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.

6 comments:

Maggie Latham said...

I can totally relate to your Blog entry today. After twenty years of living abroad we moved back to England earlier this year, and even though away so long, the countryside of England was always in my heart. For a long time I painted the tropical vistas of Key West and the Florida Keys, but the more years that passed, the more I panted England from my heart and memories.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Florida Keys and love painting palms and seascapes, but there is something about the English rural countryside bathed in mist and fog that just touches MY soul …….and makes me excited to paint what is in front of me.

Many of your paintings evoke the essence of what surrounds me everyday.... Deborah you inspire me when I look at your interpretations of nature.

Deborah Paris said...

Maggie, thank you so much for your comments. I really appreciate them. Your experience in Key West sort of reminds me of mine in New Mexico- I loved that landscape and enjoyed painting it, but it was not "mine". Thanks very much for visiting!

Laraine Armenti said...

Your process of painting your home landscape is also reminiscent of Cezanne. He never left France in his lifetime. After studying in Paris, he returned to paint the environs of his childhood home. I'm enjoying seeing your work online very much. Thanks for writing about the larger context.

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Laraine. Up until about a year ago, I painted all over the country (mostly in the West) so settling down to paint in one place has really helped to focus my work in a way that I wasn't expecting. Thanks very much for visiting!

Casey Klahn said...

We are kindred spirits, your family and mine. I live in a rural environment, too. No neighbors to see, just the fields, hills and forests.

It is a rare and special thing, and much to be treasured.

Deborah Paris said...

That it is, Casey. Sometimes the best things are unexpected and come to us in simple, unadorned ways. Living in this place has really taught me to pay attention, something that is hard to do in the noise of modern life.