Jeanie’s Gift

When a package arrived a week or so ago from my friend Jeanie Croope, I had no idea what she might have sent. It turned out to be a set of three watercolor paintings of my beloved Dixie Rose, who died a year ago today. 

The image above was painted from the first photo I took of Dixie, when she was four months old.

While I’ve been learning to write, Jeanie’s been learning to paint, and watching her progress has been a joy. Being able to share her portrait of Dixie Rose is a perfect way to mark this day, just as this slightly revised version of Carl Sandburg’s famous poem seems just right.

The cat came in
on little fog feet.
She curled into my life,
took her ease
in silent dreaming,
and then moved on.


Comments always are welcome.


The Art of Reflection

Had I seen this image with no explanation and no more context than its leafy background, I suspect I might have found identification difficult, even though I’ve encountered the object in the past under quite different conditions.

But seen from a longer perspective, with its shadow reflected on its well-buffed surface, it would have been unmistakable. Once you’ve seen the trunk of this magnificent tree, you don’t forget it. 

The shadow cast across the lawn near the entrance to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was produced by this Roxy Paine sculpture titled Yield. I saw it first in autumn: shadowless, stark against a gray sky, and surrounded by nearly leafless trees.

During my recent visit, it seemed warmer, and more welcoming. The greening grass reflected in its highly polished surface made it seem as though Paine’s tree had itself taken root, and soon would leaf out.

It won’t, of course, but that hardly matters. Shimmering in the early summer sunlight, it stands as a reminder that second, third, or even tenth looks at any piece of art can be as rewarding — and as surprising — as the first.


Comments always are welcome.


Turbulent Waters, Turbulent Skies

The Starry Night ~ September 2015

After finding a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh tucked beneath a bridge at the Medina River crossing on Texas State Highway 16, I couldn’t help wondering how long it had been there. Who painted it? How well would it survive its somewhat precarious placement only a few feet above the river?

The Medina usually flows shallow at that spot, but flooding sometimes raises its waters multiple feet above the highway. I assumed that any combination of fast-moving water and debris surely would scrub the painting off the underside of the bridge, or at least damage it severely.

The Starry Night ~ September 2015

Despite a significant flood in May of 2016, when I returned to the spot two years later, the painting remained intact, and it was an addition which caught my eye, not a subtraction.

The Starry Night ~ November 2017

The graffiti left by a George Strait fan brought a smile for two reasons: its Texas flavor, and the care that was taken not to mar the painting. Despite the kayakers, swimmers, and casual passers-by who surely have seen this little gem underneath the bridge, it’s escaped both natural and human damage for two years. 

I thought of the painting recently after watching the film Loving Vincent. Searching for some historical details, I found this fascinating video which links the river and the painting through its exploration of turbulent flow. In ways that the artist who created the tribute to Van Gogh might not have appreciated, the placement of Van Gogh’s swirling skies above the Medina’s swirling waters is entirely appropriate.


Comments always are welcome.