Monday, October 20, 2008
Walking the Country
We live about 4 miles outside a small town (pop. 3800 on an optimistic day) in North Texas. Founded in 1833, back in the day, it was a prosperous town with numerous cotton gins and four drugstores and a movie theater on the town square. Now, not so much. Our road and the adjacent land in our area has had its own identity as a distinct community for many years also. Its called Mabry. My husband hates that- he thinks it sounds like "Mayberry". I say, so what? Mabry is, of course, a family name of the people who settled here and several of their descendants are our neighbors. When you turn on to our road, an old, white church and a graveyard mark the entrance to Mabry. The school house for the community (two rooms) originally stood on our property. A small piece of the foundation and a leaning flag pole (which we still use) are all that is left today.
Over the last 16 months I have painted mostly what I can see from our property, on our road or the drive into town. I cannot say, as Constable did, that these are "my places" given our short residency here, but nevertheless, they do feel like they are mine-at least aesthetically. Over these months, we have met our neighbors and most already knew I was an artist (that's the way it is in small towns). Many have graciously consented to let me roam their woods, pastures and fields in search of inspiration. I never have to go far. That little wooden ladder leaning against the fence behind my studio seems a perfect symbol of my place here- and I am content with that.