By Caro Jackson –
Traveling along the roads of Texas this spring and early summer has proven to be a feast for the eyes, especially those known as the backroads. Having recently rebounded from terrible drought conditions, which had occurred throughout the state for the past several years, the roadsides have come alive with color and texture which often take my breath away.I have covered the miles from the low coastal plains to the high mountain desert near Big Bend, as well as the drive through the hill country to north Texas, and each mile has produced picture perfect moments to capture. Some friends were making a trip from the coast to the hill country, normally a four-hour drive. The Kodak moment nearly cost them an entire day as they stopped time after time to pile out of the car just to get that perfect wildflower picture.
The season started out with bright white prickly poppies and yellow masses of tiny flowers that covered the frontage roads along the highways. Coming in as they began to fade were the bluebonnets, paying tribute to our state as they do each spring. Then in succession, one after another, came the tall Indian paintbrush and the wine cups ravishing in their bright fuschia coats, followed by the bright orange and yellow Indian blankets. Not to be outdone were the purple spikes known to most of us as horsemint. There are so many others which I don’t even know the nickname for, much less the Latin one. Each and every one of them showed off their colors as if they were line dancers in brightly colored costumes.
I pretend to be an artist. I work at it, but as you can tell, colors have taken over my life. I now see things in a totally different way. Turquoise leaves, purple mountains, pink and orange skies, and greens that aren’t really green. Colors have come to represent shapes that in my past life, I would have never seen. Nature has provided us with a palette of rich bright hues that delight our eyes and our vases if we are so inclined to pick a few!
By the time you read this, summer will be in full swing and the brightly colored roadside may have taken on the look of dried straw as the relentless sun beats down upon the ground but the memory of the spring will linger on as if we have witnessed an entire array of glittering jewels. That is a memory I hope to hang onto. Maybe I sense a painting in the offing!
Caro Jackson is an artist and writer who lives in Rockport, Texas and shows at WindWay Gallery. In addition she paints with the Rockport 9, a group of plain air painters who travel around Texas painting different venues. www.windwaygallery.com.