Posts Tagged ‘recollections 54’

Eidolons

October 26, 2016

oklahoma

Watercolor of Abandoned Oklahoma Tire Shop

Ever the dim beginning;

Ever the growth, the rounding of the circle;

Ever the summit, and the merge at last (to surely start again) Eidólons! Eidólons!

Ever the mutable!

Ever materials, changing, crumbling, re-cohering;

Ever the ateliers, the factories divine,

Issuing Eidólons!

Walt Whiman, “Eidólons” in Leaves of Grass

Today, as my mind drifts across the empty spaces of our American landscape, I chose to post a watercolor I did last year about this time of an abandoned tire shop I passed in Oklahoma while en route to St. Louis for Thanksgiving holidays.  I am working my way back into the watercolor studio, selecting subjects to paint, and already have a splendid list of subjects to tackle this coming weekend.  I call my business Recollections 54 (www.recollections54.com) because 1954 is my birth year, and the subjects I enjoy painting the most are those from the 1950’s American landscape that I knew as a child–businesses and homes no longer inhabited, but which thrived in the days of my growing up.

Every time I cross paths with a site such as the one posted above (needless to say, I turned my vehicle around in the highway several miles down the road so I could return for a closer look and a series of photographs), I am filled with the dual feelings of loss and presence. Loss because the site is devoid of life.  Only the husk remains of the building that once teemed with industry.  Presence because the shell of the building is still charged with memories and stories worth telling.  When I stand in a place like this, I can still smell the rubber of the tires and hear the sharp hiss of the compressor.  I hear the mallets clanging on the iron, commingled with voices of laughter and profanity.  If I were a poet, I would transform these memories into verse.  If I were a musician, I would sing out my tribute.  But as an artist, I try to capture the essence of this environment with an image that I hope conveys the feelings that flood my soul in times such as these.

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.

 

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Recollections 54 Redivivus

September 19, 2016

abandoned-cafe

The virtue of art lies in detachment, in sequestering one object from the embarrassing variety.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Art”

On February 7, 2002, over fourteen years ago, I was convinced that I had finally found my artistic voice, and responded by launching my sole proprietorship Recollections 54, creating a market for my watercolors (www.recollections54.com). My passion has always been to travel  county roads through the sleepy towns of America, my watercolor block riding at my side like a faithful travel dog. Always on the lookout for something to paint, I experienced every day as a new opportunity for discovery of some artifact reminiscent of earlier decades of energy and prosperity. Today, only the shells and husks remain of filling stations, general stores, movie theaters and other public buildings formerly stirring with conversations, stories and glimpses of life. The writer Marcel Proust has pointed out the thrill of beholding an object capable of triggering profound memories from youth, and being filled with a sense of warmth and gratitude.

Holding down two jobs has made painting with any kind of regularity a challenge, and should I be fortunate enough to retire one day, I have this fantasy of pursuing my watercolor passion with fewer restrictions. In addition to working full time, I have also taken a number of detours throughout the past fourteen years, traveling roads that involved significant changes in my signature genre–still life painting, plein air painting, Texas coastal themes and fly fishing, to name a few. But lately, I’ve found joy in returning to this Recollections 54 genre, selecting scenes from vanishing America.

I have nearly completed another watercolor of this favorite genre, and posted it above. This relic of a roadside restaurant flooded me with a sense of loss and presence when I stopped and photographed it in New Mexico years ago. Loss, because the business was dead; presence, because the structure resonated with stories as I stood gazing at it from every possible angle, near and afar, taking dozens of photos and trying to imagine what it was like to pull into the gravel parking lot hungry and eager to enter a comfortable zone and be served.

Emerson wrote that detachment was the virtue of a piece of art, that ability to detach the subject from the surroundings that tried to draw away attention. Frequently that is what I do when selecting something to draw or paint. From buildings such as this, I frequently remove windows, air conditioning units, graffiti, dangling cables–anything I regard as taking away from the simple integrity of the subject. The surroundings often present that annoying tree or trash dumpster that is in the way. The fun thing about making art is the ability to make those decisions in framing up a composition. And so this subject also presented its own unique set of possibilities.

I believe the painting is nearly finished. As was the practice of Andrew Wyeth, I’ll put it up in my home somewhere, and glance at it as I enter or leave the room, always evaluating, figuring if there remains something to do before signing off on it.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

My New “Cafe Press” Store Now Open for Business!

November 30, 2011

Christmas at Spencer's Grill

It has been a long time coming, but finally, I have my first line of products ready for sale on http://www.cafepress.com/recollections54.  Currently I have Christmas cards, general “winter wonderland” greeting cards and one tote bag ready for sale.  As the days unfold, I will continue to add new products to this line.  This has been an exciting adventure for me, a new direction in the enterprise of making and marketing art.

I will do my best to blog daily, though I have several events tumbling in over the next few days.  Tomorrow and Friday, a group of us at Martin High School will be selling our own handmade arts and crafts at a holiday bazaar.   Saturday is the opening of a new show in which I’m participating with my watercolors at Burson Gallery, 207 East Elm Street, Hillsboro, Texas.  The opening reception will be 3:00-5:00.  Next week, I will be selling my art work out of my classroom (room 114) at Martin High School in southwest Arlington, Texas, where I teach.  I also have two new commissions to tackle, with crunching Christmas deadlines.  But nevertheless, I will try my best to keep this blog breathing.

Thanks always for reading.

Greetings from Grapefest (Grapevine, Texas Art Festival)

September 15, 2011

Artist's Booth at GrapeFest, 2011

Greetings from GrapeFest 2011!  The Texas weather is windy and cool today, with very pleasing temperatures.  Thus begins a four-day art festival that will close Sunday at 6 p.m.  I’m proud to be set up in my new tent.  The EZ-Up pop-up tent proved its worth over the past three years, but I’m happy now to have a much sturdier structure that will resist the high Texas winds and occasional violent rain storms.

The season for art is an extremely busy one for me right now, with my One-Man Show opening last Saturday at the Weiler House Fine Art Gallery (http://www.weilerhousefineart.com) and lasting for a calendar month, along with this current Grapevine, Texas art festival, soon to be followed by the Fort Worth Music Festival and finally the Handley Blues Festival.

The Thursday crowds are rather thin, but Saturday and Sunday predict thousands of people pouring through the festival grounds.  So far today, the conversations with patrons have been pleasant, and I’m confident that the sales will pick up soon.  Whatever happens, its great to be outside on a day such as today, and if any of you readers are in the area the next few days, I would love to chat with you.

Thanks for reading.