Posts Tagged ‘recollections 54’

Renew Thyself . . .

July 24, 2021
Arriving Before 10 on a Saturday Morning

Renew thyself completely each day, do it again, and again, and forever again.

Confucius, The Great Learning

The morning began dreadfully. Before 7 a.m. I rose from a turbulent sleep, shellacked by a dream. Not a nightmare, but what I call one of those “loser” dreams, where everything goes wrong, and you cannot get out of the quagmire. You awaken, totally exhausted, languished, and feel that you got no sleep at all.

Reading and journaling seem the only ways I can peel away these damned cobwebs that seem to stick all over my body (you know how it is when you walk through one of those). When packing books for my gallery trip the other day, I fortunately picked up David Brooks, The Second Mountain. That man has become a real treasure for me, especially this morning when he successfully pulled me out of that funk.

While reading Brooks, my mind recalled a word from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden when he wrote of the dawn as the awakening hour and of our need to renew ourselves daily. He quoted Confucius (which I posted above). Now in response, I arrive at the gallery prior to my usual 10:00 opening time, and I’m ready to resume some art work. I’m anticipating a better day than I felt a couple of hours ago. Thank you, David Brooks. Life is a gift, and we owe it to ourselves to renew daily.

Attempted Rescue of a Discarded Painting

July 23, 2021
In Progress–8 x 10″ watercolor destined for an 11 x 14″ frame (if it works out!)

The heat outside is oppressive and I suppose people are staying cool inside their homes. The hotel and gallery have been pretty quiet all day, but it has provided me thoughtful space to sift through some unfinished art to decide if any of it deserves finishing. Case in point: the watercolor posted above. A few weeks ago, I finished a framed 20 x 24″ watercolor of Sacred Heart, a magnificent Catholic Church which peeks inside my upper gallery windows from across Queen Street. At this moment I can look up from my computer and see it bathed in the afternoon sun.

Snowy Sacred Heart Night, 24h x 20w” framed. $800

Several weeks ago, I taught a watercolor class, using Sacred Heart as a subject. My demo started out OK, but as the lesson wore on, and I began focusing more on the students’ work than my own demo. I got in a hurry and rendered some crude lines on the building. At that point I stopped and spent the rest of the class helping the students. Today, looking at the demo that went south, I’ve decided to see if it looked good enough inside a mat and frame. The picture at the top shows the assembly stacked together, and I think it looks OK, at least good enough to try and finish the painting out with some quality. We’ll see if I can pull it off.

Since this blog began over an hour ago, I’ve had a number of visitors in the gallery. Maybe I won’t get the painting finished and framed tonight after all. We’ll see. If not, then Saturday might provide me with enough time to see it through.

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.

Playtime in The Gallery at Redlands

July 23, 2021
Loosening up with some Pen & Ink Sketches

Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth, I believe. He ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience, to look at it from as many angles as he can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon it. He ought to imagine that he touches it with his hands at every season and listens to the sounds that are made upon it. He ought to imagine the creatures there and all the faintest motions of the wind. He ought to recollect the glare of noon and all the colors of the dawn and dusk.

N. Scott Momaday, The Man Made of Words

Friday morning in The Gallery at Redlands finds me at play. I finally sat down to gaze upon the cover of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. Charlie Mackesy, to me, is the gold standard for pen & ink as witnessed by his exquisite sketches of the characters in this lovely children’s book. I purchased a Pentel Arts Pocket Brush medium brush pen and sat down at the drafting table to see if I could possibly discard a lifetime’s practice of uptight, anal drawing. Yesterday, I sat down for my first attempt, copying Mackesy’s horse as quickly as I could with a rigger brush and bottle of India Ink. It didn’t go down very well.

First Attempt, using Rigger Brush & India Ink

Today’s attempt with the Pentel Brush Pen showed some improvement with the calligraphic style lines of varying width, but I still found myself very sloppy with the attempted hairline whips of arc-shaped lines. I think what I need to do is use the pen brush for heavier, calligraphic variety sweeps, then refine my fine lines using a tech pen. I’ll try that next.

The Momaday reading inspired me this morning, reminding me of my recent attempt to break the restraints of my former color palette. Having done more plein air work recently in canyon and mountain settings, I’ve decided to loosen up and try some of the quinacridone gold and red hues I’ve been purchasing from the Daniel Smith brand. The result has been some bison sketches of which I’ve sold several already at $100 apiece for 5 x 7″ watercolors mounted in 8 x 10″ frames.

Lone Bison, 8 x 10″ frame, $100
Friday Morning in The Gallery at Redlands

Downtown Palestine has been relatively quiet this morning, aside from drop-in visits from friends in the community whom I dearly love. Conversations with them are always warm, positive and enlightening. It looks like it could be a lovely day for experimental art work and creative eros.

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.

What Do Artists Do All Day?

January 26, 2021
Bright Sunlight Floods Studio Eidolons

“We all need white space–which is to have time when we aren’t doing, but being,” [Penny] Zinker said, citing activities like thinking, reading, being in nature and unplugging from electronics. “That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a bit structured–we can go to a yoga class or join a hiking group” she added. “It creates structure so that we create that white space.”

Meera Jagannathan, “Here’s how to make the most of your ‘executive time’ at work”, MarketWatch

While working in the studio this morning, I had the TV tuned into a series of You-Tube documentaries: What Do Artists Do All Day? As I listened to the interviews, I wondered about giving my own account. For quite awhile I have had this notion to share on the blog my day-to-day activity in Studio Eidolons.

My routine is quite regular. The dogs are never going to let me sleep past 7:00 a.m. After feeding them, I move on to my favorite morning task–grinding beans and French-pressing New Mexico Piñon coffee. Sandi and I enjoy quiet coffee time with snuggling dogs drifting back to sleep after getting their bellies full. Over coffee, I scratch out the first lines in my daily journal, musing over what to read to set the tone for the day.

Coffee time merges into executive time, or white space time. This always involves books, my real passion. During all the years I taught, the classes began at 7:35, so there wasn’t really quality white space for morning reading then. Now with retirement in full bloom, I have the delicious option of reading the entire day if I choose, and I frequently choose. Recently, I’ve completed my reading of The River Why and Goodbye to a River. Those books have already set the stage for my next project in watercoloring. Now I am re-reading Friedrich Schiller’s series of letters: On the Aesthetic Education of Man. During my senior years, I have this compulsion to articulate my own theory of aesthetics and why I draw and paint the way I do.

Usually by mid-morning, I lay the books and journal aside and enter Studio Eidolons, my beloved creative space, named after Walt Whitman’s poem Eidolons. In the morning, light floods the windows and drafting tables in a manner I find very inviting. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been on a watercolor binge, featuring canyons and snowy evergreen trees. Today I have given to framing them all so I can get them into the gallery.

My First Sedona Watercolor, 11×14″ framed. $400

Two summers ago, we visited the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the red rocks of Sedona. From the backyard of our rented dwelling, I looked out on this rock formation, and in the course of a single morning began twenty 8 x 10″ compositions. The one pictured above was the very first attempt. Sometime during this past year, I took it out of my stack of unfinished work and put the finishing touches on it.

Sedona Again. 11×14″ framed. $450

Same story with this one–removed from storage and completed, but not framed till this morning.

Sedona. Sold.

This painting I also completed in the past year, and I was preparing to frame it, but a dear friend from my past saw it on Instagram and purchased it. So it is gladly making its way now to its new home. Thanks, Chris!

My Sweet Studio Companion

Baby Paddington has turned out to be a loving and quiet friend in the studio. All he asks is to be near me while I work on my projects.

Snowy Evergreens. 11×14″ framed. $450
Snow Evergreens II. 11×14″ framed. $450
Snow Evergreens III. 11×14″ framed. $450
First Snowy Evergreens. Sold

A couple of weeks ago I began a series of experiments with snowy evergreens, and before I began the framing, a dear friend found one of them on Instagram and made the purchase. This one is now in his home. Thanks, Jeff! The other three paintings have been prepared for a class I’ll teach tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan. 27) at Show Me the Monet Gallery in Arlington. I am teaching Watercolor Wednesdays there, about three times a month currently. I have already booked three for February. Anyone interested in any of those three-hour sessions can find the appropriate information on my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/davidtrippart

Reading, Writing and Decompression

After a full day of working on art in the studio, I love to decompress with further reading and reflection. As the sun approaches the horizon and the shadows lengthen, I love sitting at the drafting table and looking out across the neighborhood. Today has been another one of those sweet days.

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.

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.

 

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.