Posts Tagged ‘small town’

Abandoned Desoto in Tall Weeds, Cotter, Arkansas

May 24, 2011

Abandoned Desoto in Tall Weeds, Cotter, Arkansas

Finally, back home, I am able to photograph my plein air paintings created during my stay at the Plein Air on the White River festival in Cotter, Arkansas.  This was one of two wonderfully sublime mornings where I had the privilege of working all alone, surrounded by quiet, space, and feelings of the Sublime.  What a wonderful world received me as I chipped away, attempting to record a profound experience en plein air.

Thanks for reading.

Painting an Aging Desoto en Plein Air

May 20, 2011

Tripp Painting an Aging Desoto en Plein Air

My photographer friend and mentor Bill Barksdale photographed me early in the morning, painting this abandoned Desoto on the property of Helen Lacefield in Cotter, Arkansas.  It was the ideal morning for a plein air experience in painting.  The morning air was sweet, the Arkansas sunrise was gentle, cool breezes kissed the pastureland and caressed my face.  I felt an abiding Presence even while alone as the morning extended.  My profound thanks to Bill for recording this event which will last with me a very long time.

Thanks for reading.  One more day left in the Plein Air on the White River event.

Second Day of Plein Air on the White River, Cotter, Arkansas

May 20, 2011

Aged Desoto on a Farm in Cotter, Arkansas

Thunderstorms and heavy rains are predicted to arrive this afternoon.  I wanted to get out in front of the weather, so I rose at 6:00 with my friend Bill Barksdale (he and Sandy are providing wonderful lodging for Sandi and me) and we drove to a farm outside of Cotter, Arkansas, owned by Helen Lacefield.  She graciously allowed us access onto the property, and I was delighted to find this aged Desoto sitting in the weeds out in a pasture.  Mrs. Lacefield shared the information that her husband arrived in this vehicle to pick her up on their first date!  I could not stop thinking about that as I worked on this composition, admiring the beautiful morning light of a rising sun that played all over the surface of this vehicle.  I got lost in the golds, reds, lavenders, and the patina of rust that was slowly taking possession of the car.  The more I looked at it, the more I felt it looking back at me in the morning silence!  From my early childhood, I looked at the fronts of cars as faces, with the headlights being the eyes and the grill being the mouth, and the logo plate on the front resembling the nose.  I always thought Desotos and Buicks and Oldsmobiles had the most interesting countenances in the early fifties.

I will probably re-post this later in the day.  Bill is a professional photographer, and he took many shots while he was on the scene.  This photo unfortunately had to be lifted from my  BlackBerry as I forgot to pack the cable that connects my digital Nikon camera to this laptop.  After shooting for quite awhile, Bill had to move on to assist some other artists in finding the locations they wished to paint today.  I remained on the scene, and had this small watercolor sketch finished in about 90 minutes.

Thanks for reading.

First Day of the Plein Air on the White River, Cotter, Arkansas

May 19, 2011

Billingsley House - Cotter

Tripp Demonstrating at the Plein Air on the White River EventBillingsley House - Cotter

Thursday, May 19, 2011, First Day of the Plein Air on the White River, Cotter, Arkansas.  The first day is in the books.  My eyelids are heavy, but I really wish to get this information on the blog.  Yesterday, Sandi and I made the nine-hour drive from Arlington, Texas to Cotter, Arkansas to begin this event this morning at 8:00.

Twenty-seven artists registered today, and quickly dispersed throughout the thirty-mile designated radius of small Ozark Mountain towns in search of subjects to paint en plein air.  It is my privilege this year to judge the competition, and I found it difficult to avoid seeing the artists’ paintings (I am supposed to judge the works without signatures and without prior knowledge of who painted what).  It seemed that everywhere I turned throughout the day, there was an artist working at an easel!

The town of Cotter was bathed in yellow sunlight throughout this afternoon, and I think I felt some of that joy that Winslow Homer knew in 1878 when he figured it out that transparent watercolor offers a magnificent way of experiencing the effects of light shimmering off the white paper as it glows through the washes of transparent watercolor.  This afternoon I was privileged to experience the excitement of layering washes of transparent color and experiencing the changes in light that appeared through the layers from the paper surface beneath.  I cannot wait to get in on this some more tomorrow.  I have quite a few experimental ideas percolating this night.

My only responsibility today was to present a 3:00 demonstration of the plein air process in watercolor.  I chose this house built around 1914, today known as the Billingsley House.  As I looked across the backyard and attempted to paint what I saw, and enjoyed the participating artists gathered to watch the demonstration, I could not help but wonder what kind of personal history this property carried with it.  I was to find out later that evening.  Mrs. Billingsley lived alone in this house during the 1950’s and the story is that she would stand inside her fenced-in yard and visit with students walking by on their way to school.  She would walk the entire property, talking with the children all the way to her furthest boundary, and continue talking as they journeyed further and further away, en route to the school house.  No doubt much of what they were learning from textbooks contained a diminished value compared to what she had lived, witnessed and was willing to share to anyone who would listen.

Cotter was launched with the coming of the railroad around 1902 and the erection of a lumber company between 1903 and 1904.  With the lumber company came the construction of the most famous landmark houses of this small town, now with a population slightly under 1,000.

Hopefully I will be able to recover some lost sleep tonight and put in a productive day of painting tomorrow.  I already look forward to posting more tomorrow evening when the day is done.

Thanks for reading.

Winfield Antiqure Store Finished and Delivered to the Gallery

May 8, 2011

Winfield Antique Store, Highway 79, Missouri

This painting has just been delivered to the Weiler House Fine Arts Gallery for framing (http://www.weilerhousefineart.com/#home).

It got hot, painting in the garage this afternoon, but I’m glad this job is finished.  The painting has been posted so many times on this blog that I think it best not to repeat myself.  If you would like to know the story behind this setting, please check the other Winfield blogs over the past few weeks.  Thanks to all of you who checked in on this painting daily to help “see it through”!

Thanks for reading.

The Winfield Antique Store along Highway 79

May 8, 2011

Winfield , Missouri along Highway 79

I sincerely hope that this painting will be finished the next time I post it.  It’s had so many postings of its in-progress state that I fear I’m beginning to chase blog readers away.  Nothing new to say that I haven’t said before.  This is north of St. Louis on Highway 79 along the Mississippi River.  Winfield is a very small town, and unfortunately this classic antique store is closed.  I found it early on a summer morning, when the sun had just topped the ridge, lighting the facade with a magical rose glow.  I’ve tried to capture it three different times.  This is my first large painting of this subject (about 22 x 28″).

Thanks for reading.  Again, I hope to post it only once more, when signed and completed!

Stopping at the Desolate Winfield, Missouri Antique Store on a Summer Morning

April 30, 2011

Winfield, Missouri Antique Store in Progress

I am starting to repair some of the bad beginnings to this painting.  It started out as a poured watercolor, and much of the pouring of the foliage in the background got away from me.  Thanks to the brush, and some patience, the foliage is starting to look a little better.  I had also exerted considerable clumsiness in rendering this store facade in pencil.  Today, thanks to the eraser and a good triangle, I “re-plumbed” the structure and now it actually appears to be standing upright as it should.  Some of the faulty perspective lines of the siding have also been repaired.  The building looks more “correct” now.

I had the rare privilege of spending the good part of today in my studio.  The past week of school was vomitous, with state-mandated tests taking up all the mornings, and then entire “regular” day scheduled classes crushed into the afternoon hours–felt like 15-hour workdays and I came home every evening exhausted and disgusted.  Glad that is behind me now.  Today was a much better day.

Winfield, Missouri is a sleepy Mississippi River town on Highway 79 northwest of St. Louis.  I traveled this road frequently during my university years as the highway connected my home with my campus five hours away.  Two summers ago, while on vacation, I decided to follow this old river highway once more to see if there were any sites worth capturing in watercolor.  I passed this establishment just as the sun was coming up.  I have already painted it twice (smaller compositions that you can see on my website http://www.recollections54.com) but now have decided to go for some size and detail.

Thanks for reading.

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

April 23, 2011

” . . . and all the air a solemn stillness holds.”  The Thomas Gray poem took hold of me this afternoon.  I chose to drive to the Cahill Methodist Church today and make some new attempts at sketching the small cemetery behind the church, with watercolor and pencil.  I have painted this cemetery once before, and the church twice before (the church is on my website, titled “First Night in Waterford.”).  www.recollections54.com

The temperatures were somewhat mild, in the mid-80’s and the winds were tolerable today.  I could not believe how quiet and isolated I was as I stood in this churchyard and created two paintings in the afternoon.  The Cahill Church is located 2.7 miles east of I-35W on F.M. 917 (south of Burleson, Texas).  My wife rides her horse on a local ranch in Burleson, and today I found it convenient to make the extra 10-minute drive to this quiet little place.

Something tells me I will want to return to this place.  This afternoon seemed to offer the perfect space for watercolor exploration.

Thanks for reading.

A Shout Out to the little town of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois!

March 10, 2011

Turvey's Corner

I am posting a watercolor that I completed in 1999, the first completed watercolor from my intensified quest to become a “professional” watercolorist, rather than a novice or Sunday Painter type.  The actual setting is a composite of three places I had visited throughout my life.  The Switzer building I always knew from downtown St. Louis, near where I grew up (sadly that building/landmark  has since been torn down).  The buildings on the left margin came from New Bern, North Carolina, a town I visited only one time in the mid-1990’s, and actually used the interior of a coffee shop there (the Trent River Coffee Company) to compose a mural at Arlington Martin High School (that mural can be viewed under the “Murals” tab of my website http://www.recollections54.com).

The building on the right, with the Budweiser and Busch ghost signs, I only knew as coming from a town in Illinois.  I scoured a number of those towns very early in the 1990’s with my father, but did not take good notes in my journal.  Since 1999, I have been unable to tell people specifically where I found that striking building to anchor the right side of this composition.

All of that changed at Open House last Monday night.  Parents of one of my A. P. Art History students were visiting with me, and as we shared our backgrounds, it was established that the father had grown up in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, near  Fort de Chartes.  I recognized those names immediately as two of the places I had scouted with my father during that summer excursion in the early ’90s.  I told this gentleman about my painting titled “Turvey’s Corner,”  explaining that one of the buildings came from a small Illinois town in his general area.  Today I received the surprise email from him, informing me that he had looked up my painting on the website and immediately recognized this “phantom” building as Lisa’s Market Street Grille in downtown Prairie du Rocher!

How thrilling to meet someone who connected with one of these small towns far, far away that connected with me in my travels!  Having an identity now for that building means everything to me, as I now can tell people more about the painting and what generated the idea for it.  I am adding the Facebook link to Lisa’s Market Street Grille, encouraging any of you interested to check out this business.  I was a patron there when I took my photographs of the establishment with my 35mm camera long ago, and still have fond memories of the place.  How happy I am to re-discover the business, and I cannot wait to return some day.   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisas-Market-Street-Grille/274360247861

Thank you, Mike and Karen, for providing this information for me.

And thanks to all of you for reading.

 

Summer Morning Odyssey along Missouri Highway 79

March 7, 2011

Sun Rising on Winfield, Missouri

I have completely re-written my opening blog page “Hello and thanks for entering my blog.”  That was long overdue.

I posted yesterday that it seemed unlikely that I would get into the studio today.  I have high school all day, and Open House tonight.  However, I got an early start on this day, and it now seems possible that I could get in some studio work this afternoon during the interim.  If I do, I’ll certainly post my progress.

Meanwhile here is a piece I have at the Weiler House Gallery (http://www.weilerhousefineart.com/#home).  I came across this location during a 2009 summer odyssey I took from my home town of St. Louis, north up Highway 79 en route to my college alma mater.  The location is Winfield, Missouri–a sleepy little Mississippi River town.  The sun was just rising over the Mississippi when I came across this abandoned store front–to me the most perfect setting for a watercolor study.  I photographed it at least twenty times from every conceivable angle, totally delighted at the warm early light of the sun and the cool shadows dancing everywhere.  The bright reds made me think of Edward Hopper’s Early Sunday Morning. I have painted this store a second time–the other from a frontal perspective like Hopper’s painting just mentioned.  Very soon, I hope to return to this and capture it from yet another angle.  I wish there were more structures like this in our small towns.  It seems they have all been cleared away and replaced with Seven-Eleven or comparable stores.

Thanks for reading.