Posts Tagged ‘Texas State Railroad’

Seeking a Balance

September 30, 2017

diesel

How to resist the tendency for comfort when you have endured such discomforts opening the door of becoming? This indeed is the phase that separates out the ones who go forward from those who stay close to home.

Peter London, Drawing Closer to Nature

Working in watercolor throughout this day has been pleasurable, as always, though I am not getting what I want out of this particular painting. My preference in watercolor is some kind of balance between the loose spontaneity and the tight precision. Last night I began work on this diesel locomotive, drawing it out carefully in its details, and then working tightly on it until I closed the gallery around 10:30 p.m. Once I returned to it today, I continued the tight, detailed work, and suddenly backing away from it saw a piece that was too uptight and precise. I don’t like that. And now I am afraid to resort to splattering, smudging, dripping and all the reckless things I like to do. So . . . I guess I need to lay it aside until I decide what to do next. I could always start another watercolor or drawing or read a book or take a walk. At any rate, I’m going to stop with this one for a season.

I love the balance that William Wordsworth addressed in 1800 with his Lyrical Ballads:

All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings . . . 

The imagination must learn to ply her craft by judgment studied.

That’s it. For me, the success of a watercolor is that combination of powerful feelings and disciplined study. I’ll keep seeking that balance.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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An Artful Weekend

September 29, 2017

30 finished

Finished the Old #30

The weekend has finally arrived, and I’m delighted to open The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m., and Sunday till 5:00. I’m enthusiastic about starting a new train painting today, as I managed to complete #30 last evening.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to have more news soon . . .

redlands fri

Friday Afternoon in The Gallery at Redlands

Rolling out the Train Watercolors

September 27, 2017

610 plein air

Before retiring to bed, I wanted to post the progress on this historic T&P #610 which is the property of the Texas State Railroad headquartered in Palestine, Texas. They towed this enormous steam locomotive out of its shed last weekend so photographers could photograph it. I began it as a plein air watercolor sketch, but the heat and humidity kept the paper too moist to work in satisfactory fashion, so I brought it inside and continued working from reference photos I took.

Thanks for reading.

blog 610

Grinding, but Happy Again

September 26, 2017

rusk blog

Current Watercolor in Progress

The creative geniuses of art and science work obsessively. They do not lounge under apple trees waiting for fruit to fall or lightning to strike. “When inspiration does not come to me,” Freud once said, “I go halfway to meet it.” Bach wrote a cantata every week, even when he was sick or exhausted. Though most composers would kill to have written even one of his best pieces, some were little more than wallpaper music. Eliot’s numerous drafts of “The Waste Land” constitute what one scholar called “a jumble of good and bad passages [that he turned] into a poem.” In a study of 2,036 scientists throughout history, Simonton found that the most respected produced not only more great works, but also more “bad” ones. They produced. Period.

Sharon Begley, “The Puzzle of Genius,” Newsweek, June 28, 1993

Good morning, blog readers. I regret that I have been away so long, but I just emerged from a punishing two-week schedule of engagements and only this morning woke to a dawn with no appointments till tonight. I’m happy in the studio once again, and decided to take a break to write you . . .

The past several weekends have been spent in The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas, where I have begun four new watercolors of trains: the Texas State Railroad #30 (above) along with the Durango-Silverton, Cumbres & Toltec, and the historic T & P #610, now housed in Palestine. I have been working since last March on a train show I plan to open in the gallery during this upcoming holiday season. The show will feature a number of framed original watercolors of historic trains, along with limited edition prints, greeting cards and postcards. We’re really hoping to increase the traffic through our new gallery that opened last March.

I posted the quote above from a magazine article I tore out of Newsweek in 1993 and have shared with students every year since that day till I retired. I have to return to it to remind myself that I’ll never produce quality art until I am willing to make a large quantity of work and not fear the “bad” works that emerge. From my current four watercolors in progress, the one above is coming along as I like it. The other four, well, I’m not too pleased with what I see so far, but the one above didn’t start out so great either. I’ll just keep chipping away and grinding at the process. I do indeed love the work, and today has been sublime, and I’m not even close to the noon hour yet.

One week ago, I had the daunting task of demonstrating my watercolor techniques before the Society of Watercolor Artists who meet in Fort Worth, Texas. I was invited nearly a year ago to do this, and had the entire year to worry over the details. As the day drew nearer, I felt sicker. This is an assembly of outstanding watercolorists, and I constantly second-guessed my worthiness to stand before them. Once the night was over, I could breathe again. The members of the Society were generous and affirming beyond description, but I’m just so happy to have that one behind me. I love watching other watercolorists share their craft, but just cringe when it’s my turn to stand and deliver. Thank you, SWA; I am sincerely grateful for your kind words and encouragement that night.

SWA demo

Thank you, Heidi Russel, for posting this photo on Facebook

I need to get back to work, but thank you for reading. Below, I’m posting some of my recent photos–an instant replay of the life I’m loving when I get to stay and work in Palestine, Texas

blog gallery

Working inside The Gallery at Redlands

blog trains.jpg

A collection of new paintings–several of them in progress still

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A spectacularly cool morning on the balcony of The Historic Redlands Inn

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The T&P #610 was towed outdoors last weekend for a photo-op

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I always linger a moment outside the Gallery before leaving to return home–I absolutely love working here, and remain so grateful to all those who made this available to me.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.