Posts Tagged ‘Redlands Hotel’

Clawing my Way Back

June 24, 2022
Surprised to find this on Facebook! My gratitude to artist Dale Diane Hedgecough

What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music.

Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or

My sincere gratitude to those who’ve reached out to me in past days/weeks to find out if I am OK. I am. I haven’t been active on social media. There is a simple reason: I’ve been flat. Not depressed or unhappy, just not creative. Instead, I’ve been drifting/slogging through my days. I’ve been absent from The Gallery at Redlands for almost two weeks. This afternoon I returned and found myself so exhausted that I went upstairs in The Hotel Redlands to take a nap; I didn’t want to see or speak to anyone. I’m glad I took that step. As soon as I re-opened the gallery at 5:00, everything and everyone began to happen at the same time, and I’m so delighted that I am awake and grateful for all of it. In short, I’m glad to be back and am ready to face new creative challenges.

For starters: I was stunned to scan Facebook and find the drawing above! The artist, Dale Diane Hedgecough, is a key player in an artists circle in Arkansas that I had the pleasure of meeting years ago during workshop and plein air activity, and I’m fortunate in getting to meet up with some of those artists in Mountain Home, Arkansas later this fall for a plein air adventure.

I’m always touched when I find myself the subject of someone else’s artwork, but even more so when the artist selects me while in my “element.” The setting for the picture above is an old general store in east Texas where I often resided when I needed a weekend getaway from my teaching job. I spent long weekends there during my final year of teaching high school before the owners opened this Gallery at Redlands in 2017. I haven’t stayed there for a couple of years or more, and am pleased that I may get that opportunity in just a few days. Hence, the timing of the pencil drawing stunned me.

Heidi (playing guitar) accompanying her student at piano

The activity in The Redlands Hotel is heating up. Heidi Mays, a music teacher, opened a studio upstairs next door to us. Tonight her students are holding their first recital. The music is filling the hotel lobby and the audience is loving it! I need to get some pictures . . .

What a terrific event! I got to hear a young fellow who plans to take sketching lessons from me in the near future. Since he is here on Thursdays for music lessons, we’ve worked out a schedule where he can take some art lessons on the same day while his siblings are taking their own music lessons.

I’ll keep the gallery open till 9:00 tonight. Then, at 7:00 a.m., I’m going to join up with our chef, Joe Massa, for some fly-fishing in Athens, Texas. Joe is not only an outstanding chef; he is a genuine man with an abundance of interests, including fly fishing. I was excited when he invited me for tomorrow morning’s adventure. I’ll have plenty more to say about that tomorrow. And then . . . I’m going to have to wait to tell you what’s coming down the pike Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday! My adrenalin is already surging. More later . . .

Thanks for reading. It feels good to come back.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Finding Ground after the Travels

June 10, 2022
Awash in Patti Smith and Martin Heidegger ideas

Like Sartre, Heidegger is prepared to see the human situation in terms of ontological homelessness, meaning that on this earth we have no abiding home since we are not embedded in the world as a part of nature.

George Pattison, The Later Heidegger

Finally rested from my ten-day St. Louis odyssey, I’m feeling genuine serenity, seated once again in Studio Eidolons, looking out my windows across Mister Rogers’s Neighborhood while reading, journal scribbling and collaging. While in St. Louis, I purchased a pair of Patti Smith books. I finished her Just Kids during my return drive home, stopping at rest areas and truck stops along the way. I am currently about halfway through her M Train, drawing just as much inspiration and sustenance from it as from the first volume. I’ve also enjoyed reading The Later Heidegger as I find the author writing with great lucidity about this philosopher’s “turn” following his Being and Time magnum opus. After repeated attempts over the decades, I’ve drawn very little from Being in Time, but the writings of the later Heidegger I cannot lay aside. Whether he translates the Presocratics, writes poetry, addresses language, lectures on Nietzsche or discusses the nature of creating art, I find Heidegger most engaging.

Morning Journal Musings

Reading from Homer’s Odyssey during my St. Louis travels has also been profoundly enlightening. I often mused over the Greek texts rhapsodizing about Odysseus sailing over the “broad back” of the open seas, and found myself driving over the broad back of our U. S. highways, gleaning parallels with the wanderer as he sought his way back to Ithaca. With my sentiments passing to and fro from my current home in Arlington, my second home in Palestine and my childhood home west of St. Louis, I have been writing extensively in my journals about where home actually is for me. I’ve not yet been able to draw a satisfactory conclusion; that is why the quote opening this blog arrested my attention over morning coffee today.

During my decade of pastoral ministry, I grew familiar with the New Testament texts addressing the Christian as not having a real home in this “present age.” I’ve also studied the Jewish Bible, gleaning their longings for their homeland. Yet in my preaching I never could really address these themes, because I didn’t really identify with them. It’s only been in recent years, while attempting my own memoirs and writing this book I started twenty years ago that I have come to understand the restless feeling of not having a home, but driven to perpetual wandering.

Journal Collage

I feel blessed finally to reach this stage in my personal life where I actually have a home, a family, and can wander safely, knowing I always have a place to land. I haven’t been in Palestine for several weeks and am glad to have this extended weekend to spend in The Redlands Hotel and The Gallery at Redlands. This morning is quiet and I’m getting plenty of things done that needed tended. And I still have time to read and reflect. My plan is to make art during the evening hours, keeping the gallery open till 9:00.

Thanks for reading. It’s wonderful to be back . . .

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Saturday Morning Musings in the Gallery

May 21, 2022

Good morning from The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas. By the time you read this, we will most likely have already departed this place. The reception for The 2022 Summer Exhibit for The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery will be held from 4-7:00 today at Barons Creek Vineyards, 115 Bridge Street, Granbury, Texas. Many of our artists featured in Volume 7 of this magazine will be in the show and Sandi and I are looking forward to a reunion with them. Some of the Palestine artists are already in Granbury for the event; others will be caravanning there soon. I’m happy to have my cover feature hanging in the show as well as the ghost sign painting I created last year from Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Jazz on a Saturday Night. Framed watercolor featured in the show (also on the magazine cover)
Palimpsest. Framed watercolor featured in the show

Early this morning while quietly reading from Harvey Cox’s When Jesus Came to Harvard, I found my mind fixed on this notion “gap periods” in the lives of people who have made history. Much has been wondered over what happened to Jesus of Nazareth between the ages of twelve and thirty of John the Baptist from his infancy till he emerged in the trans-Jordanian wilderness, of Saint Paul during the three years immediately following his conversion. In my general studies I have been interested in what happened to Ralph Waldo Emerson when he quit the ministry and traveled to Europe for two years, what exactly occurred in the life of Henry David Thoreau during his two-plus years dwelling at Walden Pond, and what happened to Robert Johnson when he left the juke joint in derision and returned much later as the most accomplished Blues guitarist in the south.

The gap years. I believe most of us have them in our personal histories. I believe many of them mark defining moments in our life development. I know that my own odyssey is peppered with gap periods and I still treasure many of them. As I write, I’m anticipating my next gap as I pack and load for my trip back home to St. Louis. I still haven’t decided how long I’ll stay away. But I’m looking forward to the change in routine, and anticipate good things resulting. I’ll be dropping words like bread crumbs along the way; I don’t intend to disappear. Thanks always for reading me.

Dawn Over Palestine

May 20, 2022
Looking out the kitchen window from our second-floor The Redlands Hotel suite.

Gazing through the fire escape at the graying of the Dawn across sleeping Palestine, Odysseus leans forward in anticipation of setting sail for Ithaca over the broad back of the U.S. highway.

entry from this morning’s journal over coffee

Friday morning finds us in a more restful state after several days of frenetic deadlines and appointments. My grades have been turned in to the registrar; I am officially out of the classroom, for good this time. I informed the dean in February that I was finished after this term. The reality of my new chapter is still not fully realized, but it will happen.

My dear friend Bob Stevens gave me a book to read after our second visit and discussion earlier this week. Both of us seminary graduates, we still have an interest in many of the issues that bubbled up in our earlier days and still hold our attention. The Harvey Cox book is proving a most engaging read, and several of its passages read recently, accompanied by things brought up by Bob in conversation, have spurred me back to writing my book (I really, really wish to finish and self-publish it in 2022).

If you haven’t read earlier chapters from my draft, the book, titled Turvey’s Corner 63050, is about two fellows coming of age by leaving their Midwestern town in their earlier twenties to explore the world and find themselves. I’ve written twenty-three stories to date, and this morning decided to draft my twenty-fourth. This one is still sketchy but it was inspired by the Harvey Cox book . . .

The Weary Blues

Preacher at the Peppermill

Randy was numb with fatigue. Saturday night at The Peppermill Lounge proved to be a grinder. Setting up at 7:00. Soundcheck. 9:00 start. Now it was the second set break, nearing midnight. The bar was nearly empty, only eight patrons still hanging on, all of them with their backs to the stage, no one apparently listening any longer.

Randy sat at his table with stale coffee steaming in the ivory mug. Before him the typed manuscript he had completed at 5:00 this afternoon. With a dull pencil, he continued to scratch out words and phrases and scrawl between the double-space lines fragments of thoughts. Beginnings of thoughts, ends of thoughts. Anything that would say it better, quicker and cleaner.

Jack, the lead guitarist, pulled up a stool alongside. “Whatcha workin’ on?”

“Sermon for the morning.”

“You’re still a preacher?”

“Not really. I still speak twice a month from a Unitarian pulpit. I’m just going over my talk for the morning.”

Jack solemnly extended his hand for a warm, firm handshake.

“What was that?”

“This is where you’re supposed to be.”

“What do you mean?”

Jack looked long and quietly across the space of empty tables. After a long drag from his hand-rolled cigarette crammed with Bugle Boy tobacco, he exhaled wearily. Then his steely eyes sharpened into focus as he turned and looked intently into Randy’s face.

“You’ll never find a preacher in these places. And this is where all the real people are with real problems who need real help. They won’t go to church. And the church will certainly not come to them. But you’re here, because you’re a real preacher. And you’ll talk about real things. And give real help.”

___________________________________

It’s only a beginning, but it feels good to be writing again.

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.

Sailing to Byzantium

May 14, 2022
Completing the Early Morning Walk

Therefore we value the poet. All the argument and all the wisdom is not in the encyclopaedia, or the treatise on metaphysics, or the Body of Divinity, but in the sonnet or the play.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”

Waking early this Saturday morning to the soothing thoughts of Emerson induced me to step out into the city and take my walk about town, enjoying the sounds of a village waking up and re-hearing in my mind something William Butler Yeats wrote concerning why he wrote “Sailing to Byzantium.”

I think that in early Byzantium, maybe never before or since in recorded history, religious, aesthetic and practical life were one, that architect and artificers spoke to the multitude and the few alike. The painter, the mosaic worker, the worker in gold and silver, the illuminator of sacred books, were almost impersonal, almost perhaps without the consciousness of individual design, absorbed in their subjectmatter . . .

As I continue to work on this new vision in the weeks ahead (now that I’m nearly finished with the semester), I hope to write more about my ideas of Palestine emerging as a New Byzantium. I am meeting so many creative people lately, in the visual arts, music, theater, literature, and cannot wait to see if we can in some way consolidate our endeavors and alert East Texas to the growing enthusiasm for the arts.

Palestine: A Railroad Town

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.

Mothers Day in the Gallery at Redlands

May 8, 2022
Lobby Window to The Gallery at Redlands
Newly Completed Watercolor in 11 x 14″ frame. $125

Drybrush is layer upon layer. It is what I would call a definite weaving process. You weave the layers of drybrush over and within the broad washes of watercolor.

Andrew Wyeth

Sunday rarely finds me still in Palestine as every business downtown closes and rarely does anyone come into the Gallery. However, today is Mother’s Day and the Redlands Hotel is offering a special Mother’s Day brunch and ninety reservations have been taken. Therefore, we thought it best that one of us remains in town an extra day. It is nearly time for people to start arriving, but I thought I’d take a moment and share yesterday’s painting endeavor during our monthly Art Walk. I painted in the Co-Ed Shop from 10:00-3:00 and managed to kick out this watercolor study of Palestine’s Chamber of Commerce building visible from our Gallery window. I have painted this scene five times now, and never tire of it.

While working with the painting yesterday, the words of Andrew Wyeth continued to flow through me as I continually wove back and forth between dry brush and wet-on-wet techniques. The result was a multi-layer piece that I enjoyed more and more, the longer I lingered over it. I framed it this morning and set it up on display in The Gallery at Redlands for people to see as they come in. I could not resist including the Jeffie Brewer “Bunny” sculpture in front of the Chamber, also visible from our window. I’m thinking about offering up some additional Palestine downtown paintings with Jeffie’s works visible in the cityscape.

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.

Catching the Winds of Inspiration

May 3, 2022
An Old Photo of Myself in one of my Happy Places

This entire Tuesday has been chewed up by details that came uninvited; I had planned to have an entire day of rest, of solitude, of recalibration. Didn’t happen. Tomorrow won’t either as I have a college class and an afternoon watercolor class. I had wished to blog something original but now have decided during the evening hour to post the notes for a Gallery Talk I gave last December at The Gallery at Redlands. To my readers, I hope you find something of value in the text.

Catching the Winds of Inspiration

By way of introduction, when I was a child growing up in school, I had only one talent, and that was drawing. I was not academically smart, and I was not athletic. Once in college, I woke up to the world of ideas and became so hungry for knowledge that I pursued academic work and basically abandoned art because it had just been exercises in talent and technique. I pursued graduate work until I earned the Ph.D. in New Testament Greek. I then pastored for 11 years. It was not just divorce that ended my ministry; life is more complicated than that. But in 1984 when I endured this existential earthquake and shifted from pastoral ministry to education, I picked up art and was shocked to find out that I was better than when I left it, because I had ideas and theories, not just technique. And so, I like to  refer to myself as a thinking artist; I am just as consumed with art history, criticism and aesthetics as I am with the technical aspects of making art.

And so tonight, I want to talk about this spiritual side of art, this mental part, vs. the mastery of techniques.

Philosopher Martin Heidegger, writing about the creative life, said “We don’t come to thoughts; thoughts come to us”.

Artists, musicians, writers, public speakers—anyone who lives to create knows that we cannot will vision or inspiration. We can only trim our sails to catch the winds when they blow. That is what I want to address this evening.

Artistic inspiration is a visitation. We don’t know where it comes any more than a meteorologist knows where the winds originate. In John 3:8, Jesus is quoted as saying: “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes or where it goes. So it is with every one who is born of the wind.” (The Greek pneuma is translated “wind” or “spirit”).

This visitation has come with a rich variety of names: the ancient Hebrews called it wind, though in the Bible we like to translate the word as spirit.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the wind of God brooded over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light.”

The Greeks used the word daimon which New Testament Greek turned into demon. I find this unfortunate. The Greek daimon was that visitor who prompted the creative person to create.

The Romans came along and with Latin rendered the word genius. Later this spirit became known as a muse.

From the blowing wind to the daimon to the genius to the muse.

This visitation: we cannot will it any more than we can make someone else love us. It is a Gift. A precious gift. All we can do is trim our sails to catch the breeze when it blows. But how do we trim our sails?

How do I trim my sail? Frankly, I am not into mask making and altar building. I still laugh at what I heard once from an artist who said she enters her studio and starts with a prayer. If that doesn’t work, she has a glass of wine. And if that doesn’t work?

So, what do I do? I read. And as I read, I lean in and listen. This is a lifestyle that goes all the way back to college days when the Baptist Student Union told me about “quiet time.” At their encouragement, I began to read the Bible daily as Holy Scripture, and listen closely and carefully to the words, expecting a visitation from God. Fifty years later, that is still what I do.  But I listen to EVERYTHING I read, expecting a visitation. Philosophy, novels, poetry, essays . . .

And as I listen closely, thoughts visit me. Memories re-visit without knocking. Cascades of ideas wash over me when I am in the zone, reading and listening.

Since 1985, I have kept a journal, now nearing 200 volumes on my library shelves. Scribbles. Thoughts. Beginnings of thoughts. Ends of thoughts. They are nets for catching butterflies flitting all around me. I go back later to re-read and organize those fragments. By the way, most of what I’m saying tonight is coughed up from my old journals.

I love the Greek language. Logos, the Greek word we translate “word”, means “gathering together.” Cohesion. That’s what words are: harnesses, bridles, fences, packages. Words organize Ideas. And the artist is the one who organizes.

Emerson, in “The American Scholar”, wrote the following: “The theory of books is noble. The scholar of the first age received into him the world around; brooded thereon; gave it the new arrangement of his own mind, and uttered it again. It came into him life; it went out from him truth; it came to him business; it went from him poetry. It was dead fact; now, it is quick thought. It can stand, it can go. It now endures, it now flies, it now inspires. Precisely in proportion to the depth of the mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing.”

God created people in his own image, the Imago Dei. What is the “image of God”? What is the first thing we read about God? He creates. And if he made people to be like him, then they naturally create. What does a child in the nursery do with a pile of blocks in front of him? He stacks them. He configures them. It is in him. And when we hear the bird singing in the morning, is the bird aware of the beauty of its song, or is the bird just vocalizing out of its essence the way it was created to do? Does the spider spinning the web know the beauty, the symmetry and geometry of the threads it spins, or is the spider just spinning out of its own essence the way it was created to do? Why do we create? Because it is in us. We organize, we arrange, we respond to this spirit that visits us with ideas, with inclinations, with desires.

We cannot will the creative impulse, but we can adjust our sails to catch it and respond when the wind blows. And how about you? How do you prepare yourself?

Magazine Party Afterglow

April 22, 2022
Gallerist Sandi Jones and Publisher Gloria Hood aglow in morning conversation

 A pure instrument is certainly sure to give forth pure sound. So has this instrument of 291 kept itself pure as possible that it thereby gives out pure expression.

Marsden Hartley, commenting on Alfred Stieglitz’s Gallery 291

Artist Marsden Hartley described Gallery 291, opened by photographer Alfred Stieglitz at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1905, “the largest small room of its kind in the world.” My blood is stirred by everything I read concerning the energy that flowed out of that small attic room. And my blood is stirred now as I write this, having experienced what we did last night in The Gallery at Redlands as we held our Magazine Launch Party. My prayer is that The Gallery at Redlands will prove a “pure instrument” that will “give forth pure sound.” We are an extension of this long twisting path of art history, and proud of the opportunity to contribute a chapter.

(Left to Right) Dogwood Arts Council President Greg Gunnels, Radio Personality Kevin Harris and Myself

Before I post pictures from the party, I want to record this special time spent with Greg and Kevin as the event was winding down. Taking our inspiration from ancient Byzantium and the New York City art scene, we found ourselves absorbed in conversation over possibilities in East Texas as this art movement continues to build momentum. Art, live music venues, theater performances and literary circles are humming with greater intensity in Palestine, and we have lately sensed the same kind of renewal in neighboring communities. With his extensive background in radio, Kevin Harris is exploring ways to promote the arts in Palestine and build relationships with the other cities around us. This magazine launch is just the tip of the spear.

Concerning the visual arts, I’m thrilled that fellow gallery participant Deanna Pickett Frye and I will open next weekend at Artscape 2022. This will be held in the Dallas Arboretum. Friday night is the VIP event for members of the Arboretum. Saturday and Sunday, the art festival will run from 10-5:00. This is my biggest art event of the year and Deanna is trembling as she prepares for her debut there. We’re delighted to know that our booths will be in the same “neighborhood” in this large sprawling festival, and we will have boxes of this new magazine to hand out to art enthusiasts.

May 9 will open a new show in Granbury, Texas at Baron’s Crossing, 115 E. Bridge Street (on the town square). New limited edition giclee prints will be made available of the two pieces of art on the cover of the new volume 7 of The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery.

Volume 7 just released at the party and available at select galleries and public venues

Sabrina Franklin (painter of the Leddy Boots sign) and I just completed the arrangements with the printer this morning to produce 11 x 14″ reproductions of the paintings for the show. Other artists featured in the magazine will also have work hanging in the exhibit opening May 9. More details will follow.

Gallerists Sandi Jones and David Tripp with Publisher Gloria Hood

The Gallery at Redlands was packed with artists, sponsors and interested patrons from all across the community. Gloria inspired the crowd with her remarks charged with visions of what we can expect to see in the months ahead as we continue to promote the arts. Once the magazines came out, we had great fun as artists and sponsors autographed their ads in the magazine, and we laughed that we were acting like high school kids when the annual yearbook comes out and everyone wants autograph mementoes for future perusing.

Gallery artist Cecilia Bramhall autographing for the Co-Ed Shop
Cecilia Bramhall ad and QR Code

Gallery artist Cecilia Bramhall was among the first to join the Gallery at Redlands when it opened in March 2017. A local oil painter, Cecilia often runs the gallery in our absence, and in fact will be keeping gallery hours next weekend while we show at Artscape 2022.

Gallery artist Deanna Pickett Frye autographing my magazine

Deanna Pickett Frye and Cecila Bramhall were the first artists to join The Gallery at Redlands with me when it opened in March 2017. They have become family to us, and Sandi and I cherish every memory with them. As mentioned above, Deanna will enjoy her first Dallas Arboretum experience next weekend. Deanna has also been lighting up downtown Palestine with her public murals of late.

Deanna’s latest mural
Deanna’s half-page ad
Sponsor Jody Davis autographing her magazine ad for me

Jodi Davis has been a wonderful art patron, and when taking out an ad for the magazine, requested to be photographed with the painting she purchased from me “so I can market David.” I’m still touched by the memory of the words I heard that day. Thank you, Jodi, for all you do for our community.

Gallery artist Kathy Lamb seeing the magazine for the first time
Kathy Lamb’s page in the magazine

Gallery artist Kathy Lamb entered our family after Sandi and I assumed the ownership of the Gallery last year. She also has her own studio and showroom down the street from us at their home in the historic Nickel Manor. Her passion is oil painting and her fame around the city is widespread.

Mary Raum and Grace Hessman

Mary Raum, Tourism Marketing Manager for the City of Palestine, is the one who exploded the city’s presence in this new magazine issue, successfully landing Palestine as a “Destination City” with her three-page spread. Grace Hessman of Elkhart, Texas, also joined our gallery “family” last year shortly after Sandi and I became the new owners. Grace, a pastellist, has remarkable vision and imagination and I enjoy every opportunity of discussing art with her.

Two of Mary Raum’s three pages marketing City of Palestine’s arts
Grace’s Ad and QR Code
Gallery Artist Orlando Guillen and his daughter

Gallery Artist Orlando Guillen joined our family recently at the close of the Dogwood Art Festival under the tent. Orlando sculpts from raw materials recovered from the local salvage yard, and his enormous Bedroom II depicting Vincent Van Gogh’s painting of the artist’s bedroom adorns our gallery window display.

Orlando Guillen’s Bedroom II
Here I am swapping autographs with Sandy Speer from The Co-Ed Shop
Celia Campbell Polster, Executive Director of the Dogwood Arts Council

Celia Campbell Polster pours all her creative energy and enthusiasm into promoting the arts in Palestine. She was the prime mover behind our recent Dogwood Art and Music Festival and continues to seek ways to elevate the presence of the Dogwood Arts Council in spreading the spirit of good will among artists and art enthusiasts.

Current lobby window display of The Gallery at Redlands in The Redlands Hotel

Well . . . it took two days before I could finish this blog. The first picture taken the morning after the party encapsulates the afterglow felt by Sandi, Gloria and me as we sat around the breakfast table recalling every good detail from the night before. Descending to the gallery at 10, I was to find out that there would be zero time to blog; the laptop was on my desk with the first picture mounted from 10:00 till I closed at 9:00 and drove the two hours back home. Today was no different. We finally arrived in Palestine around 3:00 this afternoon, and now, at 9:24 p.m. I am finally proofreading this to send up the flagpole for all our patient readers. Thank you for waiting for me. I cannot describe the love I feel for these artists, sponsors, and art lovers of Palestine who have embraced Sandi and me and given us a genuine home where we can live out our dreams.

We cannot say enough about The Redlands Hotel and the perfect home they have made available for our gallery and lodging. Jean Mollard and Mike Searcy are always on hand to support every effort made on behalf of the arts. And they are never without a kind word of encouragement for what we try to accomplish.

Our thanks also goes out to local photographer Dave Shultz who does all the website work for the gallery, hotel and Dogwood Arts Council. Dave took all the pictures posted above, and many, many more. Thanks always, Dave, for all that you do!

Thankfully, local free lance photographer J. Bryant was present to capture our event. He managed to capture a shot of Dave doing his work!

And we thank you for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Preparing to Hit the Road

April 20, 2022
Five framed limited editions ready to pack and load

Destination City                                                       

Muses again whisper in the air.

Healing breezes stir.

Like monks in their cells, creative spirits toil

in the city.

Believing.

Anticipating.

Believers once again are painting, carving,

writing, singing, acting.

East Texas again awakens, breathes,

stretches the limbs.

Railroads once united communities.

Art becomes the New Railroad.

And all Railroads lead to Palestine.

David Tripp, April 20, 2022

Good morning, Friends. I wish I had more time to write, but we’re packing and loading for our journey to Palestine, our new Destination City. From 5 till 8 this evening, we’ll celebrate the coming out of volume 7 of The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine. The city is proud to join the host of fine arts communities of East Texas featured in this magazine, and we’re anticipating exciting days ahead. I’ll try to continue writing and sharing this new spirit in the air that has refreshed our arts community. The poem above was my first attempt, and I have several other pieces in the hopper that I’m still trying to edit. I’ve laughed at the metaphor of nailing Jell-o to the wall. That is exactly what I feel when I try to describe the happenings around here of late.

2:15 a.m. this morning marked the 68th year of my entry into this astonishing world. I cannot say that life has diminished for me, yet. Funny, I thought when I was younger that these senior years were to be the most pitied. Who would have guessed that they are far better than any era I’ve previously encountered. I am grateful that I have been allowed to remain. It would have been tragic to miss the past five years I’ve known since the Palestine community entered my life.

I’ve posted above five of my favorite limited edition giclee prints recently framed and ready to hang in The Gallery at Redlands.

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.

Easter Predawn Musings

April 17, 2022
Looking up at the 2nd-story unit where we reside during gallery weekends

By reality and perfection I understand the same thing.

Baruch Spinoza, Ethics

Early morning reading and scribbling

The words were spoken as if there was no book,

Except that the reader leaned above the page . . .

Wallace Stevens, “The House was Quiet and the World was Calm”

Waking at 5:17 a.m. is never my plan. But there it was. Knowing my gas tank was nearly empty and we have a long country drive ahead of us in a few hours, I decided to get dressed, go downstairs and take my vehicle out for a fill-up. The Kroger pumps were active so I filled up, then walked to the donut shop nearby. The lone friendly attendant was chatty and cheerful, commenting on my being up so early. “What about you?” I asked. “When did you have to open up?” “At 4, he replied with a grin. But Pop is already baking by 2, otherwise we’re behind!” At that moment the light went on in my brain: most independent donut shops close early in the day. Of course! They have already put in their time. I immediately recalled those bleak times when I worked for UPS unloading 40-foot trailers at 3:15 am. I was working on my doctorate and had to study throughout the daytime hours. Then I was off to bed early in the evening, knowing I would have to set the alarm for 2:30 to get to work on time. I’m glad those hours are behind me (until days like this, which are elective–today excepted).

Trekking back upstairs to the second floor, I found my favorite place beside the floor lamp at the kitchen table near the windows and waited for the light to come up over Palestine.

My favorite morning vista of Palestine

I’m looking out the kitchen window now, through the fire escape, at the Carnegie Library which will soon house Palestine’s public library once again (when that happens, I’ll probably have to put a sign on our locked gallery door saying something like: “IF YOU WANT ACCESS TO THE GALLERY, YOU’LL HAVE TO CROSS THE STREET AND FIND ME IN THE LIBRARY!”

I enjoy gazing out through the fire escape, because I have had this romantic notion of Palestine embodying the best of Manhattan’s 1950’s art culture. Fire escapes on buildings such as this 1914 hotel make me think of Manhattan. I was writing out these sentiments a year ago when we took possession of The Gallery at Redlands and readied ourselves for the annual Dogwood Art Festival. And of course I was ecstatic the morning of the festival when a Manhattan sculptor responded to this blog and sent us her well wishes.

Though finishing the book, I am still re-reading and re-hashing much of New Art City as I discover striking parallels between the Abstract Expressionist artists of New York in mid-century and the climate we artists are discovering lately in east Texas. The following quote I find particularly striking:

For New York artists, who take it for granted that they live in a city that is less than perfectly beautiful, the idea of asserting that reality and perfection are one and the same may be a way of asserting the possibility that art will be able to flourish in an environment that pushes against the idea of art. A New York artist has to believe that beauty can be found in the bare, immediate facts, for only if reality, which is by its nature imperfect, has a chance of perfection, can an artist who lives in this unpredictable environment have a chance to create something with a permanent value.

I am still searching for adequate words to express what is happening in east Texas recently. There is a growing number of creative spirits (artists, musicians, writers, actors) in this region who sense a surge of enthusiasm for the arts as new venues are opening and new public events keep popping up in our communities to promote the arts. At the same time, we find ourselves surrounded by a climate of gross negativity, particularly in social media and news outlets. I always wonder why so many seek out ways to spread unhappiness. We creatives are determined to keep doing what we do, refusing to listen to the sourpusses. Recently I’ve been studying the art culture of ancient Byzantium and how much of it inspired the rising tide of New York art in the 1950’s. The result is that I am beginning to see East Texas through the lenses of Byzantium, the ancient citadel for the arts. I plan to write much more of this in the days ahead.

Gallery at Redlands lobby window display

We hope you will join us for our Magazine Launch party next Wednesday, April 20 from 5-8 pm as we celebrate the arrival of Volume 7 of The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine. Palestine has been designated as one of the “Destination Cities” and has taken out ten pages of advertisements with sponsors promoting the creative spirits of this town. Publisher Gloria Hood will join us for this party as will the artists and sponsors featured in the ads. We are offering wine and refreshments and much fun as we gather.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for coming art-related events.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.