We went on a road trip recently, joining I-10 from El Paso, Texas all the way out to Alabama.
We drove as far as Ft. Stockton the first day. There we learned that there is a booming oil business happening, with “drilling going on all over the place”, and they just could not find enough help. There were plenty of new hotels there in Ft. Stockton, at a little higher than normal prices because of the demand.
Our goal was to make it to San Antonio the second day, without too strained of an effort.
It was cold, windy and overcast the three days we were there. It was cold, windy, raining and overcast the entire week I was there not too long ago. It was a little disappointing, but I did get to watch TV, which I don’t do all that often.
San Antonio is growing rapidly, with new housing going up everywhere. The city has two loops around it, and is said to be the 7th largest city in the USA now. I truly love the older part of San Antonio. I love the River Walk and the missions. I used to enjoy the Greenhouse Gallery, but they sold it years back and it is not there anymore.
This post is more about the memories of the sunshine, though I do plan a series of watercolors using the West Texas hill country, fog, scrubby trees projecting out of the fog, and ravens. In my mind, it seems Edgar Allen Poe-ish. But on to the sunshine.
“All God’s Creatures” is one of my favorites, but it is a little busy for some people’s living rooms. I love the color and movement in this painting. I was impressed with three different cultures of people all forgetting everything and enjoying the family of ducks going by. They became happy, stopping to look, even glancing at each other occasionally with brief smiles. Sometimes we forget to look at other people, staying in our own world, but animals and babies seem to be a “protection umbrella” under which we feel safe enough to acknowledge other human beings. It was a sunny day at the River Walk.
Down toward the Alamo, there was a hot dog stand under the bright and happy umbrella. I was amused by the baggy drawers on the young man, and the man observing him cynically. Now in my cruder language, if someone is doing fancy deeds, showing off or doing silly things, I might refer to them as a “hot dog”. So I thought this young man might be doing “silly things”. He is actually the Hot Dog, but the Hot Dog Stand deserved to be equally honored.
I love the lighting at the Hot Dog stand, the shadows – equally in All God’s Creatures. The sun was warm, then, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
So much goes on at the River Walk, people moving happily about, light and shadows, lots of color… even purple table cloths. Pigeons sometimes land on tables to clean up left-overs, but I didn’t notice any at this place. What I did notice was this graceful woman in a red dress. She may have been a hostess, or just there breathing, and I found her enchanting. She stood out in many ways besides the color of her dress, but her grace affected me.
This was a happy one to paint, layers and layers of light and color, a lot of activity and varying lines. And the lady in red.
So there truly are sunny days in San Antonio, they just didn’t happen this time through. I will make it to these wonderful places again, in the sunshine.
I loved painting some of the missions as well, the light and shadows, lines and textures. But that is for another time.
This painting is in a private collection in Colorado Springs, Colorado.