Posts Tagged ‘Smooth Rock 93.5 FM’

Morning Coffee Before the Escape

November 8, 2018

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Preparing more Collage Materials

. . . the might-have-been is but boggy ground to build on.

Herman Melville, Billy Budd

“The things we could have done together.”

Steve Jobs speaking to John Sculley near the close of the film Steve Jobs

Days have rolled by since my last post. I just finished a whirlwind of activity between my college classes, art gallery and art festivals. In addition, there was plenty of travel for business purposes. And I have had some meaningful visits and conversations with friends. The fall season is always busy for art. And, I experienced a profound loss as well during this space in time. Hence, the quotes above.

At the time of this writing, I am preparing to meet my last college class of the week, and then will leave for the wilderness for awhile. The vacation was planned long ago, and it includes my closest and steadiest friends over the past thirty years. In fact, they were the ones that made the cabin arrangements and invited me to join. I am glad the day has finally arrived. I need the rest. This could prove to be the fullness of time.

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My Favorite Trout Stream within Driving Distance

Years ago, on a chilly November morning, I pulled four 20-inch rainbow trout out of this stream. It was the best fishing I had known in years, and I haven’t returned, until today. I hope the re-visit will fill me with the same calm that I knew back then. Few things stir me more deeply than the sounds of a flowing trout stream beneath towering bluffs. Times like this call to memory a text I read long ago:

Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. 

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.

Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

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My Attempt to Paint that Scene

I have packed my supplies for watercolor as the fall colors are peaking at this location (hopefully I can do some plein air painting, though forecasts call for temperatures to dip into the thirties). I also have a number of collage ideas surging in my head, mostly of Jack Kerouac themes. Happily, I sold my recent Kerouac collage to genuine friends I have happily known for a number of years. And of course, a stack of books have been packed along as well, mostly Kerouac, Thoreau, Annie Dillard, and a few others. I intend to devote days to meaningful conversations with my close friends, reading, writing, painting, journaling and thinking. I don’t yet know if I will have Wi-fii access where I am. So, if I go quiet a few days, the readers will know I am off the grid, which is also good.

At this time, I also wish to offer my sincere “Congratulations” to the Historic Redlands Hotel for being awarded Best Renovation/Rehab/Restoration by the Texas Downtown Association! I still cannot believe I have been offered the most beautiful gallery space in this special building!  And now, I have been joined by the best roommates I could ever imagine: Smooth Rock 93.5 FM. I miss the “boys” already. “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” from 7-10:00 provides great company for me at my desk every weekday morning.

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 Redlands Hotel, Palestine, Texas

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Joined by the “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” Personalities

So, until next time . . . thanks for reading.

I make art, hoping to discover.

I journal, being mostly alone.

I blog to remind myself sometimes I am not alone.

 

 

 

 

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Morning Coffee with Dave and Walt Whitman

November 2, 2018
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In The Gallery at Redlands, Working on Whitman Collages & Greeting Cards

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, 
Healthy, free, the world before me, 
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose. 
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, 
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, 
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms, 
Strong and content I travel the open road. 
Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road”
Yesterday, after class, I set off for Palestine to work in my gallery and make preparations for the weekend Genny Wood Art Show & Sale. After the two-hour drive through the country, enjoying the bright sun and 60-degree weather, and filled with the ecstasies of Kerouac’s odyssey, I decided upon reaching Palestine to spend some time outdoors. I had spent too much time the past few weeks chasing deadlines. Finding a park bench beneath an enormous shade tree, I sat in the cool, took a cleansing breath, and opened my volume of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.  Reading Kerouac’s On the Road yesterday prompted me to look up Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” today. He published this poem the year after his Leaves of Grass took flight, and the adrenaline was apparently still surging through his creative consciousness. My heart floods with good sentiments every time I read verses such as this from Whitman’s hand.
After five years of reading rave reviews of his Leaves of Grass (some of which he published anonymously himself!), he felt the time had come to publish a second edition of this collection of poems. There was only one problem–he had reached ebb tide and his creative surge had faltered. Perhaps he was still too young (first edition came out when he was thirty-seven) to realize that creative output is cyclical. At any rate, he was feeling morose and second-guessing whether or not he had genuine talent or was just over-sold with that first edition.
While walking pensively one evening along the seashore, he composed a poem that reflected his sagging sentiments of the time: “As I Ebb’d with the Ocean of Life”–
O baffled, balk’d, bent to the very earth, 
Oppress’d with myself that I have dared to open my mouth, 
Aware now that amid all that blab whose echoes recoil upon me I have not once had the least idea who or what I am, 
But that before all my arrogant poems the real Me stands yet untouch’d, untold, altogether unreach’d, 
Withdrawn far, mocking me with mock-congratulatory signs and bows, 
With peals of distant ironical laughter at every word I have written, 
Pointing in silence to these songs, and then to the sand beneath.
Whitman’s second edition of Leaves of Grass contains a number of troubled verses replete with his second-guessing. As we all know, he got over it eventually. The surge returned, and the collection of twelve poems grew to over five hundred, as he remained prolific throughout his life.
This is why I read so much biography–I want to learn all I can from these creative heroes about the dynamics of creative eros, including those barren times when the winds of inspiration have stilled, and how they addressed the problem.  At this very moment I am tired, exhausted. But not depressed, not panicky. I am confident that quality time for creating will offer itself up to me again, and that I will be ready to answer the bell. But for now, the appointments are joined end-to-end, it is the high season for art festivals and shows, the semester at the university is entering its final stretch run, and there is much demanded from me. I thank God that I am (semi) retired, have my health, and at least don’t have to answer to a Monday-Friday, 40-hour a week job. Life is much better now, and at least I can find the time to sit beneath a shade tree, read, reflect, and think about where I am going next. I have never been happier, even when tired.
Today I am packing up the Gallery to take to the Genny Wood Art Show & Sale at the Bullard First United Methodist Church Family Life Center. Today I will enjoy seeing my artist friends again as we set up, and the show will run all day Saturday. Below are a pair of photos of my booth from last year. I am hoping to make a much better display this year. Among my offerings will be collages of my creative heroes, including Walt Whitman and Jack Kerouac.
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Last Year’s Display at the Genny Wood Art Show & Sale

Smooth Rock 93.5 FM is humming along in fine fashion as I write this. I cannot describe how much I enjoy my new “roommates” as they broadcast out of this gallery, looking out their “Window to the World.” The Redlands Hotel is decorating for Christmas and yesterday began bringing decorations into the gallery and studio. The “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” show broadcasts live from 7-10 a.m. Monday through Friday. You can stream it on your computer, and even get the app for your android or I-phone.

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“Kevin & Marc in the Morning”–Smooth Rock 93.5 FM

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.

 

Morning Coffee with Dave & Jack Kerouac

November 1, 2018

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Kerouac Collage in Progress

I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

I did not anticipate this, but since my retirement in June 2017, I have spent more time on the road than home. Such a life was always a fantasy of mine, but I never expected it to become reality. And now that it is reality, I am surprised to find it even better than I had visualized it. What I call “windshield time” is a great clearing out for me, perhaps in ways that Buddhists speak of their experience during zazen. 

This weekend, I will be taking my art to the Genny Wood Art Show & Sale in Bullard, Texas (Saturday only). There are two links, one general and the second one is their Facebook page:

http://bullardmission.org/category/fundraising/genny-wood-fine-art-show/

https://www.facebook.com/gennywoodart/

My daily reading recently has taken me back to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.  I really don’t know how many times I have read the book myself (at least twice), but I have had the audio books read to me countless times over the past ten-plus years. But now I am reading the original scroll for the first time, and after about fifty pages, I must say that the experience is much richer than I had imagined. Kerouac’s original manuscript was typed on a continuous roll of paper like one would obtain from a teletype office. I actually saw this scroll on display in recent years at an exhibit in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin.

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Jack Kerouac’s On the Road–the Original Scroll

Reading the continuous text with no paragraphs indeed reads more like a stream of consciousness piece of literature. And I got the sense of the narrative unrolling much like the highway does in front of me when I am actually on the road. Whether I am reading (or rather, trying to read!) James Joyce’s Ulysses or Kerouac’s On the Road, I am thrilled at the sense of odyssey and adventure. After teaching my morning Logic class at Texas Wesleyan University, I’ll travel the two hours across the wide-open countryside to Palestine, Texas to gather my art work from The Gallery at Redlands to load into the Jeep for tomorrow’s set up in Bullard, Texas (an additional hour’s drive). I am fortunate that I get to stay as a guest tonight in the historic Redlands Hotel. In the morning, I’ll enjoy “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” as Smooth Rock 93.5 FM shares studio space in the gallery with me. After the broadcast, I will travel to Bullard to set up, and then Saturday spend the day at the art show. I’ll be grateful for that extra hour of sleep when the clocks change Sunday.

In the picture at the top of the blog, I have included a new collage of Kerouac that is still in progress. At the Genny Wood Show, I will be bringing out collages, a medium I have not displayed and sold for a number of years now. Yesterday, I picked up an extra print bin from Pro Panels in Irving, Texas that I will take out of the box tomorrow and set up with a host of collages of Kerouac, Whitman, Emerson, Proust, Tillich and many, many more. As I posted in yesterday’s blog, I am finding new life and inspiration as I make collages of the creative spirits who fuel my imagination on a daily basis.

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.

Shifting Gears

October 30, 2018

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A Moment with “Kevin and Marc in the Morning”

I am back at my own desk at home this morning, preparing for my Logic class, but my heart is still beating in Palestine. The weekend was filled with great moments, as I enjoyed my new friends, Kevin Harris and Marc Mitchell, while they hosted the Hot Pepper Festival. Spending the entire Sunday in the old country store was also a profound blessing, especially watching the deer come out in the evening to graze. Yesterday was a labor intensive Monday, as I rearranged the gallery yet again and took down all my art work in the lobby of the Redlands Hotel. Weekday morning hours in the gallery are always electric, as “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” pulsates just twenty feet to my right, in the same gallery. The fellows surprised me by calling me over to the microphone twice this time. I never know what will happen when I sit at the broadcast table with them. I wish everyone could experience firsthand the dynamics of a live radio broadcast.

Now it is back to my other job–teaching Logic at Texas Wesleyan University, the institution that has been so good to me since the year 2000, providing adjunct contracts that help keep my mind sharp. Nietzsche wrote of the dual forces of Apollo and Dionysus that work in our psychological makeup, with Apollo representing order and Dionysus providing spontaneity (many like to speak of left brain/right brain issues). With my art and passion and overall lifestyle, I have been closer to Dionysus, often feeling more disorganized and undisciplined than creative. Yet, Apollo has had his say in many of my life skill disciplines as well, and most particularly, teaching Logic, with all its inflexible structures.

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This morning I will introduce the Traditional Square of Opposition, credited to Aristotle. I particularly enjoy this part of the semester, and appreciate the positive attitude of this semester’s students.  And of course, a ton of grading will be waiting for me once I return home from class. But . . . by bedtime, all of this will be completed and tucked away. Meanwhile, I continue to seek quality in the day.

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.

Another Buddhist Monastery Morning?

October 29, 2018

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2:17 a.m.

This happens often when I spend my nights in the country at my favorite hideaway—I’ll retire to bed around 8 or 9:00 and find myself awake at this mystical/magical/meditative hour.

Waking in the midst of yet another night, I lay in the quiet darkness and could not stop thinking about the enchanting day I spent yesterday at this place. Having slept late into yesterday morning, I made the decision to spend the entire Sunday here and not make the fifty-minute drive to the gallery. Sundays in the gallery usually are spent completely alone; hardly anyone comes into the Redlands Hotel or gallery on Sundays. I manage to get plenty of work done then, but this time I just wanted to let the day drift by slowly with reading and contemplation.

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The owners of the Gallery at Redlands own this property where I am privileged to spend weekends when the Redlands is completely booked. They come out to their ranch to feed livestock daily, and I always enjoy moments visiting with them. But yesterday was different; they had more time on their hands, and stopped by for a visit on the veranda that extended for quite a stretch. The conversation inspired me so much that I wrote the rest of the day in the journal, fleshing out the ideas we discussed. They are just as inspired as I with the possibilities now for an art culture to take root in Palestine. With the arrival of the radio station in the gallery and the enthusiasm of the personnel there, I was able to see during the weekend’s Hot Pepper Festival the possibilities now awaiting all of us. We have decided to launch an art festival next fall for the very first time in Palestine. I’ll be discussing more of this in the months ahead.

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As evening descended, I sat motionless in the rocker, hoping for deer to come and visit. I wasn’t disappointed. Looking way off across the pastureland to my right, I saw one, two, three, four, then five deer emerge from the edge of the forest and slowly make their way out into the pastureland to graze. Turning my head back to the yard in front of me, I felt a jolt like electricity flashing through me—a deer was standing thirty yards directly in front of me. She had stepped out from the shadows of the trees behind the barn. As I continued to watch her, a second one then materialized out of the darkness. Then a third. A fourth. A fifth. A sixth. And as I continued to watch, I then saw silhouettes of more in the shadowed woods—seven, eight, nine and ten. I continued to sit still for about fifteen more minutes, watching all of them, grazing, suddenly jerking their heads up and standing erect, ears out, listening, then lowering their heads to graze, then heads up again—a continual rhythm of eating and watching for potential danger. Then, as if following a signal, one exited stage left, followed by the next, then the next, and in less than a minute they were all gone. I then looked out over the pastureland, and all the deer out there had vanished as well. The moment had passed.

Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear. In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,—no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground,—my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,—all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all . . . 

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature 

Most of yesterday was spent on the veranda reading slowly and taking observational notes from Philip Kapleau’s The Three Pillars of Zen. Fifty-four pages into the text, I find myself very absorbed with this practice of zazen, having already become acquainted with it from occasionally teaching World Religions at TCU and Texas Wesleyan University, and reading Natalie Goldberg the past couple of days has once again brought these ideas to my attention. I cannot honestly say that I have spent time seated in the lotus position, and have yet to spend time counting my breathing, but I am intrigued at the Buddhist writings concerning enlightenment, and these writings convinced me to stay here at this country retreat for an extra day yesterday. Now, having risen at this hour, I have a few more hours to spend with these writings before driving to the gallery to join my radio friends.

7:25 a.m.

Smooth Rock 93.5 FM is in full swing with the “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” show underway. Kevin Harris and Marc Mitchell are always in good spirits when I see them in the studio, and this morning is no different, though they were stretched considerably by the weekend’s festivities. It has to be rough rising before daylight on Mondays when you have hosted a huge weekend event. The Hot Pepper Festival is in the books, and I’m sure they feel no regrets over its success.

And so, this is Dave, along with Kevin and Marc wishing you a splendid day as we send out our greetings from The Gallery at Redlands and Smooth Rock 93.5 FM, live from the historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine, Texas.

Morning Coffee: The Calm Before the Calm

October 27, 2018

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Smooth Rock 93.5 FM before the Morning Broadcast

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Working on a Watercolor before the Festival Begins

Good morning to all of you, just ahead of the Hot Pepper Festival in downtown Palestine, Texas. What a beautiful day, already, bright and sunny with temperatures expected to top out in the seventies.

I awoke in the darkness, staying in my favorite store in rural east Texas. In the darkness of the kitchen I began re-reading with delight over breakfast Natalie Goldberg’s The Great Spring. The Zen-quality of her writing produced a great calm that I much appreciate on a festival day. Thanks to Natalie, I believe I am now experiencing the calm before the calm as I prepare for this festival day.

When I arrived in Palestine shortly after 8:00, I walked through block after block of vendors setting up their booths, and was so glad that this time I was NOT doing that activity (I just went through it, in the rain, a couple of weeks ago). Today I am in The Gallery at Redlands with Kevin Harris and Marc Mitchell. They are in and out of the gallery already, getting their new T-shirts out on display, and making final preparations for today’s broadcast. They are promoting the Hot Pepper Festival, and with this being their third week on the air, they can already feel the adrenaline rush of crowds building outside their “Window to the World”.  The parade is about to commence.

I am looking forward to renewing my acquaintance with emerging artist Orlando Guillen this morning. A couple of weeks ago, he introduced himself to me at the Edom Art Festival, just before the rains arrived and closed us down for good. Orlando told me he was setting up a booth, so I’ll have to go out and find him somewhere in this 12-block conglomeration of displays. Walking the streets this morning, I had the pleasure of meeting a first-time festival participant, Ashley Sturdivant. I still recall the excitement (and anxiety) of my very first art festival years ago. Ashley has a wonderful display set up and we’re all wishing her success in sales today.

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Display of Emerging Artist Ashley Sturdivant

We have a splendid day before us. As I write, the parade has just begun, and I am listening to Kevin and Marc’s live commentary on the floats passing by. I’m delighted that The Redlands Hotel has invited me to display my art out in the lobby of the hotel in addition to what I have inside The Gallery at Redlands.

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My Lobby Display

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“Kevin and Marc in the Morning” covering the Parade Live

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Marc Mitchell, sporting the new T-Shirt on sale today

The Red Fire Grille, across the lobby from The Gallery at Redlands, will be serving lunch on this auspicious day, from 10:00-2:00. The food here is fist-rate.

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The Red Fire Grille

After eighteen months of displaying out of The Redlands Hotel, I am still making the most precious friendships. Wade and Gail Thomas, owners of the gallery, are always there for me and unfailing in their encouragement and enthusiasm. Jean Mollard, owner of the Redlands Hotel, has welcomed me into this home-away-from-home since day one, and always introduces me to guests as “our Artist in Residence.” Kevin and Marc bring such energy to this place with their radio presence, but in addition to that, they are amazing men whom I am so proud to call “friends.” Conversations I have enjoyed with them in just the past three weeks have been life transforming.

Yesterday, I met a local writer, Jan Johnson, currently writing a work of fiction set in Palestine, drawing on her years of experience in this environment. Always, I feel so enriched when given the opportunity to converse with a writer, and I invite you to check out her work at http://www.janicejohnson.wordpress.com.

I’ve been at this laptop too long, and my coffee cup is empty. It is time to get back out into the booths and meet more artists. So, until next time, this is Dave signing off at the Gallery at Redlands along with Kevin and Marc in the Morning at Smooth Rock 93.5 FM, located in the beautiful historic Redlands Hotel in downtown Palestine.

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.

Early Dawn: In the Gallery with my Radio Roommates

October 26, 2018

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The Gallery at Redlands and Smooth Rock 93.5 FM

400 N. Queen St., Palestine, Texas

Waking and rising at 1:30 a.m. was not in my weekend plans. Sheer exhaustion drove me to bed at 8:00 last night. Since the Redlands Hotel is completely booked for the Hot Pepper Festival this weekend, I am afforded the opportunity of spending my nights in that old general store/residence that I have come to love so much. It is an hour’s drive out of Palestine, and remotely located on a dirt road. When I drove on to the property last night, three deer stood in front of the store to greet me.

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The Old General Store

This morning is one of those rare occasions for me to spend time in The Gallery at Redlands while my new roommates broadcast the “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” show on Smooth Rock 93.5 FM., just across the room. As I write this, they are already setting up shop in the broadcast booth. Their show airs from 6 to 10 weekday mornings. You can stream them live on https://www.smoothrock935.com/

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Kevin and Marc are both professional musicians. Marc’s band “blindpursuit” will be live in the studio this morning. Later today, the activity will increase as vendors arrive to begin setting up their booths in the streets outside. The festival will cover twelve blocks downtown. Kevin and Marc are promoting the event and will broadcast on location from 10:00 to 1:00 Saturday.

Last year, I set up my booth on the street. This year I have decided to stay inside the gallery, and the Redlands Hotel has invited me to extend my display into the hotel lobby.  I spent yesterday re-configuring the gallery to accommodate new work I have brought in, and today I’ll work in the lobby, setting up Pro Panels and hanging additional pieces.

Sorry to make this brief, but we’re crazy-busy today. Thanks for reading.

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View of the Gallery with Marc Broadcasting

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View of the Gallery with Kevin Broadcasting

Reaping the Whirlwind

October 15, 2018

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Sharing Gallery Space with Smooth Rock 93.5

As the clock crawls into the later hours of Monday night, I find myself home at last, seated at my desk, wishing to push out some quality words encapsulating the past several days. My last blog post was hurriedly texted on my phone, as patrons were swarming the Edom Art Festival Saturday morning. All that ended sharply at 2:00 when the skies opened and dumped rain all over us, thus ending the festival for good. At 4:00, the organizers called it quits, and we closed down the tents and bolted to our vehicles, many of them requiring tow trucks to get out of the fields. With soaked clothing, I drove 40 minutes to friends who are so kind to provide lodging to me when I do art activities in east Texas. Sunday morning, the official word of cancellation came, so there was nothing left for us to do but return to the scene of soaked desolation, break down our displays, and depart.

I managed to put in some quality fly fishing time on my friends’ property Sunday evening, landing one largemouth bass of 12″. By that time the rain had lifted and the sun was pouring across the pastureland. The evening was serene.

Monday morning found me in Tyler, Texas, judging the annual Tyler Palette of Roses art competition. Wow, 250 entries! I don’t know how long it took to judge the entire show, making decisions on Best of Show overall, followed by Best of Show in each category, then 1st, 2nd, 3rd places and honorable mentions for all the categories and sub-categories. Plenty of awards to be handed out. I’ve been invited to return Wednesday night for the reception and awards ceremony. The show was remarkable deep with talent, making judging extremely difficult. I’m proud beyond description to have been chosen to judge such an exhibition.

After the judging, I returned to Palestine and The Gallery at Redlands to work for awhile, putting the art work back into place and visiting with Marc Mitchell of Smooth Rock 93.5. I posted a photo above of the view from my desk, with Marc working at the broadcast booth alongside his son who was doing homework.

I managed to frame one of my recent paintings in time for the Edom Festival and have posted it below. Before working on the blog tonight, I managed to design a greeting card with the painting displayed on the front and my written remarks on the back.

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Plein Air Watercolor of Cloudcroft, New Mexico

11 x 14″ framed.  $200.

Well, the night is advancing, and my eyelids are getting heavier. It seems I have done little more than drive all over east Texas (Palestine, Edom, Bullard, Tyler) for the past four days, and my body feels it.

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.

Morning Coffee on Smooth Rock 93.5 FM at the Gallery at Redlands

October 12, 2018

Incidentally, I despise everything which merely instructs me without
increasing or immediately enlivening my activity.

Goethe

Interview on “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” at Smooth Rock 93.5 FM

For the first time during their two weeks of live broadcasting, I entered The Gallery at Redlands and was shocked to see the real ambience of a radio station for the first time. I had always envisioned the live clatter and chatter that one associates with a newsroom. Instead, inside of Smooth Rock 93.5 FM, my new roommate in the gallery, I found two quiet men in a darkened pre-dawn gallery. The music was playing softly in the background and they were poring over the raw materials for the day’s broadcast. It was as quiet as a library. We exchanged greetings and I went to my gallery desk and began work on today’s details involving a trip to Edom to set up my booth for the Edom Art Festival beginning tomorrow.

After a few minutes, Kevin and Marc called me over to take a seat at the guest mic, and before I knew it, we were on! Sitting between two professionals made the experience much easier for me, and the time flew by as we discussed art and the gallery in general. The radio station is hoping to draw more people into this space to enjoy music and art, a perfect blend.

The Goethe quote above has been lingering with me this morning. As I have shared in the past, I was mentally lazy throughout my public schooling, engrossed in making art but feeling that classroom instruction in English, history, science and math was dull and uninspiring. Finally, at the university, the world of academia took on color and dimension and I could not seem to get enough of it. From those days till now, I have grazed from many pastures, ranging from reading to making art to making music to writing, enjoying the stimulation from every one of them.

Observe the herd which is grazing beside you. It does not know what yesterday
or today is. It springs around, eats, rests, digests, jumps up again, and so from
morning to night and from day to day, with its likes and dislikes closely tied to
the peg of the moment, and thus neither melancholy nor weary. To witness this
is hard for man, because he boasts to himself that his human race is better than
the beast and yet looks with jealousy at its happiness.

Friedrich Nietzsche, “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life,” Untimely Meditations, 1874

With my recent re-reading of Nietzsche’s essay, I was reminded about what was required to make history come alive for me. I was never fascinated with names, dates and places or doing homework that answered questions at the end of the chapter. Nietzsche spoke of different approaches to the study of history, but the one that took root with me was what he called the “monumentalist” study of history. This approach concentrates on past heroes in order to confront contemporary mediocrity with the possibility of greatness.  One of the factors underlying my criticism of the U. S. Congress in an earlier blog post is that we no longer have statesmen or thinkers that would remind us of a Thomas Jefferson or a Benjamin Franklin in our current government, not even close. Not one of them appears to esteem such qualities as they occupy their offices, doing little-to-nothing to leave a lasting legacy for others to admire and follow. They smack of arrogance, anger and entitlement. And when it comes to classical virtues or family values, they have a tin ear. Nietzsche urged his readers to find heroes to study and emulate.

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Edom Art Festival (2017)

Kevin and Marc have asked me to return for some more air time, so I’m standing by. This afternoon, I leave for Edom to set up for the weekend festival. This is one of my favorite venues, situated on beautiful, rolling, tree-populated pastureland complete with barns, sheds and various outbuildings. The weather promises to be cooler, fall-temperature weather, and I am ready!

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.

Morning Coffee with Smooth Rock 93.5 FM

October 2, 2018

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It was the most words Frank had ever heard Mr. Odom speak at once. He looked drained, as if he had used up a week’s worth of language and here it was only Monday.

Garrison Keillor, WLT: A Radio Romance

Unusual for me to open my blog with a meditation on radio. But my life has entered a new zone since Smooth Rock 93.5 FM became my new roommate yesterday, broadcasting live in the mornings from The Gallery at Redlands. My habit has been to rise at 7 a.m. every morning and go through my ritual. Yesterday and today, I set the alarm for 5:00 so I could be showered, dressed and have breakfast and coffee ready before Smooth Rock began live at 6:00. Live streaming them from my laptop and opening their Facebook page has added a new dimension to my mornings.

I posted the hilarious statement above from Keillor’s book, because (for me) over 90% of radio traffic is a diarrhea of words that I choose to avoid. I won’t list the plethora of stations and personalities that ruin my disposition by merely recalling them. But that is not where I am right now. Before I go any further, I should mention that I have met Kevin Harris and Marc Mitchell of “Kevin and Marc in the Morning.” I enjoyed their company for days while they were setting up their gear in the gallery, had meals with them, and above all, thoroughly enjoyed every conversation we had. I knew them before I heard them on the air. I am not surprised at their depth of knowledge pertaining to radio history and broadcast trends–that would be expected of men in their profession. What I enjoyed thoroughly was their genuine grounding while discussing ideas and life in general–nothing superficial about these men. I could spend an entire day with either or both of them in earnest conversation without repeating anything or running out of things to discuss.

Now to get to the point of this blog: radio and solitude. For me, radio at its best has been a companion during times alone throughout my adult years. In the late 1970’s, I went to graduate school  in Fort Worth daily, and welded at POCO Graphite in Decatur during any shift that could be wedged into my schedule. I recall a frigid winter when I reported to work at 5:00 a.m. I knew it was time to fire up the welder when the radio in the shop played Connie Smith singing “Clinging to a Saving Hand” thus signaling the end of one radio show and the beginning of a new. The radio had to be turned off, because it was time to go to work. But the morning routine included listening to the dusky voice of Connie Smith singing those meditative lyrics. That moment of the morning ritual meant something special to me.

During the academic year 1985-86, I lived in Fort Worth, but commuted early mornings one hour to Denton to teach as an adjunct for the first time in my life at the University of North Texas. I taught Introduction to Philosophy both semesters, and that was a life-changing year, the hinge between life as welder/graduate student and one as teacher. I had no idea that I would follow that teaching path from 1985 till now. Every morning during the commute, I tuned the car radio to KEGL 97.1 to listen and laugh along with Stevens and Pruett. For one hour every weekday morning, they were my car companions, taking my mind off the anxieties of teaching and letting me laugh as well as think about things that mattered at the time. One morning in March, I tuned in and was dismayed to find a trio of broadcasters I had never heard before. Stevens and Pruett had taken their show to Houston, and of course, we couldn’t radio stream in those days, so the best part of my morning commute was over. I couldn’t find another FM radio station to replace what they had given, so my radio went silent.

I was dismayed this morning when researching this duo to find out what became of them. Both are deceased, Mark Stevens in 2010 and Jim Pruett in 2016. And Stevens had suffered from Alzheimers. I felt the same profound sadness that I felt the morning I received the news that Andrew Wyeth had passed away. Sad, because nothing new will come from these creative, engaging individuals. Fortunately they leave us with memories, but still, I am saddened that their creative run has ended.

I write and speak of this frequently–my life has been one lived largely in solitude, and I don’t offer that as shameful confession or reason to be pitied. This is how I seem to have been made, and have lived out sixty-four years of it with no regret. I love and value relationships. I have always enjoyed the public dimension of life as a teacher. But solitude is the core of my existence, and during times that I am alone, I gladly read, write, make art, and engage in activity that I don’t find easy to do when in the company of others. And during the daily hours of solitude, I have found much enrichment in reading what others have written, and sometimes watching something on TV or listening to the radio.

So . . . I salute this new friendship I’ve been offered from Smooth Rock 93.5, and am grateful now to know Kevin Harris and Marc Mitchell. For the past two mornings, “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” have brought something pleasant into my morning routine at the desk. As the music plays and they weave in their talk format, I find a satisfying rhythm while I do what I do (this morning writing this blog and printing off a quantity of my greeting cards for an upcoming art festival).

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If you have room for radio in the morning, I invite you to tune in to “Kevin and Marc in the Morning.” You can listen live by going to their website:

https://www.smoothrock935.com/

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smooth rock

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.