Posts Tagged ‘The Gallery at Redlands’

A Shout-Out to a New Writer Friend

June 15, 2018

I awoke abruptly this Friday morning from a deep REM sleep blistering with those frustrating dreams that reveal so much about our unresolved issues. I won’t go into it–I laugh at that common sentiment that says “Don’t tell me about your dream. It’s yours. It interests you, not me.” Without going into the details, I’ll just say that the dream involved me dropping the ball, yet again, on something that should have been done. After I scribbled out pages and pages in my journal, trying to unpack the ideas before they evaporated, my mind suddenly suddenly recalled yet another important detail I have not addressed. So now I try .  .  .

I met Jonnie Martin about a month ago while sitting in my booth at an art festival. She was very engaging in conversation, I learned she was a serious writer (already with novels published) and a passionate one at that. She also had pursued journalism for many years. Now she is neck deep in her first adjunct professor experience at Tarrant County College, and is sweating out the details of getting a writing course on track for this fall’s semester.

Jonnie reached out to me the week after the art festival, asking permission to write a series of articles about me. This certainly gave me pause. I have believed for years that I was “interesting” enough for an article or two, yet every time a newspaper or magazine or radio personality would approach me for my story, I felt paralyzed, and felt that I should articulate that stereotyped police line: “There’s nothing to see here, folks. Move on along.” But with Jonnie it was different. She was thorough, asking for my professional resume, and providing a long list of specific questions. And I really enjoyed answering the questions and providing the document.

Despite all her energy spent on the college course for this fall, she is still trying to set up a feature article for me in a local magazine. Meanwhile, she has posted the following on her blog and I’m extremely proud to read it. And I encourage you to read her blog at: https://jonnietootling.com

I am posting her article below, but please, read her other entries. She is a most engaging writer, satisfying the serious reader on many levels.

And thank you for reading me.

KINDRED ARTIST

Posted on June 10, 2018by jonnietootling

Arlington artist David Tripp describes his quest as one of capturing onto canvas the world he sees in his mind, and that is not unlike the role of a writer.  Akin to David, we too apprehend, interpret, report out our vision in a variety of literary forms.

For David, his current art form is watercolor, which happens to be my favorite medium, and is how David and I first connected at a recent Arlington art festival.  There is a natural feel to watercolors, a gentleness, a transparency as your eye sifts through the layers of paint and water and meaning, and David’s technique is exquisite.

Thumb through the art that he brings to a festival and you will find paintings of old buildings, abandoned service stations, relics of yesteryear.  Since 2017 he has been focusing on the structures that reflect the past of the Texas State Railroad, as well as the historical sites and artifacts of the little town of Palestine, Texas.

I have learned other fascinating things about David, including his formal education in art, his high school and college teaching credentials, his endowments and honors of various types.  Students at Martin High School see his art daily in the murals painted throughout their building.  David’s art is available at various festivals and The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine is now the permanent home for his collection.

All this is of interest as I learn about David and observe him through my writer’s eyes . . . but what enthralls me most is his philosophical approach to the role of artist — capturing onto canvas what he perceives with his artist’s eyes, processes through his artist’s mind.

In one of his blogs he quotes a passage from Goethe:  “The beginning and the end of all literary activity is the reproduction of the world that surrounds me by means of the world that is in me, all things being grasped, related, molded, and reconstructed in personal form and an original manner.”

Clearly this process applies to artists as well as writers.

I shared the quote with our family philosopher, my brother Del McAmis, who was equally fascinated, and responded with his own deconstruction of the phrase. 

“We think there is a one-on-one relationship between the objective world and how we see it, but that is very naïve.  We don’t just ‘see’ things – we mold them and reconstruct them according to our own psychology. . . .  The great writer [and I should add to Del’s note, the great artist] is one who can ‘mold and reconstruct’ his or her experiences into an understanding that enlightens others.”

And so it begins – my quest to learn more about David, his art, his creative ideology, his deep and grounded thoughts about life, at least partially coming from his scholarly education in not only art, but philosophy and religion.

But that is for another exploration, in which I have apparently been joined by brother Del.  Hold on, David Tripp – inquisitive minds want to know more about you. 

— Jonnie Martin

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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.

A Quiet, Restful Sunday

May 27, 2018

gallery

Relaxing in The Gallery at Redlands after Saturday’s Depot Exhibit

I sensed a direct line from the eminent figures of ancient Greece–Aeschylus, Sophocles, Phidias–down to [Paul Tillich] himself. Each seemed to me intensely vital; each lived with a seriousness that was not sober; each knew that death would come sooner or later and that there was therefore no time for prevarication or dishonesty with oneself. Each burned with the gemlike flame that comes from the knowledge that we are on this crust of earth for our little moment to build our machines or think and speak our thoughts or sing our poems. 

Rollo May, Paulus: Reminscences of a Friendship

I am deeply grateful for this Sunday of restoration. Over the past forty-eight hours, I’ve driven long distances, set up and broken down a booth for my art exhibit, and sat for an entire day in a hot and extremely humid environment. The labor paid off wonderfully, but today I feel spent, and am happy to regather my strength. It’s been awhile since I read Paul Tillich’s work, and I thought I would begin the morning with some re-reading of the testimony of his most famous student, psychologist Rollo May. A good friend has given me a copy of Tillich’s Dynamics of Faith, and I’ve enjoyed reading sections of it during my quiet moments this weekend.

I was invited to display my railroad art at the opening of the Texas State Railroad’s new season that features excursion train rides from Palestine to Rusk. My day at the Palestine Depot was very rewarding, as the depot sold 280 tickets for the day’s train ride, and many rail enthusiasts visited my tent, made purchases, and engaged me in intriguing conversations concerning their connections to our rich railroad history.

booth

My Booth outside the Palestine Depot

Palestine express

Afternoon train returning to Palestine from Rusk, finishing the Inaugural run of the New Season

two trains

A Pair of Vintage Locomotives towed out from the Palestine Train Shed

clouds

Gorgeous Evening Vista following my All-Day Depot Exhibition

I could not resist pulling my Jeep over last night to try and capture the scintillating colors emanating from the clouds that hovered over this church in Palestine. I’m thinking seriously of getting out the watercolors to see if I can capture some of that billowy dynamic of the amazing clouds I saw.

Sunday morning railyard

Sunday Morning view from Second-Floor Balcony of the Redlands Hotel

Rising early this Sunday morning, I took my coffee out to my favorite balcony of this historic hotel. The winds were cool, and the train yard seemed to be working overtime, as I watched eleven diesels move through the yards in fifteen minutes. Of course, I could not stop staring at the Chamber of Commerce Building on the right which used to be the headquarters for the railroad during the earlier parts of this century. I have done four watercolors of the structure from this angle.

The day has been restful, and I close with the repeated note of gratitude for quality rest following an arduous schedule.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

Preparing for a Plein Air Paint-Out

March 29, 2018

azalea plein air

Historic Home on Magnolia Street in Palestine, Texas

The approaching weekend is offering a world of excitement as the Society of Watercolor Artists descends upon Palestine for a weekend of plein air painting during their ongoing Dogwood Festival. I arrived in town today and immediately went to work on the 8 x 10″ watercolor posted above. There has been plenty of rain lately, and the colors of nature are really popping in this quaint historic town.

The artists will display and sell out of The Gallery at Redlands here in the Redlands Hotel throughout the weekend, and we have plenty of fun scheduled for Saturday evening as we relax and dine at the Red Fire Grille, also located in this hotel.

If you live close enough, we hope you’ll consider a trip into town to meet us as we paint to our delight.

Thanks for reading.

Plein Air Zeitgeist

March 21, 2018

redlands finished oxbow

The Oxbow. Palestine, Texas

Framed watercolor: $700

Though the time is still a week and a half away, I’m trembling this morning with anticipation over our upcoming plein air painting event in Palestine, Texas. At least a half dozen painters from the Society of Watercolor Artists (SWA) will take up residence in the historic Redlands Hotel the weekend of March 30-April 1 in conjunction with the city’s annual Dogwood Festival. For three days we will “paint the town” with enthusiasm.

These are my new and dear friends, and we’re looking forward to putting up new work in The Gallery at Redlands for display and sale over the weekend. Over the past year, I have had this delightful privilege of painting historic Palestine, and now look forward to introducing these artists to the local sights. Several of the local residents have also volunteered to serve as tour guides as needed.

gallery

Our headquarters for the weekend will be The Gallery at Redlands on the main floor of the Redlands Hotel. The artists have been invited to bring their previous framed works to put up for display and sale. Plein air watercolors created throughout the weekend will also appear in the gallery for Dogwood Festival patrons to view as they tour the hotel.

The Zeitgeist of plein air painting has been an exciting one that I have enjoyed for over a decade now, beginning with my experience of Paint Historic Waxahachie (I just registered for that event last night and will have more to say about it as the event approaches in April-May). I had no idea when I began this adventure in Waxahachie long ago that I would find myself adopting this lifestyle. The experience of painting live on site has given me the adventure of residing on an island in the Texas Laguna Madre twice as Artist-in-Residence for Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. It has also taken me to canyons in west Texas, mountains in Colorado and quaint towns in northern Arkansas. I’ve had the privilege of conducting several plein air watercolor workshops across Texas and Arkansas, and now eagerly anticipate this inaugural plein air gathering in Palestine, Texas. I’ll have plenty more to report as our event draws nearer.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

 

 

Driven

March 2, 2018

Fri2

I must say something certainly got into me today, a surge of energy to paint. I awoke around 6 this morning, feeling confident and ready to face a new day, which turned out to be sunny for the first time in a couple of weeks, and very pleasant and cool outdoors.

Fri

After working on my large Catholic church painting for awhile, I decided to take a book outside and read in the cool shade. Finding a bench beneath a tree in front of what used to be a Carnegie Library next to this Redlands Hotel, I sat and enjoyed about thirty minutes of thoughtful reading from Hannah Arendt’s The Life of the Mind. I became aware of her work through my studies in Heidegger, but had never read her directly. I am finding this book to be very thought-provoking, after the first seventy pages.

Walking back to the gallery, I looked up at the top of the church as the bells tolled the twelve o’clock hour. I was attracted to the strong sun and shadow, and dashed into the gallery for a sketchbook. I am the world’s worst when it comes to keeping a sketchbook; I believe in it, but don’t practice it, and always feel shamed by this fact. Today was a rare moment–I sat on a bench and rapidly blocked out this sketch, then went inside and began on a 9 x 12″ watercolor block. Later this evening, I finished it.

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Before completing the small watercolor, I returned to the larger one I’ve worked on for a few days and finished it.

Fri3

My body is tired, but I need to complete my grading of this stack of writing portfolios for my Humanities class so I can return them Monday. I’m deeply satisfied with the day’s output. I began another painting of the Chamber of Commerce building, visible through the window of this gallery. I’ve already painted the subject three times, and sold all three quite quickly. Still, I cannot stop gazing at the sun lighting up the side of the ancient brick structure which used to be the headquarters for the railroad here in Palestine. I plan to post the progress of that painting tomorrow. Currently there is not much to see.

Thanks always for reading and for sharing this day.

I paint in order to explore.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

 

 

 

Quality Time and Space

March 2, 2018

basement

Early Morning Sanctuary

. . . the loss of common sense is neither the vice nor the virtue of Kant’s “professional thinkers”; it happens to everybody who ever reflects on something; it only happens more often to professional thinkers. These we call philosophers, and their way of life will always be “the life of a stranger” (bios senikos), As Aristotle called it in his PoliticsAnd the reason that strangeness and absent-mindedness are not more dangerous, that all “thinkers,” professionals and laymen alike, survive so easily the loss of the feeling of realness, is just that the thinking ego asserts itself only temporarily: every thinker no matter how eminent remains “a man like you and me” (Plato), an appearance among appearances equipped with common sense and knowing enough common-sense reasoning to survive.

Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind

The last time I knew this level of serenity and heartfelt satisfaction was when I awoke mornings on the island at the Laguna Madre during my stays in 2015 and 2016. As artist-in-residence for Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, I was given two six-day stays alone at their field station on the spoil island. The quiet that enveloped me throughout each day as I divided my time between painting, reading and writing was much like what I know in the basement of the Redlands Hotel in Palestine, Texas. During these quiet mornings, punctuated by the hourly tolling bells of Sacred Heart Catholic Church above me, and directly across the street, I feel my soul slowly waking after a good night’s sleep, and reading Hannah Arendt over a cup of coffee is deeply satisfying. Time to read, reflect and write at this study table has been luxurious, and I feel a genuine surge of energy rising to meet the tasks of the day. Later in the morning, I’ll walk across the studio to the drafting table and contemplate the next steps on this new watercolor. Then, around 10 o’clock, I plan to open the gallery upstairs.

draft

I cannot say enough about the value of space and quiet for serious thinking. Throughout my years of full-time teaching, it was a struggle to escape the rat race of daily routines, so much valuable time was wasted on tasks required by the job, yet so useless and devoid of quality when it came to the main task of educating young minds. How refreshing now to meet classes only twice a week and have an abundance of quality time to research and write new presentations. Last week I had the privilege of presenting Impressionist art in a way I never could before, because there was so much more time to focus on the subject and develop new angles of approach. As Hannah Arendt wrote above, we don’t expect to spend entire days contemplating our navels; we just wish for some space to pull back from the agenda and think seriously over things that matter.

Likewise with my painting–at this point in my life I’m enraptured at the increased opportunities to study theory and art history. In addition, I have more time to spend with other artists in dialogue, and hence gain new insights into this enterprise of making art that matters. Without time set aside for serious consideration about the kind of art I’m trying to make, I could easily find my brush drifting into automatic pilot and merely cranking out a product that has been swept clean of inspiration.  I have always wanted my paintings to matter, to myself as well as to the viewers.

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.

 

A Cloistered Life by Choice

March 1, 2018

cath dark

Withdrawal from the “beastliness of the multitude” into the company of the “very few” but also into the absolute solitude of the One has been the most outstanding feature of the philosopher’s life ever since Parmenides and Plato discovered that for those “very few,” the sophoi, the “life of thinking” that knows neither joy nor grief is the most divine of all, and nous, thought itself, is “the king of heaven and earth.”

Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind

This morning, while making the two-hour drive across country to Palestine, I was filled with anticipation of four days to paint, read, reflect, write, catch up on grading, and enjoy the quiet. I love the basement apartment of the Redlands Hotel where I can hear the hourly tolling of the church bells across the street while I try to paint the facade of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. I enjoy opening the blinds and looking up through the basement windows at that enormous church towering above me. Today I divided my time between the apartment and the Gallery at Redlands upstairs, and am happy to see the church watercolor progressing. If all goes well, I should be finishing this by the weekend.

cath

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

I cannot conceive of a better schedule than I know at this time. My college classes are Monday and Wednesday, and when the urge strikes, I can light out for the countryside and enjoy life in a smaller town than the one where I live. The friends I’ve made in Palestine have enriched me beyond description, and I actually feel a part of this community. The gallery space is beautiful and well-lighted, and the downstairs studio is spacious with that special “monastic” feel. Having read the first fifty pages of Hannah Arendt’s Live of the Mind, I’m feeling a connection with another writer that I seldom feel. My art seems to take on added life when I am able to withdraw from the mainstream of activity and carve out a quiet space for creative pursuits.

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.

Monastic Thoughts

February 25, 2018

church study

Early Morning Hours in the Basement of Redlands Hotel

. . . each individual life, its growth and decline, is a developmental process in which an entity unfolds itself in an upward movement until all its properties are fully exposed; this phase is followed by a period of standstill–its bloom or epiphany, as it were–which in turn is succeeded by the downward movement of disintegration that is terminated by complete disappearance.

Hannah Arrendt, The Life of the Mind

Having just undergone a medical procedure that had me preoccupied over past weeks, I’m happy now to be back at work, doing things that interest me. Part of my weekend was swallowed up by the hospital visit, but I managed to travel to Palestine later, and woke this Sunday morning beneath the hotel gallery, and enjoyed some quiet moments in this “monastic space” that I have come to enjoy so much. The sub-street level windows in the background look up to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church across the street. Recently I photographed the church from the gallery during a looming storm, and today decided I would try to paint it.

catholic straight

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

church painting

Beginning of a 16 x 20″ watercolor

Drawing this structure has taken a ton of my time–so much geometry and precision to consider! I’m taking my time with it, hoping to turn out something worth viewing.

I’m pleased that the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama has posted details of its Art Auction 18. They have selected two of my watercolors to put up for sale after displaying them since February 15. The bidding has now opened and the link is below:

http://mmfaauction.com/

I’m choosing to spend Sunday night in the hotel since my Monday class at the university doesn’t begin till noon. I’ll see how the two-hour drive time plays out in the morning.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

David, don’t you ever finish anything?

February 17, 2018

St. Louis winter

St. Louis Snow Scene

David, don’t you ever finish anything?!

That’s exactly what a man said to me years ago when he walked into my temporary studio and saw half a dozen half-finished watercolors. Of course, he wasn’t present when I delivered all of those, plus three more a few weeks later to be framed. Long ago, I realized that if I continually start new pieces, especially when I get stuck on one particular watercolor, that I could increase my productivity. Sometimes I feel like Andy Warhol’s “factory”, especially when a show is approaching. But I consider it a luxury to finish several paintings in a day or two rather than linger two-to-three weeks on one piece, finish it, then lack the momentum to begin anew. With several pieces in progress, I can work on whichever one interests me at the moment, and anytime I get hung up on a particular composition, I can lay it aside and let it compost awhile before returning to it.

The painting above I finished after beginning it last Christmas. I just now framed it and hung it here in The Gallery at Redlands. It is an 11 x 14″ framed watercolor that I’ve priced at $100.

Little Ox

Here is the smaller “Oxbow” watercolor I began yesterday after framing the larger one. I’ve started and stopped on it a dozen times, continually questioning its direction and how to complete the composition.

Colorado

South Fork, Colorado

During one of my stops today, I returned to this piece that I began en plein air last summer in South Fork, Colorado.  The view overlooks the South Fork of the Rio Grande from the porch of the cabin I love to rent at Riverbend Resort. The stream is teeming with rainbow and brown trout and remains one of my all-time favorite places to fly fish. I just completed reservations for that same cabin this coming summer and already I am fantasizing over the adventures waiting there. This piece is also 11 x 14″ framed and priced at $125.

It is 48 degrees, rainy, dark and cold outside the gallery here in Palestine, Texas. I’m used to seeing people walking up and down the streets and sidewalks outside my window, but not today. It’s been a great day to paint.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.