From earliest childhood I have been drawn to the countryside. Wilderness began for me as soon as I stepped off the road into forest or meadow, the trappings of civilization melted away into textures of ferns, light on a rock wall, the form of a tree against the sky, the colors in a shadow and the elements that determined the atmosphere through which I looked. I would draw constantly to record special discoveries. Pastels and the plains of Texas came into my experience at the same time. I like the immediacy of the pigment on paper. Controlling the texture of the paper and layering the pigment allows the translucent quality of the colors to best imitate the sparkle of natural light. I am compelled to reproduce the vision of what is open, vast, unsullied and wild in order to preserve the sense of wonder and gratitude I feel at each encounter.
Today, the Canyonlands continue to stir the creativity of artists and photographers. Joining artists O'Keeffe, Reaugh, Griffith and Oliver, we now have Amy Winton and her pastels, Randy Bacon and his oil paintings, and the artists of the Fisher County Art Society, who painted the mural shown above. Reminiscent of an Erwin E. Smith photograph, a lone cowboy resting on his mount overlooks the Brazos River Canyonlands. The mural commemorates the 2007 centennial of Rotan, Texas.
Photographers like Scott Bourland and Wyman Meinzer have explored this unique landscape and ecosystem. Bourland photographed many of the images on this website. Meinzer, with his wildlife photography, like the Comanche and their rock art, uniquely captures the beauty and spirit of this area's wildlife, which once again fills the Canyonlands.
The January 2008 issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine contains Meinzer's wildlife photography of complexity and beauty. His 2001 work Canyons of the Texas High Plains brings that same talent to photography of the Canyonlands. This website displays three examples of Meinzer's wildlife Photography, including a paisano smashing a collared lizard, shown above.
© Jim Watson