artist

The state 2D artist draws on his El Paso heritage

There haven’t been any votes yet, but we kind of already know what the Texas delegation to the U.S. House will look like in 2024.

The Israel-Gaza war is challenging what it means to have free speech at colleges across the country. A visit to a San Antonio campus highlights why.

Gov. Greg Abbott is set to sign into law a measure that makes illegal border crossing a state crime. What you need to know.

It’s tamale time for many folks across Texas. We’ll explore the base ingredient, masa, with our go-to taco journalist.

And a conversation with this year’s state 2D artist, Gaspar Enriquez, about how he depicts El Paso and what it means to be Chicano.

Deborah Roberts

Join us on the latest episode of Black Austin Matters as we have the privilege of hearing from renowned artist, Deborah Roberts. Embark on a captivating journey through her inspiring life, from her artistic training to her unwavering dedication to protecting black children through her art. Gain insight into her experiences growing up in Austin and witness the fulfillment of her dreams. Don’t miss this enlightening conversation that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact.

Workers rally to fight state bill ending water breaks

As Texans brace for another week of extreme heat, there’s pushback against a new state law that nullifies local rules requiring mandatory water breaks for outdoor workers.

Austin has ended its policing partnership with the Department of Public Safety – but Gov. Greg Abbott is sending more troopers to the capital city.

Some legal experts say the Supreme Court’s student debt decision may have scrambled the issue of standing, or whether a plaintiff has enough interest in a particular matter to stand before the court to request legal intervention. UT Law professor Stephen Vladeck explains.

And a new documentary on Jesse Treviño honors the late San Antonio artist, long considered one of the city’s finest.

A Texas program pushes drivers to pay old tickets – and over 600,000 have lost their licenses

A federal courtroom was filled with anger and tears as relatives of the victims of the 2019 mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart faced the gunman ahead of his sentencing. Julián Aguilar of the Texas Newsroom shares more.

A program aimed at helping Texans pay off old tickets has left hundreds of thousands without driver’s licenses and tangled in red tape.

Amid a stalemate between House and Senate Republicans over property taxes, House Democrats weigh in with a plan.

A new study has found air pollution from U.S. oil and gas production is responsible for $77 billion in health impacts every year, with Texas among the states with the highest proportion of health damages.

Houston is celebrating 50 years of hip-hop with an exhibit and film screenings at the Houston Museum of African American Culture.

And the week in politics with the Texas Tribune.

Texas Standard: November 25, 2022

Had your fill yet? No need to loosen the belt…we’re serving up something different today. As many Texans dash about in search of gift-giving deals on this Friday, we’ve made out a list of some of our favorite books this past year. From tales of trailblazing women clearing the way for the final frontier of space to an examination of re-wilding as a way to get back to a balance with nature and make cities more livable. A memoir from a music superstar and the hidden histories of gay power in high places. Just a few of the reading selections we’ve been perusing today on the Texas Standard:

 

Texas Standard: November 17, 2021

A primary care doctor in rural Texas sounds an alarm amid an ongoing pandemic: where are all the other doctors? We’ll explore. Also, after outrageous and false claims about the Sandy Hook school massacre, a decision in a defamation case brought by parents against Texas provocateur Alex Jones. We’ll have details. Plus billions coming to Texas to boost infrastructure, including broadband. How could it change Texas? One expert says it could be as big as rural electrification. We’ll hear the how and why. And an exhibit that aims to correct the historical record when it comes to cowboy legend. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: July 23, 2021

After the winter outages, Texans have been demanding a rethink of the Texas electricity market. Is it finally coming? Weathering criticism for its handling of winter outages, The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, announces a redesign of the electricity market. We’ll explore the planned changes and what they add up to. Also, is Mexico breaking the free trade agreement with its Mexico-first oil policy? A bipartisan group of Texans asks President Biden to intervene. And endangered sea turtles on the Texas coast, now facing a new threat. Those stories and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Artist Tom Lea’s ‘Sarah In The Summertime’

As Valentine’s Day is approaching, I thought I’d share a romantic story about one of Texas’s greatest artists, Tom Lea.  This is a love story, expressed in one painting, titled “Sarah in the Summertime.”  I’ll tell you the story of that painting and how it came to be.

Tom Lea was a true renaissance artist in the sense that he was both a gifted painter and writer. He was a muralist and a novelist. His murals are, to this day, in public buildings in Washington, D.C., El Paso, his home town and Odessa. President George W. Bush had one of his paintings hanging in the Oval Office. Lea’s novels, “The Brave Bulls” and “The Wonderful Country” are considered Southwestern classics.  His two-volume history of the King Ranch can be found in any home with a good Texas library.

Tom met Sarah in 1938, when he was working on his celebrated “Pass of the North” mural in El Paso.  He was invited to a small dinner party where she was also a guest. Sarah was from Monticello, Illinois, and in town visiting friends. He was immediately enchanted by her and decided that evening that he wanted to marry her. Tom had the good sense not to confess to that wish right there. No. He waited until their first date two nights later to pop the question. She didn’t say “yes” until he met her parents. Several months later, they were married. It was a storybook romance that spanned 63 years.

Tom and Sarah were only apart for one extended period of time during their marriage, and that was during World War II, when he was an artist for Life Magazine, embedded with the U.S. Navy. He documented the realities of the war in drawings and paintings, the most famous of which was “The Two Thousand Yard Stare.” Naturally, Tom missed Sarah terribly every day.

Here I will let the famous novelist take over the narration. He wrote:

I had a snapshot of Sarah which I carried in my wallet during the whole war. I looked at it, homesick, all over the world. When the war was over, the first painting I began was a full-length, life-size portrait of Sarah in the same dress, the same pose, the same light as the little snapshot.

I worked a long time making a preliminary drawing in charcoal and chalk, designing the glow of light and the placement of the figure against a clearness of blue sky, the mountains like Mount Franklin, the leafy trees and green grass and summer sunlight, before I transferred the drawing to the canvas. It was a detailed and precisely measured drawing. For instance, Sarah’s height of 5 foot 6 in high heels was drawn on the canvas exactly 5 ft 6. The painting was done with devotion and without haste. First the background, then the figure, and finally her head. I remember that I worked 26 days painting the pattern of all the little flowers on the dress. … 2 years after I began work on it, longer than any other painting ever took me, I signed it framed it and gave it to Sarah. I see it everyday in our living room and I see Sarah [too]. 20 years have passed. “Sarah in the Summertime” means more to me that I could ever put on canvas.

Adair Margo, his agent and decadeslong friend, and founder of the Tom Lea Institute, told me that Tom Lea would never let that painting leave the house, not for any showing or exhibition. Only once was she able to convince him to put it in a local exhibit, but only for a few hours, and it had to be back that night.

Tom and Sarah are buried side by side in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. There’s one headstone with divided inscriptions for each. On Sarah’s side it says, from Tom, “Sarah and I live on the east side of the mountain. It is the sunrise side. It is the side to see the day coming. Not the side to see the day is gone. The best day is the day coming, with work to do, with eyes wide open, with the heart grateful.”

Texas Standard: August 29, 2019

And then there were 10: Houston sets the stage for the third round of Democratic presidential debates. We’ll look at how this time things will be different. Other stories we’re tracking: the path of hurricane Dorian as it bears down on the U.S. mainland, a storm that promised to put the new governor of Puerto Rico to the test. Also a new effort by Texas to test for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. And the future of the space industry in Texas after another launch this week. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Picturing Texas

Over the past decade I’ve seen more breathtakingly beautiful photographs of Texas than I saw in all the decades before, combined. This is thanks to social media where many photographers share their exquisite work online daily. I’ve made it a point to befriend these great visual artists so I can enjoy Texas in all its resplendent glory from mountain to sea, from high plains to the tropics. I will share with you the names of some of my favorites so that you can see Texas through their gifted eyes. Now this is just MY list, work I’ve come to know somewhat at random. Many of your favorites I will no doubt miss, but perhaps you can add mine to your list of favorites, and you can add yours to mine at the end of this commentary.

In no particular order, here we go.

Wyman Meinzer is the official State Photographer of Texas. He was given this honorary title by the 1997 Texas Legislature at the request of Governor George W. Bush. They wanted to recognize his extraordinary body of work that captures the varied landscapes of Texas and the people who work the land. I love his titles: Between Heaven and Texas, Windmill Tales, and Horses to Ride, Cattle to Cut – among the more than 20 books he has published.

They say he has “traveled to every corner of this great state… in search of the first and last rays of sunlight in its magnificent sweep across the Texas landscape.” Find him at www.wymanmeinzer.com

Jeff Lynch left his heart in West Texas. His photographs of the soft cotton clouds floating above the Davis Mountains on a summer’s day, or his pics of the shadows of those clouds roaming across the vast vistas of West Texas, will make you fall in love with that region just as he has.

See his work at Jeff Lynch Photography on Facebook and Instagram.

Carol M. Highsmith is what I call a photographic philanthropist. She has donated her entire body of U.S. photographs (including hundreds of Texas photos) to an online collection viewable anytime for free at the Library of Congress website. You can search her Texas Lyda Hill collection with simple words like “longhorns,” “cowboys,” or “Big Tex.” Her photographs are downloadable and royalty free. She is a visual documentarian. Her Texas work celebrates landscapes, cityscapes, small-town life, and the diverse cultures of the Lone Star State. Here is her web Library of Congress address:   https://www.loc.gov/collections/carol-m-highsmith/about-this-collection/

My favorite coastal photographer is John Martell. He says, “Texas is a photographer’s paradise.” Every day, it seems, from his base of operations in Rockport, he posts an awe-inspiring photo of a sunrise or sunset over Aransas bay. He says, “Texas is a rich treasure trove for nature lovers. As a photographer I want to capture the essence of these jewels. That always seems to be about the light, which translates into sunrises and sunsets.”

Find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JohnMartellPhotography/

Tim McKenna is to me the consummate photographer of Big Bend. In fact, he was commissioned to provide all the photos for the 2018 Big Bend National Park calendar. He can make a cactus flower in the desert look as delicate as a Tyler rose. He puts you in the moment of being bathed in the pink hues of an Emory Peak sunrise or enjoying the soft grey light of the desert after a rain – so real, you’d swear you can smell the musky tones of the damp creosote bushes around you. His work assures you that the desert is a place of infinite life. When he was a young man he hunted with a rifle. Now, he hunts with a camera. You can find him here: https://www.facebook.com/tim.mckenna.31

Larry White loves trains and old cars and trucks and hill country wildflowers. His photographs of a freight train rumbling through ancient East Texas forests or old trucks sitting in forgotten fields will stir your heart in new ways. His photograph of white horses grazing silently at sunrise in a field of bluebonnets is one of his best. No one is better at photographing wildflowers than Larry White. I think he was born with a camera in his hand.

You can find his work at https://www.facebook.com/larrywhitephotography/

Also, www.larrywhitephoto.com

If the stately nature of the King of Beasts, or the grace and beauty of tigers peaks your interest, then David Pine’s work will inspire you. His aim is to depict the essence of an animal in a still shot. “Still photography,” he says, “is the art of capturing a fleeting moment that can express the gamut of emotions not otherwise seen. You want to capture the soul of a creature through its eyes.” Many of his photos come from zoos and rescue zoos in Texas.

https://www.facebook.com/DavidPinePhotography

George McLemore is an incredibly artistic photographer of life in Texas (Texana), but most importantly to me – he has been the visual chronicler of my social circles for several decades now. For most of his life, he has preserved on film and online, the social gatherings and special events for all who have been in his orbit, and he has done it mostly for free. Thirty  years ago we found his covert clicking unnecessary. But now, for many of us, we realize that we would have no record of that time if it weren’t for him. And we are grateful for the treasures he shares with us often from his labyrinth of negatives and digital files. To all the McLemores of the world, I raise my Shiner Bock to them – those visionary souls who recognized the Kodak moments of our lives that we seemed blind to. www.mclemorephotography.com

Texas Standard: February 16, 2018

Texas educators carry the dual burden of comforting students after yet another school shooting, and coming up with prevention plans. We’ll hear from some of them. Also, sales are flat or even falling in the motorcycle industry. We’ll break down why. And the Houston Astrodome will live on. After years of back and forth a real plan for it’s future, a look at the optimism and skepticism. Also, a new building on the University of Texas campus opens up to the public this weekend. We’ll take you inside what’s not a classroom or an athletic facility but a one-of-it’s-kind art masterpiece. The story behind it. And it’s Friday! That means the Typewriter Rodeo and a wrap up of the big stories this week in Texas Politics. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 7, 2016

As they prepare their front pages for election day, how are editors talking about the campaign and its impact? A statewide conversation today on the Texas Standard. Also, across Texas poll watchers get ready to monitor balloting. But who’s monitoring the poll watchers? And try to think of 5 Texas moments that made a difference in this campaign season. Having trouble? No worries, we’ll count em down for ya. Plus doing the math: a nationally known science and technology writer notes the latest global move on climate change doesn’t add up. We’ll hear why and much more, today on the Texas Standard:

V&B: Jazz Legend Leonard Bernstein

The life, legend and music of the great Leonard Bernstein. Rabbi, jazz historian and musician Neil Blumofe joins KUT’s Rebecca McInroy along with a live jazz ensemble to talk about his legacy.

Leonard Bernstein said, “The key to the mystery of a great artist is that for reasons unknown, he will give away his energies and his life just to make sure that one note follows another… and leaves us with the feeling that something is right in the world.” So who is this great artist? What does his life and legacy continue to teach us? And what is his legacy in jazz history?