"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

On the Llano Estacado

"Llano Estacado," 6 1/2 by 10" watercolor, 140 lb d'Arches cold press pape
"This jagged landscape filled
with harsh formations
rising in rugged
abrupt relief
is beautiful."
     --From "Llano Estacado," in Sunlight & Cedar, --Ken Hada

Llano Estacado. The "Staked Plains" of the Texas Panhandle and Eastern New Mexico...where flat is deceiving.
A place of magic, of history, unless you had to walk the interminable flat land  like Coronado and the Spaniards looking for gold, or rode horses across them like the U.S Army looking for Comanches 300 years later, instead of speeding along at 75 mph on an Interstate today.
Even today, people seem to think they're boring, featureless, something to get across as quickly as possible. And they're not all flat. They're a land of extremes, of weather, and of geology.
You haven't looked? Or dodged huge thunderstorms, survived ice storms and hai, and blizzards, weathered continual winds, watched for tornadoes, experienced the dust storms, or discovered the canyons and caprock. 
(I've driven them often, especially these recent years when my daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren have moved outside Canyon, 10 miles south of Amarillo. Todd is an MD in the Texas Tech system in Amarillo, and Dallas, besides being a full-time mommy, operates two indie bookstores, Burrowing Owl Books in Canyon and Amarillo.)
That is an aside to the story of today's painting. As with anyplace that still has wild in it, and wide open spaces, there is to me always poetry.
And Ken's poem inspired today's painting. Those verses above are just the opening. If you want the rest, buy his book, or wait for me to review it.
I've had his new book since it came out in July, intending to review it, and that is coming soon. But it takes me time to stew on choosing paints and words especially in dealing with poetry. Ken lives in Ada, and is nationally recognized. Sunlight & Cedar is his eighth poetry collection. The cover carries a photo I expect was taken somewhere along the edges of the Llano in West Texas. 
Today's painting is more impressionistic than two dimensional  as fits the poem and the spirit of the Llano, and I've found that poets think in several dimensions. 
By the way, don't expect the rest of Ken's poem to be flat as the llano. Like the landscape, there are always twists and surprises.

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