlooks the South Fork of the Rio Grande from the porch of the cabin I love to rent at Riverbend Resort. The stream is teeming with rainbow and brown trout and remains one of my all-time favorite places to fly fish. I just completed reservations for that same cabin this coming summer and already I am fantasizing over the adventures waiting there. This piece is also 11 x 14″ framed and priced at $125.

It is 48 degrees, rainy, dark and cold outside the gallery here in Palestine, Texas. I’m used to seeing people walking up and down the streets and sidewalks outside my window, but not today. It’s been a great day to paint.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.