Posts Tagged ‘Society of Watercolor Artists’

Creative Eros

September 11, 2019

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The Romantic Part of the Morning

I am in a high fever of working, and so absorbed, so tired at day’s end, I don’t have the strength to write . . . I know it’s bad, but work above all. I am overjoyed to be back at it.

Claude Monet, quoted at the Kimbell Art Museum exhibit

Smooth jazz plays in the background, and the softness of the morning buoys my spirits while I continue thinking over a presentation for Monday evening before the Society of Watercolor Artists. I have been scheduled for this event for about a year now, so it has not crept up on me. Back in March, I began compiling materials for the demonstration and have now spent recent weeks editing them into a formal presentation.

My plan is to open with a brief talk concerning the source that drives artistic expression. Following that, I will demonstrate some techniques I discovered two summers ago while painting en plein air in Colorado. And finally, I will introduce the major series I have worked on the past couple of decades, titled “Turvey’s Corner 63050.” This final segment has taken the lion’s share of my time in recent weeks. I cannot share all the paintings and stories that comprise the series, and am trying now to figure just which ones to present. I’ll use Powerpoint to project the paintings before the audience, and will need to decide which stories to share. Naturally, I’m concerned about cramming too much into the time period.

Most of my recent days have been divided between studio time, experimenting with my recent watercolor techniques, and desk time, writing and revising the cycles of stories that have emerged from the paintings I wish to share in this series. This is nothing new to me; for as long as I can remember, my quality time has been divided between painting, reading, journaling and composing stories. To some, this sounds like multi-tasking at its best, or attention-deficit-disorder at its worst. There are days when I feel I lack focus; yet other times when I am delighted by the variety embracing my creative eros.

Surprisingly, I have not felt the anxieties that used to torment me when preparing for a public event. I am not sure if this is due to aging, maturing, or the mere repetition of public speaking. Having retired from full time teaching over two years now, I speak much less frequently in public, and actually enjoy it much more now–there seems to be much more time to prepare for each event, and the general eudaimonia I sense from the audiences has melted away my former performance anxieties. Maybe it’s because I am no longer posturing for some kind of career advancement. At any rate, I welcome with open arms this sense of calm. Reading Hemingway’s testimony concerning his early writing has also given me a sense of equilibrium.

I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You  have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”  So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that you knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written. Up in that room I decided that I would write one story about each thing that I knew about. I was trying to do this all the time I was writing, and it was good and severe discipline.

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

I certainly know about the cutting away of “scrollwork or ornament” that Hemingway mentioned. Countless times in recent weeks I have deleted content from my powerpoint presentation or lecture manuscript, pruning my tree to a stump, then returned to my fundamental base, and began the rebuilding of the presentation. After all, this is my own artwork I have been asked to share, and I need not embellish it by artificial ornamentation.

After months away, I anticipate with gratitude a return to Palestine, Texas this weekend. I have missed the Gallery at Redlands, Smooth Rock 93.5, and the hospitable atmosphere of the historic Redlands Hotel. Since I have been away, the Red Fire Grille has changed hands, now known as the Queen St Grille. Jean and Mike have asked me to work on my watercolors in the restaurant Sunday from 11:00-2:00. They have already selected some of my paintings from the gallery to display in the restaurant, invoking a railroad theme. This will be my first time to provide an artist’s “prensence” in a restaurant environment, and I look forward to the new experience. You can check out their link here:  https://www.facebook.com/RedFireGrille/

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I have missed my radio friends during this long absence, but still enjoy Kevin and Alan in the Morning, streaming Smooth Rock 93.5 on my laptop while working at my desk during mornings such as this. Their music format remains my favorite.

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Kevin and Alan outside the Station and Gallery

There is still plenty to do on this presentation, so I guess I’ll return to 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.

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A Life Measured with Coffee Spoons

September 9, 2019

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The Place Becomes the Book

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
The entire weekend has been a blissful one that I kept intending to blog, and now Monday morning finds me still contentedly submerged in projects as deadlines near. The T. S. Eliot line occurred to me as I was reading Jack Kerouac this morning (my God, Visions of Cody, to me, is On the Road on steroids, or more likely benzadrine). I have come to love the stream-of-consciousness style of writing I find in James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, but WOW! Reading Visions of Cody leaves me short of breath. I try to imagine the author reading this before an audience, unable to pour out even one-tenth of a sentence in one long breath. The interior narrative just surges on and on with unabated intensity, filling the reader’s inner eye with city images that just won’t stop. I find myself pouring cup after cup of coffee as I continue to read and imagine with amazement.

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Happily Buried in my Upcoming Presentation

Life for me has been measured out the past seventy-two hours in coffee spoons as I have divided time between reading for my own enrichment, scribbling in my journal, drawing in its margins, working on a public presentation coming up in a week, and experimenting further in watercolor.

On Monday evening, September 16, I will make a two-hour presentation before the Society of Watercolor Artists in Fort Worth at the University of Texas Health Science Center. My friend Cindy Thomas has plans to film the event for a project we began several months ago, and the days now find me buried in the editing of computer images and a manuscript I have been working on since last March. My project will be in three parts–comments on the creative process, followed by a watercolor demonstration and finally the unveiling of a watercolor series that has consumed me for decades (I really hope this will become a book of images and stories one day).

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Experimenting

My demonstration Monday night will center on some techniques I discovered and developed while trying to paint evergreens in colorful South Fork, Colorado two summers ago. I am still refreshed with the memories of the spectacular morning scene presented to me, along with the birds and critters that visited me as I painted. My artist friends started calling me Saint Francis.

bird on painting

Feeding chipmunk4

I am looking forward to a good time when I share my experiences and ideas with the Society.

Another warm memory from my weekend was the renewal of friendship with a student of mine from my earliest years of high school teaching. She now is a teacher, has a lovely family and has invited me to give art lessons to her daughter who is consumed with drawing and experimenting with visual expression. We had our first session yesterday and her drawings were stunning with imagination and enthusiasm. And, to add further seasoning to the recipe, her dog visited me and later chose to nap at my feet while we worked.

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Thank you, Joanna, for a heart-warming day!

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It’s time to get back to the task. 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.