Posts Tagged ‘palestine texas’

Sacred Space (or “Executive Time”?)

July 1, 2022
In The Gallery at Redlands

A man should keep for himself a little back shop, all his own, quite unadulterated, in which he establishes his true freedom and chief place of seclusion and solitude.

Michel de Montaigne

I am laughing at my gallery desk this morning as I write this. Having just spent a week at the old country store I was afforded the time and space for quiet reflection and writing, a habit ingrained in me since the mid 1980s. Recently, much has been published about “executive time,” a practice of some famous CEOs who find ways to carve out space during the work day to be alone, allowing them to engage in creative efforts important to them, and to reflect over life and what they genuinely want to make of it.

Over the years, I have watched and re-watched “Mad Men” on TV, starring Jon Hamm. Recently, I got a kick out of the episode involving Ida Blankenship (played by Randee Heller), an aging executive secretary who had been with the advertising firm for decades. She passed away at her desk, and one of the senior partners, Bert Cooper (played by Robert Morse) was tied in knots, trying to write an obituary for this loved one who had been so close to the team for so many years. In a moment of frustration, unable to organize his thoughts, he complained loudly:

“And I have no office in which to ruminate!”

I still laugh when I recall those words. How many times have I shouted these words in my mind when caught in a situation where I needed time, quiet and space–and none of it was available to me. My friends laugh with me over this notion of “executive time.” I recall from my college days, when affiliated with the Baptist Student Union, we called it “Quiet Time”, dedicating a portion of our daily schedule to Bible study and meditation and prayer. Sometime in the midst of my graduate education, I began keeping a journal–not a diary of personal, emotional stories, but more of a daily digest of what I was reading and thinking. That journal now occupies about 200 volumes in my personal library, and I love dipping back into many of those tomes and read hastily scribbled thoughts I don’t recall thinking!

My daily habits remain largely unchanged–I collage the opening of each new day, like a new chapter, then take off, scribbling out ideas either popping up spontaneously in my imagination or spawned by something I’m reading at the moment. Today I’ve been writing about “sacred spaces”, recalling all those years I stopped in special places to think, to reflect, to write, to plan. I recall with warmth the 100-year-old house where I lived in rural Whitesboro, Texas where I wrote out most of my doctoral dissertation by the light of kerosene lamps at night (those journal pages resonate with me much more than my dissertation ever has). I still recall the sanctity of my doctoral carrell in the seminary library, of the study carrels on the third floor of the Texas Wesleyan University library during twenty-two years of my adjunct work there. My current Studio Eidolons in my own home in Arlington, Texas, of park benches, coffee shops, hotel lobbies. Next week I’ll savor the sanctity of the porch deck of Brookie Cabin in South Fork, Colorado, where I have filled many watercolor journals and writing journals with my thoughts while gazing out at the mountain stream whispering down below.

Sometimes while engaged in “executive time” I appreciate the quiet or the white noise of my surroundings; other times I pull up YouTube on my laptop and play something similar to the New York City ambience (pictured at the top of this blog), and listen to the sounds of traffic far below. I also appreciate the many, many YouTube videos of cafes either with jazz music playing or the white noise of espresso machines and customers in conversations. These kinds of sounds aid my concentration during such times.

Perhaps executive time isn’t for everyone. But it has been my life’s blood for four decades now, and I see no reason to reject this gift.

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.


Finding Ground after the Travels

June 10, 2022
Awash in Patti Smith and Martin Heidegger ideas

Like Sartre, Heidegger is prepared to see the human situation in terms of ontological homelessness, meaning that on this earth we have no abiding home since we are not embedded in the world as a part of nature.

George Pattison, The Later Heidegger

Finally rested from my ten-day St. Louis odyssey, I’m feeling genuine serenity, seated once again in Studio Eidolons, looking out my windows across Mister Rogers’s Neighborhood while reading, journal scribbling and collaging. While in St. Louis, I purchased a pair of Patti Smith books. I finished her Just Kids during my return drive home, stopping at rest areas and truck stops along the way. I am currently about halfway through her M Train, drawing just as much inspiration and sustenance from it as from the first volume. I’ve also enjoyed reading The Later Heidegger as I find the author writing with great lucidity about this philosopher’s “turn” following his Being and Time magnum opus. After repeated attempts over the decades, I’ve drawn very little from Being in Time, but the writings of the later Heidegger I cannot lay aside. Whether he translates the Presocratics, writes poetry, addresses language, lectures on Nietzsche or discusses the nature of creating art, I find Heidegger most engaging.

Morning Journal Musings

Reading from Homer’s Odyssey during my St. Louis travels has also been profoundly enlightening. I often mused over the Greek texts rhapsodizing about Odysseus sailing over the “broad back” of the open seas, and found myself driving over the broad back of our U. S. highways, gleaning parallels with the wanderer as he sought his way back to Ithaca. With my sentiments passing to and fro from my current home in Arlington, my second home in Palestine and my childhood home west of St. Louis, I have been writing extensively in my journals about where home actually is for me. I’ve not yet been able to draw a satisfactory conclusion; that is why the quote opening this blog arrested my attention over morning coffee today.

During my decade of pastoral ministry, I grew familiar with the New Testament texts addressing the Christian as not having a real home in this “present age.” I’ve also studied the Jewish Bible, gleaning their longings for their homeland. Yet in my preaching I never could really address these themes, because I didn’t really identify with them. It’s only been in recent years, while attempting my own memoirs and writing this book I started twenty years ago that I have come to understand the restless feeling of not having a home, but driven to perpetual wandering.

Journal Collage

I feel blessed finally to reach this stage in my personal life where I actually have a home, a family, and can wander safely, knowing I always have a place to land. I haven’t been in Palestine for several weeks and am glad to have this extended weekend to spend in The Redlands Hotel and The Gallery at Redlands. This morning is quiet and I’m getting plenty of things done that needed tended. And I still have time to read and reflect. My plan is to make art during the evening hours, keeping the gallery open till 9:00.

Thanks for reading. It’s wonderful to be back . . .

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Sailing to Byzantium

May 14, 2022
Completing the Early Morning Walk

Therefore we value the poet. All the argument and all the wisdom is not in the encyclopaedia, or the treatise on metaphysics, or the Body of Divinity, but in the sonnet or the play.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”

Waking early this Saturday morning to the soothing thoughts of Emerson induced me to step out into the city and take my walk about town, enjoying the sounds of a village waking up and re-hearing in my mind something William Butler Yeats wrote concerning why he wrote “Sailing to Byzantium.”

I think that in early Byzantium, maybe never before or since in recorded history, religious, aesthetic and practical life were one, that architect and artificers spoke to the multitude and the few alike. The painter, the mosaic worker, the worker in gold and silver, the illuminator of sacred books, were almost impersonal, almost perhaps without the consciousness of individual design, absorbed in their subjectmatter . . .

As I continue to work on this new vision in the weeks ahead (now that I’m nearly finished with the semester), I hope to write more about my ideas of Palestine emerging as a New Byzantium. I am meeting so many creative people lately, in the visual arts, music, theater, literature, and cannot wait to see if we can in some way consolidate our endeavors and alert East Texas to the growing enthusiasm for the arts.

Palestine: A Railroad Town

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.

Preparing to Hit the Road

April 20, 2022
Five framed limited editions ready to pack and load

Destination City                                                       

Muses again whisper in the air.

Healing breezes stir.

Like monks in their cells, creative spirits toil

in the city.



Believers once again are painting, carving,

writing, singing, acting.

East Texas again awakens, breathes,

stretches the limbs.

Railroads once united communities.

Art becomes the New Railroad.

And all Railroads lead to Palestine.

David Tripp, April 20, 2022

Good morning, Friends. I wish I had more time to write, but we’re packing and loading for our journey to Palestine, our new Destination City. From 5 till 8 this evening, we’ll celebrate the coming out of volume 7 of The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine. The city is proud to join the host of fine arts communities of East Texas featured in this magazine, and we’re anticipating exciting days ahead. I’ll try to continue writing and sharing this new spirit in the air that has refreshed our arts community. The poem above was my first attempt, and I have several other pieces in the hopper that I’m still trying to edit. I’ve laughed at the metaphor of nailing Jell-o to the wall. That is exactly what I feel when I try to describe the happenings around here of late.

2:15 a.m. this morning marked the 68th year of my entry into this astonishing world. I cannot say that life has diminished for me, yet. Funny, I thought when I was younger that these senior years were to be the most pitied. Who would have guessed that they are far better than any era I’ve previously encountered. I am grateful that I have been allowed to remain. It would have been tragic to miss the past five years I’ve known since the Palestine community entered my life.

I’ve posted above five of my favorite limited edition giclee prints recently framed and ready to hang in The Gallery at Redlands.

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.

An Artful Palestine Weekend

April 16, 2022
Mike Long posing beside his Father’s Art Work

“Mitcha, why aren’t you at home painting?”

Hans Hofmann, chiding Joan Mitchell for walking her dog

For the past 72 hours, I’ve heard Hofmann’s stinging rebuke in my ears as I closed the door to my Studio Eidolons and bowed to the ugly task of consolidating all my financial data to submit to my tax preparer yesterday. I absolutely hate going over volumes of spreadsheets of dollar figures to submit to IRS once a year, and swear every year that I will do a better job daily or weekly of consolidating all that stuff rather than poring over it for days on end once a year. Today is Saturday, and my dream for two weeks has been to paint the Chamber of Commerce building across the street from The Gallery at Redlands. Well guess what–it is dark and overcast all day today, so there will be no sun on the side of this building, so I won’t paint today after all. But I can blog . . .

Postponement of painting till the sun emerges again. At least the preliminary drawing is in place

So . . . the photo of the Dr. Pepper ghost sign at the top . . . Last night we were surprised in the gallery by a visit from Mike Long. His father, Donnie Long, painted this Dr. Pepper billboard on the side of the building next door to The Redlands Hotel in 1964. I have been looking at the ghost sign since 2017 when I arrived and have yet to paint it, though Dave Shultz our local friend and photographer, has photographed and enhanced the image numerous times since I’ve known him.

Mike’s information about the Dr. Pepper sign still has my head swimming today. His father painted it free-hand. I have a special gift book about ghost signs that my dear friend Dian Darr handed to me not long after I completed the ghost sign watercolor last year from Hot Springs, Arkansas.

“Palimpsest” Framed Watercolor 22 x 33″. $800

I am fascinated by the stories I read of sign painters and the special templates and tools they used to render their images and slogans. Hearing that this sign was painted free-hand has made me go out there and look at it more closely with astonishment.

I’m sorry to learn that Mike’s father is deceased, and in fact had passed away in 1979, before the sign had been covered over by some kind of new siding. In the late 1990’s, Mike got a surprising phone call from the business across the street while he was working in his office across town. “Come down here, now. And bring your camera.” Mike closed his office and drove to the location to see the “ghost sign” that had been covered over for decades. No one present knew the sign was underneath the siding until it was removed. Mike had even forgotten about it, because he was only a boy when his father painted it. As it turns out, the siding protected the paint from the elements for over twenty years.

As Mike and I visited, he reminisced about his father’s studio, filled with paintings in progress. Mike said his dad would work on whatever his mood directed each day, some of the paintings lying incomplete for months or years before finishing. This fact made me feel better, because I have closets and file drawers filled with “in-progress” watercolors dating back to 2006, some of which may never be finished. I suppose I have more patience in my senior years of work being postponed. After all, I thought I was plein air painting today, and the weather said No. Another time. There are plenty of other tasks to chase today.

Sandi, always working, cleaning, tidying in the gallery

I’m grateful to Sandi and her partnership in this endeavor. All morning she has been working on the gallery, tidying, re-arranging, etc. while I’ve pursued paperwork, this blog, and made preparations for an art lesson this afternoon. There is always something to do in The Gallery at Redlands.

Magazine Launch Party Announcement

Speaking of which–we have a Magazine Launch Party next Wednesday, April 20, from 5-8 pm here in the gallery. The new magazine has come out, Palestine as a “Destination City” has ten pages of ads in the publication, promoting artists and local business sponsors of the arts. If you’re in the area, we would love for you to stop by, meet the artists, sponsors, and Gloria Hood the magazine publisher. The magazines will be available here, and I’m sure that artists would be happy to autograph their pages! We’re looking for a good time that night. Special treats are being prepared, and there will plenty of wine to pour.

Thanks for reading. I’m always happier when I land in Palestine, city of the arts, to pursue new adventures.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

A Late Night in the Gallery

March 31, 2022
Scribbling Thoughts at the End of a Long Day

I believe there are millions who, when the story of their childhood and high school and college ends, sat in the empty theater of their mind, watching the credits roll, waiting for fate to tell them yet another story. But once we are on our own, our parents, our teachers, and our culture stop telling us what to do, and we have to dream something up for ourselves.

Donald Miller, Hero on a Mission

It’s been a long slog of a day. We journeyed two hours to our gallery, then worked the entire day and night, re-arranging the collection and visiting with a goodly number of patrons. It was a good day, but we’re feeling it now, and the next two days will be packed with activity as Palestine wraps up its three-weekend Dogwood Trails Celebration.

We invite any interested creative spirits to join us for our next Artist Cafe tomorrow night (Friday) at 9:00 in the Pint and Barrel Drafthouse, 302 E. Crawford St. at 9 pm after we close the gallery for the night. Cecilia Bramhall, one of our gallery artists, will join us for conversation about the creative challenges we face when trying to crank out new work. If you don’t know any of us by sight, look for the folks with open books on the table, because we’re always sharing what inspiration we’ve drawn lately from our own reading. Or you could call or text me at (817) 821-8702. We’ll be easy to find at Pint and Barrel on a Friday night.

Palestine’s monthly Art Walk will be Saturday 10-3:00. I always look forward to this event as businesses in downtown Palestine open their doors for artists to demonstrate, display and sell their work inside the venue. This time I will be watercoloring inside The Co-Ed Shop at 203 W. Main Street. Come check us out, and stop by the Gallery at Redlands at 400 N. Queen Street to say “Hello” to Sandi.

We’re also looking forward to the reception for a new exhibit next weekend and hope you’ll join us for that event. I am happy to have five watercolors hanging in this show, and Barons Creek is a lovely venue.

Thanks for reading.

Morning Musings in Studio Eidolons

March 29, 2022
Running out of places to stash my framed watercolors and prints
Puzzling over James Joyce’s Ulysses (so, what else is new?)

In the years after I learned how to make meaning, it was fun to meet others who were experiencing meaning too. I could recognize them immediately. They were building a family or a company. They were leading a team. They were trying to write a book or record an album or create enough art for a gallery showing. They were in motion. They were building something.

Donald Miller, Hero on a Mission

I’ll lay my cards on the table. The day at hand is challenging, but I’m not screaming or throwing furniture across the room. After I finish this blog I’ll give the rest of this entire day to grading and making final preparations for tomorrow’s college lecture. As I wrote in the last blog, I’m ready to leave the college experience behind. After grinding out adjunct contracts since 1985, I’ve decided it is time to end this, just like I ended the high school tenure five years ago. The art side of my life (business as well as creative studio time) has grown to the point that I can no longer pursue a task as time consuming as the university. Though my schedule says I only teach on Mondays and Wednesdays, the reality is that the college owns Tuesday as well with all the grading, administrative stuff and lecture prep. And then, they frequently need me to tend to details the remaining seven days of the week, though I’m in the gallery, trying to give that business my full attention. I’ve finally decided that the university contracts have to end. I feel relief as I write this.

Because I’ve been absorbed of late with the odyssey theme, I’ve divided my reading between Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce’s Ulysses and Proust’s’ Remembrance of Things Past. A few nuggets have been gleaned (though not so much from Joyce!). Returning to my reading of the Donald Miller text (posted above), I felt the drawstring pulling together the ideas that have been floating around me of late.

For decades, I’ve been conscious of my attempts to create meaning, to create a story for my life to follow. In all my years of classroom experience, I was conscious that I was seeking to balance my academic pursuits with my artistic ones. Hence I thoroughly loved reading about the lives of artists such as Robert Motherwell and Edward Hopper, brilliant academic minds who never turned their back on intellectual pursuits as they continued to create art. And though I always felt that the university and high school students, faculty and administrators were interested in about 2% of what I studied, wrote and taught (nothing personal intended here–of course they all have their own lives and agendas), I was never deterred from my pursuit of ideas and art. They kept me growing, kept me moving forward.

Though I’ll be leaving the classroom, I’ll not be abandoning scholarly study; these things feed my imagination and artistic creations in ways I’ll probably never be able to express adequately. I just won’t have a forum to talk publicly about these matters, though they will no doubt leak into the blogs. What I do anticipate in the months ahead is more quality time to pursue the arts. So many events are already coming up that I regret have to share time with the university commitments. On April 9 from 4-7pm, a reception for an art exhibit (including five of my own watercolors) will open at Barons Creek Wine Room, 115 E. Bridge St., Granbury, Texas 76048. At the end of next month, April 30-May 1, Artscape 2022 will be held at the Dallas Arboretum. This is my biggest art festival of the year and already I am laying foundations for what I hope is my best tent display ever. Over the past three months I have created a vast inventory of new art to put on display and sale. These things I’ve managed to do in addition to the college grind. How gladly I anticipate focusing only on these creative matters.

In the text above, Donald Miller expressed his pleasure in meeting with other creative people, and that is what I hope to accomplish more in the future. I am now announcing our next Palestine Artists Cafe to be held Friday night at 9:00 (after we close the gallery) at the Pint and Barrel Drafthouse at 302 E. Crawford St. Feel free to join us, and if you don’t know what we look like, look for the people gathered around the table with open books before us; we’re always sharing what we’ve read recently that inspires us to create art. Or just email me at or phone me at (817) 821-8702.

The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine will be coming out in April as well. I’m proud to be one of the two artists featured on the front cover. I will also have a full-page artist ad inside (in addition to the page shown above), our gallery will have a full-page ad, and the City of Palestine and other businesses and artists from our gallery will have over ten full pages of ads as well. As soon as we know where the “coming out party” for the magazine is held, we’ll send out the information to you. Sandi and I are proud to be part of this front line of Palestine becoming a “Destination City” in this fine arts magazine.

There is so much going on now. 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.

Working on the Story

March 25, 2022
Three of my Watercolors. Gallery at Redlands

I believe there are millions who, when the story of their childhood and high school and college ends, sat in the empty theater of their mind, watching the credits roll, waiting for fate to tell them yet another story. But once we are on our own, our parents, our teachers, and our culture stop telling us what to do, and we have to dream something up for ourselves.

Donald Miller, Hero on a Mission

Once again, time finds me working into the night, trying to get out this blog. We arrived in Palestine this morning, and I have not been alone until now at nearly 8 p.m. I’m still in The Gallery at Redlands, enjoying the momentary quiet, while listening to many, many voices in the lobby, the restaurant and the bar. So I might have to stop again any moment.

Reading Donald Miller’s Hero on a Mission has been a real treat these last few days. I’m particularly attracted to his statement posted above, realizing painfully that many, many people I’ve known throughout the years seem to have lost their sense of enchantment and adventure about life once they graduated and settled into a profession. I never understood that. As for myself, I have felt that I was living inside a novel from the time I left college till the present day. It would seem that being a career high school teacher would be either boring or fraught with adolescent drama. Neither was true for me. Daily I felt like James Joyce in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Daily, my classes would create a stream-of-consciousness for me as words from the students, from me, and from the texts I read would comingle into the most amazing plots and configurations that would feed my art.

Now retired, I choose not to lie down in the pasture and die; daily I find a new challenge, a new angle, a new path, a new odyssey. Daily I am invited to resume the journey from yesterday or simply reinvent myself. As a friend told me long ago, we are limited only by our own imagination. I’m glad to be reading Donald Miller, and hopefully tonight when things quiet down around here I can go upstairs and read some more chapters before sleep enters my chamber.

Thanks always for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

The Big Day

March 19, 2022
Completed “Bison in Snow”. 11 x 14″ framed $150

The mark of the brush is always a decision–an intellectualism painterliness, you might say, though the thinking is so heartfelt, so intense that it registers emotionally.

Jed Perl, New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century

In the reference above, Perl was discussing the work of Fairfield Porter. The comments about brush strokes reminded me of matters Henri Matisse and Robert Motherwell wrote concerning the directness of brushstrokes and the focused thought behind them. I’ve come to the realization that I have always painted by correction, often reworking my initial brushstrokes, washing all the spontaneity out of them. I believe that once we get this Dogwood Art & Music Festival behind us, that I’m going to take a close look at Chinese brush painting and see if I can trust myself to paint more freely, allowing the initial brush strokes to stand. I did some of that with my last bison watercolor (pictured above) and recall how much I loved that feeling of freedom and freshness in painting faster and not going back over some of the areas that were laid down initially. I love the festival atmosphere that envelops us presently, but always look forward to the days following when I can return to Studio Eidolons and engage in fresh work.

As I write this, the festival is still two hours from start time, and this chill time is a genuine luxury. The four-bedroom suite we lease on the second floor of The Redlands Hotel is full to capacity–Wayne White, Stacy Campbell, and the restaurant chef and his wife have brought a warm collegiate vibe to our lodging. Right now, we’re enjoying French-pressed coffee at the table, and I’m feeling like the scribe who took notes during Martin Luther’s “Table Talks” in the sixteenth century. Or maybe I could be a fly on the wall at New York’s Cedar Tavern in the days of the Abstract Expressionists and their nightly gatherings. I swear, there is nothing better than listening to artisitc spirits talking from the heart during leisure times such as this.

Martin Luther’s “Table Talk”

The festival today will run from 10 till 4:00. The streets will be filled with booths, food vendors and musicians. And the tent will continue its show with the twenty artists that were set up last night. At 6:00, Sandi and I invite anyone in the area to celbrate our one-year anniversary of ownership of The Gallery at Redlands. Sculptor Jeffie Brewer will be our honored guest and we have ordered up the finest food from our Queen Street Grille chef and desserts from the bakery at Old Magnolia Cafe down the street. A good number of our gallery artists will be on hand to greet you as well. We’ll begin at 6:00, and end when the last person leaves. Then who knows, another party late tonight? Come and find out.

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.

Palestine Dogwood Art & Music Festival this weekend

March 16, 2022
Just completed a 5 x 7″ longhorn, ready to frame

As time draws nearer, Sandi and I find ourselves proportinately busier. Yesterday was a blur; today promises the same. I’m now framing a new 5 x 7″ watercolor I completed fo a longhorn that photographer friend Dave Shultz photographed while out in the wild. My friend Wayne White is on his way to Arlington, Texas from Belgrade, Missouri. We expect him to arrive late this afternoon or this evening. We have a 48 x 48″ canvas that Stacy Campbell (who will join us under the VIP tent Friday and Saturday) painted of sculptor Jeffie Brewer, the one we are honoring in our Gallery reception Saturday night at 6:00. Jeffie is kicking off Art Tracks for 2022, having already installed thirteen enormous sculptures around town (and one in our gallery).

Emotions are running high for me. I’m looking forward to connecting with our gallery artists again, some of whom we haven’t seen since last year at this time. If you can make it to Palestine, the VIP event in the artists tent begins at 5:00 and lasts till at least 8:30 Friday night. Admission is $20 for the presale of art work, meeting celebrity artists William E. Young and Jeffie Brewer, and enjoying an open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres, a wine-pull and other activities.

Saturday night beginning at 6:00 is our Gallery at Redlands reception. Jeffie will be our featured guest and we’re serving wine, food and desserts throughout the night. We’d love for you to come join in the fun.

Thanks for reading.