Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snowy Place-Mesa-Llano Estacado-Snowy Cotton-Geese-Liquor Cigs

Passing Outside Muleshoe, TX__8x10 oil on linen panel_a "drive-by" painting.
We had snow along the roadside all the way to Colorado from north-central
Texas. It was especially deep in this panhandle area of Texas, and presented some pretty choces for "drive-by" paintings. I actually paint from the pasenger seat as we pass by. It is an exercise of memory, grabbing as much info in a glance and making that glance last as long as possible while passing by at 70 mph. As you can see from the color sketch above, the outcome is sometimes just an impression. The red barns are the main impression, but also the deep tracks through the snow and the color of the winter foliage.
My photos below give a little more info about this part of the plains...
"Morning Mesa by Snyder"...looking west at sunrise, this was a lone feature on the plain. Spanish for "table", mesas can be seen for miles and miles. Smoke signals were given from these heights...a way for the Indians to communicate long ago.

The road eventually climbs to the High Plains in the panhandle of Texas, and places you on a higher level, on top of the Llano Estacado. I will post a topo map tomorrow and you can see that this is a huge table land. From where I took this picture, it looks like a wall ahead of you. Llano Estacado means "staked plains"...and "Palisaded Plains"...and was named by early Spanish explorers. HERE is the southernmost edge of the Great American Plains.

"Snowy Cotton"...up near Lubbock were great fields of cotton stalks and remnants of the year's harvest...snowy white cotton had been covered with real snow a few days before. I liked this combination. These are BIG FARMING operations with huge co-ops and a lot of organization, yet even the best plans are no guaranty of a good crop. Everywhere is a reminder that people are STILL at the mercy of the seasons and "change".

"Lubbock Geese"...To me, a south/central Texan, Lubbock is "NORTH", so it seemed odd that these Canada geese were still flying in formation. I would have thought they'd be down on the coast by this time of year. We saw other groups of migratory birds: ducks and large white birds with black tipped wings...not whooping cranes...maybe egrets?

"Liquor, Cheap Cigs, Lottery"___On overpasses you get a rare "view from above", so I snap a lot of pictures of housetops and back yards. I am posting this one, hoping you will click on it and look closely at the details. Read the signs. Advertised are things that seem to indicate a hard life for these plains people.
Passing America: The Great Plains is my story of observing places that are often overlooked. When driving by, if one only looks at the straight road ahead, the places can seem featureless
in the periphery. The beauty doesn't scream at you like a snow topped mountain...details are subtle, but they contain the story: a distant mesa, a ridge of rock, snow-filled crop rows, a "v" of migratory birds all speak of an experience. Don't miss it!!!

1 comment:

  1. The indistinct lines and subtle blurriness add to the wintry effect of the scenery.