I love them!

This little wall sculpture was the first of a series of quite a few small wall sculptures I made in the early to middle 1980s. I had a wall full of these and they looked good! Good enough that Kauffman Gallery decided to accept me into their “stable” as some galleries call their artists. I’ve never been too fond of that term, but I do love horses 🙂

Be that as it may, It was late 1984 and I had quite a few of the little wall sculptures finished. I thought they looked strong – a solid direction to present to a gallery. And life was pressing in on us. Things back home were not good. My parents were going through it and every time ET phoned home the news seemed worse. Bad for them, but sort of a sword dangling over my head to work my tail off to present to art galleries. Why my parent’s plight affected me directly like it did I’m not entirely sure. My existential artist plight was drenched in family drama at that time.

So, I got up my nerve and called a gallery (big deal for me). She seemed to like my work but informed me the next day that my work was not a fit. I was disappointed but it was only the first gallery I’d called, so… I recovered quickly and in a day or two called the director of Kauffman gallery – which I felt drawn to already. I’d attended shows there and (years before) hoped someday I would show my work in their attractive gallery space.

The Kauffman director, Leigh Smitherman, caught me off guard. I asked if I could show her my work and heard, “Sure, do you want to come in today?” This was such a surprise to me I fumbled around and said, No, I can’t today, but tomorrow is good (what a big artist dummy I was…).

The next day, I arrived at the gallery with my little sculptures in a cardboard box. haha What a presentation. I was a few minutes early, so I pretended to look at the art on the walls, but, yes, that’s what I was doing. A few minutes passed and she came in – but I didn’t know it was Leigh.

She saw my box of art first and said, “Oh these must be Robert Terrell’s pieces! I LOVE THEM!” That was one of the best reviews I EVER HAD. I think I said, I’m really glad you like them, and then told her I was the man! haha We looked at the ones I brought – I think about 8 of them. I told her how I made them and what they meant to me.

She told me the gallery voted on new artists that coming Friday, so I had to wait a couple of days to find out if they were interested. From her opening comments and our conversation I was hopeful but still I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high. You never know. She was not the gallery owner. But, like I said, I’d wanted to be in their gallery for a long time 🙂

Friday came and I called (I think I did the calling). Leigh told me I’d gotten a thumbs up from the gallery committee, and that such great news – it was the beginning of my new life at age 31!! They started hanging my art, including some larger pieces (I will post photos of a couple of them).

The first month with the gallery I sold two pieces for about $750 and $500 so I did the only rational thing – I quit my pretty good job at Texas Art Supply. And, No… that wasn’t the best idea I ever had.

My wife and I began eating more potatoes than usual.

My joining the gallery was still such a good experience for me… I finally felt like I’d achieved a real artist goal. Now other artists had a reason not to like me (they thought) – and some of them did seem to have some issues. They had more Houston connections, they had more art schooling…. oh well.

Even after all these years, I still look back to that afternoon. “Are these Robert Terrell’s pieces, I love them!”

You can see several of the little wall sculptures here on my art website: Little Wall Sculptures by Robert L Terrell

Haboobs for Real in the US (of A)

This was taken from my front door! Yaay… It was about 6 years ago – don’t exactly remember. But since I haven’t been a driver for quite a few years now, I rode my bicycle home through it – luckily the dust hadn’t gotten quite so terrible until I got home to the “relative” safety of my wee castle. The wind was pretty rough though – pedaling agains 50+ wind gusts 😦

I’ve seen these as long as I’ve lived here in Haboob, TX, but this was most def a bad ass sandstorm. Growing up we also called them dust storms. I think the name sandstorm must have originated from further south where the topsoil is more sandy. But sometime in the last 20 or so years the name Haboob, from Arabic (I guess) appeared. I like it!! It fits this picture and the experience for me.

I could have told you I’ve already moved to Mars, because this sort of looks like it, except Mars has no soil people. Or trees. Or atmosphere, really. I’m not on the list to move there. Not my idea of a home destination. Earth is a thousand million times better on its worst day imho. But if you don’t like normal gravity or an atmosphere, be my guest.

Ok I’ve sidetracked. But to answer a question some people might have, NO, I didn’t fiddle around with Photoshop to make the sky look more red than it was. It was this freakin’ red.

Yeah, living in the panhandle of Texas can be rough sometimes. But so can anywhere. That’s what I read – when I’m inside avoiding such a Haboob!! But really we don’t get this sort of atmospheric disastro too often. Dust storms yeah, every year, several times. Not this though. Actually I’ve learned not to hate them so much. I’m almost grateful. Because you can almost bet that when we get this… a few hours and a few hundred miles downstream (windstream) from us, somebody will be getting some terrible tornadoes. The winds that produce this usually just blow like heck through here, but then hit the warm moisture front coming up from the Gulf of Mexico. That means real trouble. I’ve seen it happen over and over.

Livin’ in the USA. You gotta have a spine. It does get real!

Houston my Once upon . . .

image of Houston, TX

I’ve already blogged a little bit about Houston. I won’t say too much about the place. It’s been in the news after the recent world-class 50″ rainfall. It never rained that much when I lived there back in the middle 80s but I did see some huge rains of course.

Anyway, I don’t want to blog about any rainy wet stuff. This is a fantastic photo of Houston. It can really be quite the looker sometimes. And it felt like my creative art mother (also sometimes). Not always but the feelings are still there even after all these decades.

I’m looking for another artwork I produced in Houston. I’ll add to this post when I find it. But now I need to add to my one hour of sleep. So… I’m off to count sheep – all two of them before I’m out 🙂

Wooden Galaxy & Objets d’Art

wooden-galaxy wall sculpture

Another “legacy wall sculpture” I made back in the day 🙂 I had a downtown art studio on San Jacinto Ave in Houston, TX when I was creating these pieces. But it’s been so long I don’t think I get any ego trip from it anymore.

Most of the artwork was done in the apartment living room using my little Dremel tool saw. My ex-wife put up with a lot from me (always) and I wonder how many wives would be okay with hubby sawing out wooden pieces in the tiny apartment living room!

But during this time she could see my artistic self was very motivated and I was getting some art production moving and in a definite, solid direction.

I may be fibbin’ a bit (little white lie) so far in this post – but I’m guessing nobody cares except me, and… not even me anymore. This piece Wooden Galaxy was probably created in the house we moved to over in the north loop Heights section of Houston.

That house was a productive art studio home for me. Considering my diet was baked potatoes, marijuana, and diet coke, I managed to get a lot of art done – at least I thought I was! HAHA And I was. These numerous small wall sculptures got me into Kauffman gallery at the end of 1984. They loved my art and sold quite a few of them (and much larger wall sculptures) through the years.

Now decades later the Houston art years seem a little unreal. I still have friends there, and Houston will always be my original artist home. When I look at the photos of my artwork from the early Houston years, I remember what a great inspiration Houston was for me and the artwork reflects it. I will always love that city 🙂

But I realized a long time ago that wherever I live I can produce art that doesn’t make me cringe (too much haha) decades later. I find inspiration in the external world wherever I live, but my artistic self makes it happen ultimately.

That being said, some locations are great for the artist to grow and thrive and others not as much. Houston really was the artist nurturing home for me from 1981-1985 especially.

Then, I had a big Houston art show in 1985 and one of the reviews was not entirely glowing for me. the reviewer at the Houston Post reviewed the citywide show (can’t remember the name). But galleries all over town participated. I was part of this show. Of course, quite a few artist were mentioned in the review, including me. The reviewer said:

“Then there were the usual “objets d’art.” Robert Terrell’s wall sculptures at Kauffman Gallery …”

So I got top billing among the usual artsy objects in the show. That was very upsetting considering how hard I’d worked. The nurturing felt like it was over!! My wife and the gallery people told me not to worry about it, but i felt like something was lost, or over, or…. I don’t know. I didn’t want to live in Houston anymore. haha Maybe a bit of an over-reaction.

But we moved to LA a few months later…

MESO “88” (presidential cream cone)

Meso “88”
abstract painting – synthetic polymer on canvas
30″x40″ ~ 2017

Thought it be time to insert another Abstract Painting by Robert Terrell acrylic painting on canvas 🙂 How’s that for a totally transparent plug for my artist website?? So… not sure where to go from here.

I just had to paint an object-like thing or two in this painting. I’ve hardly done that in many decades. So if you look (and not even too closely) there’s the trout with spots falling off, and several other recognizable and not quite recognizable somethings I painted into MESO “88.” I kind of let my artist’s OCD talent go too far perhaps ~ NOT! Oh I’m loving this one.

Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed painting all the B&W artworks quite a lot, and I’ve painted a few of them in the last three years. My first gallery “owner” Larry Kauffman told me don’t bother, he couldn’t sell B&W. He could really sell colorful art though. He started representing Hundertwasser, and I remember seeing his big wall covered in Hundertwasser prints, about, ohhh well smallish size less than 18″ and landscape format.

That was a wonderful wall to gaze upon, I gotta say! During that time, mid-1980s, I was making small wall sculptures, also less than 18″ in the long axis. I need to find an image of one of them… hang on …

wall sculpture - mini
Neptune’s Secret

I constructed and painted a lot of these during the 1980s and beyond. By the mid-1990s I was pretty much finished with them though I did morph this style into my long-time bas-relief painting style which Jim Howze called 2-1/2D ! haha

I’ll post more photos of the wall sculptures and the 2-1/2D revolution of the late 20th century soon.

I’ll end with a passage from Ecstatic Encounters by Allison Stanfield – Art Biz Coach:

“…the term “Ecstatic Encounter” was originally inspired
by a 2002 NPR interview with Frank Stella, who said that an encounter
with Barnett Newman’s paintings made him “ecstatic to be an artist.”