Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Discoveries on my Journey West

Cotton Candy Sky
by Cindy Morawski

Looking up.   I did that a lot on my recent road trip to West Texas and New Mexico.  I studied the big open sky through our Honda's windshield and side windows as we whizzed down the highway.  I couldn't get enough of those beautiful cloud formations, bright colors, and moving compositions.  I felt enchanted by the western landscapes and wanted to keep them firmly in my mind and heart. 
Paul and I made several stops on our journey west.  We headed north and west to the Texas Panhandle.  One of our first stops allowed us to visit the wild and roaming buffalo herd at Caprock Canyons.  We also spotted some prairie dogs along the way.  They reminded me of  jack-in-the-box toys.  Up and down.  Pop!  Goes the prairie dog!   . . . or something like that.  Next, we embraced entertainment with the outdoor musical, TEXAS, a Musical Romance of Panhandle History, at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.  I thought that musical was as big as Texas.  Cowboys and Indians on horseback, pioneers dancing and singing, and spectacular fireworks all helped to dazzle the audience under the star-filled sky in the canyon. 
Moving along on I-40, we then drove the truck-heavy, super-commerce highway from Amarillo to Albuquerque--my art destination.  I attended the IAPS Convention, International Association of Pastel Societies.  I represented the Texas Pastel Society of San Antonio.  With a juried exhibition, paint-out, banquet, trade show, and lots of stimulating classes, workshops, and demos, I felt like I died and went to a pastel painter's heaven!
One of my personal highlights was doing some plein air painting at the top of the Sandia Crest.  Paul and I snaked slowly up the Sandia Mountain, outside of Albuquerque, at 15 to 20 mph.  Finally, we looked over the crest.  It was a windy day, but the view seemed spectacular.  We were two miles high.  I could see forever!  I pulled out my pastel box and supplies after finding a good spot to paint and got lost in the mountaintop landscape. 
After saying good-bye to New Mexico, we checked out some of the sights in West Texas we'd heard about from friends.  The McDonald Observatory allowed us to see UT Austin's big telescopes on Mt. Locke.  I actually was allowed to move the Harlan J. Smith Telescope from north to south with the use of a button on a box.  Members of our tour group also found out about the emergence of the Space Age and NASA's need  for a new telescope to help them with the Apollo Mission. 
Fort Davis in the Davis Mountains was our final destination.  We journeyed back to the 1800's at the National Historic Site of Fort Davis.  The fort is a modern-day instructional tool to gather insight and admiration for the brave folks who served in the past.  Paul and I toured the enlisted men's barracks, the commissary, officer's homes, and more.  I imagined how encouraging that fort must have been to weary travelers and pioneers on their way west.  It represented protection and a much needed place of rest.
My road trip vacation served me well.  I felt inspired and renewed when I returned home.  I am currently planning my next series of paintings---  a study of western landscapes and its wildlife. 
Hope you can join me this Thursday.  I have three paintings in downtown San Antonio's Historic Emily Morgan Hotel's Art Showcase Summer Show.  The TAG art group is hosting a reception on June 20, 2013, in the Library of the Emily Morgan, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.  You are welcome to join us.  The art show will run through August.  All the artwork is currently for sale.  Please support your local artists.  Thanks.

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