Green Pastures

This was a place between Llano and Burnet Texas, I have seen this same spot covered in wild flowers

Today I am showing a green scene. We are pretty green here right now because of wonderful rains in the past month. The great thing about this part of the state, if we get a little rain, everything turns green in a few days. The pastures have buffalo or mesquite grass, it can survive almost any drought and come right back with a rain. I painted this picture from down around Llano. I like a road in a picture, or a trail, something to let you imagine being able to get into it. A gate needs to always be open or it stops you dead in your tracks. Now in real life you would never leave a gate open. If you find it closed, you close it behind you. An Eldorado character (Jim Runge) who has a ranch north of town had a gate standing beside a country road, not connected to a fence but just a gate standing there. He had put a sign that read, “Keep Gate Closed”. Pretty funny~ Have a nice weekend~

Bald-Faced Cow

cattle are fun to paint, ZZ was able to paint this one in two days, and then put in a little more detail after the paint dried.

This is a picture ZZ painted of a cow. We took lots of cow pictures in Buscher’s pasture, they were strange looking but probably good ones since they  all had ear tags.  ZZ was 9 years old on this one. I helped her sketch it off on a 9×12″ canvas. (paint the eyes in first, then it will watch you while you paint in everything else.) To show her how, I would write in b for brown, w for white, etc. and she would paint in the different colors. She learned to mix paint from an early age, we used very few colors,  white,  blue, yellow, red, and brown. Nearly any color can be mixed  from these. She learned early not to mix a big pile of color, if you mix small amounts, each one will be different and make  the picture more realistic. One time when ZZ was about 5 years old, we were buying brushes at the art store and an older man and his wife were shopping. From what we understood, he had decided to start painting. He was saying, ‘let me see, I need some purple and some green, and some black’~ I could tell ZZ was having a fit. She finally told me, ‘that man is not obeying’. She knew blue and red made purple, and yellow and blue made green. She was beside herself wanting to go help him. She painted several parrot pictures and sold them on e-bay. Children like bright colors. She painted a lot of adobe houses. They are easy to do and when you are finished, you have something worthy of a nice frame. They have a 3-D effect with shadows and sunlight hitting the walls. The great thing about her is she never got tired, she was never ready to quit. I love this old cow. I love that sweet girl~

The Card Game

I can either stop posting for a month, or show some re-runs since I am taking care of some business this summer. (like 40 chickens, three dogs and fighting coons every night to keep them out of the fruit trees). Maybe by the end of June I will have some new and interesting fresh material to write about. Good things are happening right now in Uganda!

The dress was wonderful to paint, her wrap too, it looks like ‘someone’ won her away from the card game~I painted this picture in 1965, it was  large and took two months to complete.

Dan’s mother saw this painting and mentioned it several times, it hangs in the Hermitage in Russia. It was an old world painting, ‘The Stolen Kiss’ by Fragonard. I found a photograph of the painting and was overwhelmed by the beautiful detail in the woman’s dress, I decided to try to copy it. It took several weeks to sketch it off on canvas and once I started painting I was terribly excited to be doing it. Painting the folds in the woman’s dress was a great experience, it was like reading a good book~ hard to put down. When it was finished Dan gave it to his mother on Mother’s Day, she loved it. She had a beautiful formal living room and the perfect place for it. It has been in the family for 49 years, it now hangs in her grandson’s home. 

Thoroughbred Horse

A thoroughbred horse

I painted this thoroughbred horse for practice

Not Bob's Quarter Horse

This is the first picture I painted of Bob’s quarter horse, I had to start over from scratch, another lesson learned ~

This picture today is a thoroughbred horse I painted for practice. I have painted a lot of horses in the last 60 years and it has always been a pleasure. People treasure their horses, there is a special bond between them. Ranchers use quarter horses in Texas,  I painted a quarter horse  for someone who was giving it to her husband for Christmas one year.  She gave me a photograph to go by, mesquite tree, calache road and their recognizable ranch land in the background. This was going to be an easy one. I loved doing it, but I did ‘doctor up’ it up just a little, you know, a little more muscle, longer legs, what I thought would enhance it.  I showed it to Jim Cawley ~a horse expert and friend~  to  have him critique it before I delivered it . His comment was, “Dang, that is a fine horse but that is NOT Bob’s horse!”, so I started over from scratch and painted Bob’s real horse. Jim taught me a lot about horses, I have had to remove the perfectly painted whiskers in a horse portrait, re-work the eyes (moon eyes are not acceptable) and  every horse has to be the exact color. Horses have four legs, sometimes I would have liked to have painted them standing in tall grass, the legs are no fun.

Dinning Room (and Miniatures)

Real Table

the real table has 3 extra leaves so it can seat 10 people, there are 6 matching chairs

The miniatures

the little table is 7″  tall,  the doors and drawers on the cabinet open and are filled with all kinds of keepsakes and surprises

I copied this dining room set from a real one that belonged to my Montgomery grandparents, they had started out their married life with it. When I received it, I refinished the table and six chairs. It was a surprise when I removed all the different chair seat covers that had been replaced through the years, the original was maroon leather. The price stamped on the bottom of the chairs was $4.75. It is over 100 years old. I treasure this table and remember growing up and having wonderful meals at their house. The miniature table is 7″ tall, it is made from mahogany. The secretary is a copy of one that belonged to Dan’s grandmother. It took several weeks to make all the pieces but was one of those really happy projects. 

Swimming Hole

swimming hole at Camp Rock

This is a painting of the swimming hole at Camp Rock on the beautiful South Concho River. I took artistic license in several areas, the water hole isn’t quite this big  and  the hills in the background are actually the double knobs near Grit in Mason County. I painted this one to hang out on my screened porch, it was there for almost 40 years with no fading or  weather damage, (the secret in oil painting is to use linseed oil to mix the paint colors and never ever  use turpentine, that is for cleaning brushes). There is something so special about water, I always wondered if people who grew up in a town with a lake or river could appreciate what they had. I almost always  put water in a painting, if not a river, then a puddle in the road or a windmill with a rock tank. I always need to be able to get a cool drink~ Two years ago I turned the screened in porch into a sun room, with insulated windows and air conditioning. It is my favorite room in the house.

Restoration Projects

A couple of years ago I had some projects that needed to be done. They took several weeks, the signs were some I carved years ago and the paint was blistering and peeling, the gold leafing was suffering. Here are pictures of that project before and after. Just like keeping a house in good shape, it takes constant maintenance.

scraping, striping, sanding several times over several weeks time. Until you get past the half way mark, you keep thinking, 'I don't have to do this, I can quit and find an easier project'~

scraping, striping, sanding several times over several weeks time. Until you get past the half way mark, you keep thinking, ‘I don’t have to do this, I can quit and find an easier project’~

priming, then painting with green marine grade paint, drying and painting another coat. Then painting sizing inside the carved letters, let that dry and start the gold leafing. Anywhere the gold touches the sizing, it sticks so you have to be careful and only paint the sizing where you want it to be forever.

priming, then painting with green marine grade paint, drying and painting another coat. Then painting sizing inside the carved letters, let that dry and start the gold leafing. Anywhere the gold touches the sizing, it sticks so you have to be careful and only paint the sizing where you want it to be forever.

Putting the sign back up was the fun part until I was swallowed up in a cloud of gnats. They were the biting kind. When I was digging the post holes 23 years ago, I had to dig 4 because the second one hit a rock so I had to move it over and then over again. They are cemented in and I don't ever plan to dig another post hole~NOT NEVER~

Putting the sign back up was the fun part until I was swallowed up in a cloud of gnats. They were the biting kind. When I was digging the post holes years ago, I had to dig 4 because the second one hit a rock so I had to move it over and then over again. They are cemented in and I don’t ever plan to dig another post hole~NOT NEVER~

  Since the sizing stays tacky for a couple of hours, you only want to paint it on as much as you are able to finish in that time. I finished one half of the sign before starting the other half


Since the sizing stays tacky for a couple of hours, you only want to paint it on as much as you are able to finish in that time. I finished one half of the sign before starting the other half

 

The CAMP ROCK sign goes over the gate going into the place across the driveway. It was ready to be thrown away it was so bad but now it will be good for a while longer.

The CAMP ROCK sign goes over the gate going into the place across the driveway. It was ready to be thrown away it was so bad but now it will be good for a while longer.

This is a little duck house I built with left over lumber after we built our house in 1974. It was home for our two pet Mallard ducks, Stanley and Rose Olive and our four guineas. They all slept out there every night for 8 years.  Three months ago this is what the duck house looked like while I was trying to restore it. It had to be sanded, striped, and calked, then primed and painted. I made the windows and shutters out of cement board this time and they should last forever

This is a little duck house I built with left over lumber after we built our house in 1974. It was home for our two pet Mallard ducks, Stanley and Rose Olive and our four guineas. They all slept out there every night for 8 years.
Two years ago this is what the duck house looked like while I was trying to restore it. It had to be sanded, striped, and calked, then primed and painted. I made the windows and shutters out of cement board this time and they should last forever.

This job took me about 2 months to finish, I was dragging my feet because I couldn't make the calk come out of the calk gun, it needed a stronger hand than mine.

This job took me about 2 months to finish, I was dragging my feet because I couldn’t make the calk come out of the calk gun, it needed a stronger hand than mine.

 took this picture today. I am happy to have it finished and looking new again. Steve Gaines came and built me a cement landing so it wouldn't sit on the dirt, we were amazed that it didn't have any termites after 39 years sitting on the ground.

I took this picture today. I am happy to have it finished and looking new again. Steve Gaines came and built me a cement landing so it wouldn’t sit on the dirt, we were amazed that it didn’t have any termites after 40 years sitting on the ground. At one time I found a hive that bumble bees built into the dirt. Just today I saw a program on the National Geographic channel about bumble bees. They do build under ground. There was a hive over at the farm under the sidewalk. I found them by accident one day and when I was running from them, I fell down and they were all over me. I grabbed a board and started swinging it and I only had to barely touch them and they fell. No stings that day but I got stung at Christoval last year by one I thought was dead and picked it up to throw it outside and it stung my thumb. It was like a stinging scorpion except it hurt for several days. Now I have a new respect for them. 

Nothing lives in this little house now. Buttermilk and Domino sometimes sit on the porch in the shade. They are my sweet kitties, they like it here~I like them~

West Texas Chuck Wagon

Painted from a photograph of a real campsite.  I liked painting something a little different from the usual landscapes. It was on display in the conference room at the LBJ Park for several years.

Painted from a photograph of a real campsite. I liked painting something a little different from the usual landscapes. It was on display in the conference room at the LBJ Park for several years.

Harold Wood, who was in charge  of the LBJ Park near Johnson City once sent me an old  photograph of a camp cook with his chuck wagon and wanted me use it as a subject for an oil painting. I really enjoyed painting it and it hung in the Library and Conference Room at the park for several years. It reminded me of far West Texas and the Culberson County Ranch. Hunting camps still have camp cooks, usually one of the hunters takes on the job and does it year after year. Sometimes a real cook comes and gets to hunt for free. I can only imagine the men starting out early on a cold  morning with a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, boiled coffee and biscuits cooked in an old Dutch oven on the open fire, then heading out for the big hunt. This is where fathers bond with sons, brothers with brothers. This is where friendships are made that last a lifetime.

My Mother in the Roaring Twenties

The Flapper look was alive and well in San Angelo High School in the late 1920s,

The Flapper look was alive and well in San Angelo High School in the late 1920’s. Elizabeth Montgomery from the year book~

 

The Roaring Twenty’s was alive in San Angelo if you checked out the High School Annuals. The ‘flappers look’   was the rage. Dresses went from shoulder to hem with flat chests, no waist or hips, just hanging fabric. Hair was bobbed short and set in finger waves or spit curls~ close to the head~ and skull caps over that. In the late 1920s, the look was beginning to die out. When I was a child and looked through my mother’s year books I thought all the girls were so terribly ugly and they all looked just alike. That is except for the School Sweetheart, Bobbie Jones. She was beautiful with big brown eyes and a soft full head of hair. Loud jazz was the music of the time and the Charleston was the dance. (A few times she showed me the steps, arms flying, elbows pumping and knees doing some kind of scissor stuff. I thought it was awful.)  Mother  was happy living through this time though and enjoyed school. Students had the advantage of studying Latin, Greek Mythology, poetry, the arts, music, Shakespeare and things that were not taught when I came along. Mother walked to school about eight blocks from home on East Harris. She passed by Shepperson’s Furniture store every day and noticed some beautiful bed room furniture featured in the window. The thing that got her attention was,  ‘Contest for Chance to Win’. She was excited! She entered her essay and  hoped and wished and prayed and waited and gave up and hoped some more. One day, weeks later, as she went by the store window the furniture was gone. She was sick. They didn’t even leave a note that the contest was over or anything. When she got home, her old iron day bed was sitting in the yard and she KNEW! Her bedroom was all set up with the beautiful new furniture, her essay had won! “Home is Not Just a Place to Hang Your Hat”

Remembering My Mother

Mother was an artist, she had many gifts besides painting. I never knew of anything she couldn't do, and do it well. She was fun to be with and was a wonderful Grandmother Liz to four grandchildren.

Mother was an artist, she had many gifts besides painting. I never knew of anything she couldn’t do, and do it well. She was fun to be with and was a wonderful Grandmother Liz to four grandchildren. She died on Mother’s Day, 1973 at the young age of 59.

This was a great cookbook published by the First Baptist Church of Eldorado a few years ago. They used her baptistery painting on the cover of the book. The following inscription was included inside the book~

This was a great cookbook published by the First Baptist Church of Eldorado a few years ago. They used her baptistery painting on the cover of the book. The following inscription was included inside the book~

Elizabeth Elder

Artist, wife, mother, she was born in 1913 and moved to Eldorado as a young bride. She lived with a creative urge that would not be put down. Painting was her passion,

”she seized the rainbow and laid it on a piece of linen”.

She poured her heart and soul into her work, and when she finished, she was anxious to begin again. Inspiration was a blank canvas.

In the early 1940’s and for the next 25 years, she taught art lessons to many young people, even high school boys came to her classes. Every student’s first picture was a scene with a bright blue sky and a yucca plant sitting on a sand dune. Easy to do and pretty enough to frame. Later, there were bluebonnets and landscapes. She taught women’s classes in Sonora and formed lifelong friendships. She brought a bit of artistic culture to a void in West Texas.

Her first baptistery painting was for the Primitive Baptist Church in Eldorado.

She had the huge canvas standing against the wall in the kitchen while she worked. She gave us brushes and let us paint fish on the bottom of the picture.

Later, she ‘covered our up our fish with the river’. When doing the baptistery for The First Baptist Church, she let her small grandson have the honor. When I see the painting, I know there is a red fish down there under that water.

She painted many of these large pictures for churches in the area, always as a gift.

I am happy that you have chosen to use this baptistery painting for the cover of your cookbook. She would have been so very pleased.

Blessings, Rita McWhorter

Happy Mother’s Day

GoodFeelings, warm love

This is a young mother, grandmother and baby,  sweet feelings from my heart

Happy Mother’s Day. To me everything in life pales by comparison to being a mama. I  dreamed of having a baby from when I was a little girl. My doll was the only  thing I needed. I made her a bed out of a wooden lettuce crate, she had nice blankets and pillows. It bothered me though that when she was in  my bed at night, her spot never got warm.  Dan and I had two boys, I don’t know how we got such wonderful children but they have been  a blessing and a mother’s dream.  I painted  this picture in 1973, I had lost my mother a year before on Mother’s Day. I put my heart  into it and have feeling for this one~more than any I have ever done. I don’t remember where I got the subject matter,  I saw the room with nice windows in a picture and added the characters from different pictures and ideas. It is a peaceful scene, it is filled with sweet feelings and warm thoughts.(now I need to add several of my puppies and it would be complete). I will add several more Mother’s Day stories to my blog in the next few days. Just today, Dan and Debbie brought a feast for an early Mother’s Day dinner after church. 

Texas’ Delaware Mountains

 

Culberson County Ranch

This is a remote place in Culberson County, Texas, rugged and unspoiled, I have painted several pictures with Guadalupe Peak in them~

This is a picture of  the ranch in the Delaware Mountains in far West Texas. It is 70 miles from Van Horn so is about as remote as it gets. You see Guadalupe Peak  in the background, the highest point in Texas at 8,751 ft. It is a magical place, the ranch has been in the family for around a hundred years. One day Dan’s Grandpa Pelt was in the coffee shop at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio when he got to  visiting with a man sitting there and they started talking about their ‘white elephants’. Grandpa had property in the Valley near Edinburg and the other man had a large ranch in Culberson County. When they were finished  that day, they had made a a trade for each other’s land, sight unseen. Back in those days, deals were struck like this all the time. The ranch has been  wonderful for 5 generations  to enjoy.   It is a favorite family hunting place with big mule deer, antelope, and every kind of wild life. The first time I saw it, it took my breath away, coming up to  the rim and seeing for a hundred miles, it was like the Grand Canyon of Texas. Thank you Grandpa, sweet trade~