"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Mailboxes I have known

Rural route--6 by 9 watercolor, 140# d'Arches
I don't know how long I've been interested in rural mailboxes, but they always catch my attention, especially when several of them are lined up in a row. My dad did a great sketch of some years ago, but I suspect my interest goes further back, or is genetic.
Mailboxes are both metaphoric for stages of my life, and like windows and gates and cabins to me...they hint of stories, of unanswered questions, of hopes and fears and the drama of every day life.
Mailbox, 7 by 9
My wife asked me if I was in a mailbox theme after seeing this, or if I was dissatisfied with my previous recent paintings. I think I'm always a little dissatisfied, but it's more like a phase than a theme. I've had my cabin phases, and old buildings and cabins, and windows and gates. After four other mailbox paintings this past month, this just seemed a natural topic today. 
It was stimulated by attending the Prix d' West Show at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum yesterday, where I spent three hours being astounded by great art, including watercolors where, among other questions,  I asked myself, "How did she do that? More on that show later.
No mail today, 8 by 10
I'm nowhere near that level of talent and inspiration, but it is contagious, thus today's painting.
Here are the previous four mailbox paintings, in various sizes, chronologically. Can you see the progression artistically?
Nobody home, 8 by 10

Mailboxes, 4 by 5 1/2

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