Posts Tagged ‘Texas Wesleyan University’’

Summer School, Oh My!

June 1, 2018

humanities

Undefined, the spirit glides over the waters

Michel Serres, “Anaximander: A Founding Name in History”

 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:2 (KJV)

The email came two days ago, and my confirmed response yesterday: Would I be interested in teaching Humanities online at Texas Wesleyan University for the first summer term, beginning Monday? Yes!

And so begins the task . . . All night long I slept restlessly, I believe because my mind was stirred by this new assignment. My morning alarm is automatically set for seven a.m., but at five-thirty I rose and stumbled to my desk to begin. My task is to present major ideas from the Age of the Enlightenment to our Modern Age, using art, literature and philosophy as my primary vehicles. There will only be twenty-three weekdays to the semester, and all of it is online. The only course I’ve taught online is Logic, but this Humanities course I’ve been teaching at Wesleyan since 2004, and before that since 1989 in the public schools. I love this age of history and am wracking my brains to determine the best way I can stuff three centuries of thought into twenty-three days, all of it online.

humanities2

The Gallery at Redlands

After two hours at my morning desk, I packed the Jeep and departed for my two-hour sojourn through the country to Palestine, Texas to work in the gallery that I love. I brought ten new framed paintings with me today, and rearranged the art inside the gallery as well as the display window facing the street. I have been so busy with art festivals the past month that I have lacked the quality time to give the gallery space a makeover. I’m glad to be here again for the weekend.

humanities3

Jean and Mike always provide me with a wonderful space to live when I come to work at the gallery. I am now sitting in one of their beautiful suites on the second floor of the historic Redlands Hotel. My gallery is just below me. I plan to spend the rest of this evening and all day Saturday working on the Humanities course that goes online Monday.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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Warm Satisfaction

November 29, 2017

txwes

Third-Story Library Carrel, Texas Wesleyan University

There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”

It took longer than it should have, but I finally reached the time in my life where I found myself happy with where I am. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote of three broad ways of interpreting history, and his “monumentalist” approach was the one I adopted long ago–seeking role models for inspiration in the hopes that excellence could be pursued. Throughout my years of teaching, I was the perpetual student myself, reading all I could on the lives of individuals who inspired me in the arts, literature, and public life. Finally, I’ve reached this special place where I feel I can pursue an artful life and do as I choose without permission or apology.

This present state of “semi-retirement” fits me better than any stage I’ve known before. I love teaching at the university three mornings a week, and though I don’t have to, I choose to rise at five on the mornings I teach (four hours before class time) so I can enjoy quiet reading and writing. This is one of those mornings. After all these years, I still love pursuing academic study and writing. Later today, I’ll enter the art studio and see what I can create visually.

I have designated the third floor library at Texas Wesleyan University as “Luther’s Tower”, because since the year 2000 (when I was teaching at night) I chose to cloister myself in one of the private study carrel rooms so I could look out the window across the city of Fort Worth and the south side neighborhoods and enjoy my study time. My memories of the winter holiday season were always the best because of the cold (yet, Texas this year still has 70-degree November days!), the early nightfall, and the feelings of Thanksgiving and Christmas in the atmosphere. In this carrel, I have relished the study of biblical literature, humanities, philosophy and ethics. I cannot describe the joy I know when there is quality time to read, to think, to compose my thoughts, and then write it all out.

I’m happy this time of year because the art festival season becomes more festive, and I’m anticipating with gladness this weekend’s show at The Sons of Herman Hall in Dallas. When I return home after classes this morning, I’ll go straight to the garage and begin making decisions on how to trim my booth with lighting and holiday attire, and how to stock it with my art inventory. For this show, I have a number of new pieces coming out for public viewing and sale, and I always love seeing the new on display.

The university semester will end next week for me, and I’ll enjoy a month off between semesters, and I’m thankful for that as well. I’m grateful for this gift of life and for quality time to pursue things that matter to me.

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.

Warm Memories to Fight Back Against a Cold Day

February 5, 2015

In art, we are the first to be heirs of all the earth. . . . Accidents impair and Time transforms, but it is we who choose.

Andre Malraux

Texas Wesleyan University

Texas Wesleyan University

What a frigid Texas day! I know the Midwest and Northeast received the worst of the winter weather, but boring Texas gave us a 32-degree day with darkness and environmental dimness and not a trace of snow. Just cold. When high school let out, I had some administrative business to tend at Texas Wesleyan University in neighboring Fort Worth. Being strictly an online teacher at this time, I had no idea how much I missed that campus. Posted is a photo I took of the administration building after I had lumbered up and down three stories of stairwells inside. This morning, we discussed rustication in my A. P. Art History class, pointing out the Romans’ use of it in architecture and how the Italians picked it back up again in Renaissance times. I couldn’t resist shooting this facade, thinking back over what we had discussed earlier.

Once in the library, I returned to a spot on the top floor that I had always referred to as Luther’s Tower.  It was here that I cloistered myself before and after evening lectures, always enjoying the sight of the distant Fort Worth skyline to the north.

Fort Worth Skyline from the Top Floor of the University Library

Fort Worth Skyline from the Top Floor of the University Library

Fifteen years!  That is how long ago this university hired me to do adjunct work for them. It still seems like yesterday, and the longer I sat in that overstuffed leather armchair reading Wallace Stevens, the more I had to brush the memories away like a cloud before my face. It was a comfort in the best sense, a warming sensation on a frigid day that tried to bring depression in its claws.

Guitars Waiting for Me

Guitars Waiting for Me

Once I arrived back home, my waiting guitars made a good day even better.  My friend Reid had given me plenty of inspiration and material to practice from the night before, and I was anxious all day to begin work on these pieces. I’m glad to have an evening at home again–a chance to do some things that matter to me.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.