Monday, March 29, 2010

Looking Back a Hundred Years, Homestead and Heritage, a Landscape Painting

Homestead and Heritage, a Landscape Painting

by Cindy Morawski


I heard earlier this month that the drought in Texas is "officially" over. After driving on Loop 1604 this past weekend, I can believe it. I used the bluebonnet test for my measuring stick this spring. I found a sea of blue everywhere! Recently, I decided to check through my bluebonnet photos of the past. I clicked through my computer's picture files, and this is what I found. Last year's two photos showcased a group of only three random flowers in our community's greenbelt area. Of course, there were a few others in our greenbelt, but they had been nurtured. After lots of water, the protected ones finally bloomed. It was like looking at an endangered species in the zoo. That dang drought had done its damage! "What is that flower? Do you remember seeing it before?" I overheard someone say that as I was walking my dog down the greenbelt trail while shaking my head in disbelief. It wasn't until I went back three years ago into my picture files of 2007 that I found big-time bluebonnet evidence. My dog Phineas was surrounded in a thick blue carpet of neighborhood bluebonnets. I didn't have a small child handy to take a photo so I settled for my dog. Yikes! That drought did last a long time! Now I know why I appreciate this spring so much. I can't get over the many shades of green, the zillions of colorful wildflowers, and the gigantic weeds in my yard. It's truly amazing what a rainy season can do to San Antonio. After popping my allergy meds this past week, I've also said thanks every morning when I have awakened to all this beauty. Just Color My World!
Therefore, with all this appreciation of nature going on, I decided to paint a tribute to Texas and to the Season of Spring through a landscape painting. Of course, I had to feature wildflowers, especially bluebonnets. I added trees, grasses, and a rural cabin along my horizon and entitled it -- Homestead and Heritage. Nostalgia, like Charles Dickens, can bring out the best of times and the worst of times. During the drought, I felt nostalgic for rainfall, all things green, and blooming flowers. And it just so happens that when I think of Texas history, I also get a little bit sentimental about log cabins and a simpler time. That's why I felt compelled to place the cabin in my painting.
One of my favorite San Antonio landscape artists who happened to be a genius in painting bluebonnets was Julian Onderdonk. I saw his beautiful paintings in an exhibit featured at San Antonio's Witte Museum on Broadway awhile ago. In my opinion, one of his best was painted in 1912, "Bluebonnet Field." It features the Texas Hill Country in all its bluebonnet splendor. In 1912, San Antonio must have had a spring that rivaled ours. Onderdonk's spring paintings can also be a measuring stick that there was no drought going on in 1912. When you look at his art work, you can see a sea of blue in his bluebonnet landscapes. Almost a hundred years later, I can almost imagine how Julian must have felt gazing out at all those bluebonnets. Spring in Texas. Can it get any better than this?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

When Road Met Sky, new spring landscape painting

When Road Met Sky
New Landscape Painting by Cindy Morawski


Do you remember lying in the warm grass and looking at the sky's clouds when you were small? I do. Since I liked animals, I could spot an elephant or a dog immediately. That big sky and all those swirling clouds made me feel dizzy with life. I felt completely in awe of the world, but I also sensed that I was a part of something much greater than myself when I gazed upward.


When I was driving north to Santa Fe, New Mexico, last spring, I just happened to get distracted. No, I wasn't yakking it up on my cell phone. And, I wasn't riveted by a favorite song on the radio. Nor do I send text messages while driving; I'd like to get to my destination in one piece. I was completely smitten with the sky! "Clouds in my coffee." I could hear Carly Simon singing in my head. After I drove out of Albuquerque, the highway flattened out for quite awhile. But, as I neared Santa Fe, the elevation started rising, and the road met the sky while I motored down a scenic back route. The clouds didn't signal bad weather. They just beckoned me to take another look. Hey! There's one that looks like a Volkswagon Beetle. And, over there . . . I'd swear that large puffy gray one looks like a giant dinosaur. It seemed that time stood still that day because before I knew it, I spotted the Santa Fe city limits road sign. That day I didn't mind having my head in the clouds!


This landscape measures approximately 20 x 15 framed. It's also available in matted prints. I painted it with pastels on pastelbord. I started with a sketch, then moved onto a dry underpainting using hard pastels. Layering in my values and colors with soft pastels and adding details and perspective brought the road and sky scene to life.


If you're looking for a Sunday outing on March 14th, try Boerne's Market Days in the town square. It goes from 10 to 5 each day. Every month's second weekend, the town of Boerne rolls out its Market Days on both Saturday and Sunday. There are lots of vendors with everything from tomato plants to cowhide rugs to paintings. There's also a band playing in the beautiful gazebo. Please look for me in my tent in the middle row, just a stone's throw from the gorditas, crepes, and other food vendors. I'll give you 2 dollars off your purchase if you mention this blog in honor of my "Luck of the Irish Sale" for St. Patrick's Day.

Happy Spring and Happy St. Patrick's Day!!