Posts Tagged ‘Redlands Hotel’

Thoughts from the Redlands Hotel

June 11, 2021

June 2, 2021

Hello, Sandi?

“Hi there. I suppose you’re in the middle of a class?”

“Actually, yes.”

Well . . . I’m gonna have to ask you to cut it short . . . There’s been an accident. Christine is driving me to Huguley Emergency Center.”

I put down the phone, in shock.

“Really sorry folks. I gotta go. Now. Sandi has been in an accident involving her horse. She’s being taken to the emergency room. I have no details.”

I fumbled to gather my art materials, struggling to think of what to put in which container.

“We’ve got this. We’ll lock everything up for you . . . you need to get outta here.”

I don’t remember the 45-minute drive through traffic from south Arlington to south Fort Worth. All I could think of was: what happened? Did she take a fall from her mount? Did the horse trample her in the stall (Sandi is petitie; her horse is 17.3 hands tall)? There were no details shared.

Arriving at the emergency room, I immediately saw Sandi being admitted, seated in a wheelchair, and forgetting protocall, I nearly fainted at the thought of paralysis.

The news was serious, but not nearly as serious as I’d feared. Struggling with a 120-lb. hay bale in the back of her truck, Sandi lost her balance when the hay hook tore loose from the bale. She pitched headfirst off the tailgate, hitting the ground below squarely on her face. Raising her head, she saw that the hay hook had plunged all the way through her hand, from the palm through the back. The medical staff, concerned about broken bones, immediately performed CT scans to see if there was any vertebrae damage or broken arms or wrists. Everything negative. Examining the injured hand, the specialist marveled that only muscle was damaged, no bones, tendons or ligaments were touched by the spike. Therefore, Sandi’s hand should heal in time without surgery or rehab.

All this happened nine days ago, hence a blog hiatus. I couldn’t think. Couldn’t read. Couldn’t write. This past week-and-a-half has been a fog. I have spent some time alone in the gallery, but couldn’t concentrate much, thinking of Sandi back home recuperating, and grateful for the many friends who came visiting, bringing food, and working to keep our chins up. Sandi is mending and in better spirits now. I’m at the gallery for two days only, then heading back to be where I really belong and want to be.

Now to catch up on Gallery at Redlands news . . .

Palimpsest, 22 x 33″ framed watercolor. $1500

I am proud finally to hang my latest framed watercolor Palimpsest in the Gallery. Today has been busy with traffic and sales in the gallery. If things slow down later tonight, I plan to resume work on my Sacred Heart watercolor. So far I have worked only on the night sky. This beautiful church is across the street from The Gallery at Redlands and I see portions of its upper story through the windows of this space throughout the day.

The Gallery is taking on a new look as we continue to add new work and new artists to our mix.

Wayne White, Fork in the Road 16 x 21″ Fractured Glass Photograph, $200

Photographer Wayne White, my friend since second grade and also the muse for my “Hank” stories in an upcoming book, has just submitted his latest fractured glass photograph to sell in our gallery. We have it on display currently in the lobby window. You will want to check this one out.

We are also proud to welcome painter John D. Westerhold to our gallery family. John has been featured several times in southwest art magazine, and we’re proud that his latest published painting Reflections of a Fat Boy is now on display in our window looking out to the street.

(Sorry about the reflections!) Reflections of a Fat Boy, Acrylic, 36 x 48″ $8500

It feels good to be in the Gallery again and blogging again. I’ll be here till we close around 9:00 tonight and will be around all day Saturday till our 9 p.m. closing.

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.

Gallery at Redlands Features Kevin Harris Tonight

May 22, 2021
Musician Kevin Harris from 7-9 tonight at Gallery at Redlands

We are a tongued folk. A race of singers. Our lips shape words and rhythms which elevate our spirits and quicken our blood.

Maya Angelou, Order out of Chaos

Morning Watch in The Redlands Hotel

To live in recollection is the most perfect life imaginable; recollection is more richly satisfying than all actuality, and it has a security that no actuality possesses.

Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or

Awake since 6:30, my favorite part of weekends is sitting in the morning light from our second-story room in the historic Redlands Hotel and looking through the fire escape railings at the magnificent Carnegie Library across the street. How I wish I could have lived here in the days when that was a functioning public library! Words fail me when I try to describe the vibe of living in a railroad hotel built in 1914 and look out the windows upon a city steeped in history.

Tonight will be our second and final night of a Major Sale including art from The Gallery at Redlands as well as additonal work brought in for the sale. I always look forward to gallery nights and the public, but frankly, all I can think about this morning is the luxury of hearing Kevin Harris perform this evening. It has been too long. If you have not heard the sonorous, soulful voice of Kevin, accompanied by his amazing guitar skills, you won’t want to miss tonight’s two-hour event. Earlier this morning, I read Kierkegaard’s sentiment that words are too heavy and clumsy to describe effectively the quality of live music. Indeed. I am always tongue-tied when trying to tell people the effect Kevin’s voice has had on me since the days I shared space in this gallery with his radio station Smooth Rock 93.5 FM. Just the sound of him talking through the morning show had the power to remove any sting of anxiety or unpleasant thoughts I was experiencing. But when I heard him perform for the first time, I realized that his musicianship was just as overpowering as his conversation. So please, if you are in the area, stop by The Redlands Hotel tonight from 7-9. We are at 400 N. Queen Street, Palestine, Texas.

Kierkegaard’s quote above regarding recollection stirred me over morning coffee. My company is called Recollections 54, acknowledging my birth year and my body of art work that comprises my personal recollections of an America that embraced me during my early childhood in the fifties. My recollections of small-town America are filled with images of scenes dying out as history adds new chapters. These scenes are disappearing from our vision but not our memories.

My recollections from this morning have chosen to focus on the good memories, not the disappointments. And thinking back over the past four years spent with this town and its people fills me with gratitude. This community has been a veritable retirement gift for me. I continue to lean forward in anticipation of new friendships and new experiences.

Thank you for reading. We hope to see you tonight.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

New Happenings at The Gallery at Redlands

May 17, 2021
New Window Display (left to right): Stacy Campbell, John Westerhold and Tommy Thompson

“Personally,” de Kooning said, “I do not need a movement.” And that personal feeling had a way of suggesting a new kind of movement.

Jed Perl, New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century

After the excitement of Saturday night’s Art Talk in our gallery, followed by the next day’s drive home in a Texas Monsoon, I needed a day of down time before returning to talk about what’s happening at The Redlands Hotel.

Saturday night featured our second round of art discussions in The Gallery at Redlands, and the event didn’t disappoint. Elaine Jary and Grace Hessman made their trips into town, and their personal accounts of how the muse drives them to make art warmed me to the core. We were surprised also at the arrival of our latest artist, John Westerhold, driving in from Fairfield with his first piece of work to enter into our gallery display. We decided immediately to install it in the streetside window so people outside could see it when they drive by. Most viewers think the Harley image is an airbrushed photo, but no, it is an acrylic on canvas painting!

There is something very special in the air in Palestine, and it involves creative spirits gathering to display their work and hold public discussions. We will be letting you know what is coming down the pike in weekends ahead. We are not satisfied with the mere announcement that “We Are Open this Weekend.”

Next Friday and Saturday evenings, 7-9:00, we will have gallery selections reduced in price and placed on tables and easels in the lobby–our first Art Sale. On Saturday at the same time, local radio personality and musician Kevin Harris will be playing his acoustic guitar and singing in the lobby. You won’t want to miss that event! Members of The Twelve will be in attendance both nights so you can meet them personally and know more about the work they create.

I cannot recall a more satisfying and fulfilling time in my personal and professional life. There is something in the air here, and I believe it will continue to develop into something special. These artists at The Gallery at Redlands really have a story to share. I’m just proud to be among them.

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.

Relaxing Between Gallery Talks

May 15, 2021
Completed Watercolor of Palimpsest

“The Club was always misunderstood. We didn’t want to have anything to do with art. We just wanted to get a loft, instead of sitting in those goddamned cafeterias.”

Willem de Kooning, interview with James T. Valliere in Partisan Review.

Willem de Kooning and the Greenwich Village artists of the 1940’s finally chipped in their hard-eaerned money to rent a loft near the Rikers hamburger joint and Cedar Tavern where they used to gather for discussions. 39 East Eighth Street is now mentioned with reverence in art history as the Eighth Street Club. They were glad to leave the cafeterias and bars in favor of having their own space for creative discussion.

For years I have longed for a special place to gather with kindred spirits to discuss ideas. My last place was a La Madeleine restaurant in north Arlington, and I still cherish memories of time spent there with other artists before COVID closed things down. Elaine Jary, one of The Twelve, participated in those talks, and I’m happy that she now is heading to Palestine to chat with us this evening.

The Gallery at Redlands is now a haven for The Twelve along with anyone else wishing to gather with us for serious discussion of the creative life. We are not a Club; the door is open, even if you only wish to listen in. Last night was our first scheduled gathering, the next is tonight at 6:00. We only plan to discuss an hour. Last night we went two. I’ll say this at the outset–anyone wishing to depart early is free to do so. No one is constrained to stay the hour, or leave after an hour.

I am still dizzy with the memories of last night. Painters Cecilia Bramhall and Kathy Lamb attended along with theater director/playwright John Lamb, radio disc jockey and musician Kevin Harris, and creative social media experts Wayne and Celia Polster. I finally had to snatch up my journal and begin scribbling, because the ideas were so electric I feared I would forget some of them in the days following.

In the heat of the discussion, John suddenly had a flash of inspiration for a new play, and he could already see the set design and hear the dialogue among the characters in the plot. It is going to involve artists, and we are ecstatic to see how this one develops.

Kevin, Celia and Wayne simply smoked me with all their ideas and insights on ways to use media to bring the spotlight to Palestine, revealing this city as a genuine creative arts hub. Throughout the discussion, all I could see in my mind’s eye was a reincarnation of the spirit of the Eighth Street Club which would usher in the era of Abstract Expression and wrestle the art capital of the world title from Paris, transferring it to New York City. We already have The Twelve. Now we are expanding our circle as we listen to the ideas of musicians, dramatists, writers and creative media experts.

Sandi and I still have our home in Arlington, Texas, but we love spending Thursday through Saturday working in The Gallery at Redlands here in Palestine. And for the past four years, I have enjoyed individuals dropping in for an informal visit, this door is always open. But finally I am happy to offer opportunities for gathering the way we did last night. Tonight at 6:00 Elaine Jary will join us, travelling all the way from Bedford, Texas, and Grace Hessman from nearby Elkhart will be here as well. Anyone else is welcome as well.

It has been my dream for years to have a special place to gather and dream with other creative spirits without fear of rejection or ridicule. So, if you hunger for this kind of communion, please join us tonight. And as for the future, we will be advertising our schedule for further Gatherings in the Gallery.

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.

Mornings that begin with painting are better than those that do not

May 7, 2021
Friday Morning in The Gallery at Redlands
Two of my Favorite Writers, Whitman and Ginsberg watch me with encouragement

I force my mind to become self-absorbed and not let outside things distract it. There can be absolute bedlam without so long as there is no commotion withn.

Seneca

As the hour nears noon, I look back on the serene Friday morning that is nearing its end. Conversations with artists, friends and Redlands Hotel staff and owners have been scattered and pleasant, and with the gallery door open, the steady sounds of people checking in and out, entering and exiting the Queen Street Grille, along with the occasional sound of Union Pacific locomotives booming through town two blocks away mingle in a relaxed ambient sound for me. Seneca spoke of the continual street noise around the Roman bath houses in his day, urging that they did not prevent him from his daily Stoic morning musings. I feel the same way when I’m in the midst of a Palestine weekday morning. I love the sounds of a world waking up and going to work all about me as I tend to the tasks in The Gallery at Redlands. Watercoloring at the drafting table has been a good experience, and now I’m settling in to read for awhile.

I’m happy to announce that next weekend, May 14-15, we will launch the beginning of our series of Gallery Talks with members of The Twelve. This next Friday at 6:00, the public is invited to hear from local artists Cecilia Bramhall, Kathy and John Lamb as well as myself. Saturday at the same time will feature Grace Hessman, Elaine Cash Jary and me again. The artists are looking forward to sharing their ideas of what inspires them to create, what they are working on at present, and what they hope to see happening in the future as we work to raise our profile among the East Texas communities. We are anticipating a good time together and hope in the future to make this a regularly sechedule event so the public can enjoy intimate conversations with members of The Twelve. The Gallery at Redlands is working on a calendar of events so we can soon have more to say about our weekends than the simple declaration “We’re open”.

Making progress this morning

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.

New Thoughts from The Gallery at Redlands

May 6, 2021
Writing at the Desk
View from the Lobby of The Redlands Hotel
You moved out from the city?

              I don't blame you.

              In a world where they can split a tiny atom...

              and blow up hundreds of thousands of people...

              there's no telling where it's all gonna lead.

              Best to find a quiet place...

              do what you have to do.

From the motion picture “Pollock” (2000)

Seated once again in my quiet place inside The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas, I was reading some engaging material from New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century. Artist Willem de Kooning and artist/psychologist John Graham are engaging my attention at this time. Chapter Two, “The Dialectical Imagination”, discusses the various tensions the artists of Manhattan addressed concerning art as well as life in general. The world view of the most well-known creative spirits of that day believed they were living in a world divided. From John Graham:

Vulgarly speaking, time marches on and the machine-age and consequently the collective age is asserting itself from the two opposite ends of the globe. Picasso is the last vestige of hand-made art. It is the swan song to the glories of the past and the apprehension of the future for there is nothing more terrifying than the unknown.

Though I’ve been a practicing artist much longer, I have only engaged in the art market about twenty-or so years, but I have kept my ear to the ground the entire time, listening to the discussions of where art is going, where the business is going, and the role of technology and a changing ethos amidst it all. My observations on this are too extensive for a single-blog assessment, but I still want to say a few things about how I perceive things today in the art world.

First, I have been told since the year 2000 that galleries are no longer the way for an artist to go if s/he wants to make a real splash in the market. The same has been said about art festivals. Being now sixty-seven years of age, I have always known I would cut back on the festivals. There was a day when I attended an annual average of ten or so. This year I will probably have only two, but I anticipate them to be well worth the effort of travel, set up and break down. As for galleries, I never intended to quit them and seek online avenues for selling my work. Of course, retiring from teaching I have benefit of a pension and fortunately am not a starving artist; I’ll do fine even if I sell nothing.

Second, I never anticipated becoming a gallerist, and after three months am still in shock that I’ve landed this role. Balancing my life between making and selling my own art and maintaining a gallery business is still unusual for me, and I cannot say I have yet found my stride. We’re just fortunate that The Gallery at Redlands is still doing quite well. There doesn’t seem to be any fading of the honeymoon period yet. As time goes on, I will most likely have more to say about the gallery business, but it’s still too new for me to assess (I’m still glad to be in it!).

John Graham’s quote above contrasts the machine-age with the collective age. He also divides history from prospect, and in another passage cleaves asunder the societal and private lives of the creative person. I think what is weighing most heavily on my mind today is this last split–the public and the private sides of the one trying to make art.

Though three decades of my life have been public with education, and another decade with the ministry, I believe I have always been far more introverted than extroverted. I was never afraid to speak in public or represent any particular view in public. But I have always felt much more contented in the private moments. As a minister and as a teacher, I always longed for the quiet moments of introspection in the study or studio much more than the times to stand and deliver in the public arena. The same is true now in the gallery. I love meeting the public, selling to the public and conversing with the public. But I am always grateful for times like now, with this laptop, as well as time spent in books, time spent writing, and times at the drafting table (the drafting table is to my left and will be visited as soon as this blog is finished).

The quote from the 2000 Pollock motion picture that opens this blog floods my memory now. In that scene, Pollock has just moved to Springs on Long Island to get away from New York City and his constant drinking, quarreling and fighting. After Pollock entered the country store, the proprietor acknowledged the stranger and uttered those words posted above. Over the past four years, I have replayed that episode every time I saw Arlington, Texas in my rearview mirror while en route to Palestine, Crockett or any other East Texas venue for a weekend or full week. The metroplex was never able to hold me the way the small towns and countryside do. And though Palestine, Texas numbers 18,000 in population, there are never 18,000 people standing about me; there is always space and quiet for me to thrive in what I like to do best.

I am grateful every day for the lives and work of The Twelve, the collection of artists whose works now give The Gallery at Redlands life. We have decided to gather for informal gallery talks and see if the community would like to hear what some of us have to say. We find it unfortunate that we never got to gather during the weekend of our gallery opening. There was just too much to do, and before we realized it, the weekend was over and everyone split to go back to their respective cities. We’re trying to correct that.

Next Friday and Saturday evening at six (May 14th-15th), a few of us will gather to discuss our art and our views. The gallery will be open for business and the public is invited to join us in conversation of peruse the art we have on all the walls and tables. We will be open for business as usual, the only change will be conversations filling the air. I wish it were happening this weekend; I cannot wait to visit with these creative spirits, and hope you will join us as well. More details to follow . . .

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.

Early Sunday Morning

April 4, 2021
Working slowly on my ghost sign composition from Hot Springs, Arkansas

Usually the artist has two life-long companions, neither of his own choosing. I mean–poverty and loneliness. To have a friend who understands and appreciates your work, one who never lets you down but who becomes more devoted, more reverent, as the years go by, that is a rare experience. It takes only one friend, if he is a man of faith, to work miracles. How distressing it is to hear young painters talking about dealers, shows, newspaper reviews, rich patrons, and so on. All that comes with time–or will never come. But first one must make friends, create them through one’s work. What sustains the artist is the look of love in the eyes of the beholder. Not money, not the right connections, not exhibitions, not flattering reviews.

Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Saturday was a slow day in the gallery–dark, rainy and overcast outdoors with very few people coming in. The result was an excellent day for painting, reading, scribbling in the journal, and finding my center again. When patrons did come to the gallery, I found myself much more open to visiting and exchanging good words. And then of course, many of my new friends came in and the night glowed with companionship.

The words from Henry Miller rolled across the page at just the right moment this morning as I was reflecting over the watercolor that has kept me company the past couple of days. I am probably going to include the word “palimpsest” in the title of my new work, because of how the layers of billboard on the side of the building correspond to the layers of my personal memories that keep blistering to the surface of my consciousness.

As I read Henry’s words of the struggling artist and look at my painting, the past comes pouring through my soul. The year 1988 was utterly bleak. I now look out the window of our gallery down the street, across a vacant parking lot to the distant railyards. And I recall those Sunday mornings walking along West Berry Street in Fort Worth toward Texas Christian University. I worked as a dispatcher for Campus Police, unsure of what kind of future employment I would land, but committed to a life as an artist. The squalor of Berry Street alongside with the beauty of the morning sun on the old business facades reminded me of Edward Hopper’s honest urban works, and I wondered then if I could ever land in an environment where I could practice my art of rendering such scenes and somehow live comfortably as well.

In those days my friends were very few, and none of them shared my artistic vision or interest. Sandi would not come into my life for another decade, but I held on to the belief that friendship would eventually arrive, and perhaps a stability to life as an artist. Now, more than thirty years later, the artful life has arrived, and my heart swells in gratitude for love, for friendship, and for a caring environment. I knew the life of the struggling artist, and am glad now that the struggle only involves attempts to improve my craft and my business associations. But I am so grateful for a circle of artistic friends. The Twelve have enriched me in ways I could never adequately put into words. And to everyone still struggling to establish his/her artistic lifestyle I just urge you not to give up. Believe. Trust your vision. Never apologize for your authenticity. Keep practicing your art. And never cut yourself off from other visionaries seeking companionship and conversation. Your vision and talents are the genuine life blood that could heal our society. There is not enough beauty in this world. We need your inspiration.

Early Sunday Morning Peek into the Gallery at Redlands from the Lobby of Redlands Hotel
Lovely Work from Deanna Pickett Frye and Elaine Cash Jary in our Front Window
From where I sit . . .

Thanks always for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Pre-Dawn Musings from The Gallery at Redlands

April 3, 2021

What this country really needs is a good five-cent cigar.

Thomas Riley Marshall, Vice-President under Woodrow Wilson, presiding over a Senate debate

Waking at 3:15 this Saturday morning was not part of my plan, but here I sit in a darkened kitchen on the second floor of The Redlands Hotel, with an abundance of good feelings over the past couple of days’ events in The Gallery at Redlands. Closing out the final weekend of Palestine’s Dogwood Festival afforded us warm conversations with some of our gallery artists along with members of the Dogwood Arts Council. We also got to visit with dear friends whose workplaces are in this hotel along with a host of visiting patrons. And we have even made some new friends who live above their business just a block away. The vibe of Palestine continues to warm up in many ways similar to what I’ve been reading about the 1950’s surge of art in New York City.

And, speaking of New York City, I can no longer hold back on the thrill that greeted The Twelve as we were launching the opening of this gallery March 20. On that day, while some of us were under the tent for Art Alley (one of the Dogwood Festival’s events), I received a comment on this blog from a sculptor in Manhattan:

Congratulations, in advance, for what looks like a groundbreaking opening! Even here, from Manhattan, I can see art is an important part of this community, and a community that reveres art is a community alive!!! Do well and I look forward to more photos!

As some of our gallery artists and members of the Arts Council gathered round, I read the comment aloud from my smart phone, and they broke out in spontaneous applause! Two days later, when I posted a new blog, updating our art events here in Palestine and the success of our gallery reception honoring The Twelve, another post came up from our Manhattan friend:

Thank you for the moment-by-moment description of your show, the gallery and all the artists who make up your Twelve. It is true, I live in NYC. I have been to a lot of art exhibits, and have a BFA in sculpture, from back when no women were in the Sculpture Department. But I am still more interested in the artists than the hype. You gave me the artists, in such a way that I can imagine myself there. Now that I know the history of the gallery and some of the artists, I can follow along. Thanks again. And, when you are on the river in OK, and if you happen to see an osprey fishing (returning from their migration), that’s probably me, sending you a “hello” message.

Two days later, my artist friend Wayne journeyed with me to Oklahoma to fly-fish the Lower Mountain Fork River. As we fished those gently flowings waters, we watched for the osprey and re-lived the thrill of the Manhattan posts of good will.

The Gallery has been busy the past couple of days, but still I found some stillness and quiet and space to continue work on my latest watercolor (thank you again, Tim and Patty, for giving me the drafting table so I can work on art inside the gallery). Below is the reference photo I’m using for the painting, taken early one morning in Hot Springs, Arkansas when Wayne and I were returning him to his home in Missouri.

O’Bryan Building, erected in 1891. Hot Springs, Arkansas

While working on this watercolor, I’ve been exporing the building’s history online, and intend in future posts, as this watercolor develops, to share what I’ve learned about the layers of advertising making up the “ghost sign.”

The 10-cent Cigar portion brought to memory the famous wit of our Vice-President under Woodrow Wilson. As he presided over the Senate, he was known for his patience. But on one particular day, as Senator after Senator pontificated endlessly about what was needed to heal our nation’s ills, the Vice-President leaned over to the Secretary of the Senate and uttered those immortal words in the hearing of several nearby.

What this country really needs is a good five-cent cigar.

Currently, I see our country as very ill. But I have hope. Members of The Twelve told me repeatedly in the weeks leading up to the March 20 reception at The Gallery of Redlands that they were surprised and warmed by the good will flowing in all directions on social media: members of The Twelve who had not yet met were sending warm, enthusiastic thoughts to one another, admiring one another’s work online and looking forward to the day we would be together. Artists from the metroplex, from Amarillo, from Palestine and from Missouri earnestly looking forward to meeting face-to-face, some of them sharing a four-bedroom suite on the second floor of The Redlands Hotel. For four days, we went to meals together, sat and chatted in the gallery together, congregated in the hotel lobby, set up displays under the tent for Art Alley together, and finally, spent hours together the night of our reception. The temperature continued to rise, and lasting friendships were formed. Wayne and Paula were reluctant to leave and return to Missouri so soon. Metroplex artists reluctantly said Goodbye and returned to their neighborhoods. And Sandi and I could not wait for the next weekend to get back to Palestine and see the local artists again. What we all shared was this: social media, as we had experienced before, had been a venue of poisonous rhetoric, vitriolic attacks on people’s character, and a megaphone for discontent. But what we have experienced for over a month now is a genuine outpouring of goodwill to others not yet seen in person. And now that The Twelve have returned to their homes, the positive messages continue. And we wonder, what is wrong with the mainstream that seeks satisfaction in poisonous rhetoric on social media? Honestly, what is their return on this activity? Satisfaction? Pleasure? Happiness? Why can’t people seek healing for this culture? What is to be gained by all this negativity?

There are a number of things happening in The Gallery at Redlands that fill me with pride in this space. Sandi had the idea of bringing in more comfy chairs and intalling a Keurig coffee maker along with bowls of snacks put out. What we have noticed is more people entering our space and lingering longer, perhaps because they don’t feel assaulted by hungry sales people. They sit. They drink. They snack. And they visit. Recently I have enjoyed the company of an eighth-generation descendant of Cynthia Ann Parker, mother of Quanah Parker. I have also enjoyed an extensive conversation with a retired history teacher from Mississippi, and listened with awe to the experiences of a woman whose aunt managed the Carlin Art Gallery in Fort Worth and represented the works of Peter Hurd and Henriette Wyeth. Visiting with art lovers who look closely at our work and remain for meaningful conversations is just as satisfying as selling art, though we are very happy that sales have been steady since we’ve opened.

What our country needs, is more good will, more positive discourse. And we are warmed to find more of that going on in this community. May it continue. We are expecting that five-cent cigar.

The light is coming up outside, and I have a watercolor downstairs waiting for me. Like Henry Miller, I’m looking forward to taking a peek at it in the morning light that pours in through our gallery windows.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Ready to Paint Again

March 27, 2021

I remember well the transformation which took place in me when first I began to view the world with the eyes of a painter. The most familiar things, objects which I had gazed at all my life, now became an unending source of wonder, and with the wonder, of course, affection. A tea pot, an old hammer, a chipped cup, whatever came to hand I looked upon as if I had never seen it before. I hadn’t, of course. Do not most of us go through life blind, deaf, insensitive? Now as I studied the object’s physiognomy, its texture, its way of speaking, I entered into its life, its history, its purpose, its association with other objects, all of which only endeared it the more.

Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Henry Miller has left artists a precious gift with this book. My friends Stacy and Leigh surprised me with it a week ago, and it has traveled with me across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas these past four days. Now I’m relaxing in The Gallery at Redlands with more time to pore over these pages.

The drafting table that Tim and Patty Smith gave me a few years ago has been moved back into the gallery and I am delighted to begin work on the ghost sign advertisements that grabbed my attention in Hot Springs, Arkansas Wednesday morning. Encountering the building and signage was a remarkable accident. I was depending on GPS to find a pancake house, and I failed to make my U-turn when commanded. I drove another block before the next one came up, and as I completed my turn, I saw out of the corner of my eye the ghost signs. I couldn’t stare because I was driving in tight traffic. But throughout breakfast, I could only think of what I had seen out of the corner of my eye. Artist Andrew Wyeth frequently spoke of subjects that became his famous paintings because he glimpsed them out of the corner of his eye and later had to return to look at them because he could not erase the memory of the encounter.

Sure enough, when I walked to the location after breakfast, I was wearing a short-sleeved Tshirt in 40-degree weather and was very uncomfortable. Nevertheless, once I found the building I had to stand there and gaze at it, taking several photographs. Someone once said that beauty was what suspended the desire to be somewhere else; we are held in place and cannot walk away from what we’re viewing. I knew that I had to paint this subject.

I am going to title the painting “Palimpsest” because during my seminary days I was always fascinated with ancient manuscripts which were re-used, a new text written over the old. As centuries wore on, the original text had a way of reemerging and co-mingling with the later text. Gazing at the layers of advertising all over the side of the building, I felt myself drawn into the history of the building, musing about the products advertised, the people walking or driving buy who connected with the message, and the changes that that part of Hot Springs endured over the years. Staring at the signage, I realized that we ourselves have layers of history stacked one on top the other. Our memories may fade somewhat, but still they push their way to the front of our consciousness and once again seize our imagination.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Unwinding after the Show

March 25, 2021

To paint is to love again. It’s only when we look with eyes of love that we see as the painter sees. His is a love, moreover, which is free of possessiveness. What the painter sees he is duty bound to share. Usually he makes us see and feel what ordinarily we ignore or are immune to.

Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Rolling across Missouri, I will attempt to voice text this blog. I am peering through a windshield at a soggy terrain with intermittent rain. Two days ago, Wayne and I set out for the long journey home, stopping at Beavers Bend State Park to fly-fish, then drove all the way to Hot Springs, Arkansas to stay the night. The following morning, I found the subject for my next watercolor in downtown Hot Springs. The words of Henry Miller came back to, compliments of the lovely gift Stacy and Leigh gave me the night of our gallery opening. When I’m driving across several states, my eyes are constantly soaking up the world beyond the windshield, and I am automatically painting the passing scenery in my mind, puzzling over how to render certain color combinations and figuring out compositional problems. For me, “to paint is to love again”, and what I try to capture on paper I definitely feel “duty bound to share.”

After taking the picture we set out for Wayne’s home in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Before saying goodbye, we decided to fish some more, since we had no luck at Beavers Bend. We managed to land a few small ones, and felt that we had at least accomplished something as anglers!

After spending the night in High Ridge and getting to visit with my parents and siblings, I now begin the long journey home.

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After several days of trekking across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas, I’m thrilled to be back in the Gallery at Redlands for the weekend. New work has been hung to replace what sold last week, and tonight the Redlands Hotel is extremely busy with two tour buses and folks soaking up the second weekend of the Dogwood Festival. Since we’re busy tonight, I’ll postpone beginning my watercolor of the ghost sign-covered building from Hot Springs until the morning. It’s too hard to paint when people keep dropping in, and the last thing we wish to do is appear too busy or preoccupied with other tasks. I have decided to pursue a palimpsest theme once I get started on the Hot Springs building with ghost signs. Already I have scribbled out some broad themes in my journal and have begun another Hank and Randy story to accompany the new painting. Friends have asked me since we took over the gallery if I would stop painting. Absolutely not! Tune in tomorrow . . .

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.