"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.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day challenge--watercolor

Independence Day,  5 by 7 watercolor, 300 Lb. d'Arches
"Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees," Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson's last words, 1863.
Those words come to mind as I seek out veterans' graves in rural cemeteries, attracted by the signature tombstones.
Today was day 4 of the #WorldWatercolorMonth.com challenge, and it led me to Oakwood Cemetery, an 1892 chartered Territorial cemetery on 15th street a few miles east of our house, just before you get to Arcadia Lake.
I've been there many times--a peaceful, thoughtful place, well cared for, and still "active" with its own association and families still burying loved ones there.
What brought me this time was Independence Day, hunting a watercolor subject. I knew there would be flags on veterans graves, and there were. Veterans from the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam are buried there., and I walked to all of them, thinking about the stories, the lives.
Then I found the grave of Marion M. Lowder, a private in the 80th Infantry, 15th Army Division, who died Aug. 4, 1919, just a few months after the end of the war. How did he die? I don't know, but so young and so soon after WWI I' wonder if was from combat injuries.
His parents, born in the 1850s,  must have been homesteaders. I noticed his mother died before him, his father 20 years later, as well as two brothers, all together in a family plot.
Behind his grave is a huge tree, with another veteran's  grave near by, and I thought of Jackson's words.
The Lowder family plot, my watercolor stool in the corner left.
So I set up my stool and tried to paint, after visiting with two folks who stopped by, telling me more stories about the cemetery. But in the morning sun, watercolor is difficult, and I got a little study in before giving up, and coming home and painting this.

Independence isn't free.

1 comment:

  1. I love old cemeteries. You find all sorts of stuff in them

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