Posts Tagged ‘Saint Ignatius Academy’

Return to William Wordsworth and the Tintern Abbey Feeling

April 19, 2012

Closeup study of Saint Ignatius Academy

Good evening from the garage studio.  The skies are darkening, and the suburban sounds are quieting as the neighborhood settles into another balmy spring night.  I’m finally refreshed after taking a power nap today.  I should feel guilty about those, but cannot.  I don’t sleep well at night, rise at 6:00, and today the Kimbell Art Museum field trip with the Martin High School Art Club sucked all the energy out of me.  The students were the very best–I’m always proud to be associated with them in public places.  This is my third museum tour with them during this past year, and always they have shown wonderful, mature decorum in the art venues.  As far as “energy sucking” I must admit that I cannot casually look at art in a museum.  I feel as though I have read a stack of volumes in a university library by the time I emerge.  Our museum docent today was first rate, and of course the Clark collection of French Impressionist and Barbizon School paintings just took my breath away.  Now I wish I could take off a year and try to learn landscape painting in watercolor, studying Pissarro, Monet and Sisley.  What an epiphany today was.

I managed to crawl back into my garage studio shortly after 6:00 this evening, and have just now paused to photograph, step back and look at today’s work (which started this morning shortly after 6:00 a.m.–I already posted that) and reflect.

I wish I could do for Saint Ignatius Academy of Fort Worth what Joseph Mallord William Turner did for Tintern Abbey in 1794.  Tintern Abbey was a Gothic church rebuilt in the 13th and 14th centuries, but then fell into ruins after the 1530’s when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries.  William Wordsworth in 1798 was moved to write that beautiful poem “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” as he felt the overwhelming sense of presence and recollection while standing among those ruins.  If you have followed my blog and website (http://www.recollections54.com) you understand that this is the kind of thing I try to do in watercolor with our 1950’s America–recover a sense of recollection while standing in the presence of these relics of our own landscape.

I believe this Saint Ignatius structure was erected around 1886 (I’ll have to go back and re-check my notes on this).  As I worked on those upper story windows this morning in the pre-dawn darkness, I mused over the Jesuit scholars that perhaps sat behind those windows in the pre-dawn, lingering over manuscripts and preparing notes for classes.  I was of course reminded of my own seminary studies in the 1970’s and all those times I had to pull “all-nighters” just to stay caught up with the daily assignments and deadlines.  I still recall having to set clocks for 3 and 4:00 a.m. just to translate Hebrew for an 8:00 class.  I worked as a welder till 10:00 or midnight the night before, and the schedule was absolutely numbing.  But I do look back on it now with a serene sense (that I certainly did not hold then!).

I guess my next step is to tackle the pale green tiles of the mansard roof.  I already gave the ones to the extreme right a shot.  I’m not sure how I’m going to balance them with other colors I’ve chosen.  Perhaps I’ll shift my lavenders to a pale rose and see if that better complements the greens on the roof.  So many decisions.

Thanks for reading.

 

Saint Ignatius in the Pre-Dawn

April 19, 2012

Saint Ignatius in the Morning

Good morning!  I entered my garage studio at 6:05 and went directly to work on the portion of this watercolor posted above (about 25% of the overall composition).  It didn’t take me long to get lost in the upper-story right window.  Most of my pre-dawn was spent there and on the perimeter (fire escape, chimney and rusticated exterior of the building overall).  I’m still having fits with the fire escape shadows.  I have wanted them to have a purplish cast from the start, but so far I am not satisfied with the colors coming out, and I’ve altered them several times already.  Oh well.

My companions (aside from my cat, Kramer) have been Robert Johnson and Lonnie Johnson.  I enjoy playing vinyl when I’m listening to Blues music.  Robert has held my attention most of the morning with Kind Hearted Woman BLues and Rambling On My Mind.  The guitar work astounds me every time I listen to him.  Lonnie, on the other hand, lends quite an interesting jazz strain to his guitar that I find mesmerizing as well.

It’s 8:02, and I still have to shower and dress for today’s Field Trip.  I have to arrive in front of my school by 9:00.

Thanks for reading.  I plan to return this afternoon and push this watercolor further down the path.  I’m finally getting a rhythm back, and can’t wait to resume work on it.

Star Harbor Workshop Demonstration

April 13, 2012

Star Harbor Workshop Demonstration

Good evening.  I’m still exhausted to the bone.  I just completed a two-day workshop that was off-the-charts, exceeding all expectations for me.  I am still amazed at the talent, the enthusiasm, the growth and all-around good will that I experienced among these watercolor enthusiasts.  I pledge to you readers that I will have much more to share about this, when I am more awake!  However, I must rise early tomorrow (Saturday), board a school bus, and accompany the Martin High School art club to the Rachofsky House and to the Dallas Arboretum, for a day of museum study and plein air art.  After two days of four-hour round-trip travel and workshops, I am still drained of energy and right now must get some sleep.  So . . . I will be writing you very soon, hopefully tomorrow night when I finish the art club field trip.  There is so much to catch up and report over these recent days.

Pictured above is today’s studio demonstration.  I resumed work on the Saint Ignatius Academy that I haven’t touched for about three weeks, and am really looking forward to getting up-to-my-elbows in this painting again.  It was a pleasure working on it today, and answering questions from the workshop participants.  After a day of plein air yesterday, we chose to stay indoors today and work in a studio atmosphere.  The conversations were first-rate, and I appreciated each and every artist who engaged in our shared activity today.  I miss them already.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday Morning in the Painter’s Studio, with Coffee

March 17, 2012

Saint Ignatius Academy Saturday Morning, in Progress

My graduate work (long ago) was in theology, and now that I’m up to my elbows in this study of an ecclesiastical structure, parallels keep running through my head between the life I once lived clustered in a scholar’s den and the one I live now in my painting studio.  The hours I’ve kept this week during Spring Break have been just as erratic as the ones I lived while working on a Ph.D.  I retired to bed at 3 a.m., and then rose a little after 8:00 this morning to return to the garage.

I pulled a volume from my shelf that has been a comfort since the early 1980’s: Revolutionary Theology in the Making: Barth-Thurneysen Correspondence 1914-1925.  When the theologian Karl Barth was a young pastor in the Swiss mining town of Safenwil, his sole sustenance in spiritual companionship came from another young pastor, Edouard Thurneysen, who lived on the other side of the mountain.  They kept up a brisk correspondence, updating one another on their scholarly and pastoral pursuits as they laid the foundations for Neo-Orthodoxy, a revolutionary theology that arrived with the First World War.

This excerpt from Barth made me laugh: ” . . . this hot summer will ever be unforgettable for me.  I amble like a drunk man back and forth between writing desk, dining table, and bed, traveling each kilometer with my eye already on the next one.”  I knew that sentiment while writing papers and sermons during the course of my graduate program, and have known it recently during this holiday when the obsession to work on larger watercolors seized me.

Today is a delicious Saturday morning, and yes, I am going to pick up the brush the moment I finish this blog.  The suburban sounds are pleasing, the light is clear, and the scent from last night’s rain is a sweet one rising from the lawn just outside my open garage door.  The neighbor is mowing (I’m so glad the guy we hired did our lawn yesterday, before the rain), and I’ve always liked the sounds of lawnmowers on the weekends across suburbia–never an annoying sound to me.

I’m going to enclose another passage from one of Barth’s letters: “[The writing of the lecture] is going at full strength and an unbroken pillar of smoke is rising from my pipe to the ceiling as in the best times of my life.”  I don’t smoke a pipe, but I do have a full pot of Starbuck’s coffee brewed, and my cup will remain full as Barth’s pipe bowl did on his best days in the study.

O.K., the Saint Ignatius painting posted.  A watercolorist colleague whom I greatly admire has just sent me encouragement to jump right in to the intimidating details of this structure.  And I shall.  While writing this blog, it dawned on me that I should try a complementary juxtaposition of violets and ochres as I work on the texturing of this rusticated stone exterior, and get serious about the shadows.  It’s time to make this composition “pop” and that is only going to happen when the contrast gets loaded in.  So, that’s my next step.

What a delicious Saturday morning!  Thanks for sharing this moment with me (all of you readers, and the lingering muse/spirit of Barth).