The Tryp

is a course project in Art 3053 Watercolor taught by Brent Funderburk at Mississippi State University.

is a journey through mind and painting whose destination is the interface between.

is the collision (thanks, Wassily Kandinsky!) of equally potent tri-forces.

is the dynamic triangulation (triangle elation!) of:






is the haiku visualized.

One early, blazing summer morning in Mississippi, where I teach, excited about the “Tryp” project, I pushed on the door of the campus building leading to the Watercolor painting classroom. Wouldn’t budge. Had lots to do! Began to steam!


Locked out


Door locked; just outside

Crepe myrtle petals fall on

My hot head, like snow.


Lo, as students engage realms of surety, caprice, and the unknown, they are accompanied on “The Tryp” by three objects:

  1. The Chosen Object
  2. The Random Object
  3. The Dream Object


A tri-part composition is developed on a large sheet of watercolor paper. A triptych.

Three random areas are covered- not to be “opened” until the end of the journey.

33 lines are drawn.

The Chosen Object is photographed, transferred as a careful, deliberate, beautiful drawing, and is also covered.

Watercolor mixes of neutral colors in buckets are splashed(1), spattered(2), and poured(3) across the paper’s surface. Recklessly. Thoughtlessly. The wet maelstrom dries over 24 hours.

Alarms go off at 3:33 AM. Dreams are notated. Described, not interpreted.

The Chosen Object is uncovered, painted in a mimetic, representational, classical watercolor method- cool glazes over warm glazes, and is refined in a 3rd layer. Great care and delicacy!

The Random Object is sought in the abyss, which the teacher brings to class! Danger! Ecstasy!

The Random Object appears; is chased through the painting, emerging 3 times, in watercolor and/or graphite. An elusive, fickle playmate, it glimmers, is lost and found, ...vanishes.

(The Dream Object! ???)

Geometry counters the biomorphic deluge.

The deluge answers. Unity, transient, flickers in the distance. Destination.


Liquid and tape masking are unveiled. “What fresh Hell is THIS!?”


(Dorothy Parker)


What now? Can there be resolve? Reconciliation? Art ? Robert Henri called it: “Infinite Simplicity.”


A tri-alogue. Three artists sharing- objects bidden and unbidden- a discussion of their experience; relations and anti-relations. The HAIKU poem is presented as a synthesizing form. They help each other write for the presentation! The try-posse is ready. Each presents another. Then, the tri-self reads its own haiku.


A man on a cliff

Stares down into the deep cup

Then takes the long dive.

June Upton

The lion’s throne usurped

By man, boom greater than roar,

But silence prevails.

Ann Elizabeth Allison

Unfolded fan masks

The true beauty that’s within.

Friend, where have you gone?

Amy Reel

Deeply lying blue

Lies waiting, bearded, for me

The child to the knee.

Thomas McBroom

From darkness of night

To gold shades of dawn, eyes wake:

The shadow’s ghost fades.

Andrea Byers

Nightmares are fleeting

The geisha anonymous,

Eyes lost forever.

Allie Newman

Ships sail open seas

Wary, wary of the depths.

Treasure lies below.

Jordan Anderson

Dying is fine. Cut

Loose the threads that tie you to

Fear. Seek your freedom.

Ashlei Michelle

Death from flight above,

Smell of recent dead near me,

Shutter ends my life.

Matthew Motes