This landscape is 24″x36″ and has always been my favorite size to paint, it is the right proportion. It works well on a wall above a fireplace or over a large piece of furniture. This size canvas takes about four days to paint, with a couple of days drying time in between. I have always kept three paintings going at once, that way when I have gone as far as I need to on one, I can let it dry while I work on another one. Painting wet on wet ends up a dull grey picture, bright highlights will pop out if the paint under it is dry. I have never used an easel, it is awkward and makes my arm tired. I had rather stand over the canvas with it lying flat on the table or sit with it propped up in my lap. When paintings were finished, Dan framed them for me. A salesman came twice a year from Brownwood to show me the samples. They have beautiful ready made frames with elaborately finished corners. Even a small 5″x7″ painting in one of these frames turns it into something special.
Another pasture with bluebonnets, this one near Llano. Take your camera, go early to get the perfect shots. An overcast day, with no bright sunshine is best. The colors are brilliant, so mornings make stunning pictures. You can take off down country roads where there is no traffic and take your time. Ask around Mason and they will tell you where to get a map of the good places, these roads loop around and get you back to the main roads. Get going, the time is now!
Here are three of my dogs, this picture was taken in 2006 in the world’s smallest office. I got T4C to build me a little 6′ X 8′ building, I painted it barn red, trimmed it in taupe and the roof was hunter green. It was an exciting project. I built two desks out of 1″ birch plywood and it had insulated windows, a ceiling fan, and also an air-conditioner. It had a small heater but didn’t need one since the computers kept it warm.
When it was finished, there was space for two people working in there with two computers, printers, scanners and 19 feet of shelving on the walls, enough storage room for all their business.This project took about two months but was one of my favorites. It was like building a play house. My dogs liked it too.
What a thrill the day my kids moved home and saw it for the first time. It was sitting at our camp on the South Concho River near Christoval, they used it until they were able to build their new home. Now it has been moved to it’s permanent place in the middle of Chickie Town and the Peacock Palace and the Bean Barn and the orchard. I never get over the feeling of excitement going inside that fine little place. Wonderful memories live here.
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.
This is Matt Bumguardner, he was raised on a ranch with three brothers, they lost their mother at a young age, but they had a wonderful daddy who raised them by himself and sent them all through college. They were fine boys, gifted and talented.
We were closely connected to Matt. He knew how to fix things and make things, and didn’t mind hard work. He liked fixing up old cars and pick ups, rebuilding motors getting them running. One day Daddy went to town and was gone for quite a while. I heard the fire whistle blow in town and wondered where the fire was. Then here came a truck down our road, towing Daddy’s completely burned Volkswagen. While he was going down main street the gas line came loose, and with a loud pop the car caught on fire. It looked like a total loss. Sometime later, Matt traded him out of it and completely restored it. When he was finished, it was probably the only Volkswagen anywhere that was painted in Texas A&M University’s maroon and white. Matt lives in Arizona but we were able to visit with him last year at his daddy’s funeral. It was like he had never been away and it has been over 25 years. His kids will like seeing these pictures~
Sunday was Mother’s Day and what a special day! This was my mother Elizabeth Elder, she was a wonderful mother and grandmother. We were best friends for all those years and almost everything I ever learned came from her, creative in every way, but her greatest talent was painting. To watch her paint was an inspiration, she taught art for most of her life. She introduced the world of art to this part of West Texas. There are many people who come into our lives who mean everything to us but there is only one mother, mine was smart, pretty, creative and so much fun to be with. She was special~
This armchair is 8″ high and a copy of one in my living room that I have had for 45 years. We bought it from Bennett Brother’s of Chicago, a wholesale place that put out a wonderful catalog every year. They carried nice furniture, as well as jewelry and almost anything you could think of. The prices were ‘wholesale’. The miniature chair was easy to make, upholstered furniture didn’t take as much time to make as the wooden pieces. The lamp table was a copy of a real one I had. The books are a little block of wood, covered with pictures of books from a magazine, just cut out the picture and fold it over the wood. One book is True Women by Janice Woods, I scanned the book jacket and then reduced it down to the right size for the miniatures. No matter how tiny these things are, you can recognize the covers and read the titles. It is the same with photographs, I scan, then reduced the size and frame them in something like an ear screw that has the the stone taken out. Jewelry makes perfect little frames. This chair is like the one I sit in every morning to read the paper. I have said before how much I enjoy the morning paper~if I am not liking the way a story is going, I just turn the page. The TV news turns into a loud debate, Breaking News! Then the rest of the day, each commentator giving their take on it and explaining it to us dummies~I like the Standard Times and our wonderful local paper, The Eldorado Success~
The Bingo Singers~this little group has been active for at least 19 years. It started at the nursing home when I was helping with the Bingo games. Willie Johnson was singing one day and I told her I had a guitar and brought it the next time and we were off and running. She knew every song there was, I made copies of the lyrics for everyone and we sang for an hour before Bingo twice a week. We sang everything from old ‘he done her wrong songs to hymns’. Through the years we have had some great singers, some of the guys like Jack , George , Claudie , and Wally to name a few, and volunteers like Jim , James , Mary , Norma Lynn and a group of women who love to sing . We’ve played a few gigs at socials on the court house lawn. A nice comment was, “you don’t mess around tuning guitars or warming up, you just get up and sing“. It has been fun being a part of this sweet nursing home family, some of my best friends ever, it is nice having a good audience~We meet every Friday at 9:00 and sing our hearts out for an hour. Everyone is invited.
Here is an old ranch house I painted in about 1968. It seems like all of these old houses were built from one of two house plans. This one had one front door (sometimes two) and a wing built out in front. (there was usually an add-on shed in the back). Then there was the house with a long porch across the front and two or three front doors. You would wonder which door to knock on. Most of these old places had an out house. The better ones had a pit toilet with a modern looking oak seat and a metal floor. (home for granddaddy long leg spiders.) Others were two and three hollers and a trap door in the back.The yard had a picket fence to keep the stock out. The barn was usually finer than the house and there was almost always a windmill, the sound of the mill turning is something we always remember. There is something cozy about these old houses. A nice place to come home to. When my granddad retired he and my grandmother moved to their farm at Grit. Before they finished fixing up the old house, it was primitive but it did have running water inside. I loved being there, it was wonderful, the kerosene lamps smelled good but they didn’t put out much light. What I missed was a refrigerator, they had an ice box and things were never very cold. Granddad built a big cement tank and we waited all summer for it to fill up so we could go swimming, when it was time for us to come home, there was about nine inches of water in it. I had to save my new blow up water wings for another year.
This is one of those really easy to make dinners. It is great with hot rolls and a fresh fruit salad. For my Sunday company dinner yesterday I served it with Debbie’s green beans and a corn dish, dinner for eight, everyone enjoyed it. ~in the oven when I left for church, ready for the table when I got home~ Always a good anytime meal but makes a special dinner for company too, simply delicious~
On March 24, 1924, Mr. E.L. Hoover bought this new Model T Ford Roadster from Watkins-Inks Motor Co in Llano, Texas and paid $346.70 (filled up). Years later, in the early 50′s, Bob McWhorter bought it from him and completely restored it. He enjoyed taking kids for rides, showing it off in parades or just driving it to the drug store for coffee. He had two Model T Ford cars and later gave one to each of two nephews, Dan and Paul McWhorter. The boys loved their cars and took great care of them. When Paul was 16 years old, he was going to take the test for his Texas Driver’s License and asked the patrolman Don Thomas, if he could use his old car. Mr. Thomas said, “sure thing! I have never ridden in a 54 year old car”, so off they went! Paul passed with a perfect score. Several pictures were taken that day that ended up in the newspaper, and later in ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.’ It was the oldest car ever driven for a Texas Driver’s Test. (licenses were not required until 1936). The boys have had their special cars for over 35 years, they are parked in a fine barn near Chirstoval behind Paul’s house. Getting the cars was one of their biggest thrills ever, and seeing the piece in Ripley’s was fun too. Nice surprise~
This is a painting I did of my daddy, Jack Elder at the Hulldale barn. He was always good to pose for me. He was not a cowboy, or a sodbuster or a plowboy, he was a roughneck. His usual dress was coveralls, steel toed boots and a hard hat. He worked full time in the oil fields until he was 68 years old, he liked it. He liked his coffee shop friends, his fruit trees, and liked being in charge of everything around him, including me. We locked horns many times through the years. Daddy would do things without thinking. He would have a mess on his boots and scrape them off with his pocket knife, and a few minutes later be peeling a pecan or a peach with that knife for one of the kids. He liked to cook. His peach cobbler recipe was original, it went something like this~