Posts Tagged ‘Polar Express’

Sunday Morning Visitations

December 19, 2021
Working in the Gallery at Redlands on Christmas Commission

“And as imagination bodies forth

The Forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name”

William Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Imagination is the outreaching of mind. It is the individual’s capacity to accept the bombardment of the conscious mind with ideas, impulses, images, and every other sort of psychic phenomena welling up from the preconscious.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

The bright sun outside the windows of The Gallery at Redlands conceals the 36-degree temperatures and cutting, slicing winds out of the north. I do welcome the infusion of warm light contrasting with yesterday’s darkness and driving rains. The lighting in the Gallery is lovely this morning, and I’m rested and ready to return to work on the painting above. Yesterday was a long day, but one filled with rewards–plenty of work accomplished and many, many excited Polar Express riders filled with stories and excitement over the Christmas train experience.

I’ve managed to sell a good quantity of my 5 x 7″ reproductions of trains in the 8 x 10″ frames. Discounted to $45 for the remainder of the year, these pieces have been picked up by Polar Express patrons. One of them yesterday requested that I add something “special” to the train he purchased. So, taking it out of the frame, I inserted Baby Yoda to his delight.

We still have a good quanity of these framed pieces in the gallery. The 5 x 7″ images are priced at $45 and the 8 x 10’s (in 11 x 14″ frames) are $60.

5 x 7″ in 8 x 10″ frames–$45
8 x 10″ in 11 x 14′ frames–$60
View from the Redlands Hotel Lobby
The Best Part of Every Morning

Setting the alarm for 7:00 was a good idea. By the time I got downstairs into the gallery by 8:00, the sun was strong, the space filled with warm light and the quiet of the morning was so inviting. I’m loving this book given to me by Jennifer, a precious student of mine from the mid-1990’s. Picasso and the Painting That Shocked the World is such an engaging story. I had never read anything by Miles J. Unger before, but I’m dying now to lay hands on anything else he’s published. The creative eros that took Piasso by storm in his early Parisian days is always exciting to study, but Unger has such a powerful grasp of words and images in his interpretations, that I found myself revisiting Rollo May’s The Courage to Create. I just wish right now that I could sit down with a handful of eager artists over coffee and talk about this stuff. We artists need to form some kind of tertulia of our own! Anyone wish to join me? I should have plenty more time and space around me with the coming of the New Year. Arlington? Fort Worth? Palestine? I’m close enough to all these areas, and coffee shops abound!

Before I close this and return to work, I want to share an all-around look at our Christmas Gallery, and thank you for reading and looking.

Musings While Painting the Big Boy

November 17, 2019

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Union Pacific “Big Boy” #4014 Steaming into Palestine

The Gallery at Redlands was busier than usual last evening as some of the Polar Express riders passed through the hotel before and after their evening run. Some dear friends, Patti and Tim, gave me a drafting table they were not using, and I moved it into view of our gallery window. This seemed to offer an open invitation for restaurant, bar and hotel guests, along with the Polar Express passengers, to step into the gallery for viewing and conversation. I have never minded an audience while trying to make art.

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View of the Gallery at Redlands from the Lobby

This delicious Sunday morning brought my reading time a soothing visit from Emerson’s essay, “Experience”:

Into every intelligence there is a door which is never closed, through which the creator passes.

I recall an old proverb that promised “when the student is ready, the instructor will appear.” This morning I was ready for Emerson’s instruction. After a blissful night of painting and conversing with art lovers, I awoke this morning, approached the painting, and felt unprepared, flat, clueless. The surge of creativity ebbs and flows, I know from experience. But this morning, impatiently, I wanted to do something creative, yet as I looked over the painting, I had no clue what to approach next. So, I wisely set it aside, poured a second cup of coffee, went back upstairs and sat in a comfy chair to read in the soothing morning sunlight streaming through the window around and through the Christmas tree.

Emerson is the sage who never lets me down when I need a positive word of assurance. I love the opening of “Experience” as he described exactly where I was at the moment:

We wake and find ourselves on a stair; there are stairs below us, which we seem to have ascended; there are stairs above us, many a one, which go upward and out of sight. But the Genius which, according to the old belief, stands at the door by which we enter, and gives us the lethe to drink, that we may tell no tales, mixed the cup too strongly, and we cannot shake off the lethargy now at noonday.

After reading about six more pages into the essay, I felt the scales falling from my mind’s eye, and though upstairs, I could now “see” the train composition, and knew exactly what I wanted to do next. I couldn’t descend the stairs to the gallery quickly enough.

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I laid in the handrails on the left side of the locomotive to set it off against the rose-colored horizon, and then stopped long enough to draft today’s blog. I now know what to pursue next, but thought I would pause long enough to share some of the new experiments I attempted last night as I pushed out this painting. I’m glad that I abandoned the fear long ago of losing a painting and regret the myriad of “stale” pictures I cranked out in years past, following the same old tactics. Each watercolor now is an invitation to adventure as I push at the boundaries to see what is on the other side.

After using a toothbrush to spatter liquid masque from the Richeson Mediums Shiva Series, I used a spritz bottle to moisten the paper and flood the upper extremities with Paynes Gray and mixtures of Winsor Blue and Cerulean. The rosy horizon is a mixture of Quinachridone Red and Permanent Rose. Most of my smoke and steam effects, so far, has been manipulated with the use of a ragged brush I modified with an Xacto knife (I call it the “ugly brush”) and Q-tips. I am at the edge of my technical knowledge here–I prefer the white of my paintings to be the naked watercolor paper, not white gouache. I keep thinking that I could swirl white gouache over the darker areas and create whisps of smoke and steam, but I prefer to remain transparent with my use of watercolor. In my old days of acrylic on canvas, I learned many ways to create steam and smoke with white over dark paint, and would like to try and find a way to create the atmospheric effects, using the white paper instead of overlaying white paint. We’ll see how that all works out.

I’m still trying to solve the problem of the amber glow of the headlamp caught in the swirling steam in front of the train. I’m not sure how to do that yet, but the painting is still in its early stages. And at this point, I am finding it a great pleasure, exploring all these problems and possibilities.

Time to get back to the painting. Thank you for reading, and I hope you will check out my new website davidtrippart.com, still under construction but visibile already online.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

 

Finally Ready for Show Time

November 11, 2017

open

Around Midnight, ready for the Opening

Finally, the last piece is in place and I should be able to sleep tonight. I will be able to open the gallery at ten in the morning, ready to welcome anyone who crosses the threshold. We are in Room 109 of The Redlands Hotel, 400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas. Our Gallery at Redlands has been in business since March and we’re all proud to be in this historic space.

The show is titled “The American Railroad Odyssey.” I have new watercolors of historic trains, mostly the ones located in Palestine’s history. For the show I have also brought out ninety signed & numbered prints, as well as open prints in 8 x 10 and 5 x 7″ sizes. I have greeting cards with my railroad watercolor images on the front and a text on the back (blank inside). I sell these at $5 each or $25 for six in a boxed set. Coffee mugs have also been created that sell for $15. This will be the first Christmas season that I have such a full inventory. Hopefully, I can offer something for everyone.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend.

Shaping the Gallery for the Show

November 10, 2017

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Display Window at The Gallery at Redlands

product

Setting Up Some of the New Merchandise

Today we reaped the whirlwind Wade and Gail Thomas met me this morning at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine and immediately we set to work, each of us on a different track and working quickly–taking down old paintings, hanging new ones, decorating windows on both ends of the gallery, rearranging furniture. Several times I nearly laughed out loud because I felt that we were in Andy Warhol’s Factory, there was so much going on.

Penny Webb, editor of the Palestine Herald-Press newspaper, arrived in the afternoon and interviewed me. I found her to be so personable and attentive to detail. She made it so easy to visit about the work and share ideas concerning the upcoming show.  Already the article is posted for the Friday edition of the paper:

http://www.palestineherald.com/community/your-life-david-tripp-s-american-railroad-odyssey/article_8551b23c-c5cc-11e7-8da0-b79faf2304d4.html

Tomorrow (Friday) is my last day to get the final details in place. Paintings are hung. Limited edition signed & numbered prints arrive tomorrow. Saturday, ready or not, the show must go on.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.