Posts Tagged ‘Remembrance of Things Past’

Musings at a Fine Arts Festival, Grapefest 2011

September 17, 2011

David Tripp's art booth at Grapefest 2011

As I write this, I’m nearing the close of the third night of a four-day art festival.  This is a first for me, and I must say the thirteen-hour days are taxing.  I’m quite numbed by all of it, though sales this evening have been brisk.

Ralph Waldo Emerson has been a sublime companion these past few days, while seated in the booth during slow periods.  His essay “Experience” somehow has escaped me over the years.  I know I have read it at least twice, but tonight it has really stirred me artistically.  I’m going to cite a passage from his essay that threw my personal philosophy of painting into bold relief:   “Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and as we pass through them they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus. . . . Temperament is the iron wire on which the beads are strung.”

I had to close the book and take a deep breath, I was so rocked.  I call my company Recollections 54 because it marks my birth year, and the objects in my present day-to-day landscape which hold me are the ones that conjure up memories of my childhood in the late 1950’s.  As Proust has consistently recorded in his literary masterpiece, our senses take us back to childhood memories that are worth remembering.

The beauty of today was grounded in shared experiences as patrons viewed and purchased my watercolor compositions, and shared their memories with me.

Thank you for reading.

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Lingering Ghosts of Sundance Square

September 8, 2011

Lingering Ghosts of Sundance Square

Marcel Proust reminds us in his Remembrance of Things Past that the mere sight, sound or smell of something has the power to transport us back to primal memories from our childhood that fill us with warmth and gratitude.  These are the kinds of subjects I attempt to capture in watercolor for my company that I have named Recollections 54 (http://www.recollections54.com).  This past summer, while cruising Sundance Square one morning, I saw how the sun washed the yellow, blue and red facades of the Red Goose Shoe store and what used to be the Sundance 11 theater.  Though saddened by the demise of these companies, I felt at the same time a gratitude for the memories that flooded my being.  Having grown up in St. Louis, I watched the Red Goose Shoes commercials on children’s television and fantasized about the golden eggs filled with prizes available with the purchase of a pair of shoes.  I also recall the abundance of art deco theaters that I frequented in the greater St. Louis area during those early years.  Now they are mostly gone.  When I encounter sights such as these, I linger in the moment, feeling that profound sense of loss, but also an exhilarating presence.  The memories matter, and they leave me with a comfort too profound for words.

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

Rhapsodizing over Red Goose Shoes and Sundance 11 Theater Downtown

September 6, 2011

Downtown Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas

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

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

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

Thanks for reading.

Nearing Completion of Route 66 Zephyr Gas Station

August 15, 2011

Villa Ridge, Missouri Zephyr Gas Station along Historic Route 66

The fourth day on this work sees it nearing completion.  I had to re-draw the gas pump to align it parallel with the station.  The distant lamp post was in the wrong place and no proportioned to the rest of the composition, so I am eliminating it.  most of today was spent trying to separate the graveled parking lot from the puddles.  I still have grasses to render, poking up through the puddles as well.  The center of the parking area also needs to be tended.  But I think the end is finally in sight.  If I don’t complete it tonight, then I’m quite sure I can sign off on it before tomorrow is over.  This has been a rewarding experience.  Painting water reflections has been a trial for me, but I’m sure I’ll attempt it again some day.

Thanks for reading.

Route 66 Zephyr Station making Progress

August 13, 2011

Route 66 Zephyr, Villa Ridge, Missouri

I’m feeling glad that I was able to chip away at this watercolor throughout a long and solitary Saturday.  It’s time to put Route 66 to bed for now, but I’m looking forward to rising tomorrow and resuming the enterprise.  This will be my first full-size watercolor of a Route 66 composition.  I’m now hoping the painting will have enough quality to include in my One Man Show next month.

Until tomorrow then.  Thanks for reading.

A Route 66 Monument to Yesterday’s Travel and Commerce

August 13, 2011

Villa Ridge, Missouri Zephyr on Historic Route 66

Today marks my second day working on this 22 x 28″ watercolor of the Villa Ridge, Missouri Zephyr station along historic Route 66.  I have researched and found the lights and gas pumps that once stood on this location.  They are absent now.  I’m also trying to restore some of the details of this Quonset hut filling station that are now out of sight behind plywood panels.  The Zephyr gas sign is my own idea–I have no idea where the logo originally hung.

Last week when I visited this location for the second time, hard rains had fallen, and the enormous puddles in the foreground reflected the derelict structure.  I’m going to attempt the reflections once I get to the bottom portion of this composition.  So far, it has been slow to emerge, but I will hopefully chip away at it on a daily basis, and not allow school next week to interrupt my flow.

The paradox of “loss” and “presence” flooded me when I stood in the presence of this structure last week, in the moist air, and listened, recalling the sounds of bell cables being run over by cars entering and exiting the busy Route 66 station.  I recalled the smell of grease, dirty tires and of course, that ever-present gasoline scent that I loved to inhale as a child!  I still remember attendants emerging from the building, wiping their hands on red shop towels as they approached cars cars pulling into the bay.  How long has it been since full-service ended?  I’m still trying to remember the first time I pumped my own gasoline when I pulled into a station.  I suppose it was around 1973.  At any rate, last week, I felt the loss as I stood in this vacant space, waiting in silence, and then I felt the presence of the past.   I hope I can put some of that into this painting.  I laugh when I read of Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth chafing every time a critic called them illustrators.  I go through that every time I do a painting of this type of subject–my soul is flooded with feelings and emotion, and yet I realize that I do not know how to paint “mood”–all I can do is illustrate what I see, and hope that somehow the “mood” emerges when a viewer looks at my work.

Thanks for reading.

Historic Route 66 Zephyr Gas Station, Villa Ridge, Missouri

August 12, 2011

Historic Route 66 Zephyr Gas Station, Villa Ridge, Missouri

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, or painted.  I spent a week visiting my family in St. Louis (my roots) and returned to this abandoned Zephyr station in Villa Ridge, Missouri, southwest of St. Louis on historic Route 66.  I created two plein air water color sketches of it last summer, and posted them on this blog then.  Now I am attempting one that is about 22 x 28″.  I’ve gotten more comfortable working larger, and would like to add another piece to my approaching One-Man Show at the Weiler House Gallery September 10.  I have plenty of time to finish this, though I return to school Monday.  We’ll see how much gets done during this quiet weekend.

Thanks for reading.

Haltom’s Jewelers Watercolor, Sundance Square, Nearly Complete

July 26, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers nearly finished

I’m trying very hard to have this watercolor wrapped up and delivered to the Weiler House Gallery by tomorrow (http://www.weilerhousefineart.com).  The latest obstacle interfering with its successful completion is our air conditioning breaking down today.  It is only 102 degrees outside now, meaning that the inside of my studio is a cool 90 degrees.  I find this exceptionally irritating, especially since I called in our problem Saturday morning and it only took four days for someone to come and announce that the motor was nearly dead, and that ordering and receiving the replacement would take a minimum 48 hours–then 3 hours after he left, the motor gave up the ghost.

At any rate, I still hope to finish this tonight and deliver it tomorrow.  I will take one final photo of the completed work.  I hope all I need do is complete the downspout and vertical slice of brick facade running down the right side of the composition.  Of course, if I stare at it long enough, I’ll no doubt find other things to do to it.  Nevertheless, I’m sticking with my self-imposed deadline.   Tomorrow, then.

Thanks for reading, and especially for following up on this particular watercolor odyssey.  It’s been an interesting path for me.

Continuing the Haltom’s Jeweler’s Clock, Sundance Square

July 21, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers Clock, Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas

It’s hard for me to take a decent digital photograph in the comparatively dim light of my studio as opposed to outdoors in the daylight.  But I wanted to get this latest development out there on my blog.  Thanks to those of you dear readers who always offer so much encouragement, and provide the impetus for me to continue, even when I am tired, or on the verge of burning out.

I was terrified of watercoloring this clock, because I had no clue as to how to mix the bronze colors (still don’t!).  I’ve been using Aureolin as my base, with touches of Cadmium Red Medium and the occasional Winsor Green.  For tighter work, I’m relying heavily on a Dark Sepia watercolor pencil (Albrecht Durer brand), and sharpening it frequently to create clean edges where I can.  I’m just about finished with the monument.  The major thing that remains now is heavy street shadows with all kinds of variation going on.  We’ll see how they come along (probably tomorrow–I’m getting tired!).

Thanks always for reading.

Watercoloring the Haltom Jewelers Clock

July 21, 2011

Haltom's Jewelers Clock, Sundance Square

This morning, I rose bright and early, determined to go after this clock that I have avoided from the start.  I spent about 30 minutes on it, then quit to work out at the health club.  Returning, I labored over it again for about an hour, then quit again,  This afternoon, I am chipping away at it yet again.  My fear has been that the clock would melt into the background, so I keep backing away to study my reference photos taken on location, to get a good read of the surrounding contrasting colors.  As I’m getting deeper and deeper into this painting, I’m aware of my tendencies to “choke,” as I fear doing something that will un-do whatever good work I laid as a foundation.  So far, I’m pleased.

Thanks for reading.