Posts Tagged ‘Texas Wesleyan University’’

Shifting Gears

October 30, 2018

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A Moment with “Kevin and Marc in the Morning”

I am back at my own desk at home this morning, preparing for my Logic class, but my heart is still beating in Palestine. The weekend was filled with great moments, as I enjoyed my new friends, Kevin Harris and Marc Mitchell, while they hosted the Hot Pepper Festival. Spending the entire Sunday in the old country store was also a profound blessing, especially watching the deer come out in the evening to graze. Yesterday was a labor intensive Monday, as I rearranged the gallery yet again and took down all my art work in the lobby of the Redlands Hotel. Weekday morning hours in the gallery are always electric, as “Kevin and Marc in the Morning” pulsates just twenty feet to my right, in the same gallery. The fellows surprised me by calling me over to the microphone twice this time. I never know what will happen when I sit at the broadcast table with them. I wish everyone could experience firsthand the dynamics of a live radio broadcast.

Now it is back to my other job–teaching Logic at Texas Wesleyan University, the institution that has been so good to me since the year 2000, providing adjunct contracts that help keep my mind sharp. Nietzsche wrote of the dual forces of Apollo and Dionysus that work in our psychological makeup, with Apollo representing order and Dionysus providing spontaneity (many like to speak of left brain/right brain issues). With my art and passion and overall lifestyle, I have been closer to Dionysus, often feeling more disorganized and undisciplined than creative. Yet, Apollo has had his say in many of my life skill disciplines as well, and most particularly, teaching Logic, with all its inflexible structures.

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This morning I will introduce the Traditional Square of Opposition, credited to Aristotle. I particularly enjoy this part of the semester, and appreciate the positive attitude of this semester’s students.  And of course, a ton of grading will be waiting for me once I return home from class. But . . . by bedtime, all of this will be completed and tucked away. Meanwhile, I continue to seek quality in the day.

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.

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Morning Coffee with Dave and Waldo (again)

August 21, 2018

logic

The middle region of our being is the temperate zone. We may climb into the thin and cold realm of pure geometry and lifeless science, or sink into that of sensation. Between these extremes is the equator of life, of thought., of spirit, of poetry,–a narrow belt. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience”

I simply cannot read an Emerson essay quickly; his layers of eloquent prose enrich me so that I have to pause often, reflect, scribble in the journal, and continue on. I would love to linger longer over this bard’s writing this morning, but it is the first day of class for me at Texas Wesleyan University, and I have to drive over to the campus to meet my new students. This semester offers much better than what I’ve known from past decades: As a high school teacher, I taught six classes of four different subjects over a course of a two-day cycle, with classes numbering as many as thirty-five students each. As an Adjunct Professor, my class today will consist of ten students, and I have only two other classes, both online–one with twenty-two and the other, fourteen.

Logic is the class I meet today, and those who know me are no doubt chuckling. One side of my brain has dominated throughout my educational career, and it wasn’t the linear one. I was invited to teach this subject over ten years ago, and it has been hard work for me the whole way, because I just am not naturally built this way. To use Emerson’s metaphor, I have had to be forced into the upper regions of mathematical precision and analysis. My comfort zone has been the arts and humanities in the lower, sensual realm. But thanks to the university’s assignments throughout the years, I feel that I am moving closer to the equator and learning to balance analytics with feelings.

John Locke defined logic as the “anatomy of thought.” I have always been smitten with that idea, and will try again this semester (both in class sessions along with online sessions in my other section) to nurture the students in the search for understanding the structure of our language and arguments.

Gotta run to class! Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself i am not alone.

 

 

In the Great Silence of these Distances

August 8, 2018

Riverbend Resort

Last Week

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This Morning

The month-long Odyssey has been an abundant blessing, moving across Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. Though I have moved on from the mountains, I still feel their call rising within me. This morning, situated in the city, I have moved into the interior, into the Cave, which is fitting, because time has arrived for me to devote the remaining two weeks to university preparations involving intense study and the creation of necessary documents for three courses.

I will also be focused on commissions I have in the hopper, so watercoloring will also be part of my daily diet. I cannot conceive of anything more rewarding—a life of the mind each morning, and the creation of art each afternoon.

As I work, images from Colorado still flood my inner vision, both of mountains and of wild critters that visited me daily.

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The Mountains Called out to Me, and I Answered

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A Friend Recently Called me Saint Francis

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I Still Hear the Birds Conversing about the Deck

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This One Appeared Curious over what I was Reading . . .

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. . . and This One Spent Three Days with Me as I painted

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For the rest of my years, I’ll be grateful for the memories of this month-long Odyssey, as I am this morning grateful for this gift of teaching university students. In two weeks, I shall open the next Chapter, and commence the challenge of inducing young minds to embrace new ideas from Judaism and Logic at Texas Wesleyan University. Since the year 2000, this small private institution has embraced me as I have explored with my students ideas contained in the New Testament, Old Testament, World Religions, Logic, Ethics and the Humanities.

Life is much more comfortable for me now than it was when I first began my own university studies. I no longer feel the anxieties associated with having more questions than answers. After all these decades, I still have more questions than answers, but it is O.K. I hope I can pass on the wisdom to these new students that I read in the letters from Rilke to a young poet:

You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. 

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Resuming the Commission this Afternoon

After a three-week hiatus, I am also returning today to complete this promised commission. Throughout my travels, this image has continued to compost in my mind’s eye, and I am enthusiastic to pick up the brush and resume work on this engaging subject.

Time to go to work. Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.