Posts Tagged ‘Studio Eidolons’

Sunday Night Life

July 31, 2022
Sequestered in Studio Eidolons with good Reading

I sat at the portable metal desk before my open notebook, straining to get something down. On the whole, I thought more than I wrote, wishing I could just transmit straightaway to the page.

Patti Smith, M Train

Sandi and I are reunited. She too now has COVID, so she decided to come back home rather than stay out of this infected house for another week or so. Of course, with today being Sunday, she found zero help from our family doctor’s offices. I hate that she has to wait till the morning to get even a virtual doctor’s visit. Completing my second day of Paxlovia, I feel better than I have since all this started, and I just wish for Sandi to receive this relief, sooner instead of later.

Sunday evening is growing quiet, and I’m finishing up my French-pressed coffee from Camp4Coffee in Crested Butte. The memories are abundant and soothing–it rained the entire evening we spent visiting that city a couple of weeks ago. When vacationing, I’m a sucker for purchasing products from a shop that offers great memories. So glad that I finally feel good enough to drink coffee again, I’ve been sipping this as it darkens outside my studio window, and re-living the Colorado odyssey. We relished strolling the sidewalks as the light raindrops fell, holding temperatures into the mid-50’s. Meanwhile, Arlington, Texas is bloody hot. I’m writing this at 8:23 p.m. and it is 99 degrees outside, and our AC cannot bring the inside temperatures down to a comfortable level.

Now that I feel good enough to scribble in my journal, I’m experiencing the Patti Smith syndrome quoted at the top of this post. When I’m on my game, I can scribble out half a dozen journal pages rather quickly. Thirty minutes into the attempt tonight has yielded a half-page, and its anemic (like me). No worries, though. I know it will come back. The New Testament records that the wind blows when it wills, and we cannot know its origin or timing. So also with journaling. It will come back.

I just received a query on Instagram about whether reproductions are available of the watercolor that sold last night at Baron’s Creek. The answer is Yes. I never had it set up for limited editions, but sold 8 x 10″ reproductions (quite a lot of them, actually). They look nice in a white mat and 11 x 14″ frame. I sell them matted for $25. I just sold one tonight. Unfortunately, with this COVID crap, I won’t be “out” for another week or so, but meanwhile I am processing more reproductions and matting them. I’m glad I have all the materials necessary right here in Studio Eidolons, and now have a job to do. I’ll post the photo again in case any of my readers are interested:

Six Subjects in Search of a Painter. 8 x 10″ reproduction, in white mat. $25

Thanks for reading.

Sweet Evening Solitude & Recovery

July 30, 2022
Working Lightly in Studio Eidolons Tonight

Current wisdom, especially that propagated by the various schools of psychoanalysis, assumes that man is a social being who needs the companionship and affection of other human beings from cradle to grave. It is widely believed that interpersonal relationships of an intimate kind are the chief, if not the only, source of human happiness. Yet the lives of creative individuals often seem to run counter to this assumption.

Anthony Storr, Solitude: A Return to the Self

Storr’s book has been like a Bible in my collection for over thirty years now. This was the first book, read when I was in my thirties, that convinced me I was O.K. even though I didn’t have much of a social life. The ministry dripped with a sense of alienation. Graduate school meant long solitary days in a library carrell. Welding-well, how many people stand around to visit with you when you’re under the hood while the arc lights up the room? Public education for nearly three decades saw me scrambling for privacy at the end of each school day. So yes, I have regarded myself, despite having a family whom I love, as largely private.

I don’t recall the last time I was ill; it hadn’t occurred since 2017 when I retired from teaching. And I don’t recall the last time I missed school due to illness. I have lived a life for the most part without need for doctor’s visits or medication. I wasn’t prepared for what happened when I tested positive for COVID yesterday morning. The good news was that Sandi was already in Palestine to run the gallery in my stead, leaving me to attend tonight’s artists’ reception in Granbury. She has since tested negative, so she will be staying out of our house till I am past all this. To repeat–I wasn’t prepared for this enforced isolation. Yesterday and today were among the longest days in my life, here in my home and studio, alone with a pair of small dogs.

This afternoon, while the isolation had reached its bleakest moment, the phone calls started coming in. Three of my paintings sold, two of them major works.

Six Subjects in Search of a Painter. SOLD

The New Owners

I was elated to learn that a student of mine from fifteen years back purchased my large still life at Baron’s Creek Winery in Granbury. I was deeply saddened that I was unable to attend this event.

He Was Here Yesterday SOLD

And then . . . Sandi phoned from our Gallery at Redlands. She had just sold another large watercolor of mine to a local automobile restoration artist. She told me he was fascinated with my collection of gas station compositions and chose the large one from among the pack.

Evening Hole. SOLD

Sandi also sold this mid-size watercolor of me fly-fishing Troublesome Creek in Colorado.

Needless to say, news of the triple sales (and boy, Sandi sold quite a number of other artists’ works the past three days in the gallery!) created somewhat of a soothing balm for my tortured feelings the past pair of days. Though absent in body, I’m glad that my “spirit” somehow lingered in the events where my work was on display. The affirmation helps, believe me.

I believe I will sleep better tonight. I have completed the first day taking dosages of Paxlovid, and already am feeling some physical relief from this dreaded illness. And news of the art sales has certainly provided a strong measure of good will; I feel much less isolated now.

More tomorrow. 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.

Six Subjects in Search of a Painter

July 27, 2022
Six Subjects in Search of a Painter, 33 x 40″ framed, now at Baron’s Creek Tasting Room & Wine Lounge

I’m leaning forward with anticipation to the Artists’ Reception Saturday, 4-7:00, at Baron’s Creek Tasting Room & Wine Lounge in Granbury, Texas. Publisher Gloria Hood has organized an exhibition of larger works by artists featured in the latest issue of Eyes of Texas Fine Art Magazine. I have decided to hang the above work in the show, because I’ve always wanted to see it in a large venue (our Gallery at Redlands is smaller and more intimate).

Baron’s Creek Tasting Room & Wine Lounge, 115 E. Bridge St. (on the town square), Granbury, Texas

This will be my second exhibition in this location, and I’m always happy to enjoy a glass of wine and good conversation with artists and art lovers at this place, particularly on weekends.

I’m still working on a book of short stories I’ve written along with illustrations from my own watercolors. I’m attaching the story that goes with the painting above, because I spent a meaningful winter in my garage studio (man cave) working on this piece and composing the story:

Night descended and Hank was up late again, bedding down in the storeroom of Jerry’s Texaco.  He had closed the place at dark but was too engrossed in his college studies to pack up the books and head for his garage apartment in the next county.  So, with Jerry’s permission, he would spend another night in the back of the station amidst the smells of gasoline, oil, pit grease and the grime that had built up over two generations.  Interstate commerce had sharply diminished the vitality of this sleepy town, and as soon as Hank graduated from the community college, he would depart as well.  Local townspeople and patrons had no knowledge or regard for the things that stirred the soul of this young man.  His volumes of Thoreau, Frost, Whitman and Twain had opened to him worlds beyond this small, stale community. 

His few camping possessions stored in this room (Griswold frying pan, stove top percolator, kerosene lantern, Maxwell House tin) were the tether that kept him bound to the wild.  He would be packing up his gear soon and leaving without notice.  It was time to emerge from this cocoon and embrace the world calling out to him.

I hope you will be able to attend our opening Saturday. 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.

Catching the Winds of Inspiration

May 3, 2022
An Old Photo of Myself in one of my Happy Places

This entire Tuesday has been chewed up by details that came uninvited; I had planned to have an entire day of rest, of solitude, of recalibration. Didn’t happen. Tomorrow won’t either as I have a college class and an afternoon watercolor class. I had wished to blog something original but now have decided during the evening hour to post the notes for a Gallery Talk I gave last December at The Gallery at Redlands. To my readers, I hope you find something of value in the text.

Catching the Winds of Inspiration

By way of introduction, when I was a child growing up in school, I had only one talent, and that was drawing. I was not academically smart, and I was not athletic. Once in college, I woke up to the world of ideas and became so hungry for knowledge that I pursued academic work and basically abandoned art because it had just been exercises in talent and technique. I pursued graduate work until I earned the Ph.D. in New Testament Greek. I then pastored for 11 years. It was not just divorce that ended my ministry; life is more complicated than that. But in 1984 when I endured this existential earthquake and shifted from pastoral ministry to education, I picked up art and was shocked to find out that I was better than when I left it, because I had ideas and theories, not just technique. And so, I like to  refer to myself as a thinking artist; I am just as consumed with art history, criticism and aesthetics as I am with the technical aspects of making art.

And so tonight, I want to talk about this spiritual side of art, this mental part, vs. the mastery of techniques.

Philosopher Martin Heidegger, writing about the creative life, said “We don’t come to thoughts; thoughts come to us”.

Artists, musicians, writers, public speakers—anyone who lives to create knows that we cannot will vision or inspiration. We can only trim our sails to catch the winds when they blow. That is what I want to address this evening.

Artistic inspiration is a visitation. We don’t know where it comes any more than a meteorologist knows where the winds originate. In John 3:8, Jesus is quoted as saying: “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes or where it goes. So it is with every one who is born of the wind.” (The Greek pneuma is translated “wind” or “spirit”).

This visitation has come with a rich variety of names: the ancient Hebrews called it wind, though in the Bible we like to translate the word as spirit.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the wind of God brooded over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light.”

The Greeks used the word daimon which New Testament Greek turned into demon. I find this unfortunate. The Greek daimon was that visitor who prompted the creative person to create.

The Romans came along and with Latin rendered the word genius. Later this spirit became known as a muse.

From the blowing wind to the daimon to the genius to the muse.

This visitation: we cannot will it any more than we can make someone else love us. It is a Gift. A precious gift. All we can do is trim our sails to catch the breeze when it blows. But how do we trim our sails?

How do I trim my sail? Frankly, I am not into mask making and altar building. I still laugh at what I heard once from an artist who said she enters her studio and starts with a prayer. If that doesn’t work, she has a glass of wine. And if that doesn’t work?

So, what do I do? I read. And as I read, I lean in and listen. This is a lifestyle that goes all the way back to college days when the Baptist Student Union told me about “quiet time.” At their encouragement, I began to read the Bible daily as Holy Scripture, and listen closely and carefully to the words, expecting a visitation from God. Fifty years later, that is still what I do.  But I listen to EVERYTHING I read, expecting a visitation. Philosophy, novels, poetry, essays . . .

And as I listen closely, thoughts visit me. Memories re-visit without knocking. Cascades of ideas wash over me when I am in the zone, reading and listening.

Since 1985, I have kept a journal, now nearing 200 volumes on my library shelves. Scribbles. Thoughts. Beginnings of thoughts. Ends of thoughts. They are nets for catching butterflies flitting all around me. I go back later to re-read and organize those fragments. By the way, most of what I’m saying tonight is coughed up from my old journals.

I love the Greek language. Logos, the Greek word we translate “word”, means “gathering together.” Cohesion. That’s what words are: harnesses, bridles, fences, packages. Words organize Ideas. And the artist is the one who organizes.

Emerson, in “The American Scholar”, wrote the following: “The theory of books is noble. The scholar of the first age received into him the world around; brooded thereon; gave it the new arrangement of his own mind, and uttered it again. It came into him life; it went out from him truth; it came to him business; it went from him poetry. It was dead fact; now, it is quick thought. It can stand, it can go. It now endures, it now flies, it now inspires. Precisely in proportion to the depth of the mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing.”

God created people in his own image, the Imago Dei. What is the “image of God”? What is the first thing we read about God? He creates. And if he made people to be like him, then they naturally create. What does a child in the nursery do with a pile of blocks in front of him? He stacks them. He configures them. It is in him. And when we hear the bird singing in the morning, is the bird aware of the beauty of its song, or is the bird just vocalizing out of its essence the way it was created to do? Does the spider spinning the web know the beauty, the symmetry and geometry of the threads it spins, or is the spider just spinning out of its own essence the way it was created to do? Why do we create? Because it is in us. We organize, we arrange, we respond to this spirit that visits us with ideas, with inclinations, with desires.

We cannot will the creative impulse, but we can adjust our sails to catch it and respond when the wind blows. And how about you? How do you prepare yourself?

Adjusting Hygge in My Studio Eidolons

April 18, 2022
Approaching my Writing Desk
Seated Next to my Favorite Section of the Studio

The word hygge originates from a Norwegian word meaning “well-being”. . . . Hygge appeared in written Danish for the first time in the early 1800s, and the link between hygge and well-being or happiness may be no coincidence.

Meik Wiking, The Little Book of Hygge

I just wanted to drop in a quick word before retiring for the night. I’m finding a widening crack toward freedom in the days ahead. Taxes were filed. Exam was given at college. Gallery paperwork was brought up to date. My next big art event will be April 29-May 1 at the Dallas Arboretum (Artscape 2022). I’m glad that is still somewhat in the distance.

Wednesday from 5-8 pm we’ll have our Magazine Launch Party as volume 7 of Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery comes out. We’re holding the event in our Gallery at Redlands, 400 N. Queen Street, Palestine, on the ground floor of The Redlands Hotel. Artists and sponsors featured in the new ads will be on hand to mingle with our guests as wine and refreshments are dispensed. We’re proud that Palestine has become one of the “Destination Cities” in the new edition of this magazine, and the publisher Gloria Hood will be in attendance as well.

Lobby Window of The Gallery at Redlands

Tonight has been a soothing night in Studio Eidolons, thanks to hygge. A friend recommended this book to me in January 2021 and I only read the first third of it. Tonight I decided it was time to get it off the shelf and read the rest. I’m always in search of the most pleasing environment to facilitate the spirit of eudaimonia, particularly when I’ve completed a round of crushing deadlines.

Thanks for reading. I’ll try to write more tomorrow.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Morning Musings in Studio Eidolons

March 29, 2022
Running out of places to stash my framed watercolors and prints
Puzzling over James Joyce’s Ulysses (so, what else is new?)

In the years after I learned how to make meaning, it was fun to meet others who were experiencing meaning too. I could recognize them immediately. They were building a family or a company. They were leading a team. They were trying to write a book or record an album or create enough art for a gallery showing. They were in motion. They were building something.

Donald Miller, Hero on a Mission

I’ll lay my cards on the table. The day at hand is challenging, but I’m not screaming or throwing furniture across the room. After I finish this blog I’ll give the rest of this entire day to grading and making final preparations for tomorrow’s college lecture. As I wrote in the last blog, I’m ready to leave the college experience behind. After grinding out adjunct contracts since 1985, I’ve decided it is time to end this, just like I ended the high school tenure five years ago. The art side of my life (business as well as creative studio time) has grown to the point that I can no longer pursue a task as time consuming as the university. Though my schedule says I only teach on Mondays and Wednesdays, the reality is that the college owns Tuesday as well with all the grading, administrative stuff and lecture prep. And then, they frequently need me to tend to details the remaining seven days of the week, though I’m in the gallery, trying to give that business my full attention. I’ve finally decided that the university contracts have to end. I feel relief as I write this.

Because I’ve been absorbed of late with the odyssey theme, I’ve divided my reading between Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce’s Ulysses and Proust’s’ Remembrance of Things Past. A few nuggets have been gleaned (though not so much from Joyce!). Returning to my reading of the Donald Miller text (posted above), I felt the drawstring pulling together the ideas that have been floating around me of late.

For decades, I’ve been conscious of my attempts to create meaning, to create a story for my life to follow. In all my years of classroom experience, I was conscious that I was seeking to balance my academic pursuits with my artistic ones. Hence I thoroughly loved reading about the lives of artists such as Robert Motherwell and Edward Hopper, brilliant academic minds who never turned their back on intellectual pursuits as they continued to create art. And though I always felt that the university and high school students, faculty and administrators were interested in about 2% of what I studied, wrote and taught (nothing personal intended here–of course they all have their own lives and agendas), I was never deterred from my pursuit of ideas and art. They kept me growing, kept me moving forward.

Though I’ll be leaving the classroom, I’ll not be abandoning scholarly study; these things feed my imagination and artistic creations in ways I’ll probably never be able to express adequately. I just won’t have a forum to talk publicly about these matters, though they will no doubt leak into the blogs. What I do anticipate in the months ahead is more quality time to pursue the arts. So many events are already coming up that I regret have to share time with the university commitments. On April 9 from 4-7pm, a reception for an art exhibit (including five of my own watercolors) will open at Barons Creek Wine Room, 115 E. Bridge St., Granbury, Texas 76048. At the end of next month, April 30-May 1, Artscape 2022 will be held at the Dallas Arboretum. This is my biggest art festival of the year and already I am laying foundations for what I hope is my best tent display ever. Over the past three months I have created a vast inventory of new art to put on display and sale. These things I’ve managed to do in addition to the college grind. How gladly I anticipate focusing only on these creative matters.

In the text above, Donald Miller expressed his pleasure in meeting with other creative people, and that is what I hope to accomplish more in the future. I am now announcing our next Palestine Artists Cafe to be held Friday night at 9:00 (after we close the gallery) at the Pint and Barrel Drafthouse at 302 E. Crawford St. Feel free to join us, and if you don’t know what we look like, look for the people gathered around the table with open books before us; we’re always sharing what we’ve read recently that inspires us to create art. Or just email me at or phone me at (817) 821-8702.

The Eyes of Texas Fine Art Gallery magazine will be coming out in April as well. I’m proud to be one of the two artists featured on the front cover. I will also have a full-page artist ad inside (in addition to the page shown above), our gallery will have a full-page ad, and the City of Palestine and other businesses and artists from our gallery will have over ten full pages of ads as well. As soon as we know where the “coming out party” for the magazine is held, we’ll send out the information to you. Sandi and I are proud to be part of this front line of Palestine becoming a “Destination City” in this fine arts magazine.

There is so much going on now. 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.

New Creations

March 28, 2022
Colorful Bison. Watercolor 11 x 14″ frame. $100

Perhaps I am more than usually jealous of my freedom. I feel that my connections with and obligations to society are at present very slight and transient.

Henry David Thoreau, Journal entry, January 10, 1851

This morning’s reading from the Journals of Thoreau yielded timely food for thought, for me. I have decided that this semester is my “last rodeo” with the university. The adjunct contracts began in 1985, and I feel that that is long enough. I ended my high school tenure in 2017, after 28 years, but continued to sign university contracts. But now is a good time to bring the series to an end; there are other flowers I’d like to water, with whatever time I have left on this journey.

I have always been a fan of Thoreau’s schedule, but not a participant; I have managed to work in the public for more than three decades, and now I think that the Thursday-Saturday gallery work in Palestine suffices, giving me Sunday through Wednesday to do as I please, when I please. And I’m sure that there will be times we will choose to remain in Palestine for a full week, not having to return to Fort Worth to teach college classes.

Ghost Ranch. Watercolor 8 x 10″ frame. $75

Meanwhile I’m still cranking out art to frame and put on the market. I have Artscape 2022 at the Dallas Arboretum coming up April 29-May 1.

Thanks for reading.


March 21, 2022
Quiet inside Studio Eidolons

His mind is always working overtime, and in his best work this intensity registers as a kind of generosity.

Jed Perl, New Art City, writing about painter Fairfield Porter

My Desk, Cluttered as Usual

With the Dogwood Art & Music Festival and our Gallery at Redlands reception behind us as well as Spring Break, I turn my attention now back to college work and new art for the next event: Artscape 2022 at the Dallas Arboretum April 30-May 1. I feel some of my energy returning after a good night’s sleep and the morning given entirely to reading, thinking and writing. My dear friend Dian Darr gave me an early birthday gift: Julila Cameron’s Morning Pages Journal. Having read The Artist’s Way many years ago, I followed the writer’s discipline of “morning pages” for quite a few years, then got away from it.

Resuming The Morning Pages practice this morning, I was reminded of the benefits, namely the flushing away of negative thoughts and low-grade thinking by writing rapidly three pages of long-hand thoughts with no stoppage. I find the benefits best fit a metaphor of Ralph Waldo Emerson about the water pump first bringing up dirty water before the fresh, clean water emerges. The Morning Pages provide for that–getting rid of the junk, what Zig Ziglar used to call “stinkin’ thinkin'”. Once that debris is discarded, the good, fresh ideas are free to emerge. And the discipline this morning certainly yielded quality journal writing afterward, as well as a clearer vision of what I wish to accomplish today.

Having said all that, I am ready to begin the tasks that I love the most–drawing, watercoloring, and framing pieces for the next art event. The morning has brimmed with quality, perhaps I can expect better things this afternoon as well.

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.

Progress on the Covered Wagon Camp

February 25, 2022

“The purity of the thing you do makes me so very conscious of the fact that I live in the marketplace – and I feel the marketplace marks me quite sorely.”

Georgia O’Keeffe letter to her sister Catherine’s painting.

Reading a Georgia O’Keeffe biography early this morning touched on a topic I am always discussing with my other artist friends–whether or not we make art to please ourselves or to feed the market. We all seem to agree on the same basic idea–we make art to please ourselves, but also hope to sell . . .

Around 1990 was when I decided I wanted to see if there was a market for my art work. Deciding upon a genre was easy–I wanted to paint nostalgic America, beginning in the Midwest where my roots remain, and making my way to the Southwest where I’ve resided since the 1970’s. I have for the most part stayed within that subject. When considering “Southwest Art”, I always balked, feeling the market was saturated and that the subject was not really intrinsic to my own upbringing.

Several factors have led me to change my mind. Spending time with Sandi, who is an equestrian, has given me plenty of time to spend around horses, and I’ve immensely enjoyed sketching them and occasionally painting them. And yes, the subject sells well. In addition to this, I’ve spent considerable time over the past decade in West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. The wide-open horizon of the plains, the colorful canyons, and the towering mountains have certainly held my attention, and I have devoted hours and days to painting them en plein air. Last and certainly not least, television–Longmire, Yelllowstone, and 1883, along with Ken Burns’s documentary The West has flooded my imagination with images, so I’ve recently decided to respond to this stimululs to see what transpires. I’m enjoying the journey. Before I know it, Colorado will be in my sights. I just paid for the cabin rental of my favorite place in South Fork where I can fish that branch of the Rio Grande and continue to watercolor those magnificent mountains and evergreens.

This is my first attempt to paint covered wagons under a night sky and I thought I would put a couple of fellows out front next to a smoky fire with their coffee. The subject is one of my favorites and I hope I can pull this one off. We’ll see . . .

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.

Art Rhapsody on a Sunday

February 20, 2022
Early Start in Studio Eidolons

Before we do any actual translating, he says, we must translate ourselves to what a fragment says, what it is thinking; we must first arrive on its foreign shores and, like Hermes on Ogygia, stop to contemplate before we can return with some fitting memento of it to the land of our own language.

David Farrell Krell, speaking of Martin Heidegger, in “The Anaximander Fragment”

I have tried for years to explain to anyone interested that most of my inspiration for making art comes from literature or philosophy; writers inspire me to paint just as much as other artists. Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell confessed that James Joyce, “the Shakespeare of modernism” (Motherwell’s words) inspired him to paint above most other influences. This morning’s reading from Heidegger’s lectures on Nietzsche inspired me to write in my journal and now to pass on these new ideas to you . . .

Breakfast at the Woodshed Smokehouse

The morning’s reading set the table for what I wanted to do in the studio today, but I first decided I needed a good breakfast. So . . . I journeyed to Fort Worth’s Woodshed Smokehouse and found a seat overlooking the Trinity River with the smoke of a wood fire blowing directly into my face (it was still cold and windy outside, so the smell and warmth of the fire was delicious). Waiting for breakfast also afforded me quality time to continue hammering out in my journal these ideas from Heidegger that were still incubating . . .

My opening quote above points out Heidegger’s views on the art of translation. This has stirred me for years, because I regard making art as translation–we are translating our sensations of the world enveloping us and trying to capture these sensations on a blank picture plane before us.

Years ago, I made friends with a couple who owned an old general store that they had transported to their ranch. They graciously gave me a key to the store (which has a residence attached to it) to use as a special hideaway anytime I needed to get away from the city and school teaching job that I had at the time. On their property was this covered chuck wagon stowed away in a barn. I took a number of pictures of the wagon and even painted a small plein air sketch of it during one of my stays at the old store.

Still on the Easel
Completed Sketch

I still remember how much I enjoyed the time spent staring at the congeries of cooking utenstils and food containers on the wagon and the attempt to capture them on paper. But I balked at the thought of translating this entire subject into a larger watercolor; I had never really experienced a chuck wagon meal or campsite. My friend Wayne White is a master “cowboy cook” and has used these kinds of utensils to cook for me while we’ve been out camping and fishing. But the actual chuck wagon experience has never been mine, and I felt inadequate to “translate” such a subject into a painting.

Watching 1883 on TV for the past couple of months has changed my perspective. Thanks to that film experience, I’ve found myself poring over old photographs published in books and on the Internet until finally I went back into my own archives and pulled out the dozen photos I took of this chuck wagon out on the ranch from years ago. And I decided: Now is the time. Just do it.

Nearing Completion of the Chuck Wagon Watercolor

This is my first real attempt. I’m certain others will follow. If viewers could experience even half the depth of joy and fulfilment I’ve known while staring at this subject and chipping away at its details, then I’ll say the experience has been worth the effort.

More later. 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.