Watercolorist David Tripp of Arlington visited town last weekend painting Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Windthorst and Cobweb's Antiques before leaving. He has been painting area scenes since 2000 and has an appreciation specifically for the landscape and quiet atmosphere of Archer City as a respite from his daytime teaching profession. His painting of the antique green door on the west side of the court house sold immediately when he painted it years ago.

 When David Tripp leaves his job at an Arlington high school, he heads for quieter waters – locales like the Laguna Madre Field Station, a tiny research island off the shores of Corpus Christi, to paint. He was the first artist-in-residence there, a program developed last year by the Center for Coastal Studies to promote science through art.

   One of his favorite destinations, though, is Archer City. He’s been coming here off and on for fifteen years for the consistency he’s found – a small town home away from home, the slow pace, quiet streets, same corner bedroom view at the Spur Hotel and books to browse where he regularly finds first edition copies he can’t bear to pass up.  But his soul comes here first and foremost to paint. This weekend he scheduled in two pieces to add to his art files for 2016.

   He was not always good at it. He only frustrated his watercolor art professor at Truman State University in Missouri as a student. "I couldn't do it to save my life,” he said, while working on his piece on the storefront to Cobwebs Antiques, a store he said he’s shed a few dollars in over the years. His trouble was from being too eager with the color and muddying up the paper. He didn't have the patience for it yet, he said. "I didn’t do my first good one until 1988.” Then in 2000, he got serious and devoted all his artistic attention to it. Since 2010, he’s painted more than 100 pieces a year. He’s counted 35 so far, he said, while working on laying out the lines to the Cobwebs storefront.

   His impression of the church in Windthorst and downtown Archer City at sunset over the winter weekend left him feeling a sense of richness and well being, he wrote in his blog later in between breaks.

   He talked about how he was in the audience while seeing “Our Town” performed here years ago and has thought of Archer City every time he has read it since.

   The art history and English teacher teaches watercolor workshops around the state and plans to return soon.

   Pick up his comments on painting Saint Mary’s here: https://davidtripp.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/catholic-contemplation/

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