We left the park we were living at for the past 6 months with hugs from our friends and promises to keep in touch and advice from those who know about what to see on our way East. I have put away my paints and canvasses for a little while as I will earnestly work on my illustrations of my latest children’s book. I sent out the manuscript and 2 copies of illust. to a publisher with hopes they they will at least read it.
I am charmed with Texas. The trees are starting to leaf out and wildflowers are strewn about. Even in a drought things are turning green. The views are expansive if not vast and in the Edwards Plateau hill country and east the scenery is so different from the Panhandle and the Gulf edge. The Texans are friendly and generous of spirit. We went to the 11th St. Cowboy Bar in Bandera Wed. night and it was such fun seeing all ages dancing in their clean, even ironed, jeans and boots and hats. Some women wore dresses with bling belts or bling tees and jeans. Texas women wear make up often and have nice hairdos. I can definitely say that women that work in retail look spectacular. They are warm and courteous, will be helpful if needed and stay back if you are ‘just looking’. You do always say thank you when you exit a store esp if you haven’t bought anything.
At my fav fabric store, Creations, they are beyond helpful, they are sincerely interested. I am making a jacket as a reward for losing weight,wait, I don’t get to wear it til I’m done, but the clerk made sure I was choosing the right fabric and the right size and had me try on a sample they had in the store with out being a nudge. The day before we were leaving L. said to me ‘what are going to do with all thee rocks, you don’t even know where they came from”. Oh yes I do sez I, I had written on them in ink just like an artifact museum. He had to agree to take them.
I shall be sorry to leave Texas but maybe I will bring some of that spirit with me.
I learned this week that my one woman show I have been working toward has been postponed as the building is being renovated. Well, it will give me time to paint more.
Here’s a ‘did you know’. El Paso,Texas is closer to the Pacific Ocean then it is to Houston! Not only is Texas big, everything about it seems to be big. The concept of ranch size is boggling. Larry and I recorded some music at Gazelle, a studio in Kerrville, TX, last week and Louie, at the studio, told me his grandfather or maybe great grandfather in the 1850s came out here and claimed land, I am sketchy here, with a Mr Shreiner. Shreiner said he’d take everything north of the Guadalupe River and Mr Real took everything south of it. That was something like 12 million acres for Mr. Real. In the ensuing years much of it got sold but they still retain 6-7000 acres that they ranch raising horses and prize lambs and have a hunting lodge. See Real Ranch.
My Massachusetts mentality says Wow! Actually, my national view has expanded since I have been on ‘the road’. Seeing The Great Plains-farming takes on a whole new meaning. But-my farm in Massachusetts is lush and fragrant in the summer and it is intimate like a draperied living room. One can see the details like an early 19th century French painting. The trees, leaves, veins on leaves, caterpillars on leaves and the eyes on the caterpillar. Mid West farms are Cecil B. De Mille productions in Cinemascope. A painting with great washes of green or ochre depending on which end of the summer season, and a broad brush of ultramarine/cobalt blue sky with perhaps a pale Naples yellow ribbon of a road. Too expansive for small details.
Last night we had a campfire and sang songs and ate popcorn. It had gotten cold so I had a blanket around me. Looking over the treetops by the Guadalupe at the pale moon I was reminded of Rousseau’s Carnival Evening. Very atmospheric.
A conundrum exists with the artist who needs to be alone to think and create but needs the company of other artists as mentors and sounding boards. Personally I like solitude to think straight but I get very excited when I see an art colony and I saw one yesterday in the next town to where I am staying for the next three months. In Ingram Texas, a place has been restored, refurbished, what have you, for arts-sculptors, print-makers, watercolorists, oil painters to work, show their works, have workshops with visiting artists etc. The complex includes galleries, studios, an indoor and an outdoor live theatre and a place for gala events which used to be an old roller skating rink. It is called The Hill Country Arts Foundation. http://www.hcaf.com. It is right on the Guadalupe River. What a view! You don’t have to go far for inspiration. Funny, right across the road is a replica of Stonehenge. I don’t know if it is full size but it is BIG. Next to this art complex is the old route 27 before the bypass. It is a loop with the old stores and shops and houses when the town was built in the 1850s. Nothing like New England 1850s, I mean old Texan style. You could easily imagine a passel of Santa Gertrudis galloping down main street followed by yippin’ cowboys or a lone rider moseying up to the rail to tie up his hoss. It’s neat. They sell antiques there interspersed with art galleries now. If I lived here I would definitely get involved but there is an annual fee and I won’t be here long enough to take full advantage of it.
I don’t know if it is an actual fact but I’ve heard that if an old slum needs to be revitalized the city planners encourage artists to move in to set up studios and calm the area down. That is while it is still affordable. Then the people with two good incomes buy in to it and redo the old places and then they are out of reach of the artists. This has happened in Boston in the South End and is happening in Worcester, MA. AH, The fickle finger of Fate. Opinion?