Posts Tagged ‘Redlands Hotel’

3:30 a.m. Visitation (it’s never my plan to rise this early)

September 23, 2022

Dawn view outside Suite 207, Redlands Hotel. Carnegie Library undergoing extensive renovation.

When the muse stirs and awakens me, I find it necessary to rise, no matter the hour, open my journal, and listen.

David Tripp

With the arrival of fall, I am sensing more than ever something fragrant in the air. Artistic souls in East Texas are stirred with new activity as the art season begins to revive. The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine is approaching deadline for the holiday season issue expected the first week in November. There has been a flurry of activity as this goes to press.

Next weekend, October 1, I will teach a watercolor class in the Redlands Hotel conference room from 12-2:00. The seats are already filling with a limit of sixteen participants. All materials are provided. Cost is $35, with students and seniors over the age of 55 discounted at $30. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. If you are interested, you must register through me and pay in advance. Credit cards are accepted. My phone is (817) 821-8702, or email We will paint an 8 x 10″ bison in bright Southwest Art colors.

The Edom Art Festival is fast approaching, October 8-9 from 10-5:00. This is one of my biggest festivals of the year, and they are marking their 50th anniversary with this one. If you have not yet attended one of these, you’re in for a real treat. The festival nestles in rolling pasture land with rustic outbuildings serving as a headquarters. The town of Edom is little more than a crossroads, but people pour in from the Dallas/Fort Worth area, McKinney, Plano, Tyler, Palestine, Austin, Waxahachie–thousands of people flood the festival grounds to enjoy the art, food booths, and live music from two stages. My excitement grows as festival time nears.

And finally, I’m hoping this fall for the chance to visit art galleries scattered all over East Texas that I didn’t know existed. Some of them are new, yet some have been in business for years. I’m also grateful to join recently the art family in neighboring Tyler, Texas. As I’ve said before, I’m eyeing this region as a “New Byzantium” much as the poet William Butler Yeats spoke of 6th century Constantinople under Justinian. Yeats wrote: ”in early Byzantium, maybe never before or since in recorded history, religious, aesthetic, and practical life were one.” At this moment in our history, I’m enriched by the flurry of visual arts, live concerts and performance art that East Texas is experiencing.

Saturday evening, I’ll attend the artists’ reception for The Fall Art Exhibition at Lake Granbury Art Association. One of our gallery artists, Cecilia Bramhall, has had a painting accepted in the show, and I have as well. We’re proud to represent the Palestine art circle as we participate in this event.

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.

The Cabin

September 17, 2022
1902 home preserved in Flippin, Arkansas

It’s good to be back in The Gallery at Redlands again. Much of my imagination, however, lingers in Arkansas and Missouri, so it is likely that I’ll continue posting recent pictures from there.

While teaching the watercolor workshop in Mountain Home, we drove to nearby Flippin to take another look at this 1902 home. A railroad magnate built two of these homes when he lived here. One has disappeared, and this one was moved next door to Ozarks Realty Co. in order to keep a watchful eye on the property.

I have done a watercolor of this building four times and sold them all. My plan is to try again in the near future. Below is the second painting I did of the subject. I noticed from the recent photograph that they have replaced the four pillars in front, I suppose for better stability.

One of my watercolors of the subject

This cabin makes me think of the one Muddy Waters lived in when he worked at Stovall Farms and was discovered and recorded by Alan Lomax. Perhaps if I paint it again, I’ll put a blues musician on the front porch.

Thanks for reading.

The Dawn

September 17, 2022
Looking out my Redlands Hotel window at the morning light (laptop plays YouTube image of New York City)

He sat there depressed and waited. He had learned this from the river: to wait, to have patience, to listen.

Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

I cannot explain yesterday’s depression. I’m grateful that that was yesterday. Sandi and I were totally exhausted from our Arkansas/Missouri travels that included five days in Mountain Home, Arkansas where I taught a watercolor workshop to some amazing participants (I’ll post later about this). After that, we traveled to Missouri to visit precious friends and family (more on that later), then returned to Cotter, Arkansas where I fly-fished the White River that night and the North Fork River the following morning (more later). Then we drove the remaining eight hours home, arriving shortly before 10:00, washed and dried our clothes, then I was up early the next morning to travel two hours to Palestine and pick up our gallery life where it was left September 3. Not everything was smooth as I transitioned back into my Texas life, but I’m ready now to write it off to exhaustion/depression. Waking at 5:00 this morning, I felt rested for the first time in nearly two weeks, and now I’m ready to open this new chapter, or, as Emerson would say, draw a new circle.

Re-reading Hesse’s Siddhartha has put new energy in my soul this morning.

“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?”

“That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past, nor the shadow of the future?”

“That is it,” said Siddhartha, “and when I learned that, I reviewed my life and it was also a river, and Siddhartha the boy, Siddhartha the mature man and Siddhartha the old man, were only separated by shadows, not through reality.”

With this post, I send out my love to Wayne White, Evelyn McMillan, Clarry Hubbard, and Sandi Jones. These are my loved ones (chronologically) from 1961 to the present. During our recent St. Louis visit, we were enriched with three days of backyard visits by day and campfire confessions by night. Throughout those days and nights, I genuinely feel that I heard them and they heard me. These senior years are so precious to all of us as we look back over our respective journeys and seek ways to extract meaning from all the twists and turns in the road. I’m still warmed by my friends’ stories, and hope that I have offered something of value to them as well.

Wayne Evelyn and Sandi
(left to right) Sandi, Clarry, Evelyn, Wayne
(left to right) Clarry, Evelyn, Wayne

Most of all, I am grateful to Hermann Hesse this day, for sharing Siddhartha’s revelation about life. I realize that my youth, my maturity, and my old age are separated only by shadows. Like a river, my life comprises all those stages now concentrated in the dawn of this new day. I’m grateful to be here. While with my friends, we mused over the ones we have known and loved who have passed away, and wonder why we have been allowed to remain on this earth a while longer. And we all expressed our gratitude for life, for the chance to draw a new circle.

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.

Help from Joan Didion

August 30, 2022
Sketching in the Studio

See enough and write it down, I tell myself, and then some morning when the world seems drained of wonder, some day when I am only going through the motions of doing what I am supposed to do, which is write—in that bankrupt morning I will simply open my notebook and there it will all be, a forgotten account with accumulated interest, paid passage back to the world out there  . . .

Joan Didion

Joan Didion pulled me out of the abyss this morning. I cannot put my finger on it; I slept late, woke up feeling drained, and found myself tidying the studio and doing all kinds of busy work instead of sitting down and making myself draw in the sketchbook. Once I did the morning drawing (a new discipline I’m trying to instill in myself), I settled in to read, but nothing clicked. One of those mornings when I wished for an oracle and heaven was silent. Then I remembered: I have this deep, deep file of quotes I’ve lifted over the past twenty years or so. The first file was Joan Didion, and the above statement lifted me to higher ground.

We all have our habits. Decades ago, when I was in the ministry, I began every morning searching my Bible for some Word, some organizing, cohesive force to direct my life. When I left the ministry and entered the teaching field, the habit remained, only this time I searched not only the Bible, but books in my study, magazines, newspapers, file folders of gems I’d copied from my past–anything that might start a fire of creative desire in my imagination.

Now retired, the habit remains. For some reason this morning, I pursued chores, tasks, busy work, and postponed the morning coffee for nearly two hours. But now here I am, coffee’d up, breakfasted, read up, scribbled up in the journal, and ready to go to the drafting table to the big watercolor and figure out what to do next with it.

Quick Sketch of a Blues Man

Thanks, Joan. And thanks to the rest of 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.

Sunday Morning Stirrings in the Gallery

August 28, 2022
Ancel E. Nunn’s Dream. 11 x 14″ framed watercolor. $250

That, precisely, is the deadliness of second-handers.  They have no concern for facts, ideas, work.  They’re concerned only with people.  They don’t ask: “Is this true?” They ask: “Is this what others think is true?” Not to judge, but to repeat.  Not to do, but to give the impression of doing.  Not creation, but show.  Not ability, but friendship.  Not merit, but pull.  What would happen to the world without those who do, think, work, produce?  Those are the egotists.  You don’t think through another’s brain and you don’t work through another’s hands.  When you suspend your faculty of independent judgment, you suspend consciousness.  To stop consciousness is to stop life.  Second-handers have no sense of reality.  Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another.  Not an entity, but a relation—anchored to nothing.  That’s the emptiness I couldn’t understand in people. 

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

It’s rare to find me in The Gallery at Redlands on a Sunday morning. But we had an event last night in the Redlands Hotel that kept the gallery open late, so we decided to spend the night rather than journey two hours home at such a late hour.

Over coffee, I am re-reading portions of Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead, a book I’ve read twice in its entirety, and still go back to read highlighted and underlined texts as well as my marginal scribblings. In the passage above, our hero/architect/individualist Howard Roark is sounding off about his disdain for “second-handers”. I have other words for those kinds of folks, but I’ll keep those in my pocket.

I didn’t meditate and journal over the passage this morning for the purpose of ranting over the wasted energy of second-handers. Rather, I pointed the passage into my own heart, hoping to improve my life in areas that continue to lag. I’ve never felt like a second-hander. I’ve always tried to carve out my own niche, and usually know what I need to do. I’m always revising my priorities, and now believe I have three main areas that need consistency if I am going to develop as an artist rather than push out the same old products for the market.

My number one priority is unchanged, and I remain consistent in it: study, reflection and writing. I do this religiously every morning without fail. My years as a graduate student made me an addict for research and writing. So I never have to make myself open a book and journal, and set to work in the study. Usually I have this going over coffee seven mornings a week.

But priority number two is moderate, and number three is on life-support. Number two is consistency–making art DAILY. I just don’t do that as I could/should. I have the most beautiful Studio Eidolons in my home, more lovely than any studio I have ever occupied. There is no excuse that I’m not in there every single day (even if for the space of thirty minutes) to engage in making art. It just doesn’t happen. And I have no excuse. I’m fully retired, and I really do not have a demanding daily schedule, so I could and should enter that studio every single day and work on something, even if for a short time. Consistency matters. Because if I miss one day, next thing you know, a week has passed with no new work in progress. I am without excuse. I cannot use the Thursday-through-Saturday gallery schedule as an excuse either. A dear friend gave me a drafting table to keep in the gallery. And there is wonderful light that floods the space daily. So, The Gallery at Redlands is also a studio for me. No excuses. Every day, my dwelling includes a studio. And so, priority number two now has my attention.

And then, priority number three (and this is an embarrassment): sketching. I have a stack of partially used sketchbooks for drawing as well as watercolor. For years I’ve told myself that a “real” artist (vs. the second-hander) sketches every single day. The sketchbook should be carried everywhere I go (the journal does, but not the sketchbook). And I find myself going weeks, months, without one single, paltry sketch. It is in this area that I feel the ultimate embarrassment and hypocrisy. I am frequently asked by enthusiastic emerging artists: “What do I need to do to improve my work, to become more marketable?” And the first thing that enters my mind is the sketchbook, but it stays in my mind, never passes my lips, because I myself don’t do it, and I keep telling myself I believe in it. I wonder if I should make the sketchbook my NUMBER ONE priority? Hmmmm. Maybe that’s what it’s going to take.

OK, let’s put all the cards on the table: I’m writing today’s blog because two days ago a flash of inspiration jolted me and I scribbled it out in my journal to pursue this new idea. And now I am finally stopped long enough to blog it and meditate on it. The idea is reform, revival, renewal. I decided two days ago that I was going to up my game in the areas of blogging, sketching, and daily creation. So now I go public in this blog, no longer keeping it a secret. I intend to blog more consistently and thoughtfully, sketch every single day, and enter the studio to make art daily. And I’ve decided now that the priorities will be 1) sketching, 2) research & writing, and 3) daily creation in the studio.

Time to go to work on these matters. 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 Welcomes Photographer Dave Shultz

August 27, 2022
I Egret Nothing. 24(h) x 16(w)” Aluminum Print. $150
Big Boy 14(h) x 20(w) Aluminum Print $150

I have a vision of life, and I try to find equivalents for it in the form of photographs.

Alfred Stieglitz

Dave Shultz has been my friend since I arrived on the Palestine scene. An avid photographer, Dave has freelanced all over the world with his photography and film production. He has photographed all my work for publication and distribution, designed our websites, and solved a myriad of tech issues (I’m still quite clumsy in that realm). We’re thrilled that he has made his home in Palestine, and is known all over town because photography is his life. No one is surprised to see him out on the streets before sunrise or after sunset, photographing the town’s iconic buildings or the nature surrounding. Like Stieglitz, Dave is married to his art.

Dave is also a member of that rare breed of “story tellers.” Years ago I was troubled at the reading of Larry McMurtry’s Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen. In that book of essays, he laments the reality that America has lost its “story telling” culture. People gather to gripe about politics or local affairs, or gossip about someone in the neighborhood. They’ll complain over the price of gas. They’ll pontificate about what’s wrong with our public schools. They’ll detail the blight of crime in our communities, or complain about how an officer spoke curtly to them at a traffic stop. But you seldom hear stories told from the past. You seldom hear someone sharing a personal memory just as epic as recorded in classic novels or see in classic movies. Anytime Dave takes a seat in your company, you are guaranteed entertaining stories from a life well-lived and well-traveled. Dave’s imagination and vocabulary seem limitless, and I never tire of his stories.

We are grateful that Dave has agreed to join The Gallery at Redlands family. Two weeks ago, we displayed his Big Boy in the lobby window, and it sold within a couple of hours. He has replaced it now with the one posted above, and has added his egret. Each is available for $150. The luminosity of the photographs on the aluminum surfaces cannot be described, neither can this blog post do them justice. You’ll just have to swing by the gallery to see them for yourself. We’ll be here till we close at 9:00 tonight. Come and see us!

Thanks for reading.

Celebration of the Creators

August 26, 2022
In The Gallery at Redlands, working on the Next Project

Every culture, it seems to me, gets a handful of writers each generation or so who have the talent and ability to reach beneath the surface of things into those deeper currents that run through us all as fellow members of the human tribe.

Bill Wittliff, Foreword to John Graves, From a Limestone Ledge

The quote above knocked the wind out of me as I prepared to read From a Limestone Ledge. John Graves had been referred to me by my friend Clarry Hubbard, retired journalist from The Wall Street Journal. Clarry had urged me to read Goodbye to a River by Graves, and reading that book shifted the course of my retirement years in ways I’m still trying to comprehend.

Now, I am pleased to read these powerful words from Bill Wittliff who, I learned last week, was a close friend of the late Ancel E. Nunn, celebrated artist of Palestine, whose studio was not far from this gallery. I’ve been working on a watercolor of his hand-painted billboard that he cherished inside his studio, and all the while, trying to learn more about Nunn’s work as well as the writings of Wittliff.

Creators “who have the talent and ability to reach beneath the surface of things into those deeper currents that run through us all as fellow members of the human tribe.” I’m still shuddering at those words. I love the creations of writers, artists, musicians–anyone who feels that inner compulsion to give birth to a new idea. I still think of Victor Hugo’s vision: “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Nunn and Wittliff saw something much greater than themselves and gave their lives to exploring that vision. The result: they elevated the quality of life for multitudes in their day, and continue to stir up creative endeavors in this day.

I celebrate another weekend’s opportunity in The Gallery at Redlands to pursue a new creation, always grateful for the artists before me who continue to reach out and touch me deeply.

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.

Saturday Night Painting in the Gallery

August 20, 2022
Tribute to Ancel E. Nunn

It has been a whirlwind of a Saturday, and now we’re about an hour away from closing our Gallery at 9 p.m. Finally, I have the time and leisure to sit down again before the in-progress watercolor of the ruins of Ancel E. Nunn’s studio at the 19th-century foundry across town here in Palestine. I’m still making decisions about how much decay to depict on the beautiful billboard replica he painted inside his work area.

Most of this day was spent at the Tyler Museum of Art in a meeting with a large contingent of East Texas artists making plans for future exhibitions. We are delighted that some of them have taken out ads for the new Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine coming out in November. I have also taken out another full-page ad, along with our Gallery at Redlands ad, and a host of our artists who have decided to sign on again.

Jeffie Brewer’s work in The Tyler Museum of Art

There is no describing the warmth I felt when I passed this window inside the Tyler Museum of Art and spotted this Jeffie Brewer sculpture. Coming back “home” to The Gallery at Redlands late this afternoon, I had to pause and take this picture inside our gallery. We cannot describe the pride we feel in having this sculptor’s work inside our venue as well. Jeffie is a native of Palestine and now lives and keeps his studio in Nacogdoches.

Jeffie Brewer’s work inside The Gallery at Redlands
University of Texas Tyler School of Nursing

Once we finished the meeting, we traveled to the School of Nursing to see where my watercolor is hanging in their current exhibition. We are excited at the opportunity for exhibiting in the future at their College of Pharmacy, and then later at their new Medical School now under construction.

We have a number of irons in the fire, but we’re feeling the rising enthusiasm from our colleagues at the approaching fall art season.

Thanks for reading.

Gallery at Redlands Musings

August 18, 2022
Fading Afternoon Sunlight in The Gallery at Redlands
Unfading Memories of the Colorado Morning Light
Initial Masquing and Pouring Attempts

Every rational creature has all nature for his dowry and estate. It is his, if he will. . . . he is entitled to the world by his constitution. In proportion to the energy of his thought and will, he takes up the world into himself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

The Gallery at Redlands has been relatively quiet during this Friday afternoon/evening and I have returned to take some pokes at the large watercolor I began several weeks ago, then erased and began again yesterday. Re-reading my journal entry from the morning of July 13 while we were in Colorado has stirred my blood and my readiness to pursue this pouring technique once again.

For as long as I live, I will recall that 46-degree morning when I took the photo above at 6:29 a.m. Sipping my coffee to stay warm, I was mesmerized at the quality of light and color that embraced me as I stood and stared from the cabin deck. Over and over, I thought, “How on earth could I ever attempt a watercolor of such a splendorous view?” I know I cannot match the photographer, or the reality of what I stood and beheld in that moment. But I want to get back to a point a decade or so ago, when I depended on the luminosity of the watercolor paper under veils of wash to reflect light back to the viewer.

It has been years since I read Emerson’s Nature in its entirety, and last night I began it afresh. The quote posted above convinced me to study harder, poke harder, stare harder, and attempt to capture a better quality of light and color in my compositions. Looks like it’s going to be a long afternoon, but I’m ready and focused.

Thanks for reading.

Sacred Space (or “Executive Time”?)

July 1, 2022
In The Gallery at Redlands

A man should keep for himself a little back shop, all his own, quite unadulterated, in which he establishes his true freedom and chief place of seclusion and solitude.

Michel de Montaigne

I am laughing at my gallery desk this morning as I write this. Having just spent a week at the old country store I was afforded the time and space for quiet reflection and writing, a habit ingrained in me since the mid 1980s. Recently, much has been published about “executive time,” a practice of some famous CEOs who find ways to carve out space during the work day to be alone, allowing them to engage in creative efforts important to them, and to reflect over life and what they genuinely want to make of it.

Over the years, I have watched and re-watched “Mad Men” on TV, starring Jon Hamm. Recently, I got a kick out of the episode involving Ida Blankenship (played by Randee Heller), an aging executive secretary who had been with the advertising firm for decades. She passed away at her desk, and one of the senior partners, Bert Cooper (played by Robert Morse) was tied in knots, trying to write an obituary for this loved one who had been so close to the team for so many years. In a moment of frustration, unable to organize his thoughts, he complained loudly:

“And I have no office in which to ruminate!”

I still laugh when I recall those words. How many times have I shouted these words in my mind when caught in a situation where I needed time, quiet and space–and none of it was available to me. My friends laugh with me over this notion of “executive time.” I recall from my college days, when affiliated with the Baptist Student Union, we called it “Quiet Time”, dedicating a portion of our daily schedule to Bible study and meditation and prayer. Sometime in the midst of my graduate education, I began keeping a journal–not a diary of personal, emotional stories, but more of a daily digest of what I was reading and thinking. That journal now occupies about 200 volumes in my personal library, and I love dipping back into many of those tomes and read hastily scribbled thoughts I don’t recall thinking!

My daily habits remain largely unchanged–I collage the opening of each new day, like a new chapter, then take off, scribbling out ideas either popping up spontaneously in my imagination or spawned by something I’m reading at the moment. Today I’ve been writing about “sacred spaces”, recalling all those years I stopped in special places to think, to reflect, to write, to plan. I recall with warmth the 100-year-old house where I lived in rural Whitesboro, Texas where I wrote out most of my doctoral dissertation by the light of kerosene lamps at night (those journal pages resonate with me much more than my dissertation ever has). I still recall the sanctity of my doctoral carrell in the seminary library, of the study carrels on the third floor of the Texas Wesleyan University library during twenty-two years of my adjunct work there. My current Studio Eidolons in my own home in Arlington, Texas, of park benches, coffee shops, hotel lobbies. Next week I’ll savor the sanctity of the porch deck of Brookie Cabin in South Fork, Colorado, where I have filled many watercolor journals and writing journals with my thoughts while gazing out at the mountain stream whispering down below.

Sometimes while engaged in “executive time” I appreciate the quiet or the white noise of my surroundings; other times I pull up YouTube on my laptop and play something similar to the New York City ambience (pictured at the top of this blog), and listen to the sounds of traffic far below. I also appreciate the many, many YouTube videos of cafes either with jazz music playing or the white noise of espresso machines and customers in conversations. These kinds of sounds aid my concentration during such times.

Perhaps executive time isn’t for everyone. But it has been my life’s blood for four decades now, and I see no reason to reject this gift.

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.