Posts Tagged ‘Sinclair’

Renewing the Watercolor Rhythm While Slowing Things Down

August 22, 2013
Resuming Work on the Fort Worth Sinclair Station

Resuming Work on the Fort Worth Sinclair Station

We’re in such a hurry most of the time we never get much chance to talk.  The result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it’s all gone. . . . The Chautauquas were pushed aside by faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement.  Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep.  The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks.  In this Chautauqua I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated.  “What’s new?” is an interesting and broadening eternal question, but one which, if pursued exclusively, results only in an endlesss parade of trivia and fashion, the silt of tomorrow.  I would like, instead, to be concerned with the question “What is best?,” a question which cuts deeply rather than broadly, a question whose answers tend to move the silt downstream. . . . Now the stream of our common consciousness seems to be obliterating its own banks, losing its central direction and purpose, flooding the lowlands, disconnecting and isolating the highlands and to no particular purpose other than the wasteful fulfillment of its own internal momentum.  Some channel deepening seems called for.

Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

A heartfelt thanks I extend to those of you who “missed” me, and inquired about my welfare during this recent blog silence.  At the peak of the Texas summer inferno, my air conditioner drain got clogged, and the condensation backed up, soaking my carpet in two rooms in the back of my home.  I had to wait in line (a week) for an available plumber under my home maintenance policy.  So . . . I had to close the blinds to my studio windows to keep out the sun, and refused to watercolor under artificial light.  A week of mandatory back-to-school meetings also kicked in, so my time has been taken every day this past week.  Now, the plumbing problem is fixed, the A/C is running cold and dry, my blinds have been re-opened, and I returned to painting yesterday afternoon, early this morning, and late this afternoon.

Anyone following my blog entries knows I have come across a restored Sinclair gas station on McCart Ave. in neighboring Fort Worth.  I began this full-size watercolor, but only had it drawn out when the plumbing problem began, and the school meetings called me back into service.  I’m painting faster now, not because of any deadline, but because I have been frustrated, laying the brush down for a week.  I feel that I am recovering a rhythm lost a week ago.  And I am enjoying this renewed vigor in painting, immensely.

As to the quote I posted above from Robert Pirsig, there is much linguistic poison I could spew on this blog page, but I choose not to do that.  I was forced to sit for hours this week and listen to “experts” tell us why our public schools are not up to standards.  I have never been convinced by statistics and interpretations spun by those who spend no time in the classroom, yet every year, I am forced to sit for hours and listen to them pontificate.  This year was no different.

At the foundation of my educational philosophy is the conviction that there is no royal road to education, no shortcuts, no such thing as faster, smarter, more efficient.  Technology will not educate our students faster.  We learn by acquiring details, and then composting, reformulating, pushing it back out in writing and oral discourse, debating and re-evaluating it, revising, and pushing it out again.  All of that requires time.  There is no short cut.  Thinkers are grown over the years, not in six-week grading units.  I myself am still growing my intellect, refining my discernment, practicing and criticizing my own writing and discourse.  My pledge this year, as always, is to take the students where they are, and do my very best to push them further down the road, engaging in that arduou process, so that they leave my class smarter and more polished than they were when they arrived.  The numerical values used to quantify the excellence of my students’ achievement I will take with a grain of salt.  They are not statistics, they are real people, with real life issues, and an inborn drive to grow.  I will not stand in their way.

My greatest rewards during the swirling maelstrom of meeings this past week were those stolen moments of genuine conversation with enlightened colleagues, over books, ideas, and genuine wishes to continue what we started at the beginning of our careers.  These moments we were able to have in spite of the regimentation of the week’s mandated meetings.  These moments we had because we wanted to discuss issues that matter in education–real issues involving real classes, real students, and face-to-face daily encounters.

School doesn’t begin till Monday, but I’m ready.  And I have pledged to myself that I will not stop painting with the commencement of the new school year.  I have an early-morning appointment with my drafting table.  The supplies are laid out and ready.  I’ll see what I can do on this painting before I head back to my classroom to spend another workday.

Watercolor in Progress in my Studio

Watercolor in Progress in my Studio

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel that I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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The Thrill of Today’s Hunt

August 11, 2013
Restored Sinclair Station in Fort Worth

Restored Sinclair Station in Fort Worth

The sketch hunter has delightful days of drifting about among people, in and out of the city, going anywhere, everywhere, stopping as long as he likes–no need to reach any point, moving in any direction following the call of interests.  He moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them down in the shorthand of his sketchbook, a box of oils with a few small panels, the fit of his pocket, or on the drawing pad.  Like any hunter he hits or misses.  He is looking for what he loves, he tries to capture it.  It’s found anywhere, everywhere.  Those who are not hunters do not see these things.  The hunter is learning to see and to understand–to enjoy.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I cannot claim the role of hunter today–I was directed to this restored Sinclair station at 3725 McCart Avenue in Fort Worth.  It has been posted on Facebook.  I made two trips there today (morning and afternoon), and was delighted to encounter another photographer who also had seen the image on Facebook.

This is just a quick 8 x 10″ preliminary watercolor sketch of the side of the business as it appeared to me this morning.  I have a real urge to work larger and in more detail on a frontal composition of this beautiful restoration.  The owner has taken real pride in resurrecting this site, and I cannot wait to paint it with as much authenticity as I can muster.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel that I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.