Posts Tagged ‘Studio Eidolons’

Sunday Repose

June 13, 2021

All that mankind has done, thought, gained or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books.

Thomas Carlyle

What a serene Sunday! Dragging in at 11:30 last night after a 48-hour gallery weekend, I was quite bedraggled, but happy. Happier now, rested! My reading this morning over coffee yielded this remark from Carlyle that I had recorded 15 years ago in my journal, and forgotten (I really should spend more time digging up the old bones I’ve buried in those notebooks since 1985). I cannot exaggerate the power of books to light creative fires for me. When I’m feeling flat, someone will always pull me out of the funk with what s/he cared enough to write for others to find. I still love the quote from the film Shadowlands: “We read to know we’re not alone.”

I have decided today to push further with this “Lone Bison” series. It began in Utah last September when I encountered a herd and took dozens of photos. Not long after, I used the photos as models and began drawing and watercoloring in sketchbooks my experiments with color and composition. I am becoming more daring with my colors of late and want to see how far I can push it.

When it comes to selling my art, I often find myself talking out both sides of my mouth: I’ll sell anything. However, there are particular pieces that I’m attached to for various reasons, and while in my possession, I spend time looking at them and contemplating how I can repeat the painting or extend it into a new direction. When a new work sells quickly, I’m robbed of that contemplative, composting time that has come to mean so much more in these later years.

Case in point: The Lone Bison. Last weekend I pulled from my collection at home a solitary bison, 5 x 7″ inches, that I painted as a demo for one of my “Watercolor Wednesdays” classes. I liked the way it cropped neatly into a 5 x 7″ inch matt, so I framed it and set it on the display case in The Gallery at Redlands. That very evening, someone bought it. So . . . all week long I could not stop thinking of that small watercolor study. Yesterday, in the gallery, I painted another one, using the same model as before. Before I could get it into the frame, a dear friend I’ve known since high school texted me that he wanted to purchase it. So . . . in the evening, I painted a third one, matted and framed it, but left it in the gallery in case someone just might see it this next week and wish to purchase it. So now here I am, at home in Studio Eidolons, thinking of all the possibilities I want to pursue with that solitary bison. We’ll see what happens today. I’m grateful for the time, the space, and the quiet.

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.

Dawn in Studio Eidolons

May 24, 2021
Early Morning in Studio Eidolons

Motherwell’s varied imagery was a product of his complex, anguished inner being, and also an expression of his deeply held convictions about the nature of reality, which he believed to contain not a single truth but many relative truths, which could be only partially revealed and not explained. This is reflected in his fascination with the idea that the ancient Greeks had no word for truth. As he told an interviewer, “Socrates says something and it’s translated, What you say is true Socrates.” But as Motherwell pointed out, the Greek word was aletheia, which meant revealed, or hidden. “And so a literal translation,” he noted, “would be you’ve unhidden that point, Socrates.”

Jack Flam, “Introduction: Robert Motherwell at Work,” volume one Robert Motherwell: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1941-1991.

5:37 a.m.–the dogs dragged me back to consciousness. Something triggers inside them, telling them it is time to eat, and they immediately pounce on me. This is good though. I retired early to bed last night thinking of what I could do when I return to my studio vacated since the middle of last week. I love being back in the space where I can pursue creative eros. By the time I entered this morning, the light was just breaking, and I felt my breathing change.

While making Cowboy Coffee, my eyes lighted on the three-volume Catalogue Raisonné I purchased for myself as a retirement gift four years ago. Re-opening it over coffee, I decided to re-read portions I had marked (and forgotten), and came across the thought-provoking passage quoted above.

We acknowledge that we are complex individuals. The longer we live, the more we seek understanding of our complexities. We reach for an explanation, pattern or key phrase to encapsulate our persona.

Early in life I sought role models. Later, wishing to find myself rather than copy the character of others, I looked upon my assembly of heroes as templates, finding pieces of my own life amidst the collage of attributes among them. I turned to Robert Motherwell this morning, not because of his artistic style (of which I share little-to-nothing), but because of his lifelong struggle to balance a life of art and scholarship. Art Digest labeled Motherwell as “one of today’s most thinking painters.” He was frequently criticized for teaching and publishing instead of focusing all his time on developing as a painter.

I laid down my brush for a decade to study theology at a seminary. Once I emerged from the halls of academia, I entered the teaching field. Within a year of teaching, I once again picked up the brush, hungry to make art again, but never able to walk away from the books. Motherwell is my friend, because I see in him a complete man who never apologized for pursuing both worlds–art and scholarship. Art feeds my scholarship and scholarship feeds my art. At this age, I make no apology for living a life of the mind.

This morning’s reading brought my attention again to this notion of “truth.” Learning Greek years ago in seminary, I knew the word translated “truth” (aletheia), but never paid attention to its etymology till late one night (in that wonderful rustic general store in the east Texas wilderness) reading Martin Heidegger’s notes on the pre-socratic Heraclitus. It was then that I learned the word (aletheia), often rendered “truth”, is better translated “unforgetting, revelation, uncovering, or discovery.” The word “lethe” we know from the River of Lethe. It means “forget”. The prefix “a” (alpha privative) is the negation, hence “the un-forgetting.” Continuing with Motherwell:

“In that sense, I wish the word truth didn’t exist. Because one of the reasons I’ve been able to move all over the place is I take that for granted. Everybody has his own revelations, but the mass of the totality has never been revealed to anybody.”

I am going to try in my future to redefine this notion of “truth” that has been misused and understood throughout my life. The word denotes an uncovering, a revealing, a reminder (un-forgetting), a discovery.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to UNCOVER (seek the truth).

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Continued Work on “Palimpsest”–Measure Twice. Cut Once

May 3, 2021

palimpsest

noun

a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Home again in Studio Eidolons, I’m finally rested and refreshed and ready to return to painting. I did maage to get some work done over the weekend in The Gallery at Redlands on this building I discovered in Little Rock, covered with ghost signs. I am thinking about titling it “Palimpsest” because the layers of signage from early 19th to mid-20th century remided me of my earlier years of seminary studies when poring over photo facsimiles of ancient biblical palimpsest pages.

Ghost signs have been my passion for many years, and my dear friends the Darrs just gave me a very fitting birthday gift, an out of print book, Ghost Signs: Brick wall Signs in America, by William Stage an amazing author and photographer with a background in philosophy. I am nearly finished reading the entire text and am deeply touched by this statement from art critic John Brod Peters:

On ancient, peeling brick walls, these fading signs are the dying whispers of another age.

Reading that, I felt the hairs raising on the nape of my neck. This particular building in Little Rock, Arkansas is the 1891 O’Bryan building. The orginal painted advertisements were covered by an adjoining building in 1915. When the newer building was torn down in the 1980’s, the ads were visible again. The Coca-Cola ad barely shows beneath the Tom Moore cigar ad.

Studio Eidolons in the Morning

The day in studio has been soothing, and the watercolor is now slowing down considerably. The old adage “Measure twice. Cut Once” is in play as I spend more time staring at every square inch of detail than actual painting. The mortar seams in the brick work are slowing me down as is the parking lot and sidewalk just barely begun. When I am this deep in a painting, I tend to tighten up and sometimes lose the freshness and spontaneity that I love to see. I’m glad there is no deadline for this piece.

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.

A Special Day

April 20, 2021
View from my Studio Eidolons

When the early morning light quietly

grows above the mountains . . . .

The world’s darkening never reaches

to the light of Being. . . .

To think is to confine yourself to a

single thought that one day stands

still like a star in the world’s sky.

Martin Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet”

The pups woke me at 6:20, so the day seemed like most others at its beginning, except . . . Facebook greetings came pouring in. My Birthday. At age 67, I confess that for several years birthdays have tended to sneak up on me; I just don’t look forward to them as I did while younger. But I don’t mean to sound morose; my life in the past few years has been better than ever before, and I wish it could go on for another 67 years. But I have to say this: greetings from friends truly mean much more in these senior years than actual gift-wrapped presents received in earlier times.

After feeding pups and French-pressing my favorite New Mexico Pinon coffee, I found a nice comfy chair next to a window and opened my Heidegger volume to read what I was thinking as I waited for the coffee and looked out the kitchen window at the lovely light of this lovely day.

I am a sucker for antiquarian book stores. I found one in Palestine, a couple of blocks from our gallery. This morning I opened my recent purchase of a collection of Alexander Pope’s poems, the volume was published in 1876. I took a few moments to read the first page of his “Essay on Man.”

Let us (since life can little more supply

Than just to look about us, and to die)

Expatiate free o’er all this scene of man;

A mighty maze, but not without a plan.

The first two lines didn’t really “do it” for me, but Wow, the final pair! I feel that this sentiment will abide throughout this day. Birthdays probably make me more introspective and retrospective than other days (and that is saying plenty!). Though I have a huge stack of work in front of me, I believe I’ll find a way to think over this extensive gift of life and adventure that has been granted me.

This weekend I will be in Booth #71 at the Dallas Arboretum for Artscape 2021. I have a ton of new work I am packaging for display and sale. Below are a couple of the more than 100 new greeting cards I have created. They are 5 x 7″ and I sell them for $5 each or 5 for $20. My art is on the front, text on the back, and they are blank inside.

I hate to close this so quickly, but I am going to be extremely busy the next three days preparing for the weekend art festival. 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.

Sunday Morning Musings from Studio Eidolons

April 11, 2021
Glad to be back in the Studio for some Quiet Restoration

. . . finding you were able to make something up; to create truly enough so that it made you happy to read it; and to do this every day you worked was something that gave a greater pleasure than any I had ever known.

Ernest Hemingway

Today is restoration day. Sandi and I received our second COVID vaccine shots yesterday and are happy to experience no unpleasant symptoms. We’ve just been on the go for several days and are glad now to stop for awhile.

I’ve resumed reading Carlos Baker’s Hemingway: The Writer as Artist. I love the quote above, and that general sentiment of the artist–creating something out of the void. My life has been enriched in recent years by a mix of painting and writing. Last weekend while in The Gallery at Redlands, I met an author who invited me to join their writers’ group that meets once a month. The next one won’t be until May, but I am already leaning forward with enthusiasm to gathering with these writers and finding ways to sharpen my own vision of what to do with my own practice.

My latest watercolor has laid dormant on my drafting table for twenty-four hours, and I intend today to give it my next push. I’ve gotten bogged down with the bricks and ghost signage, so I may decide to return to work on the trees awhile. We’ll see.

Planning today to return to the Ghost Sign watercolor

I look forward to participating in Artscape 2021 at the Dallas Aroboretum April 23-25. Last year was canceled due to COVID, but I understand that there will be 80+ artists participating this year. This festival has been one of the highlights of my annual art schedule before last year’s cancellations. I am excited to bring out quite a stack of framed watercolors that have not yet been seen by the public. I guess that’s one positive to address concerning the lost year during COVID.

A new Greeting Card for my Inventory

Hank Under Oklahoma Stars

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,

When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Walt Whitman, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”

Reclining against his backpack, Hank savored the warmth of the fire that neutralized the chill of the October night. He had left Turvey’s Corner just this morning, but thanks to a pair of truckers, had managed to put nearly twelve hours between himself and the town he just left. Finding wide open plains west of the town of Vinita, he now rested his stiff body and gazed in wonder at the millions of stars filling the deep night sky.

The back of the Greeting Card (blank inside)

I have allowed my greeting card inventory to dwindle over the past couple of years. In The Gallery at Redlands, as well as my festival tent, I sell 5 x 7″ cards (blank inside) with my artwork on front and a descriptive text on back. They sell for $5 each, five for $20, and come with the proper envelope. A protective plastic envelope encases the assembly. Above is an example of one of my newest ones printed last week. Materials just arrived to print 250 new cards, so I’m excited to create new editions as well as replenish the ones sold out. Above is an example of one of my newest cards; below is a photo of another spread out.

(Cards are blank inside)

I’m ready to paint again. 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 Serenity in Studio Eidolons

March 30, 2021
First Early Morning Peek into Studio Eidolons

Yes, to paint is to love again, live again, see again. To get up at the crack of dawn in order to take a peek at the water colors one did the day before, or even a few hours before, is like stealing a look at the beloved while she sleeps. The thrill is even greater if one has first to draw back the curtains. How they glow in the cold light of early dawn! Another hour or two and they will already have lost some of their gleam and sparkle. Coming on them by surprise this way they give the impression of having slept all night with their eyes open.

Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Working very slowly and deliberately on my newest composition.

After a full day of rest from my crazy On-the-Road experiences of the past couple of weeks, I finally settled down late last night to my drafting table in my home studio. Before retiring to bed, I read the words posted above from my beloved Henry Miller gift book (love you, Stacy and Leigh!). Waking at dawn, I had to walk into the studio and steal a peek at my work in the morning light. And now, with a shower, fresh clothing and modest breakfast with coffee behind me, I am eating up the precious experience of leaning over my newest piece and painstakingly working with pencil, drafting tools, watercolor pencils and large washes of Winsor & Newton pigments. Slowly the image is taking form, seen perhaps the same way a dark room photographer once saw as s/he leaned over a tray and looked at the film shimmering below the liquid surface.

I won’t be leaving for The Gallery at Redlands till early Thursday morning, so I still have two complete days with very few appointments to get my affairs in order and enjoy this new experience painting in the studio. I fully intend to take this new watercolor with me, although I was unable to work on it at all until late nights in Palestine, the gallery had an abundance of traffic, which we appreciate very much.

16 x 20″ framed special edition giclée print of Burleson, Texas railroad setting. $225

As we approach the third and final weekend of Dogwood Festival, we continue to add new work to The Gallery at Redlands. This morning I framed one of my special edition giclée prints of a Union Pacific diesel rolling through Burleson, Texas. We also welcome new artist Kathy Lamb, who has a pair of framed oils now displayed in the lobby window of our gallery. As soon as I hit town Thursday, I will photograph and post those to the blog.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

Early Sunday Morning in The Gallery at Redlands

March 7, 2021
Quiet Time for Reading and Reflection, The Gallery at Redlands, Palestine, Texas

For many artists, their profession is a mysterious calling, a way to create something unique while rebelling and living outside of society, yet never losing sight of the need to move society. Most artists must persevere against enormous odds in pushing their talent forward. For many, there are no rules or guidelines in the silence of the studio–and, more terrifying, no audience in the loneliness of the studio.

Murray Dessner, Foreword to Living the Artist’s Life by Paul Dorrell

At Work in Studio Eidolons, Arlington, Texas
Working in my Undisclosed Texas Location

The Redlands Hotel is generally quiet on Sundays, and that is when I manage to get most of my work done. This Sunday was a rare exception. The Gallery at Redlands witnessed quite a stream of people passing through, and the conversations were pleasant. Sandi and I are bemused, and happy at the same time. Since we took over the gallery February 1, we haven’t really been open for business, but still managed to sell five paintings. It feels unusual to have patrons perusing the gallery while we are still installing furniture, hanging paintings and adjusting lights. But that is OK.

The quote posted above rang my bell early this morning. I’m looking forward to talking to The Twelve when they finally gather here in The Gallery at Redlands March 20 for our Opening Reception. I’ve wanted to talk to kindred spirits for years about the dynamics we experience when working alone in studios, with our eyes fixed on the days we enter the artists’ marketplace. For years I have known the tension of my private vs. public life (artist vs. public school teacher). Now retired, a different tension has caught me by surprise: artist vs. gallerist. Friends have recently asked me if I am leaving behind the life of an artist to pursue life as a business man. My simple response: No. Daily I am thinking out paintings, waiting for an opening to pursue the next one. I anticipate it will happen soon after our March 20 Gallery Reception if not sooner.

This blog had its inception at 7:30 this morning. Now, it is 4:13 and I am still trying to wrap it up, such has been life in The Gallery at Redlands this Sunday. Our hope is that this will continue.

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.

Continuation of Painting and Gallery Preparations

February 25, 2021
Fort Worth Tower 55 in the Mist 16 x 20″ framed $500

Artists and writers who choose to live in a city are always living in two cities at once. Even as they are walking the streets of this particular place, they are also moving through a city of the imagination. And they may be so exhilarated by the overlap of these two cities, but the sense that the imagination is fortified by the facts, that they are hard put to disentangle the two.

Jed Perl, New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century

Working in Studio Eidolons this morning, I am loving the vibe I feel from The Twelve as we draw closer to our Opening Reception at The Gallery at Redlands, March 20 at 7 p.m. Each of us works out of our own particular city: Rolla and Bonne Terre in Missouri, along with the Texas cities: Amarillo, Arlington, Bedford and Fort Worth. each in our own special studio, our own atelier of visions and dreams. But all of us anticipate with enthusiasm the day we finally gather in Palestine, Texas, an historic railroad town with a beautifully restored Redlands Hotel established in 1915. The Dogwood Festival will kick off its three-week event on the day we gather, Saturday March 20. Booths will fill the streets downtown and people will be everywhere throughout the day and night.

I finally finished and framed my second railroad painting of Fort Worth’s Tower 55, this time in a misty environment. I got the idea while reading New Art City: “With Hofmann, each angle, each splatter, each color was a spark tossed off by life’s wild unpredictability.” In my mind’s eye, I envisioned the angles of Fort Worth’s rails at the interlockers adjacent to Tower 55. I decided I wanted to spatter ink and watercolor around the masqued rails, then add salt and stale bread crumbs to see how the colors would break up. Stripping away the masquing, I then refined the globs with a ruler, using sharpened graphite pencils, colored pencils, and a Micron tech pen. I also wanted to create a misty environment and worked carefully to dilute the pigments, occasionally using QTips to scrub away colors that were too dark or too intense.

I have decided to include this new watercolor with three other of my pieces when our show opens. The Gallery will look different to me, with only four paintings among the collection, but I’m thrilled now to show diversity in our space. Hopefully now there will be something for everyone when patrons enter The Gallery at Redlands to shop.

Painted looking out the Window of The Gallery at Redlands when we opened March 2017

I have decided that as soon as possible I will create another watercolor looking out the window of our Gallery at the Chamber of Commerce building and the Union Pacific railyards on the other side of Spring Street. This watercolor sold quickly. I followed with another and it sold as well. I hope soon to have another one on hand in the Gallery.

We are thrilled at the prospects of the Dogwood Festival and our Artists Reception in March. We hope you will come help us celebrate the event.

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.

Hans Hofmann Speaks to The Twelve

February 21, 2021
cover of New Art City
Studio Eidolons. New Work Beginning

. . . he spoke of a yearning for freedom and intensity of expression, of an individualism that transcends humdrum events and aims for the experiences that are most intense, most essential.

Jed Perl, writing of Hans Hofmann in New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century

As Sandi and I prepare for the opening of The Twelve at Gallery at Redlands March 20, I am personally drawing much inspiration from Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann who was quite the art teacher as well as gallery artist while mid-town Manhattan was preparing to become the new art capital of the world in the 1940s-1950s. For years I have studied the contributions of Motherwell, Pollock, Rothko and DeKooning, but only regarded Hofmann as a footnote, till now. The Abstract Expressionists, also dubbed The New York School, were a highly diverse collection of artitsts who took New York City by storm.

We, The Twelve, are for the most part middle-aged-to senior in our years, and therefore more sober-minded about the effects our art will have on Palestine and East Texas. That is not the reason we are coming here. Our dream is to open a gallery space of diversity, to offer a broad selection of art to appeal to a broader range of people than my watercolors have sought to do in the past. Yes, there will still be watercolors, but we’re adding oil and acrylic on canvas work, along with pastel art, photography, pottery and sculpture. We anticipate that on the night of March 20, we will open our doors to a reception much broader than offered before.

Pictorial life is not imitated life; it is, on the contrary, a created ability based on the inherent life within every medium of expression. We have only to awaken it..

Hans Hofmann

We, The Twelve, have at least one thing in common–we are Awake. Art has been our nurturing force for years, but more recently during this Covid crisis, we have been confined to our studio spaces with more time to reflect on what we wish to do once the public is again within reach. Solitude in the studio has given all of us sacred, quality time for reflection and experimentation in our respective artistic media.

The life of an artist awakened within the dimensions of the sheet of paper was all mixed up with the awakening of mid-century New York. And Hofmann’s genius had everything to do with pushing artists to go into the studio and find, there, the world outside.

Jed Perl, New Art City

And so we, The Twelve, as we awaken to new life within our spaces, hope to awaken a slumbering world to greater possibilities. May we all emerge to find a world even better than the one we were separated from before.

New watercolor of Fort Worth Tower 55 underway . . .

Work in Studio Eidolons is still progressing, though co-mingled with new gallery business and preparations. Soon I hope to share biographical sketches of the rest of the Twelve between now and when we hold our Meet the Artists reception March 20.

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.

Weaving Disparate Strands

February 20, 2021

You know, there is a philosopher who says, As you live your life, it appears to be anarchy and chaos and random events, nonrelated events smashing into each other and causing this situation, and then this happens, and it’s overwhelming, and it just looks like: What in the world is going on? And later, when you look back at it, it looks like a finely-crafted novel. . . But at the time, it don’t!

Joe Walsh, History of the Eagles

I awoke this sunny, snow-covered wintry morning, my mind jarred by a collision of stories, images and ideas for writing, painting, journaling, blogging, and while I made coffee, I wondered what in the devil I was going to do once I sat down at my desk in Studio Eidolons. The words of Joe Walsh of The Eagles came back to me, so I recorded them, then made the decision to weave the disparate threads of memory that woke me a little while ago.

Life imitates art. Art imitates life. For decades I have chipped away at a project combining my personal memoir with a fiction narrative titled Turvey’s Corner 63050. Pieces of this narrative have been dropped into my blog for over a year now. Today, as I work on piecing together a pair of stories from the Hank cycle, merging bison with diesel locomotives, I am sharing portions of my personal journal along with the newly-crafted stories. Hank is my alter-ego, inspired by friend Wayne White from second grade who will join me along with The Twelve artists re-opening The Gallery at Redlands next month. Wayne is currently a photographer residing in Missouri not far from where we grew up. Most of the stories of Hank are my own, co-mingled with made-up episodes. In this blog, I’ll share the fact along with the fiction.

Last September, Sandi and I traveled to Kanab, Utah to visit Zion National Park. On September 12, returning to our hotel from Zion, we encountered a herd of bison on a ranch near a stock tank. We had seen the herd that morning, but twenty-or-so tourists lined the perimeter fence and we decided not to stop. On the return, no one was at the fence, so we pulled over and I strolled down to the fence line and stayed about twenty minutes, observing the movements of the herd and taking numerous photos with my phone. I did not write about the enounter till September 17, back home in Arlington, Texas. The encounter had composted in my memory for nearly a week.

From my journal, September 17, 9:54 p.m.

So what happened with the bison? I was moved by the idyllic setting. The dust cloud raised. The density of the herd. The cow & calf stepping toward me, then moving into the tank to drink. The amber evening sunset on their coats, highlighting them in golds & oranges, while purple ruled the shadows. I felt a connection, a closeness . . .

The next day, I sat down in Studio Eidolons to attempt my first watercolor sketch of a single bison, using photos from my phone as a reference:

Two days later I decided to attempt a second sketch, this time of the herd, again looking at photos on my phone. I had just laid down Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time, which I had been reading since our return home a few days before. I chose to write of myself in the third person.

From my journal September 19, 2020, 1:57 p.m., Motherwell station:

The mad scientist Heideggerian is probing the mists of Being as he bends over the drafting table, spritzes the watercolor sketchbook with a mist of water, then drops in a mixture of Daniel Smith Shadow Violet with Winsor & Newton Cerulean Blue. Then a ribbon of Cerulean below to establish a horizon. Spaced below the horizon, a horizontal line of pale Green-Gold. Below that a hoirzontal line of Transparent Yello & Winsor Violet.

Then, he touched Shadow Violet D.S. in the mists above to begin the shadowy forms of bison emerging from the mist . . .

Returning now @ 2:24 p.m.

Time to draw out the forms, looking at my mist configurations.

Now, I’m sketching out a Hank narrative to illustrate this moment in my life.

Hank gazed across the ranchland at the distant bison herd gathered beside a stock tank, its derelict windmill towering above. He felt a shudder as he watched the sun rippling across the backs of the behemoths. Slowly they grazed among the tall grasses, some of them ambling down into the waters to drink. Adjusting his easel and quickly sketching the profile of the nearest one, he splashed water across the broad body. Then quickly dipping his brush into the Winsor Violet and Transparent Yellow, he touched with the tip of his brush the newly mixed mixture of warm brown, and as the pigment quickly billowed into the water on the paper, Hank tilted the easel just a bit to encourage more movement and watched the color quickly fill the contours of the beast.

As the bison slowly emerged on the wet surface of the paper, Hank recalled the words of Abstract Expressionist painter Robert Motherwell in a recent interview. The artist had driven his car across France toward Spain, arriving at Alta Mira around sundown just as the guard was closing the gate to the cave with the famous prehistoric paintings inside. Motherwell offered the guard a fistful of paper currency, and with a nod, the employee swung the gate back open and let him inside the cave. Finding the ceiling to be low, Motherwell had to lie on his back on an upraised plateau to gaze up at the wounded bison, lit by a single electric bulb. Finding the viewing unsatisfactory, the artist was suddenly handed a lighted candle by the guard who then turned out the electric light. In the flicker of the candle, Motherwell suddenly noticed the impression of the bison moving, shuddering, and he was filled with an emotion never created by the viewing of the photographs in art history books.

Recalling this, Hank looked up at the herd of bison and down at his sketch with renewed fascination. The single watercolor sketch would do for the time being. But one day he would focus on a composition of a bison herd emerging from a dim, misty landscape.

My next watercolor will be a repeat of the Fort Worth Tower 55 I painted a few days ago, but this time with considerably more atmospheric traces of fog and diesel exhaust. As Hank looks at the scene in the early dawn, he will recall the sight of the bison and draw parallels between the diesels and bison stirring up the atmosphere.

In closing, I’m posting a pair of watercolors I attempted of the bison. Neither have yet been framed or put on public display.

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.