Posts Tagged ‘Redlands Hotel’

Thrilling Transitions

July 3, 2018

Redlands first

Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.

Henry David Thoreau


Good morning from the Redlands Hotel in Palestine. I have taken my seat inside the newly-reconfigured Gallery at Redlands, Room 109. Fascinating changes have occurred inside this historic hotel, with more to come.

Redlands FM

In a previous blog, I mentioned that the Red Fire Grille came under new ownership earlier this year, and with that change came hotel renovations that created the beautiful RFG “Sparq Bar” just down the hall from the gallery. Patrons are now coming in great number to enjoy fine dining as well as cocktails in the evening. And just recently, the Red Fire Grille opened with lunch hours for the first time. Now we don’t have to wait till evening for people to visit the first floor of the hotel.

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You may have seen the new entry at the bottom of the window sign: Smooth Rock 93.5. The offices of this new FM station will be opening upstairs in Room 205, but the broadcast booth will be my new roommate in the gallery. This radio station, currently based in San Antonio, will be moving to Palestine this month, and launching their first broadcast August 1. The broadcast booth will occupy the south end of the gallery at the display window facing the street. Broadcasts will occur Monday through Friday, and I will work the gallery most weekends. But, with a college schedule of Tuesday-Thursday classes, I’ll be sure to spend some Fridays and Mondays inside the gallery so I can soak up the atmosphere of FM radio featuring Eric Clapton and other musicians of that genre. The radio has pledged aggressive advertising for the hotel, gallery, restaurant and bar, so naturally, we are all excited to welcome our new resident.

I arrived yesterday with my Jeep packed to the gills with all the art merchandise and furnishings from my festival last weekend. Once I unloaded everything into the gallery, it was time to begin work re-configuring the Gallery at Redlands to make room for our new residents. This involved moving the heavy desk from the site of the future broadcast booth to the front of the gallery near the lobby window. Then, we set up my Pro Panels to form a temporary wall separating the gallery from the broadcast area, but allowing passage on both sides from one space to the next.

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Redlands wall

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The gallery has a completely new, more intimate feel now.

Gallery window

The lobby of this historic hotel, dating from 1915, has been completely renovated, with offices removed and a large, open lounge area inviting people to relax in conversation, books, television, and drinks.

Redlands lobby

Redlands lobby 3

Redlands lobby 2

The Redlands Hotel, dating from 1915, is a veritable time warp for me every time I enter the main hall, and I’m thrilled that the gallery is in this hall. When I climb those stairs to move into the suite that provides a luxurious dwelling, I feel I’m supposed to be wearing spats from the previous century, a vest with watch chain, and a fat cigar in my mouth.

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The Gallery at Redlands is open, on the right

These are truly exciting days in Palestine, Texas. For anyone reading this, I sincerely hope you will find the time to visit us at The Redlands Hotel on 400 N. Queen Street. The rooms are absolutely stunning, and the prices are very reasonable. The gallery is improving each week, and come August we will welcome FM 92.5 Smooth Rock to the premises. Unfortunately, I will be out of town when that occasion arises, and I hope I will be able to stream the inaugural broadcast on the Internet. I’m preparing to leave for the mountains for some exquisite time to paint and fly fish. I’ll return to the gallery in mid-August.

Thanks always for reading.

I paint in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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Meditations on a Saturday Morning

June 2, 2018

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Relaxing and reading in an armchair at The Gallery at Redlands

Sleep has been relatively difficult the past two nights, due to my mind refusing to shut down with my first summer school class beginning in forty-eight hours. I have never taught the Humanities online, so what I am accustomed to saying in person before a class now has to be loaded into a computer program for students to access. This involves use of a different set of skills on my part, and I realize that is a good thing. If only I could trust myself and relax into this, instead of this perpetual second-guessing and revisions of my decisions.

I took a break from my class work and resumed reading this delightful book, At the Existentialist Cafe. I am currently reading of the conditions of occupied Paris during World War II and Simone de Beauvoir seeking solace in the library of the Sorbonne, not hearing from Jean-Paul Sartre (who had been captured by the Nazis) and wondering if he was even alive. She was reading Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, and finding a measure of comfort in his theory that history had a way of adjusting as it moved through time.

I looked up from the armchair that I love to use for reading in this gallery, and my paintings arranged on the folding doors in front of me (posted above) provided me a satisfaction that I have trouble putting into words. Sometimes when I take a break from reading, I just like to look up at watercolors I have done from the past and lose myself in their memories. They all take me to places I love to remember, and recall stories that still shape my life.

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My work area this morning in the Gallery

At the time of this writing, I am back at the gallery desk, and have resumed work on my course. I am taking solace in Hegel’s view that history continues to shift back and forth between extremes, and from time to time finds a middle ground (that doesn’t last for long). I can see that from my study of history, and my observations of the past six-plus decades I have lived.

For the first week of class, I have set up for discussion a very recent New York Times opinion article by Frank Bruni, “Aristotle’s Wrongful Death.” I always want to begin a class such as this by engaging the university students in this perpetual debate of the value of a liberal arts education. With an American culture swirling in stupid these days (I’m still wondering how exactly Kanye West’s bipolar condition makes him a “superman”), I believe it is always appropriate to lead students into elevated reading and discussion.

Following the Bruni opinion piece, we will approach Immanuel Kant’s essay of 1784 “What is Enlightenment?” I find the writing very engaging, especially his provocative statement: “When we ask, Are we now living in an enlightened age? the answer is, No, but we live in an age of enlightenment.” I find that just as true today as in 1784. Never before have we managed such growth in technology and achievement, yet we still lack the ability to grow in ethical matters. In spite of intellectual achievement, we still maintain a culture of immaturity and intolerance. I feel at a loss every time I confront this reality.

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At any rate, I am grateful for the gifts I still enjoy in this life. This is a lovely gallery space and hotel where I feel very much affirmed and at home. Time spent here feels like an escape from the madness.

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.

Summer School, Oh My!

June 1, 2018

humanities

Undefined, the spirit glides over the waters

Michel Serres, “Anaximander: A Founding Name in History”

 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:2 (KJV)

The email came two days ago, and my confirmed response yesterday: Would I be interested in teaching Humanities online at Texas Wesleyan University for the first summer term, beginning Monday? Yes!

And so begins the task . . . All night long I slept restlessly, I believe because my mind was stirred by this new assignment. My morning alarm is automatically set for seven a.m., but at five-thirty I rose and stumbled to my desk to begin. My task is to present major ideas from the Age of the Enlightenment to our Modern Age, using art, literature and philosophy as my primary vehicles. There will only be twenty-three weekdays to the semester, and all of it is online. The only course I’ve taught online is Logic, but this Humanities course I’ve been teaching at Wesleyan since 2004, and before that since 1989 in the public schools. I love this age of history and am wracking my brains to determine the best way I can stuff three centuries of thought into twenty-three days, all of it online.

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The Gallery at Redlands

After two hours at my morning desk, I packed the Jeep and departed for my two-hour sojourn through the country to Palestine, Texas to work in the gallery that I love. I brought ten new framed paintings with me today, and rearranged the art inside the gallery as well as the display window facing the street. I have been so busy with art festivals the past month that I have lacked the quality time to give the gallery space a makeover. I’m glad to be here again for the weekend.

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Jean and Mike always provide me with a wonderful space to live when I come to work at the gallery. I am now sitting in one of their beautiful suites on the second floor of the historic Redlands Hotel. My gallery is just below me. I plan to spend the rest of this evening and all day Saturday working on the Humanities course that goes online Monday.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Preparing for a Plein Air Paint-Out

March 29, 2018

azalea plein air

Historic Home on Magnolia Street in Palestine, Texas

The approaching weekend is offering a world of excitement as the Society of Watercolor Artists descends upon Palestine for a weekend of plein air painting during their ongoing Dogwood Festival. I arrived in town today and immediately went to work on the 8 x 10″ watercolor posted above. There has been plenty of rain lately, and the colors of nature are really popping in this quaint historic town.

The artists will display and sell out of The Gallery at Redlands here in the Redlands Hotel throughout the weekend, and we have plenty of fun scheduled for Saturday evening as we relax and dine at the Red Fire Grille, also located in this hotel.

If you live close enough, we hope you’ll consider a trip into town to meet us as we paint to our delight.

Thanks for reading.

Driven

March 2, 2018

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I must say something certainly got into me today, a surge of energy to paint. I awoke around 6 this morning, feeling confident and ready to face a new day, which turned out to be sunny for the first time in a couple of weeks, and very pleasant and cool outdoors.

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After working on my large Catholic church painting for awhile, I decided to take a book outside and read in the cool shade. Finding a bench beneath a tree in front of what used to be a Carnegie Library next to this Redlands Hotel, I sat and enjoyed about thirty minutes of thoughtful reading from Hannah Arendt’s The Life of the Mind. I became aware of her work through my studies in Heidegger, but had never read her directly. I am finding this book to be very thought-provoking, after the first seventy pages.

Walking back to the gallery, I looked up at the top of the church as the bells tolled the twelve o’clock hour. I was attracted to the strong sun and shadow, and dashed into the gallery for a sketchbook. I am the world’s worst when it comes to keeping a sketchbook; I believe in it, but don’t practice it, and always feel shamed by this fact. Today was a rare moment–I sat on a bench and rapidly blocked out this sketch, then went inside and began on a 9 x 12″ watercolor block. Later this evening, I finished it.

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Before completing the small watercolor, I returned to the larger one I’ve worked on for a few days and finished it.

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My body is tired, but I need to complete my grading of this stack of writing portfolios for my Humanities class so I can return them Monday. I’m deeply satisfied with the day’s output. I began another painting of the Chamber of Commerce building, visible through the window of this gallery. I’ve already painted the subject three times, and sold all three quite quickly. Still, I cannot stop gazing at the sun lighting up the side of the ancient brick structure which used to be the headquarters for the railroad here in Palestine. I plan to post the progress of that painting tomorrow. Currently there is not much to see.

Thanks always for reading and for sharing this day.

I paint in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

 

 

 

Quality Time and Space

March 2, 2018

basement

Early Morning Sanctuary

. . . the loss of common sense is neither the vice nor the virtue of Kant’s “professional thinkers”; it happens to everybody who ever reflects on something; it only happens more often to professional thinkers. These we call philosophers, and their way of life will always be “the life of a stranger” (bios senikos), As Aristotle called it in his PoliticsAnd the reason that strangeness and absent-mindedness are not more dangerous, that all “thinkers,” professionals and laymen alike, survive so easily the loss of the feeling of realness, is just that the thinking ego asserts itself only temporarily: every thinker no matter how eminent remains “a man like you and me” (Plato), an appearance among appearances equipped with common sense and knowing enough common-sense reasoning to survive.

Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind

The last time I knew this level of serenity and heartfelt satisfaction was when I awoke mornings on the island at the Laguna Madre during my stays in 2015 and 2016. As artist-in-residence for Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, I was given two six-day stays alone at their field station on the spoil island. The quiet that enveloped me throughout each day as I divided my time between painting, reading and writing was much like what I know in the basement of the Redlands Hotel in Palestine, Texas. During these quiet mornings, punctuated by the hourly tolling bells of Sacred Heart Catholic Church above me, and directly across the street, I feel my soul slowly waking after a good night’s sleep, and reading Hannah Arendt over a cup of coffee is deeply satisfying. Time to read, reflect and write at this study table has been luxurious, and I feel a genuine surge of energy rising to meet the tasks of the day. Later in the morning, I’ll walk across the studio to the drafting table and contemplate the next steps on this new watercolor. Then, around 10 o’clock, I plan to open the gallery upstairs.

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I cannot say enough about the value of space and quiet for serious thinking. Throughout my years of full-time teaching, it was a struggle to escape the rat race of daily routines, so much valuable time was wasted on tasks required by the job, yet so useless and devoid of quality when it came to the main task of educating young minds. How refreshing now to meet classes only twice a week and have an abundance of quality time to research and write new presentations. Last week I had the privilege of presenting Impressionist art in a way I never could before, because there was so much more time to focus on the subject and develop new angles of approach. As Hannah Arendt wrote above, we don’t expect to spend entire days contemplating our navels; we just wish for some space to pull back from the agenda and think seriously over things that matter.

Likewise with my painting–at this point in my life I’m enraptured at the increased opportunities to study theory and art history. In addition, I have more time to spend with other artists in dialogue, and hence gain new insights into this enterprise of making art that matters. Without time set aside for serious consideration about the kind of art I’m trying to make, I could easily find my brush drifting into automatic pilot and merely cranking out a product that has been swept clean of inspiration.  I have always wanted my paintings to matter, to myself as well as to the viewers.

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.

 

A Cloistered Life by Choice

March 1, 2018

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Withdrawal from the “beastliness of the multitude” into the company of the “very few” but also into the absolute solitude of the One has been the most outstanding feature of the philosopher’s life ever since Parmenides and Plato discovered that for those “very few,” the sophoi, the “life of thinking” that knows neither joy nor grief is the most divine of all, and nous, thought itself, is “the king of heaven and earth.”

Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind

This morning, while making the two-hour drive across country to Palestine, I was filled with anticipation of four days to paint, read, reflect, write, catch up on grading, and enjoy the quiet. I love the basement apartment of the Redlands Hotel where I can hear the hourly tolling of the church bells across the street while I try to paint the facade of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. I enjoy opening the blinds and looking up through the basement windows at that enormous church towering above me. Today I divided my time between the apartment and the Gallery at Redlands upstairs, and am happy to see the church watercolor progressing. If all goes well, I should be finishing this by the weekend.

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Sacred Heart Catholic Church

I cannot conceive of a better schedule than I know at this time. My college classes are Monday and Wednesday, and when the urge strikes, I can light out for the countryside and enjoy life in a smaller town than the one where I live. The friends I’ve made in Palestine have enriched me beyond description, and I actually feel a part of this community. The gallery space is beautiful and well-lighted, and the downstairs studio is spacious with that special “monastic” feel. Having read the first fifty pages of Hannah Arendt’s Live of the Mind, I’m feeling a connection with another writer that I seldom feel. My art seems to take on added life when I am able to withdraw from the mainstream of activity and carve out a quiet space for creative pursuits.

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.

Hoping to Affect the Quality of the Day

February 3, 2018

cell

To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I arose this morning for the first time in this cool, spacious basement of The Redlands Hotel that Dave Shultz recently renovated into an apartment while spending the winter months living in it. Thanks, Dave, for an absolutely stunning living space! Its furnishings include this long antique table, perfect for a reading/writing desk as well as watercolor station.  The cavernous living room could serve as an artists studio as well as scholar’s refuge.

Today marks the beginning of Palestine’s observance of A Taste of New Orleans. It is a cold 40 degrees outside this morning, and we hope it doesn’t discourage the tourists from coming out and taking advantage of a full day of culinary and wine-tasting events. I was planning on continuing my plein air experience, but since I’m recovering from this lengthy bout of sinus and upper-respiratory carnage, I believe I’ll remain inside the studio where it’s warm.  I photographed The Oxbow located across the street from Shelton Hall that I painted yesterday. I’ll see what I can do, painting from this photograph.

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The facade of this popular business reminds me of a painting I did years ago, “Summer Morning Silence (Winfield, Missouri)” that you can see on my website www.recollections54.com

Thanks for reading. I hope your Saturday is filled with pleasure.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Flushing the Agenda

January 27, 2018

blind blog

I hate to seem greedy—I have so much

to be thankful for already.

But I want to get up early one more morning, at least.

And go to my place with some coffee and wait.

Just wait, to see what’s going to happen.

Raymond Carver, “At Least”

Carver’s poetic words were what my soul needed this Saturday morning. I’m in The Redlands Hotel in Palestine, my favorite home-away-from-home. My only gallery appointment is Sunday afternoon, so I’m in the building, with my phone if anyone needs me, but it’s so luxurious to sit in this lovely apartment space on the second floor and feel all the cares and anxieties of the world roll off my shoulders.

I’m still under the weather (as are most of my friends) with this lousy congestion that just won’t go away and stay gone, even with help from physicians. And outside, it is cool and rainy and dark–a perfect day for indoors, coffee, books, and a smart phone that is my link to whomever needs me.

For my blog readers, I just have this to say–I have a number of blog posts in the hopper that I am still revising before sending them up the flagpole, thank you for being so patient, those of you who look forward to reading and knowing what is going on in my corner of the world. Despite my illness, many things have transpired over this past month, and so many good things are in progress that I really look forward to sharing on this page. All I can say is Soon (I hope).

Thank you for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

 

Bright Sunwashed Morning for Painting

December 16, 2017

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Finis

Towards dawn he awoke. O what sweet music! His soul was all dewy wet. Over his limbs in sleep pale cool waves of light had passed. He lay still, as if his soul lay amid cool waters, conscious of faint sweet music. His mind was waking slowly to a tremulous morning knowledge, a morning inspiration.

James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Waking to a 36-degree morning in Palestine, Texas, in The Redlands Hotel, was a sublime experience. I lay in the darkness of the pre-dawn, unsure of the time, but thinking good thoughts, hoping for bright sunshine so I could return to The Gallery at Redlands downstairs and resume this watercolor sketch I began last week of the Chamber of Commerce building visible through my gallery window.

I have always loved the quality of winter morning sunlight when the weather is snappy cold, and am so happy for the first day in weeks that I have not had appointments and details to tend. I anticipate a day of painting, reading, and merely enjoying life at its fullest. My “American Railroad Odyssey” show closes at 10 p.m. and tomorrow I will take down the show and reconfigure the gallery display.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.