"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.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Essential machines, a story

"Emotive power," 5 x 7 140 lb Fabriano Artistico extra white cold press paper
I wouldn't be here, if it weren't for trains.
Today's #WorldWatercolorMonth prompt was "Machine," and at first I was baffled for a subject.
But not for long, as I walked down the hall and saw my Dad's scratchboard of a Rock Island steam locomotive at the Fort Worth roundtable in the snow.
Dad's scratchboard of a locomotive at Fort Worth
As a kid, I was there when he made the first sketch in the summer. But I didn't know the emotions going through his head when we went there. He later turned it into the scratchboard
I do now. It's no wonder I've been attracted to trains, especially steam locomotives, for so long. And I've painted several, usually greeting cards for good friends Roy and Jill Kelsey. Roy is also a train buff.
Why are trains so important to me? Because they led to my birth.
See, when Dad was 18, newly graduated from high school, in the midst of the Depression, he and a friend from red clay Oklahoma town of Comanche, hopped Rock Island freights to go to Juarez to celebrate.
Coming back, as they "changed trains" in Tucumcari, Dad slipped while trying to board a moving boxcar. It sliced off his right leg beneath the knee and one small finger.
Had that not happened, he probably would have gone to war with three of his brothers. He might not have come home--they did. But even if he did, I would not have been born 12 years later.
So to me, steam locomotives are essential machines. Thus today's quick little watercolor, out of my imagination, "E-motive Power."

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