Posts Tagged ‘palestine texas’

Approaching Yuletide

December 7, 2017

300 finished

Finally Finished with the #300

This watercolor marks the culmination of my 2017 series titled “The American Railroad Odyssey” featured at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas. The subject is one of the steam locomotives that used to pull The Polar Express between Palestine and Rusk. I thought it fitting to enter the Christmas season with a splash of red as the Texas State Railroad 300 approaches the station in the night to pick up waiting, expectant children in their pajamas.

This has been an exciting week of business and pleasure in Lubbock, Texas. I have entered into an agreement with another gallery, Art for Goodness Sake Gallery & Studio located at 1810 19th Street. David and Leann Lamb-Vines have been such gracious proprietors and I have deposited in their gallery a substantial quantity of greeting cards (including the new sets of Christmas card trains) and limited edition signed and numbered prints. Already they have sold pieces of mine, and I’m excited to be in business with them.

Tomorrow I will give my last classroom final exam at Texas Wesleyan University and then plan to enjoy an extended holiday break before resuming with a pair of Humanities classes in the Spring. Some of my finest students have already signed up for that course, and I’m ecstatic at the prospects of seeing them again.

I have had the privilege of writing extensively in my journal this morning as I’m now reading volume 1 of Robert Motherwell, A Catalogue Raisonné, 1941-1991. A deep sentiment was triggered when I read the following words of something he experienced right after his first one-man-show:

This was the moment when Motherwell realized that he did not have to try to seek a single image, or give a real priority to any single image; that he wanted to create a body of work that would reflect the entire range of his sensibility and feelings, which he could explore in different images that would reflect different aspects of his being.

I found this liberating, because I, as an art history teacher, recognized that though Motherwell is often “branded” with his “Elegy of the Spanish Republic” and Willem de Kooning with his “Woman” series, that these artists did not stick with just one subject; they were not one-trick ponies, and never became their own fan of a single signature series.

Since March of this year, I have focused on train subjects in my watercolors, knowing I was going to launch this Railroad Odyssey show in December. But now I am ready to explore other subjects once again, as in the past I have delighted in a number of genres, including plein-air landscape, still life, American nostalgia and Blues music. Recently there has been a revived interest in my collage pieces of my academic heroes. I have plans to return to that genre as well.

The holiday season is offering plenty of new experiences, and I’m beginning to relax into this new life that beckons.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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Gearing Up for the Final Show of 2017

November 29, 2017

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Trying to finish this Texas State Railroad Locomotive

I believe the great artists of the future will use fewer words, copy fewer things, essays will be shorter in words and longer in meaning.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. . . . The imagination must learn to ply her craft by judgment studied.

William Wordsworth, “The Prelude”

I feel that I have somehow packed three days into one, as this Tuesday has been exceedingly long and arduous, yet satisfying. Rising at 6 this morning, I managed to put in some quality reading time, then left the house to pursue business errands until this evening, sat down next to compose tomorrow’s final lecture for my college Ethics class, then finally worked in the garage on my booth presentation for this weekend’s show.

My quotes above came from the morning of reading, and I was most captivated by the contrast in Wordsworth’s pair of statements, namely that art is a balance between an explosion of feeling and editorial restraint. As I work to complete the steam locomotive started several weeks back, I seek to lay down the precision and geometry required by the subject matter. But boy, how I enjoyed all the splashing and splattering of the night sky and and the loose washes of color on the body of the locomotive, before the time came to tighten up and lay in the exacting details.

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I should consider myself fortunate that I could not leave my house this morning until businesses opened, so I had three hours of solitude for reading and writing. The writings of Robert Motherwell fed my soul as they always do. This remarkable Abstract Expressionist artist was the prime example of a life that blended scholarly pursuit with art making in the studio. For decades I have sought a balance between my academic studies and my art pursuits and always look to this man for my inspiration.

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After my study time, I went out to mail 110 postcards I had addressed by hand last night, announcing this weekend’s Randy Brodnax and Friends Christmas Show at the Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas. After the post office visit, I drove the two hours to Palestine, Texas to The Gallery at Redlands to spend some time working on my watercolor. The light in the gallery windows was perfect for the early afternoon studio time.

After painting for awhile, I then packed and loaded the inventory and furniture necessary for setting up my booth Friday in Dallas and then drove the two hours back home. Once there, I sat down and composed tomorrow’s Ethics lecture to be given at Texas Wesleyan University (my only regular job now in my semi-retired lifecycle). Once the lecture was complete, I went into the garage to unload the Jeep and begin planning how I’m going to set up an 8 x 10′ booth space at the weekend show.

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I’m glad to have sufficient garage space to work on this booth for the next two days. I’ll be making decisions on lighting and Christmas decorations as well as the particular art inventory needed for the show.

Thanks for reading. It’s been a lengthy day, but I’m glad to get some important matters accomplished.

Holiday Solitude in the Studio

November 20, 2017

red monday

While you are alone you are entirely your own master.

Leonardo da Vinci

Waking up around 5 this morning, I realized with gladness that I don’t have a class to teach for a solid week. I knew that last Friday when our university dismissed for Thanksgiving, but truly felt it this morning. My Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes begin at 9, and always on Monday I awake around 5, thinking about what I’m going to say in four hours. Instead, today I went straight to the drafting table and resumed work on this #300 steam engine from the Texas State Railroad that I abandoned until this past weekend. I’m starting to feel the momentum return, much the way the steam locomotives did when they resumed a journey after a lengthy layover.

I also hope to complete my reading of the Walter Isaacson biography on Leonardo da Vinci. I’m 229 pages into the piece, and have loved every page, as the author chooses to explore this amazing man through his notebooks. This morning is a good time to be alone and think about the work I’m pursuing these days.

The weekend at The Gallery at Redlands was sublime as always, and it was capped by a surprise visit from my dear friends, the Darrs. Yesterday we got to spend several hours visiting in the gallery.

I will not return to the Gallery for the next two weekends. I assume the Thanksgiving weekend would be quiet for business, and I am privileged to take part in the Randy Brodnax and Friends Christmas Show in Dallas December 1-3. I’ll return to Palestine the two weekends following and close out my railroad exhibit.

For anyone interested, I have the following originals on display, along with limited editions for $70, 11 x 14″ matted prints for $25, 8 x 10″matted ones for $15, and box sets of 6 cards for $25. I also have a pair of coffee mugs designed featuring my watercolor trains.

Thanks for reading.

610 Schultz large cropped

Night Train Violet

30Large cropped

Night Train Blue

Blue & Red diesel

Chevron Diesel

Orange diesel

Blog Wed 2

Dreams of Yesterday

grapevine train

durango-silverton

turvey

eureka springs

Rolling Out New Products for the Train Show

November 8, 2017

new products

After days of preparation, I’m at the point where I can barely keep my eyes open. But before retiring to bed, I thought I would share my latest new products. The coffee mugs I’m selling for $15 and I am now boxing my cards into collections of six. Individually, the cards are still priced at $5, but a boxed set of six will now be priced at $25. The series pictured above features six of our Palestine locomotives.

More tomorrow . . . the day has been long. Thanks always for reading.

A Grinding Day, Yet Rewarding

November 7, 2017

610 Schultz large cropped

“I work. I slave. I drive myself like a locomotive.”

Vincent Van Gogh (from Akira Kurosawa’s film Dreams)

Throughout this day, the words above have surged through my consciousness. I breathed a sigh of relief yesterday afternoon when I realized that I had no appointments between then and tonight when I meet with my circle of artist friends. Rising at 6:00 this morning, I thought I would enjoy a day of relative leisure, tweaking details for Saturday’s show. Instead I spent every hour either at the computer or at the workbench packaging my inventory–greeting cards, limited edition prints, postcards, details, details, details . . .

The call came from my printer friends that the limited editions were all ready for signing–all ninety of them.  This is the first time I have signed and numbered so many editions.

art frame factory

At least I am not behind the curve this week; the show will go on as scheduled, and I don’t anticipate feelings of being harried the day before. I could not have asked for better cooperation from all the friends and agencies that have worked together with me in this endeavor.

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.

Six Days till Show Time

November 6, 2017

yes!

orange

The great artist has cast a glow of romance over the cafe and Bohemia. It is not that he has spent much time there. He was always too busy with his work for that. It is because when he did go for relaxation he put his wit, his humor, his vitality and all himself into it. He made things hum, turned the sordid into romance, then disappeared back to his work leaving a memory in Bohemia.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I had to laugh when I read the passage posted above. After spending the entire afternoon and evening preparing inventory for my one-man-show opening Saturday, I finally slumped into a rocking chair to read and enjoy some down-time. I had considered going to a cafe to sit and write in my journal and “be” the artist persona. But frankly, I don’t have time for that with a show coming up that I’ve been working on since March.  I’ll be glad when opening day arrives, hoping I can slip my machine into neutral and just idle for a few days.

The framed paintings have arrived in The Gallery at Redlands and are ready to hang on the wall. I plan to meet with the gallery proprietors Thursday to do that, then spend Friday tweaking the presentation. On Thursday, the editor of the local newspaper has an appointment to meet so we can publish some of the news in the Friday edition. My second order of coffee mugs will arrive tomorrow and the limited edition signed & numbered prints will be ready for my signature Thursday or Friday. Everything is going like clockwork and I appreciate not feeling the anxieties that accompany getting started too late on a project. Fortunately for all of us, the show was discussed and decided on as soon as my March show closed.

The Gallery at Redlands is located at 400 N. Queen St. in Palestine, on the first floor of the Redlands Historic Inn. The space has been like a home to me since it opened in March and I am so thankful for the friendships of Jean and Mike at the hotel and Wade and Gail who had the vision to open the Gallery. Dave Shultz the photographer has moved into the hotel for the next several months, and his tireless work on photographing and formatting my newest paintings for prints and greeting cards has certainly put my presentation over the top. I would never have been able to experience a show such as this were it not for these gracious friends.

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redlands fri

inn

I also want to send a special shout-out to my “Bohemian” art friends that meet every Tuesday night in a cafe to encourage one another and share ideas. Tomorrow night they will be my tower of strength, calming me down about the upcoming show. Thank you Elaine, Kelly and Pam.

And thanks to all of you for reading.

I make art in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Thoughts of Andy Warhol’s Factory

November 2, 2017

card front

card back

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I suppose I have a really loose interpretation of ‘work’, because I think that just being alive is so much work at something you don’t always want to do. The machinery is always going. Even when you sleep.

Andy Warhol

For me, the “machinery” has been grinding for several days. I have the Genny Wood Art Show and Sale in Bullard, Texas this Saturday, and the opening of my new show “The American Railroad Odyssey” at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas the following Saturday. The shows seem to be running into each other, as I find myself daily (and nightly) packaging and categorizing all the inventory to pack and load. On top of all this, I’m still writing lectures for my college course that runs three mornings a week. I’m starting to feel the burn.

I’m delighted that some of this inventory is already moving before show time. The greeting cards at the top feature my latest railroad watercolor images on the front, and appropriate texts I’ve composed for the back (they are blank inside). The cards measure 5 1/2 by 8 1/4″ and come with an envelope, enclosed in a plastic sleeve. I sell them at $5 each or 5 for $20. A special shout-out goes to Dave Shultz, professional photographer, for formatting the cards for me.

The mugs are going for $15. Already, they have been selling quite well, and I’m enthusiastic at the response.

I am recalling all the wild stories of Andy Warhol’s Factory as he got closer to show time, the only difference being that I’m alone rather than surrounded by party goers, drugs and rock and roll. I often wonder how he and his employees managed to get everything packed and organized with such chaos roaring around them. At least I can enjoy a quiet home for my studio.

I hope I’ll have some down time for quality blogging this weekend, after the Genny Wood show closes, as I spend Sunday in the Gallery organizing for the show next weekend. At the top of my priority list will be arranging the newly-framed watercolors of Palestine trains, a collection I began working on last March. I’m delighted that the date for opening is drawing near.

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 Weekend to Reset

October 27, 2017

gallery redlands

New Photo of Me Working in The Gallery at Redlands

This weekend, I’ve chosen to escape the whirlwind. I won’t bore you readers with all the details of the week, preparing for my Genny Wood Show in Bullard, Texas next weekend and then the opening of my “American Railroad Odyssey” show the following weekend in The Gallery at Redlands.

Dave Shultz is an amazing photographer, and was kind enough to come into the Gallery and shoot this photo yesterday. I have been an admirer of his work since March when I came into this Gallery, and only last week finally had the pleasure of meeting and visiting with him. I could spend a week in conversation with this Renaissance Man, and we’d never run out of material to discuss. He will be in Palestine for several months, but I already wish it were several years. I’m attaching the link to the page he attached to the website of The Redlands Historic Inn, featuring our new gallery:

http://redlandshistoricinn.com/artgallery.html

I have chosen to take this weekend away from the Gallery and Palestine, needing some down time. I have a new train watercolor in progress and may work on it this weekend, but I haven’t yet decided. Right now, I’m cloistered in a Barnes & Noble Cafe, loving this new Leonardo da Vinci biography by Walter Isaacson and catching up on some journal time. If I go silent for the rest of the weekend, it only means I am enjoying the quiet, and promise to return when next week.

My shipment of coffee mugs arrived and I’m happy that ten of them sold on the first day. There are still plenty more in stock, and if they all sell, then I’ll just order more. I have priced these at $15 plus shipping.

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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.

Beginning a New Train Watercolor

October 24, 2017

300

The hour is drawing late, but I wanted to post this photo of a new train composition I began working on today. Time is running out for my November 11 train show, so this could possibly be the last painting completed before the show opens. I look forward to detailing the locomotive tomorrow.

This subject is the old #300 of the Texas State Railroad.  It is a Baldwin 2-8-2 Mikado steam locomotive that is one hundred years old this year. The number has been changed to 30 now, and the paint scheme is also different. From pictures of the past, I’ve learned that this train was trimmed in red and yellow. I look forward to seeing how this different color scheme will play out beneath the night sky.

Thanks for reading.

Prototype for a New Greeting Card

October 23, 2017

polar first

Palestine Christmas Express

Visions of the historic Texas & Pacific #610 cutting through the snow beneath a star-littered night sky should fill every soul with the warm sentiments of Christmas. This majestic 2-10-4 steam locomotive, created in 1927 by Lima Locomotive Works, pulled trains between Shreveport, Louisiana and El Paso, Texas until it was retired in 1950. In February and March 1976, it pulled the bicentennial “Freedom Train” across Texas. This magnificent locomotive today rests in a dark and quiet train shed in Palestine, Texas, but stories of its journeys live on in the American imagination.

As time draws nearer my November show of train watercolors, I am now making greeting cards of every new train painted this year. The above is my first draft of the most recent painting. I suppose I need to find another gear, because there are eleven other paintings needing texts for cards. We are planning to show the original paintings along with limited edition signed & numbered prints, postcards and greeting cards of the entire collection. To date, there are about twenty framed paintings selected for the show. I have started a new one this evening of the historic #300 that has been used in the excursion train that runs between Palestine and Rusk. The locomotive, one hundred years old this year, has been re-numbered as #30 and featured in one of my recent works. In prior years, as the #300, the engine featured bright red and yellow colors. I plan to contrast these beneath another starry night sky.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.