Posts Tagged ‘Studio Eidolons’

Still Working on the Geometry

March 28, 2023

Hard at work in Studio Eidolons

I see in painters prose writers and poets. Rhyme, measure, the turning of verses which is indispensable and which gives them so much vigor, are analogous to the hidden symmetry, to the equilibrium at once wise and inspired, which governs the meeting or separation of lines and spaces, the echoes of color, etc.

Eugene Delacroix, Journal, September 19, 1847

This has been an unusually delicious day for me, given mostly to reading and painting in Studio Eidolons. I seldom come away from reading the Delacroix journals without some rich gem that he scribbled for safe keeping. Today has been tedious beyond description as I’ve constantly re-measured, re-drawn, erased and re-drawn yet again. The geometry and tight angles of the Sacred Heart Church are challenging, and I’m feeling the fatigue.

I’m excited to announce my re-newed participation in an Arlington gallery near where I live–Show Me the Monet, located inside Gracie Lane boutique at 4720 S. Cooper Street. Tomorrow I will hang six framed pieces of mine, a combination of watercolors and academic collages. I have also consented to offering monthly watercolor classes there, the next one being held April 12 from 1-4:00. We will render a solitary fly-fisherman in this lesson.

I’m also gearing up for Artscape 2023 to be held at the Dallas Arboretum April 28-30. I’ll share more information about that event as the time nears.

Thanks for reading.


A Sacred Geometry

March 28, 2023

We can now live, not just amphibiously in divided and distinguished worlds, but pluralistically in many worlds and cultures simultaneously. We are no more committed to one culture–to a single ratio among the human senses–any more than to one book or to one language or to one technology.

Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy

While sitting in the Service Department, waiting for my vehicle, I’m revisiting a pair of McLuhan books that piqued my curiosity recently.

The quote lifted above takes me back to my drafting table where I labored awhile yesterday, engrossed in the geometrical and colorful intricacies of one of the stained glass windows of the church across the street from our Gallery at Redlands.

Revisiting this image transported me back through many layers, chapters, and episodes of my life’s education, ministry, and vocations. This is just one of the many deep-seated pleasures I glean while making art. As lines and colors converge to suggest images, my personal history drifts to the surface of my consciousness, and I enjoy drifting along in the stream of thoughts and sensations. This is why I’m unaware of how much time passes while I’m working in the studio.

Incidentally, this is how I survive waiting rooms. Thanks to books, journal, and imagination, I can endure long stretches of waiting.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday morning thoughts while sketching

March 26, 2023

We are preparing for yet another day trip today, having returned home late last night from the symphony in Tyler, Texas.

Finding the weather outdoors gorgeous beyond description, I decided to pull up a chair in the garage and see if I could capture some of our neighborhood sites in a SketchBook.

While sketching, my mind does not stop. So when I paused in the midst of the sketch I decided to write the following:

What does drawing do for me? It slows my breathing. Relaxes me. And, at the same time, it focuses me. Drawing allows me to concentrate my gaze, my attention, my love and devotion, to the Subject which has rendered me an object. I have given myself to a Subject, and worshipfully move to translate the experience onto a white, two-dimensional rectangle.

Thanks for reading.

Kicking off a Busy Art Week

March 13, 2023

Quality “Executive Time” this morning

Hello art friends. The weekend was end-to-end action in Palestine, Texas, so I found no time to stop and blog. We have the 85th annual Dogwood Art & Music Festival arriving this Friday and Saturday, March 17-18. In a couple of days, an enormous tent will be erected by two crews that will cover the entire parking lot across the street from The Redland Hotel. Friday morning, thirty-two artists will arrive to set up for the VIP event that will run from 5-9:00. Tickets for the Friday night VIP event are $20 that provide the patron access to heavy hors d’oeuvres and an open bar hosted by Stella Artois and Roundhouse Liquor. There will also be live acoustic music, and patrons will have the first opportunity to purchase art from the artists who were carefully juried into this show, a host of paintings, photography, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, glass-making, fibers, and graphic design. Tickets may be purchased at the tent’s entrance. We’re expecting a blockbuster night with nearly twice the number of artists featured than last year.

Saturday’s festival will run 9-4:00. A parade will open the morning’s festivities, and the entire Palestine downtown will witness thousands filling the streets lined with merchandise booths, food vendors, live music, children’s entertainment, and of course, the Art Tent which will have free admission, as well as adding several booths of work created by local high school students.

This will be the fifth year of the massive Art Tent addition to this long-running festival. Local artist William E. Young, son of the famous Ancel E. Nunn, will be in our celebrity booth under the tent, offering for sale signed and numbered editions of his fifth and final installment of art commemorating this festival. Every year, William has created acrylic paintings of whimsical animal musicians busking in the streets in front of historic Palestine landmarks. I can’t wait to show you his latest contribution; it will be unveiled Thursday at a special event and must be kept under wraps until then. But below you can see the artist from last year under the tent, standing among his previous four editions:

Artist William E. Young

This year I have chosen not to occupy a booth under the Big Tent, but let my work remain in our Gallery at Redlands across the street, and instead be on hand to assist the artists with the loading in, registration and setting up. During the times I’ll be helping under the Tent, we have been fortunate to enlist the help of several of our gallery artists in keeping the Gallery at Redlands open and operational. They will be bringing in new work of their own to add to the already existing work in our gallery exhibit, and offering their pieces for sale. These artists include Steve Miller, Kathy Lamb and Amanda Hukill. You will truly enjoy visiting with them in the Gallery as well as meeting the VIP artists under the tent. Three other gallery artists from our group will have their work under the tent: Deanna Pickett-Frye, Cecilia Bramhall and Orlando Guillen. Sandi and I are proud that The Gallery at Redlands will be well-represented in this Festival.

The hour is getting late, the laundry is nearly done, and we have a multitude of chores bearing down on us before we return to Palestine. As chairperson of Hospitality, Sandi has been working overtime for several weeks now, and there appears to be no letting up in the remaining days before the celebration. I will be doing a demonstration and leading a watercolor workshop in Granbury Tuesday before heading to Palestine, anticipating that Sandi will get there ahead of me.

Maybe tomorrow I can share some of my current ideas about journaling. I’ve chosen to snap a few pictures of recent journal doodlings from my “executive time” bliss. When I go back to read old journals, I’ve found it easier to flip to the start of each day by having some kind of collage assembly embellish the page before I scribble out the stuff that’s on my mind.

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.

Planning #3 of the Palestine Series

February 17, 2023
First vision. June 11, 2022
Palestine Blues. 1st of series
Nearing completion of 2nd in the series

“It is very well to copy what one sees. It’s much better to draw what one has retained in one’s memory. It is a transformation in which imagination collaborates with memory. One reproduces only that which is striking, that is to say, the necessary. This one’s recollections and invention are liberated from the tyranny which nature exerts.”

Edgar Degas

“It’s hard to define how they come about,” Hopper said of his pictures, “but it’s a long process of gestation in the mind and a rising emotion.”

Brian O’Doherty, “Edward Hopper’s Voice” in American Masters: The Voice and the Myth

The three-week hiatus has been restful for me. As we approached the second anniversary of owning The Gallery at Redlands, Sandi & I decided we needed to take a couple of weekends off before the annual Dogwood Art & Music Festival gets underway. In three weeks we’ve enjoyed our fireplace during the Texas freeze, traveled Oklahoma, Missouri & Arkansas, and rested here at home.

Above all, I’ve bathed in the warm, soothing waters of imagination through sketching, reading, journaling and composting ideas for new art work. Edward Hopper has been my guiding spirit lately as I’ve pondered ways to continue my Palestine blues series of watercolors.

This series began on June 11, 2022 while walking across town one morning as I’m accustomed to doing during our weekend stays there. Looking across Spring Street (actually Highway 287 through Palestine), I was arrested at the beauty of the contrasting warm sun and cool shadows around what once was the Pearlstone Grocery.

On August 22, after a lengthy gestation, I finally began my first attempt at painting this, adding the ghost of Lightnin’ Hopkins walking along the tracks. This bluesman used to perform thirty minutes away at a juke joint in the town of Crockett.

I began my second painting on January 2, adding a harp player to Lightnin’. The harp player is actually a guy I watched play one Sunday morning in Dallas at the Sons of Hermann Hall some years back. We were beginning the final day of our Randy Brodnax Christmas Art Show. I took pictures of him with my phone and used them for this composition.

On January 18, something happened that gave me fresh inspiration for the 3rd of this series. I began work on it yesterday, though I’m still finishing the second one. The quotes above I posted because of the severe editing of this third in the series; there are a host of items removed from the scene as well as new objects added and others repositioned. I’ve already changed my mind a dozen times and chuckle at the thought of my characters and sign posts getting up, walking about and repositioning themselves somewhere else in the scene. I keep saying “Stop that!” but they won’t listen.

More later. . .

Studio Eidolons Saturday Morning

February 11, 2023

Enjoying Cowboy Coffee on a Saturday Morning in the Studio

An artist must never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation, prisoner of success.

Henri Matisse

This is my first morning back in the studio after a short vacation home to St. Louis to visit my parents, siblings and friends. I’m getting ready to make some new and fresh art after a lengthy and restful hiatus and wanted to share some of my most recent moments and memories with my readers. I’ve been enjoying this new book Last Light that I have mentioned before, and am nearing the end of the Matisse chapter. The quote above arrested me, as I had been entertaining second thoughts about pursuing some art that lies outside my normal practice. The swift kick in the pants reminded me that a real artist is free to pursue whatever holds his/her attention. And I shall respond to these new stimuli.

I’m enjoying Cowboy Coffee made on our stovetop and thought I’d share the picture of the pot I brewed when our power was out. Much has been written of late about the political ramifications of Texas and its perennial boast of being a major energy capital of the world, yet cannot seem to keep electricity flowing when the state hits a winter deep freeze. We were fortunate that we only lost power for a few hours; many in this state have gone for days without it.

Today is the tenth anniversary of the photo taken above. It was during that winter that I converted our garage into a Man Cave and created probably my best still life while working in that space.

I now have this watercolor hanging in our Gallery at Redlands in Palestine. I used a full sheet of watercolor paper, so once the matting and framing were added, it turned out to be an enormous piece to display.

I have been more faithful recently to my pledge to sketch more, and have enjoyed the sensation of a pencil dragging across a page and leaving its tracks. I recall artist Paul Klee describing drawing as simply a line going for a walk. The act of sketching has ways of relaxing me that other activities cannot seem to accomplish.

After our St. Louis sojourn, Sandi and I headed south to Bentonville, Arkansas to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. After my recent watercolor experiments in rendering trees, I was held spellbound while viewing the paintings of George Inness, Asher Durand and William Trost Richards. I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of watercolor landscape painting now. And I have little doubt that the works of these kindred spirits will improve my future endeavors.

George Inness, An Old Roadway

Asher B. Durand, Kindred Spirits

William Trost Richards, Landscape

We closed Gallery at Redlands for two successive weekends so we could enjoy some relaxing vacation time. The Texas winter storm occupied the first week and the Missouri/Arkansas travels filled the second. We plan to return to Palestine a week from today to resume our normal gallery hours.

Thanks for reading.

Monday Morning in Studio Eidolons

January 16, 2023

Back to work on my Watercolor

Goya was not a systematic thinker, much less someone given to producing treatises or manifestos. He was an artist, a man who expressed himself in images.

Richard Lacayo, Last Light: How Six Great Artists Made Old Age a Time of Triumph

Waking at 5:39 this morning was not the plan, but it’s worked wonderfully for me. Our last four days in The Gallery at Redlands were packed beyond description with tasks that were rewarding, yet rendered me a mindless boob by the time we got home last evening. Retiring to bed around 10:00-ish, I set an alarm for 8:00, and found myself rising from sleep at 5:39. Coffee and executive time, sitting up in bed, yielded restful bliss in reading and journaling. By 8:00 I found myself at my drafting table in Studio Eidolons, Paddington seated nearby, and good sentiments bathing my being.

Paddington, my Studio Companion

I won’t discuss all the darkness I read regarding Goya this morning. Suffice it to say that I also am not a systematic thinker, and hope I can tell my story through images as well. But I choose images filled with light, rather than darkness. My second attempt at a watercolor illustrating “Palestine Blues” is coming along slowly, but satisfyingly, for me. I did manage to get in quite a bit of work while in Palestine the past four days, but now am happy to have some peace and quiet here in our home as I continue to chip away at this large piece.

Thanks for reading.

A Quiet Evening Painting in Studio Eidolons

January 4, 2023

Remember that art is process. The process is supposed to be fun. For our purposes, “the journey is always the only arrival” may be interpreted to mean that our creative work is actually our creativity itself at play in the field of time. At the heart of this play is the mystery of joy.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Julia nailed that one. During this quiet winter night, I have known exquisite delight, bent over the drafting table, working on some of the exacting details called on by this composition. When I get lost in a painting, I have no idea whether I have worked for 15 minutes or two hours. Time elides.

Paddington has curled up to slumber in the chair beside my drafting table. The presence of the Christmas tree continues to soothe my spirits as well. I cannot dial up a better environment for watercoloring. More tomorrow . . .

Thanks for reading.

Paddington Under the Writing Desk

January 3, 2023

January 3, 2023 still brings contentment inside Studio Eidolons. The early part of my morning I savored at my desk while Paddington napped underneath. Then I returned to work on my latest Palestine blues watercolor. Signage and foliage are slowing me way, way down, but there is no deadline for this; I’m working at my own leisurely pace and enjoying every stroke of the brush and pencil.

My reading this morning mined genuine gold from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I found it timely because I find myself again scratching my head in the midst of a large, complex watercolor, unsure of what to try next:

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.

Agnes de Mille

Thanks for reading.

Ideas of the Creative Eros from Goethe and Friends

January 2, 2023

Mysterious in the light of day,

Nature, in veils, will not let us perceive her,

And what she is unwilling to betray,

You cannot wrest from her with thumbscrews, wheel, or lever.

Goethe, Faust

The New Year finds me resurrecting an old practice abandoned some time ago–Julia Cameron’s concept of The Morning Pages. With this practice, you begin the day by writing out longhand three pages of junk as rapidly as possible to prime your mind for the flow of ideas. This task takes me anywhere from 17-20 minutes to complete, and once done, I throw away the pages and start anew with ideas spilling out faster than I can scribble them into my journal. This morning’s activity catapulted me back into my reading of Faust which then led to Heidegger’s essay “On the Origin of the Work of Art.

The Faust quote posted above reminded me of the watercolor I’m now pursuing (also posted above), a blues theme set in Palestine, Texas that has me bemused as I stare into the complex tangle of spring foliage, power lines and deep shadows. The last time I found myself perusing texts from favorite books in an attempt to solve problems involving color, composition and landscape subjects was summer 2015 when I spent a week on the Texas Laguna Madre as Artist-in-Residence. I had taken to the island the essay by Heidegger and was arrested by his quote from German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dűrer:

Albrecht Dűrer did after all make the well-known remark: “For in truth, art lies hidden within nature; he who can wrest it from her, has it.” “Wrest” here means to draw out the rift and to draw the design with the drawing-pen on the drawing board. . . . True, there lies hidden in nature a rift-design, a measure and a boundary and, tied to it, a capacity for bringing forth–that is, art.

The communion I enjoyed with this trio of great minds inspired me to scribble out some new ideas I’m ready to apply to this current watercolor. As I enjoyed thinking and writing out the new theories, Julia Cameron joined in on the dialogue with the following (from her book The Artist’s Way):

Once you accept that it is natural to create, you can begin to accept a second idea–that the creator will hand you whatever you need for the project. The minute you are willing to accept the help of this collaborator, you will see useful bits of help everywhere in your life. Be alert: there is a second voice, a higher harmonic, adding to and augmenting your inner creative voice. This voice frequently shows itself in synchronicity.

Participating in this Great Conversation this morning has energized me. My heartfelt thanks to Goethe, Heidegger, Dűrer and Cameron for caring enough to write out their ideas to share with other hungry, kindred spirits seeking to create.

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.