Woodstock Belle, my last painting before leaving, was painted over several days in my parents garage. My aunt, retired and living close to her sister, my mother, wholeheartedly supported my art. With winter coming she lent me her panel van to transport my paintings to New York. I was to return the van. With the paintings tied to the van walls and a lawn furniture cushion for a bed, I was off to NYC again.
THE LIVING MOUNTAIN
Once again I climbed into the mountains, chose my composition, and began. I put more detail into the foregound which took more time. I pushed well into dusk before I started back down to the car. I slipped and rolled about thirty feet down the slope through the cactus. I was unhurt except I had to take off my jacket and trousers to remove the cactus spines. That was the only time I stayed too late.
The city of El Paso, Texas, wraps around the Franklin Mountains like a “U”. At the edge of the suburbs against the mountain I parked my parent's car and climbed up the over 3,000 ft. high mountain with my portable easel, paints, water, lunch, and a blank canvas. Within a few hundred feet, over a ridge, it is suddenly silent. The city has vanished. I use my fingers to form a rectangle and choose my composition, set up my easel, and begin. I have until dusk to finish. I need light to climb back down.
PLASTIC FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD
Some cemeteries in El Paso were watered grass. This cemetery in Ysleta, Texas, a small Mexican American town which predates El Paso, was all natural and dry except for the plastic flowers on the graves. Real flowers wouldn't have lasted a day in the summer heat.
When the pioneers first came to the Rio Grande valley at El Paso they say the grass was stirrup high. To protect their cattle the cattlemen killed the prairie dogs which stirred the soil. It just then got dryer and dryer. The grass is long gone. This old structure was shade for a shepherd. I left out the thruway in the background.