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16 June 2010 @ 10:25 am
A Texas Prickly Pear Flower  



This is the story of some quality time in my life. Most of the days of our lives are spent doing the dull routine things that have to be done each day. Every so often, if we are fortunate, we get to do something that is different for a few days from the day-to-day grind of living our lives. We call these periods of our lives vacations. There are countless ways that people enjoy their vacations. For me, I like to go to West Texas, especially Big Bend National Park. There is something in my soul that yearns to look out upon the vast vistas that are there. When I am there, every direction I look, I see a beautiful landscape painting. I am constantly thinking of how I would go about doing a painting of the scene. At night, I can see the glory of the night sky with the stars, planets, constellations and the Milky Way. Out here, my cell phone won’t work, there are no TV sets with the news of terror attacks, oil spills and stock market crashes. For a few days I don’t have to carry out the trash and pay bills. Here, life slows down and I find contentment.

Last year, I invited our oldest daughter, Karen Duban, to go on a photography trip to Big Bend with me. We got to do that trip last month from Monday, May 17th through Friday, May 21st. She had never been to Big Bend before. Since I have been doing flower paintings for the last six months, I was especially interested in getting photographs of the various types of cactus that should be blooming there at that time of the year. We had a number of adventures and experiences on this trip that will be the fodder for several stories.

The painting above is based on one of the photographs that I took while we were hiking way up on the Lost Mine Trail. We were about half way up on the back side of Casa Grande Mountain one morning looking at the magnificent view to the south of Pine Canyon in the foreground and then the row after row of mountains receding off into the dim distance beyond the Rio Grande River down into Old Mexico. While standing there immersed in the wonder of this magnificent landscape scene before us, I looked down at the flowers on the prickly pear cactus at our feet. Looking closely at each bloom, I could see that each flower was alive with all sorts of bugs and honey bees gathering the pollen that was on the mini forest of pistels in the center of flowers. The folds and ridges of the petals of the beautiful flowers kind of reminded me of a micro version of the macro vista of canyons and mountains before us.

While I was photographing the prickly pear flower, I got the idea to try to make a painting of it to reflect the vastness of where it lives by that trail up on that remote mountain side. So, in a way, the painting of this flower is really a landscape painting. I hope you enjoy it. I am pleased with the way it turned out.