Posts Tagged ‘urban’

Trying to Return to the Studio, Watercolors are Waiting to be Born

January 18, 2012

Chicago Impressions

The hiatus from the studio is drying me out!  School has  been better lately, and I have found myself pouring more time and effort into classroom preparations (I’m teaching four different subjects this semester–ugh!) which has been good for school but bad for the studio.  I’m trying my dead-level best to return to studio tonight (after prepping for two more subjects for tomorrow).  The student whom I’ve been giving private lessons in the evening is ill right now, so I will not be teaching this evening.  Perhaps I’ll pick up the brush.

I’ve posted an original watercolor that I still have in my possession: Chicago Impressions.  I photographed this composition while in Chicago a few years ago, visiting the Edward Hopper and Winslow Homer watercolor exhibits at the Art Institute.  Though I’ve priced it at $250, and have it in a professionally prepared mat, it hasn’t managed to find a home.  So, I continue to look at it.

Tonight, I hope to return to the Fort Worth Flat Iron building I started last week, and have already posted repeatedly.  But my next plan is to create a large railroad composition, larger than any watercolor I’ve done to date.  I have been restricted to the full-page layout of 22 x 28″ but now plan to cut a longer piece off a roll, and see where that takes me.  I have painted quite a few train compositions, and often felt I was too hemmed in by the restricted size.  The more I think on this, the more enthused I am about going after it.

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Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, Loss and Presence

April 23, 2011

Sketches in the Studio

1887 relic of 4th Methodist Church Fort Worth, Texas

Today, Friday morning, April 22, 2011 begins a 3-day weekend for me.  While in classes yesterday morning, I suddenly was seized with this notion to visit this relic from the edge of downtown Fort Worth, Texas.  It is what remains of the 1887 Fourth Street Methodist Church (today First Methodist Church, in a different location).  The ruins were discovered a few years back when demolition began of a storage facility, with no knowledge that the skeletal remains of this vestry were within the old structure.  The Bass brothers decided not to destroy the relic.

For the past two weeks (is this serendipitous?) I have been mulling over William Wordsworth’s “Lines.  Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour.  July 13, 1798.”  I have also lingered over a watercolor by J. M. W. Turner, composed while the painter was quite young and visiting that same Medieval ruin of a church.  The poem and the painting have been on my mind the past few weeks, again with all those Proustian notions–of memories, of loss and of presence.

Other writers have expressed this better than I, but I know these heart-shuddering sentiments of standing in the midst of something left over from the past, with the wreckage of decomposition prevalent, and I simultaneously feel a profound loss and an exhilarating “presence.”  This is what I feel when I look on this church ruin adjacent to a thriving Sundance Square in Fort Worth, Texas.  At the close of the 19th century, worshipers, mourners, seekers–people of all persuasions–lingered on these grounds and worshiped within the sacred space.  I tried to focus on those matters while the traffic of downtown Fort Worth whizzed past me.  One memorable moment during this 30-minute sketching exercise was a courteous bicycle security guard working for the city stopping by and chatting with me for a few minutes.  Her presence, and the knowledge that there were “many of them” about the town, made me feel safer to return here and sketch again.  Indeed I shall.

Thank you for reading.  It is now Saturday, and I hope to get some quality work done in watercolor by the close of this day.