Fields of wild bluebonnets are an annual scene in the Hill Country of Texas and Oklahoma. Through the years, for various reasons, families have disappeared from rural farm life, leaving only the hint of their previous existence. In many cases, farmers were able to leave the crops in the care of crop-hands, giving supervision as they moved the family into town. Some farmers sold to investment companies for expansion purposes, and some retired as their children grew up and moved away.

I came across such a place while on a drive one spring day. The house was built close to the main road for convenience sake. I chose to leave the house out of the painting and focus on the flowers, tree, road and the “Barn in the Rain”. With very little foundation remaining, most of the walls had dilapidated to the point that they could no longer stand. In other parts of the nation, one will find a house such as this with a fireplace for heat and cooking. Such is not the case in West and North Texas where there are basically no trees to fuel a fire. The High Plains are situated flatly on the Caprock. At the edge of the Caprock are beautiful canyons, then the topography drops off several hundred feet as one travels East. This introduces trees and ground water, hills and vegetation.

This old house still had a sturdy porch with posts that stood in a welcoming manner, even after so many years. The door was barely attached to the door frame. A producing windmill is an essential for the livelihood of any farm. All the water was pumped and stored in a container such as a cistern or aluminum tank.

I drew from this memory as I painted "Barn in the Rain". I had no training or education when several of my friends suggested we go to a local art studio one day. We lived in the farming community with a population of approximately 2,500. I had never painted, but wanted to try, so I bought supplies and 3 days later I had my first painting. It was 1982 and I knew it was a gift, and gave me a great passion. This began my painting career. “Barn in the Rain” is a 18" x 24" (45.72 x 60.96 cm) oil painting on canvas.

NOTE: If one likes to hike very rugged terrain, I suggest Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailways at the edge of the Llano Estacado in Briscoe County, approximately 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Amarillo, Texas. BEWARE! I have hiked there several times and gotten lost most of those times. The trails are virtually unmarked or washed out after a rain and it takes weeks for the ‘cowboys’ or ranger on an ATV to come by and repair the signs and the trails. Be sure to take as much water as you can carry, especially in the blistering 120+ degree summer days; it's more important than snacks. Watch the weather forecast and if you see an approaching cloud, get out quickly. Flash floods come quickly and can be deadly, as are the rattlesnakes. The bison roam free and it is quite an experience to come upon one, as I did more than once.

My highest recommendation is Palo Duro Canyon just East of Canyon, Texas. It is by far the best experience one can have, especially if there are children involved. Don't pass up acquiring advanced reservations for the Musical Production 'Texas', performed almost continuously throughout the summer months. https://www.texas-show.com/ It is staffed by students from local universities is always very professional. Set in the canyon theater, it is unforgettable. Don't worry about food. The on-site chuck wagon offers bar-b-que and all the fixins' for a fair price to round out a wonderful Texas day-adventure. There are RV and tent camping sites as well as washroom facilities in the National Park. Horseback riding and jeep tours of the canyon are also available.