Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Texas Plains Trail

Map of the Texas Plains Trail___click to see larger___explore website
It might not be a trip for just "anyone", but I was in "heaven"...on the open road, with not much more than sky ahead. The Texas High Plains are EXTREMELY flat (...explains how the city of Levelland got its name). But to get there you must get UP on top to the flat place. Check out a topo map and you will see several escarpments in Texas. They all curve parallel with the coastline and separate Texas into several distinct elevations. I grew up on the Balcones Escarpment of Central Texas, at the very south end of the Great Plains. The High Plains are set apart by the Cap Rock Escarpment. It is an OBVIOUS slope upward from rolling hills to that flat place above. Here is where the great farms are: wheat, sunflowers, cotton, and the newest farms: WIND farms.
We drove in from the southeast, to Post, and took a left. The entire trail is about 700 miles...more unique beauty than you can imagine. Desolate towns, empty farm houses, yet LOTS of work being a quiet pace.
It was a brief adventure. My driver was an artist friend/former teacher/coach/ bus driver, Barbara Conitz. She did well behind the wheel of my new Ford pick-up. My rule is this: The driver has to stop when I want to, (and sometimes back up :) but they get to be in charge of the a/c AND the radio. Barbara filled my CD changer up with her music, but neither one of us could figure out how to take them out, so we listened to the same ones over and over.
I will spend the next few days talking about this trip, and showing the drive-by paintings I worked on.
Below is the water tower in the city of Panhandle, TX (which is in the panhandle of Texas!)...the day after we went through this area (including Dumas, Stinnett and Dimmitt, the Weather Channel reported at least 10 tornados!...even in this little town!) I was most amused by the graffitti! I wonder what the Round Rock connection is??? Since I am from Round Rock, I would like to know!...seeing this made me happy to be driving toward home!
I took photos of many different water towers. These are LANDMARKS on the plains! They have been the method for storing and regulating water pressure for over a hundred years, now. Like windmills, they are often the subject of drawings and paintings.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crosbyton, Texas Panhandle

Sunset in Crosbyton, TX____6x8 oil on linen panel__for Passing America: The Great Plains__exhibit 2011
Over 1300 miles this past weekend....we drove a circuit on the Texas Plains Trail. If you like the open road and great LLLLOONNNGGGGG Vistas, you would love this route. Every mile of it was an example of the theme of my project "Passing...the Great Plains": desolate farm houses, empty small towns, huge industrial farms, great feed lots. Much of it was unfenced!
The painting above was a REAL quick study as the sun's last light illuminated one of the thunderhead clouds south of Crosbyton. We had planned to stay in that town, but the one hotel there seemed a little bit suspect, so we drove the 30 miles or so to Lubbock, through clouds of mosquitos which sounded and splashed like rain on the windshield! There has been a LOT of rain in our usually arid Texas panhandle. The farmers seemed happy!
I will talk more about this trip (and the one I will take on Thursday!) in the upcoming days...all in all I painted a pile of canvases, some of which need an "oil change"...(that is, adjusting certain elements of the oil painting!)...My pick-up truck also needs an oil change after the is what my grill looked like after the mosquito showers!
My New Ford Truck conquered clouds of mosquitos!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Favorite Plains Painting far, this is my favorite painting of the plains as I am "Passing America"... I am posting it again so it will be at the top of my blog!
In May (right now!) I am taking THREE road trips through the plains...May 13-17 I will be in the Texas Panhandle, covering the entire Texas Plains Trail. I will create new "drive by" paintings for my exhibit in Fall 2011.
The following week (May 20 - 23) I will be flying to Omaha and heading west across the plains...not sure where I will end up, but I have a handsome driver for that one :)
Please stay tuned, and if you want to read about this painting above, scroll down to Nov. 13... That is when I first posted this and tell the story of painting it...
JOIN this blog if you want to...
Watch the Texas Country Reporter episode about Last Year on the Farm. They told the story from a nice angle, and it explains (indirectly) how "Passing America..." is an extension of the farm project. if you want to mail me directly