Posts Tagged ‘The Gallery at Redlands’

Odyssey of Wonder

October 10, 2017

believe II

Continued early morning work on the train

Strange how adrenalin comes and goes. I had trouble falling asleep last night, yet woke without an alarm at 5:30, wanting only to return to this train I’ve been pushing the past couple of days. As it continues to take shape, my enthusiasm grows. It goes without saying that playing “The Polar Express” on TV while I work in the studio doesn’t diminish my pleasure in this.

Today I shall be travelling to Palestine, Texas, which is unusual for a weekday. Since I have an art festival in Edom, Texas this weekend, I will be unable to work out of The Gallery at Redlands for the second consecutive weekend. I have a number of business items to tend today, so I’m glad to see that city today.

I just placed an order for another 1500 postcards of the image posted below:

Night Train Violet

They should arrive early next week. They also will measure 4 x 6″.

The holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas has always swelled inside my being with the most wholesome and warm sentiments. As the cold front moved into our city overnight (fifty degrees this morning, which is cold by Texas standards), I felt those wonderful sentiments again, and the odyssey of life and wonder ripened to a new day.

Thanks for reading.

I paint out of a sense of wonder.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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Believe

October 9, 2017

believe

In progress work on the T&P #610

polar express

Reference photo taken Sept. 23 when the #610 was towed out for public viewing

Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.

Polar Express

Currently, I am awash in an enchanted evening. I ordered the movie “Polar Express” from Amazon and watched it for the first time (mostly listened) while working on the watercolor above in my studio. My friends who lease The Gallery at Redlands planted the idea with me last March to do something to coincide with this Christmas season’s “Polar Express” excursion train that runs between Palestine and Rusk, Texas. Our Gallery at Redlands is in Palestine, and we’ve decided to host a Christmas Railroad exhibit, hoping to encourage Polar Express patrons to visit our gallery and a host of watercolors I’ve been creating since March.

I’m enjoying the challenge of painting the historic #610. The photo I took when it was towed outdoors was taken in the bright morning sun, so I could see the details well, and yet I’m trying to place it in a composition under a night wintry sky, hoping I can pull this off to look natural enough. We’ll see how it develops. Either way, I’m enjoying the work.

Today I received my shipment of 1500 postcards with the image below:

30 finished

I’m preparing to order additional shipments with other images completed recently. Today I also visited the business that produces my limited edition giclee prints. By November, at least six of my recent Palestine locomotive paintings will be available in these limited editions. Tomorrow I’m visiting a frame shop to deliver a stack of paintings to be framed and available for the show. The season is already heating up and I’m beginning to feel the fatigue as well as the exhilaration.

It feels good to be painting again. The college season is getting busier, but not too busy to keep me from making art, one of my chief joys in life.

Thanks for reading.

 

The Fall Season is Picking Up

October 2, 2017

Orange diesel

30 finished

Night Train Blue

Chevron Diesel.jpg

Night Train Violet

Blue & Red diesel

610 cab

I just finished a whirlwind of a weekend in Palestine, and am finishing several train watercolors at last. I just placed my first order for 1500 postcards of the historic #30 steam engine from the Texas State Railroad. In time, I will have postcards, greeting cards, and limited edition prints of all the trains of Palestine I’ve posted above. We’re trying to put on a big train show at The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas this coming holiday season. I’ve been working on watercolors for the event all summer and am getting ready to make a deal with a framer to get them ready for presentation.

Thanks for reading.

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.

Building a Collection of Train Paintings

September 29, 2017

night diesel

Working on a Diesel Locomotive Late into the Night

When I use the term artwork or art project or enterprise, I mean not only the single piece in hand but also the entire collection of pieces that severally explore the issue under investigation. Any one painting may be a view of Mont St. Victoire or a view of a cathedral in Rouen, or a self-portrait, but the project intends an exhaustive study of the subject over time and circumstance, each piece another probe via another angle of inquiry.

Peter London, Drawing Closer to Nature

The afternoon and evening have proved delicious for painting and exploring the subject of trains as I’ve been privileged to ensconce myself in The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas. The Historic Inn at Redlands, where this gallery is housed, has turned into a most friendly neighborhood, as I have come to love the owners as well as the business personnel working here. Restaurant patrons drop in throughout the night, so I never feel alone, and I’m feeling good as this collection of train watercolors continues to gain momentum. I just started on this diesel this afternoon, and feel that I may possibly finish it while staying here over the weekend.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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 . . .

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Friday Afternoon in The Gallery at Redlands

Back to the Special Place Where I Belong

September 16, 2017

redlands sat

Decompression Time

A man, yet by these tears a little boy again . . . cautiously peering, absorbing, translating.

Walt Whitman, “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking”

My body is weary this evening as I linger over some lines from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass–a treasure to me since I discovered him afresh in 1989. These lines arrested my attention tonight, because I feel again the sense of wonder I knew as a child and felt evening time growing quiet around me. Tonight has offered a delicious quiet where I can read, think over the events of the day, and scribble ideas in my journal that could be worth recalling.

I rose early this morning and spent most of the day at First Christian Church in Arlington, Texas, offering outdoor watercolor lessons in their garden area during their annual bazaar and selling my art work out of a booth indoors. It was a beautiful day to be out and among people, and I enjoyed a number of quality conversations from old friends as well as new acquaintances.

booth

My Booth Indoors . . .

plein aire

. . . and my Painting Demo Outdoors

Once the festival ended and my gear was loaded with good help (thank you, Connie!), I rolled south for two hours till I reached my sacred home–The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine’s Historic Redlands Inn. I have been away from here for two weeks, and felt a warm feeling when I turned down Oak street and saw this site ready for my arrival.

inn

My Gallery Home

The City of Palestine has been so welcoming and accommodating to me and my art-lover friends. I never knew I could enjoy the conversations so much from the Inn proprietors, the gift shop employees, the fabulous Red Fire Grille personnel and professionals who keep offices in the suites upstairs–all of them have made me feel like I’ve found a home. It is now Saturday night, and I’m not alone in this office, because the Red Fire Grille has patrons coming in and out, and the proprietors are very gracious in visiting me.

As I’ve written before, the Polar Express begins its holiday season soon in Palestine, and I’m hoping to have plenty of new train-related paintings to display and sell this season. For several months, I’ve been travelling, photographing and sketching historic trains and tonight have them spread out on a bench in the gallery. Patrons coming through have spoken glowingly of them, so I guess I’m doing something right.

train paintings

My Newest Railroad Project in Progress

Darkness has descended outside and the gallery lights are too soft for working on the paintings–I’m too tired anyway. Reading and thinking in the quiet has been most pleasant, and a number of restaurant patrons have come through to look at the work and comment. Good conversations have emerged as well, and that just adds to the quality of the night.

Tomorrow, when the sun comes through the gallery windows, I’ll paint again. I’m ready.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Return to the Watercolor Studio

September 13, 2017

rusk train

Beginning Study of the Texas State Railroad in Rusk, Texas

While considering my composition for the ceiling, which pleases me only since yesterday, thanks to the changes that I made with pastel in the sky, I was saying to myself that a good picture was exactly like a good dish, containing the same ingredients as a bad one: it is all a question of the artist who produces it.  How many magnificent compositions would be nothing without the grain of salt of the great cook!  That power of the indefinable thing is astonishing in Rubens; what his temperament, his vis poetica, adds to a composition, without seeming to change it, is prodigious. It is no other than the turn of the style; the way he does it is everything, the matter he deals with is comparatively unimportant.

Eugene Delacroix, Journal, June 8, 1850

I was pleased to find a large quantity of time and space this afternoon and this evening to return to my watercolor studio and begin work on the magnificent excursion train that runs between Palestine and Rusk, Texas, through the piney woods. A couple of weeks ago, I finally was able to board that train, thanks to a generous benefactor who booked me first class (I appreciate you, Ben!). I took dozens of photos during the pleasant four-hour experience, and am delighted now to compose some watercolors of that phenomenon.

Even though my lecture preparations have chewed up most of my time recently, I’ve managed to continue my reading of the Journals of Delacroix, and find myself mesmerized at that artist’s erudition. My feeble abilities in Latin were at least able to translate vis poetica as “poetic genius” or “artistic force.” And I’m always wrestling with that notion of what exactly gives art work its lasting quality. I’ve always believed that skill is necessary, and am grateful that I seem to have been born with a talent for it, and had excellent instructors in high school and college. But that “indefinable thing” mentioned by Delacroix still drives my query.

Throughout my life I have played guitar for the pure joy of it. And I believe in my heart that though I know how to play the guitar, I am not much of a musician. What escapes me is that “touch” that I envy so much with excellent guitar players who know how to coax the sweet strains of music from those strings. In comparison, I always feel that I am “clunky.” Still, that doesn’t stop me from playing my guitar.

In similar fashion, I have looked at art all my life, and am convinced that there are many skilled people that still are not artists, because that “indefinable thing”, or vis poetica, doesn’t appear in their work. I laugh every time I read those portions of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road where Dean Moriarty says that a particular musician has “It.” It is precisely that quality that separates “art” from “art work”. The joy that I feel in the pursuit of art is the quest for that spark, that element that makes the composition become “art.”

Sorry if I seem to be rambling. I haven’t blogged for quite some time, and tonight I’m just happy to be painting again. The start I have on this train is promising, and I’m loving the tight detailing just as much as the splash and dash of the looser parts of it. And as I continue to look into this composition and make decisions, I’ll continually wish for that “indefinable thing” to come to the surface. Every time I attempt a painting, I am hoping for something transcendent to emerge.

I only have a few months left to finish my big project–a series of train paintings to sell as originals, prints and greeting cards through The Gallery at Redlands this Christmas season. I’m happy to find a large project to target, and hope this one works out.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

 

Grinding it Out

July 24, 2017

largemouth

This has been an exhausting work day for me in The Gallery at Redlands. I have a commission to complete and have had difficulty painting because of a broken A/C at home. Painting on the road doesn’t come easily for me. Several friends have stopped by the gallery whom I haven’t seen in weeks and it was good to catch up on the local news and make a couple of trips out of the shop to photograph some historic sites in the Palestine vicinity. But all the while, though, I knew I needed to get this 11 x 14″ painting started and nearly finished.  I stopped repeatedly throughout the day, taking refresher breaks so as not to experience fatigue-driven mistakes. Finally, at 7:15 tonight, I realized that this composition is finally taking shape and I believe is going to turn out alright. It needs to be scanned and processed no later than tomorrow to satisfy a deadline I promised.

Thanks for reading.  It’s quiet here, and I just wanted to share this.

All the Pieces in Place

March 23, 2017

r1

When I rolled into Palestine late this Friday afternoon, I was ecstatic to see the new signs in place and couldn’t wait to go inside and continue setting up the show we started hanging last weekend. I am extremely short on sleep and have set my alarm to rise early in the morning, so regretfully, I’m not going to write any further, but just post pictures taken throughout the installation process this afternoon and late this evening.  Thanks for reading. I’m excited to open this show tomorrow at 10 a.m., and even more ecstatic to learn that I have a number of friends trying to break loose and make the long trek out here to this east Texas venue.

r2

r3r4

r7

r6

r5

rr

All of your courage has been my tower of strength, thank you for all the kind words you readers have posted in the past weeks.