Posts Tagged ‘Red Goose Shoes’

A Third Place Honor

November 3, 2014

Art, like reality, can bring you to your knees, but I would not trade with anyone else.  As Mondrian used to say: “If we cannot free ourselves from the hazards and conflicts inherent in living in space and time, we can free our vision.”  The artist’s medium is his collaborator and his conscience in that effort in which only a few succeed.

Robert Motherwell, “A Process of Painting,” October 5, 1963

Third Place, Camp Fire First Texas: An Artist's Christmas

Third Place, Camp Fire First Texas: An Artist’s Christmas

Monday proved to be a grinder for me–three art history classes in a row, a lunch hour duty, followed by a one-hour meeting.  I was bone tired by day’s end, but I had promised to attend a Gala event at The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel this evening.  Months ago, I had donated a painting for Camp Fire Girls as a fundraiser for their silent auction. I knew there was a competition attached, but I also knew the caliber of artists from all over north Texas who would be submitting work.  Nevertheless, I knew this to be a worthy cause, so I submitted a painting I created a few years ago.

Upon arrival at the art display this evening, my eyes could not stop marveling at the beautiful paintings lining the walls of the Burr Oak Lounge on the upper deck of the hotel.  Taking folded papers from my suit pocket, I began recording notes, observations, and ideas inspired by these masterful works.  The wine and hors d’oeuvres were also first-rate, as was the live music provided.  I was ecstatic to find a number of artist friends whom I’ve known and respected over the past several years.  The conversations were rich and everyone exuded an enthusiasm over the painting process.

I was shocked when awarded Third Place in the competition, and the congratulations and well-wishes that followed were even better.  Now that the hour has gotten late, I’m having problems decompressing and getting into bed.  Tomorrow is another long day at school, and I have responsibilities in the evening once again.  It’s a busy, relentless schedule I’m experiencing at this stage of the fall semester.  I’m glad it will be over soon.  Today has been a good day, and tonight was a great night.

Good night, and thanks always for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

St. Louis Christmas around the Corner

December 21, 2011

Trautweins Red Goose Shoes, St. Louis, Missouri

I look forward to seeing my family again during the Christmas holidays.   There is a slight chance of a white Christmas this year.  I photographed this storefront on the south side of St. Louis last Christmas.  It is located on Gravois Road (which turns into Highway 30 eventually), lying on the historic Route 66 stretch through the city.  Unfortunately the store is abandoned, but I spent several minutes peering in through the display windows, remembering the Red Goose Shoe commercials from my childhood.  I hope to get a second look at this south side neighborhood this weekend when I’m in St. Louis.  I wish I could see more of these sites, there seems to be so little time to re-visit my home town.

Thanks for reading.

Downtown Fort Worth Musings

October 19, 2011

Ghosts of Sundance Square

I’m still working to finish a pair of Harley watercolors, that I’ve already posted.  Today’s schedule was too full for me to get in some real quality painting time.  I’m posting this picture, because of my afternoon spent rhapsodizing over the downtown Fort Worth vistas.  Here are the remnants of what used to be Red Goose Shoes and the Sundance 11 Theater.  My history with Fort Worth extends only as far back as 1977, and I love to hear stories of these business establishments from locals who knew these places during their viable years.  Hats off to memories that matter, and to those of you who keep them alive.  I’m hoping that my near future will witness the painting of the Flat Iron building on the south side of Fort Worth, and the Ridglea Theater, now being restored on Camp Bowie Blvd., in far west Fort Worth.  Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading.

Lingering Ghosts of Sundance Square

September 8, 2011

Lingering Ghosts of Sundance Square

Marcel Proust reminds us in his Remembrance of Things Past that the mere sight, sound or smell of something has the power to transport us back to primal memories from our childhood that fill us with warmth and gratitude.  These are the kinds of subjects I attempt to capture in watercolor for my company that I have named Recollections 54 (  This past summer, while cruising Sundance Square one morning, I saw how the sun washed the yellow, blue and red facades of the Red Goose Shoe store and what used to be the Sundance 11 theater.  Though saddened by the demise of these companies, I felt at the same time a gratitude for the memories that flooded my being.  Having grown up in St. Louis, I watched the Red Goose Shoes commercials on children’s television and fantasized about the golden eggs filled with prizes available with the purchase of a pair of shoes.  I also recall the abundance of art deco theaters that I frequented in the greater St. Louis area during those early years.  Now they are mostly gone.  When I encounter sights such as these, I linger in the moment, feeling that profound sense of loss, but also an exhilarating presence.  The memories matter, and they leave me with a comfort too profound for words.

Thank you for reading.  My One-Man Show opens Saturday night from 5:00-9:00 at the Weiler House Fine Art Gallery, 3126 Handley Drive, Fort Worth 76112.  I would love to see you there.  Currently, we have about forty watercolors at the location, ready for showtime.

Rhapsodizing over Red Goose Shoes and Sundance 11 Theater Downtown

September 6, 2011

Downtown Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas

Downtown Fort Worth still affords plenty of memories for the romantic who looks for remembrances of yesterday.  Over the Labor Day weekend, while perusing photographs I took of Sundance Square on a quiet weekday morning back in July, I decided to attempt a watercolor of this viewpoint of Red Goose Shoes and what used to be the Sundance 11 theater.  Though both businesses are now defunct, it is nice to see the building facades still intact, and still sporting nice color schemes from yesteryear.  It is getting harder to find yesterday’s relics, as buildings decay and face demolition.  I wonder how long downtown Fort Worth will retain this “look” I’ve come to enjoy so much.

Today was a lousy school day–four classes in four different classrooms on two floors.  Nevertheless, I took this painting to school with me, and spent plenty of time looking at it during breaks in the classroom action, and actually got to “poke” at it every now and then.  I hope to have it finished within the next two days.  My One-Man Show opens Saturday night.  I never intended for this piece to be in the show, as there are about forty works ready for display.  Nevertheless, if this one turns out O.K., it would be nice to add it as well, since the show is featured in a Fort Worth gallery (Weiler House Fine Art Gallery

With the Arlington Independent School District deciding to dump an extra class on every high school teacher, I’m fighting extra hard to extract quality painting time from this disastrous work schedule.  Every other day involves teaching four 90-minute classes with no conference planning period.  Nevertheless, I’m committed to painting and blogging, and will do my best to continue creating art at the rate of past years.  Following my One-Man Show will be five art festivals, so the season is beginning to heat up.  I’m ready and motivated.

Thanks for reading.

An Entire Saturday of Plein Air Watercolor Activity, Some of it Good

May 8, 2011

Red Goose Shoes, Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas

This was an unbelievable Saturday (yesterday, May 7).  I set out early in the Jeep and came to rest in sun-washed downtown Fort Worth, Texas.  Sundance Square is a delicious setting with an abundance of historic sites that I wish to watercolor, hopefully very soon.  So, here is my first sketch of Red Goose Shoes (sign only, the store below long gone) next to the historic theater, formerly the AMC Sundance 11, at 304 Houston Street.  It also is long gone (suites of meeting rooms now) though the facade is still intact.

I remain deeply dissatisfied at my own watercolor sketches.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love watercolor sketches and gaze at them for hours–just other people’s watercolor sketches!  I have come to appreciate more my own “finished” watercolor paintings.  The spontaneity of a well-done on-site sketch I recognize in other artists, just not my own.  But, I’ll get there.

The experience of sitting in a cool shade and sketching the facade of this building and magnificent sign defies description.  I worked on it for about 34 minutes (I’m so obsessive/compulsive with the journal I keep at hand–10:08 until 10:42!), and the result was very bad.  I’m not sure if I’ve already posted this in a previous blog (not sure if I’m thinking too much or just getting old), but I’m reading with great delight Robert Henri’s The Art Spirit.  This amazing artist/teacher is truly prophetic in the writings he has left behind.  The testimony of his “presence” and power to inspire others around him is well-documented.  In reading him, I laughed, being caught off guard at one of his remarks–few artists can finish a painting because they cannot seem to start one well.  Ouch!  Many, many of my paintings start out very badly, and I find myself working slavishly to “rescue” them.  Some just have to be abandoned.

So here I was, with another bad start to a plein air watercolor sketch, though I was truly “in the moment” and enjoying the outdoors immensely–every sound, smell and sight absorbed into my excited and receptive pores.  I love the bustle of a city waking up on a weekend.

I packed my gear together and proceeded south on Houston Street to duck into a Starbuck’s enjoy a tall bottle of cold water, fiddle around on my laptop (so much delicious correspondence to enjoy, thanks to the blog, Facebook, email–thanks all of you!) and to take another look at this.

I took out my journal and made critical notes, then returned to my painting spot, enriched the reds, detailed the sign, tried to load in some better contrast, and delineate the bricks in the white facade.  Finally, the painting appeared to do all it could, and each new stroke seemed to diminish it, so I quit, and moved on to the next location, which I will record next, in “Part 2.”

I have posted other “Red Goose Shoes” paintings on this blog.  There is a magnificent sign like this in south St. Louis that I completed earlier this year.  Red Goose Shoes is a memory from my childhood, even though I never bought a pair of shoes from them.  My parents always took me to the local Fischer’s Department Store in High Ridge, Missouri.  I liked Fred Fischer, but he didn’t offer golden eggs filled with prizes!

Thanks so much for reading.  Hope your Saturday was sublime as well.

So Much Depends Upon a Red Goose–Tribute to William Carlos Williams

March 8, 2011

Trautwein's Red Goose Shoes, St. Louis

I’m working in my garage/studio after school on a Tuesday afternoon.  Texas storms are brewing, but right now, the light is good and the breezes are pleasant.  My Voices and Visions documentary video of William Carlos Williams is playing as I post this, and has been playing over the past hour as I’ve painted on this piece.  Williams was a pediatrician, and his son was a podiatrist.  Hence I got this notion to paint this Red Goose Shoes sign, reminiscing with a grin about a WCW poem that I suppose will never erase from my consciousness:

so much depends


a red wheel


glazed with rain


beside the white


Every time I see something that is strikingly red and fading in time, this poem comes to the surface of my consciousness.  Hence the Red Goose Shoes sign.  There is one languishing in downtown Fort Worth near where I live.  Soon I’ll probably go and try to paint that one as well.

This is the defunct Trautwein’s Shoes at 5227 Gravois in Southwest St. Louis.  Last Christmas, as my wife and I poked around historic route 66 that threaded through St. Louis (I recently finished the Spencer’s Grill painting and posted it on this blog), I was struck by this vintage sign, shining brightly in the winter sun, and took a number of photos from several angles.  I have found some sensitive blogged comments about this store and would like to post the link for you if you’re interested in learning the background of this sad store:

So, as I listen to the lifestyle of William Carlos Williams, who always gathered ideas for visual poems as he traveled about his small town, I too wish to make a contribution remembering the sights I encounter as I make my daily rounds.

Thanks for reading.

Red Goose Shoes and Memories of Neighborhoods Past

March 6, 2011

Red Goose Shoes at Trautwein's

This winter evening in my garage/studio is beyond belief.  I’m bent over this painting I’ve begun of an abandoned shoe store in southwest St. Louis, near where I grew up.  I photographed the store and derelict sign during the Christmas holidays on a cold snowy afternoon while I was cruising historic Route 66 and Gravois Road.  There is plenty of information on this Trautwein’s store’s history on the Internet, and in subsequent postings, I will recover the blogs I read a couple of months ago, prompting me to attempt this painting.

What I’ve found enchanting this evening, is listening to a documentary on William Carlos Williams while I paint.  WCW was a poet and pediatrician in Rutherford, New Jersey, who made his rounds about the small town in the early decades of the twentieth century.  He was a pioneer of Imagism, as his active eye recorded the events of his daily odysseys and he actively scribbled rough drafts of poems of these on his prescription pads.  Coming home late at night, he would push these scraps of paper around on the table top, and revise them into the poems we now love.

As I’ve worked late this afternoon and into the darkening evening, my ear has filled with the sounds of this WCW documentary, mingled with the live sounds of my suburban neighborhood–stock car races roaring in neighboring Kennedale, children on bicycles up and down the street beside my house, suburbanites walking their dogs and chatting with acquaintances,  a table saw shrieking in someone else’s garage (man-cave) nearby.  The sight must be peculiar if anyone looks up in my direction–an open garage and a guy sitting at a drafting table working on a watercolor, watching a portable TV and blogging on a laptop.  No power tools to be seen in this cave!  I have absolutely soaked every sensation of this day from my garage, Proust-like, enjoying today and remembering yesterday.

I hate that I have to return to school early in the morning, and see it through all the way to Open House tomorrow night.  This painting, after tonight, will probably lay dormant for about 48 hours.  But hopefully, the image will compost in my mind’s eye, and develop in a way that I’ll know what to do when I finally return to it.  I’m glad Spring Break is only a week away.  Perhaps I’ll get more “real” work done then.  I had hoped that this weekend could feature 2 1/2 days in the studio, but that was not to be.  A family emergency, plus too-many-errands, managed to cut up my quality painting time into very small segments.  Though I painted three times today, none of those “sessions” lasted longer than 45 minutes before something else “came up” that had to be tended.  But, that’s how we live.  I have no complaints, really.

Thanks for reading.  I hope your day has been as good as mine.