Posts Tagged ‘Polar Express’

Finding Peace in One’s Work

October 11, 2017

polar express drafting

In the Studio this Evening

There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 (King James Version)

sunrise

At the University this Morning

There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual–become clairvoyant. We reach then into reality. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I don’t regard myself as naturally ebullient. I used to laugh with a friend when describing myself as a “gloomy guy.” Throughout lengthy stages of my life, I have known rage, negativity, anxiety, depression and self-doubt. And I have regarded myself as one who just couldn’t seem to get it right. Life and emotions turn on a dime. What I’ve experienced today is not guaranteed to extend into tomorrow. But I’ll still take it.

My life did change profoundly since June 3 when I retired after twenty-eight years of full-time public high school teaching alongside thirty-two years of part-time university teaching. Since the beginning of this semester, I have enjoyed a nine-semester-hour load involving one online Logic course and a pair of Introduction to Ethics courses. My Ethics classes are back-to-back Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9-10:50. That’s it. Day-after-day-after-day I have been rising between 5 and 7 a.m., grateful to the core that I’m not dashing off to a high school by 7:00 and expected to stay until 3:15. On my university mornings, I rise at 5:00, go over my lecture notes, read, write in my journal, and often head to the university, arriving by sunrise so I can sit in the Science/Technical building lobby and watch the morning colors move across the commons. By that time I still have over an hour before strolling over to the lecture hall. I took the above picture this morning while enjoying my coffee and looking once more over my lecture notes on Immanuel Kant and his Categorical Imperative.

After a full afternoon of business-related errands, I settled into some online work for my Logic class, grading exams and posting a new assignment. Then I got to enter the studio and push my “Polar Express” themed watercolor a bit further. I’m going slowly on this, because I’m looking at a picture I took of the historic T&P 610 on a sunny morning, and trying to translate it into a night scene. I’m also contemplating a snowy foreground. So many decisions still to make on it.

It doesn’t seem likely that I’ll get to touch this painting any more this week. Tomorrow I meet with some dear friends at the train museum in Frisco, Texas (I’ve never visited it), and then I have to pack and load my gear for this weekend’s art festival in Edom, Texas. The Edom Art Festival is one of my genuine highlights of the year, with a beautiful setting, great fall weather, and enthusiastic patrons. I’m sorry the event only comes round once a year.

I still have to write Friday morning’s lecture to deliver before I leave town for the art festival. Tonight is going to be a late one, but I’m feeling so positive about life in general that I’m compelled to share with you.

Thanks for reading.

I paint out of a sense of wonder.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

 

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Odyssey of Wonder

October 10, 2017

believe II

Continued early morning work on the train

Strange how adrenalin comes and goes. I had trouble falling asleep last night, yet woke without an alarm at 5:30, wanting only to return to this train I’ve been pushing the past couple of days. As it continues to take shape, my enthusiasm grows. It goes without saying that playing “The Polar Express” on TV while I work in the studio doesn’t diminish my pleasure in this.

Today I shall be travelling to Palestine, Texas, which is unusual for a weekday. Since I have an art festival in Edom, Texas this weekend, I will be unable to work out of The Gallery at Redlands for the second consecutive weekend. I have a number of business items to tend today, so I’m glad to see that city today.

I just placed an order for another 1500 postcards of the image posted below:

Night Train Violet

They should arrive early next week. They also will measure 4 x 6″.

The holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas has always swelled inside my being with the most wholesome and warm sentiments. As the cold front moved into our city overnight (fifty degrees this morning, which is cold by Texas standards), I felt those wonderful sentiments again, and the odyssey of life and wonder ripened to a new day.

Thanks for reading.

I paint out of a sense of wonder.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Believe

October 9, 2017

believe

In progress work on the T&P #610

polar express

Reference photo taken Sept. 23 when the #610 was towed out for public viewing

Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.

Polar Express

Currently, I am awash in an enchanted evening. I ordered the movie “Polar Express” from Amazon and watched it for the first time (mostly listened) while working on the watercolor above in my studio. My friends who lease The Gallery at Redlands planted the idea with me last March to do something to coincide with this Christmas season’s “Polar Express” excursion train that runs between Palestine and Rusk, Texas. Our Gallery at Redlands is in Palestine, and we’ve decided to host a Christmas Railroad exhibit, hoping to encourage Polar Express patrons to visit our gallery and a host of watercolors I’ve been creating since March.

I’m enjoying the challenge of painting the historic #610. The photo I took when it was towed outdoors was taken in the bright morning sun, so I could see the details well, and yet I’m trying to place it in a composition under a night wintry sky, hoping I can pull this off to look natural enough. We’ll see how it develops. Either way, I’m enjoying the work.

Today I received my shipment of 1500 postcards with the image below:

30 finished

I’m preparing to order additional shipments with other images completed recently. Today I also visited the business that produces my limited edition giclee prints. By November, at least six of my recent Palestine locomotive paintings will be available in these limited editions. Tomorrow I’m visiting a frame shop to deliver a stack of paintings to be framed and available for the show. The season is already heating up and I’m beginning to feel the fatigue as well as the exhilaration.

It feels good to be painting again. The college season is getting busier, but not too busy to keep me from making art, one of my chief joys in life.

Thanks for reading.