Posts Tagged ‘Trinity Arts Guild’

The Gift

November 5, 2014
Quick Watercolor Sketch Among Friends

Quick Watercolor Sketch Among Friends

Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment.

Carl Sandburg

After days of continuous teaching and grading, I determined to lay the papers aside and take only my art supplies to the Trinity Arts Guild this evening where it is my Wednesday night custom to “gallery sit” as a volunteer.  Over the past few months of Wednesday nights I have experienced only one evening in the company of another artist.  Expecting to be alone tonight, I nevertheless was determined not to grade papers, but to practice some watercolor still life sketching.  Just as I was getting out my supplies, another artist appeared.  Then another.  Then another.  The next thing I knew, a merry quartet of kindred spirits had gatthered to make art, talk, laugh, and have the time of their lives.  I could only think of the warmth I’ve always known from the Carl Sandburg quote about how a poem can elicit that feeling of “the opening and closing of a door.”  After three hours, the moment passed and the open door closed once again, but I will never forget this night and the words exchanged among friends who live for these moments of relaxing and making art.  I couldn’t have planned a better, more perfect evening if I’d tried.

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.

A Soothing, Late-Night Afterglow

October 6, 2014
Awarded "Best in Show" at Trinity Arts Guild

Awarded “Best in Show” at Trinity Arts Guild

We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative work in there between the domestic chores, and obligations.  I’m not sure we deserve such big A-pluses for that.

Toni Morrison

Wow, Toni, you certainly hit that one between the eyes.  For years I have languished beneath that shadow, blaming my daily job for restricting my output of artwork.  Several years ago I decided to stop using my job as an excuse, and occasionally have cranked out over a hundred watercolors per year (yes, some of them small, some of them sketches, but still over a hundred watercolors worthy of matting and shrinkwrapping).

Two winters ago, I devoted some quality evening and weekend hours to assembling large still lifes in my garage (man cave). I took the dare and painted two 28 x 22″ still lifes in watercolor, then ponied up the money to have them custom framed and matted.  One them just won Best in Show tonight at the fall juried show of the Trinity Arts Guild in Bedford, Texas.  I’m pleased that the painting got the attention of a judge, and received some recognition tonight.  Following is a short story I wrote, inspired by this particular watercolor, and now displayed on the back of a 5 x 7″ greeting card that I package and sell at my art festivals:

He’s No Longer Here

When the neighbors hammered the padlock off the deceased man’s fishing shed, they peered inside the darkened room with sadness at the world of memories their dear friend had left behind.  Guarding the assembly from its high perch, the kerosene lantern called to memory nights spent on the Mississippi River dikes, waiting for catfish that would find their way to the Griswold skillet.  The Canada Dry crate served as the old fisherman’s stool for the nightlong vigils.

Bass fishing featured the Garcia Mitchell open-faced reel and the vintage wooden plugs for the area lakes and ponds.  In his retirement years, fly fishing took over, and the old man delighted in the long road trips in his Dodge pickup to the Colorado Rockies where he would not be heard from for weeks at a time.. The battered suitcase was his lifelong road companion, as was the dark leather knapsack that he bought from an old leathershop on the dusty streets of Athens during his European excursions. 

The old man had not been heard from for more than a week, and the inquiring neighbors were saddened to enter his home and find him in his final resting place—his favorite recliner in the small front room of his ramshackle house.  His cup was still half-filled with the Dining Car Coffee he relished throughout his years working on the Frisco railroad.  Now, only his possessions remained to tell his life’s story.

Thanks for reading.  This has been a good night.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Poetry for a New Age

July 16, 2014
The Beginning of a Small Still Life

The Beginning of a Small Still Life

Only poetry can fill the moral vacuum and give to progress a truly creative force.  Poetry awakens and enlarges the mind itself by rendering it the receptacle of a thousand unapprehended combinations of thought.  Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

My summer school class closed out the Romantic unit today and will open the Victorian tomorrow.  But that doesn’t mean I have to stop reading Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley.  Sometimes I move on personally in my reading as the curriculum moves on; sometimes I lag behind, and this time I am glad to do the latter.  Today I have been enriched by Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind” and “Ozymandias.”  I also took some time to re-read the chapter covering his biography in a small book titled Intellectuals that I purchased a few years ago and have enjoyed perusing.

Once I got home to the studio I immediately went to work on this small still life that I began yesterday.  I only got to lay in the background washes on the previous day–six layers of them all told.  I had to spend a great deal of time waiting for each layer to dry (plenty of quality reading time!).  After spending considerable time working on the spine of this one volume, I’m finally starting to figure some things out–it’s not coming easily, by any means.  The volume dates from around 1756, and I was ecstatic to learn that this book (Newton’s Dissertation on the Prophecies) was on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s reading list of ten books when he entered Harvard Divinity School.  I traded a watercolor for this old volume back around 1975 when I lived in north Missouri.  The front cover is detached and the back cover has been lost.  The book also has broken in half, right down the center of the spine.  So it has no monetary value.  But I have enjoyed it as a prop for years.  In fact, I used it on a large acryilc painting I did of Nietzsche back in the late 1980’s.  I’ll post the picture if I can find an image of it somewhere–I sold the painting many years back.  

We’ll see if I can manage a decent watercolor of the book, up close and personal.  I’m working on it now as I gallery-sit as a volunteer for Trinity Arts Guild in Bedord, Texas.  The place is pretty quiet so far, so I’m able to get some quality work done.

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.

Pat Weaver–you can extract just as much philosophy from one stanza of poetry as a chapter from Kant.

Clay Boley–King James Bible stays with you longer than Living Bible because you have to work at it, you have to linger over the text to “get it.”

On my 60th birthday, I thought about the discipline of writing poetic verse, and the thrift of language.

Seated at my writing desk,looking out at the glittering lights, I strive for a sense of optimism, a feeling that as small as I am, what I am doing still matters in the scheme of things.”

Julia Cameron, Finding Water

Demonstration at the Trinity Arts Guild in Bedford, Texas

December 3, 2013

The demo watercolor in progress

The demo watercolor in progress

Art is only a means to life, to the life more abundant. . . . In becoming an end, it defeats itself.

Henry Miller

Today was a particularly trying day at school, and a long one at that.  But I felt generally buoyant, with memories of last night’s encounter with the Trinity Arts Guild.  I was delighted this afternoon to receive some photos taken by the host last evening, and gladly post them now.  I met an amazing group of artists, and really enjoyed the flow of energy back and forth as we talked for over two hours.

Thanks for reading, and thank you, Nancy Thielemann, for sending the photos.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Night Time End-of-the-Holiday Musings

December 1, 2013
Haltom Jewelers--Fort Worth, Texas

Haltom Jewelers–Fort Worth, Texas

Ernest [Hemingway] said that he was sick of it all to the marrow of his bones: the only reason he stuck it out was that every time he had been this bad before he had managed to rise out of it into a “belle epoque” of writing.  He was still hoping to repeat the process, and could not bring himself to face the fact that never before in his life had he been half so “bad” as he was now.

Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story, by Carlos Baker

Tonight I finally completed my reading of the 564-page biography of Ernest Hemingway that I began last winter.  I usually don’t take that long to slog through a book, but it seemed that interruptions kept taking me away from this excellent text.  It goes without saying that reading of the final years of Hemingway’s life is not an uplifting experience.  I am just as saddened by his sentiment that he had lost his writing ability for good  as I am by his suicide.  Earlier today, I posted about the ebb and flow of creativity and how I had come to peace with that long ago, thanks to the insight of Emerson and Whitman that this is a natural life cycle.  And for years I have tried to transcend that feeling of depression that comes with the self-doubt that makes creative spirits feel that their work is no good.

Self-doubt crept in about an hour ago as I turned my attention to tomorrow night’s task–a watercolor demonstration before the Trinity Arts Guild in Bedford, Texas.   I go through it every time before such a demo (and I have a second one coming up Thursday night)–I don’t doubt my watercolor talent as much as I torment myself with all the things that could go wrong–that I screw up the painting with all of them watching, or that I stumble about with my words, or have difficulty expressing my ideas.  I really wonder why we do that to ourselves–that nagging feeling that when the night is over, we feel that we have wasted the audience’s time.

Oh well.  After about an hour of floundering, I began organizing my presentation, my talking points, my materials.  It all came back to me.  I’m fine now.  And I’m glad it’s only 9:48 p.m.  I still have some time for reading, reflection, journaling, getting my mind on a good track before I sleep.  Thomas Jefferson and Marcus Aurelius, as I recall, tried to end their evenings on positive reading and positive thoughts in order to sleep more restfully.  I could learn plenty from their example.

Thoreau’s Journal awaits.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel that I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

P. S.  I did not work on a new painting today.  So, in order to have a picture, I’ve posted what is probably the best watercolor I’ve ever done.  I wonder if I’ll ever rise to that level again.