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Heavy Joy

Working on the web site today and adding some info and art about Rev. JL Hunter.  It is important to include Rev Hunter and his work in our list of artists, which I am bit by bit getting up on our site.  But including Rev Hunter is like including the beautiful pearl you found in that best oyster ever on your best vacation.
We met Rev Hunter and his dear wife Ruby back in 1989 through a friend who saw through our taste that we would enjoy them and his art work. He was the first real deal folk artist we had ever met.  Up until that time, we had a junk/antique shop in an old barber shop where we offered all kinds of oddness and handmade objects which we found in our travels.
Rev Hunter's work was a natural fit and we were charged in getting to know and talk to someone who made the kind of stuff we were looking for. Knowing Rev Hunter struck us out in a life and love of life that we will forever hold dear.
Rev. Hunter and Ruby both have long since passed, but their memory holds so much for us in love and example.  When they were living there were many years we would visit them every Monday, take lunch, hear our own condensed version of Rev. Hunter's Sunday sermon, have wonderful discussions, see what Rev. Hunter had been creating, and nearly always purchasing and taking home a piece of his artwork.  
This photo is one I have always loved.  It is from one of their "homecoming" celebrations at their church, True LIght Baptist Church in South Dallas. We were always invited and hosted as some sort of celebrity friends of the Hunters.  It was always a special day where the Hunters showed off their congregation and how they were admired and loved in their church.  In turn they showed us and our love for them off to their congregation.  It was truly a special day overflowing with happiness all the way around.  

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Do your thing...

We got to see our friend, Bill Daniel's "Who is Bozo Texino" documentary last week.  We've known Bill many years, seen the making of this great film, and enjoyed many versions over the years.  Bill is currently on a tour with another friend, musician Ralph White.  Both are a great pair for traveling and doing their thing.  Easy going fellas just doing and enjoying life.  Bill is a photographer first and foremost.  We got to know him years back in the Dallas Punk Rock scene.  He was at every show snapping photos. Years later he lived by the Dallas train tracks and fell in love with train car markings by hobo, tramps, and train workers. He fell hard for the mystery of the makers of the recurring imagery and set out to match maker with marks.  The documentary was and is still a labor of love for Bill.  It is something that will live forever in product, tale, and work.  It's Bill's thing.  I realized as i enjoyed it once again with it's slight changes and altercations that the film is Bill.  
Ralph White is the same kind of musican.  His banjo, guitar, and kalimba songs have a rhythm all their own.  His confidence in playing is spectacular.  The combo is beautiful and fully represents the person and life of Ralph.
We all got to do our own thing.  You can try all sorts of things, but they all filter out in the end and what sticks and lasts is your thing. 

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Never know what the day brings

Saturday started out like most Saturdays for us....a visit to our local famers markets where we buy produce from our friends, talk of the town, and keep Daisy and Dexter wrangled. We opened the gallery at our regular 1 o'clock and had several interesting folks through the door.  Then came our old friend Susie.  She and her husband own a well-known recording studio outside of town and they have supported the gallery for many years.  She brought in friends who were visiting her and by God, it was Ramblin Jack Elliott and his friend Rick. Rick is traveling and road managing Jack on a small tour and his gig in this area feel through, so he was visiting and enjoying the day with Susie.  Susie knows our sensibilities and knew we would enjoy Jack .  
Ramblin Jack had been on our minds many times in the last year....first when we were visiting one of very favorite letter press guys, Dirk Fowler in Lubbock and asked him who he wanted to make a poster for and if he had ever contacted someone just to make them a poster....Ramblin Jack Elliott was the answer.  Then when visiting Tulsa this year we spent time at the Woody Guthrie museum and saw some beautiful photos of Rambling Jack and Woody.  We have talked many times of their friendship and how we would love to have Ramblin Jack perform at the gallery.  Little did we know life would bring us a private performance.  Love life.

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Treat Yourself - Don't Cheat Yourself

Ike Morgan coined this term to us years ago.  I can't tell you how many times we have used or passed the wisdom on to others.  We recently returned from a big buying trip across the Northeast and back.  Howard's in Massachusetts is one of the big examples of how it works.  The choices are many and for a Texan and a 10.99 fresh lobster roll ! Seriously!  So, next time you can't decide which thing to order or which item to buy...get them all.  Treat yourself - don't cheat yourself.

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Great day for Walter Cotton and Texas Folk Art!

We were first introduced to Walter Cotton's work back in 1995.  They were owned by one collector and preserver in Mexia and they hung in his well house and barn.
Walter Cotton was a chauffeur and later the principal of the black school in Mexia.  He painted paintings for the school and his church.  The painting above was a portrait of his Grandfather and one of our favorite of his paintings. The love and admiration shown in this painting is beautiful.
We took the collection on consignment and at that the same time period serving on the advisory board for a self taught art of Texas exhibit - Spirited Journeys - Twentieth Century Self Taught Art in Texas.  We immediately got Walter Cotton's work included in the exhibition and the catalog.  They are beautiful paintings and such great examples of faith and Texas history.  The piece included in the Spirited Journey's exhibit was a huge painting "Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at Stroud Plantation".
We have sold a number of Mr. Cotton's paintings over the years to some great folks and today we are loading up the remaining paintings and delivering them to join the collection at the AFrican American Museum in Dallas.  
We are so happy that Walter Cotton's work can live on and be studied and enjoyed for many years to come there!

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It's not a circus without a big top

Just returned from a much needed get away trip to Marfa, Terlinqua, Big Bend Country, & even some crossing the border into Mexico.  
We  visited our dear old friends in Marfa, Buck and Camp.  Camp is an amazing artist and it is always super fun to see what new thing he is working on.  We have known him quite some time and followed his artwork just as long.  I don't know any other artist who has grown in skill, imagination, and just down right kickass talent like Camp.  We are super happy about the pieces of his art we picked up for the gallery!!  Daisy looks like she loves them too!
Buck is always a joy with her giggle, smile, willingness, and best ambassador to the world qualities.  We usually pick a meal to conquer and cook together.  This one by the queen Marcella Hazan was one of our best....weird orange cake, lamb chops, velvetty tomato sauce with fresh pasta, and roasted endive!
While in Marfa, we stayed at the El Cosmico site in a calgary tent.  It was great weather, super comfy bed, great outdoor showers, interesting friendly folks from all over and Dexter and Daisy  really enjoyed the place. 
One evening Bruce stumbled out of the tent to head to the toilet.  Dexter in his excitement of a new place followed him.  They both groggily returned to the tent area, yet heading to the wrong tent.  Dexter went in and hopped upon the bed waking the surprised couple... but luckily Bruce was awoken by their shreaks and did not hop upon their bed too.  Everywhere we went in Marfa for the next few days we encountered the sweet couple and new friends of Dexter's.  They always had a smile and chuckle for us.

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A people's painter

Today we went to see the David Bates exhibit at the Modern Art Museum in FTW.  It was my 3rd time to see it....twice with glasses on and today with glasses off, as I forgot them.  It didn't seem to make a difference.  My God, that man is a painter!  I thought about it today as David Bates is a people's painter.  His skill and sight are insightful, super well executed and sincere in his chosen subjects.  There is something for everyone in his work.
Each time I visit I have a new favorite, but I can't quit being stunned by the Dark Time piece. The piece is done in mauve tones ( a color i run from) yet it is so dynamic!  And I get an overcoming of verklemptness each time i have hit the Katrina series pieces.
As we ended the last part of the exhibit and his self portraits, there was a group of small tables filled with older folks doing some colored pencil drawings.  We know David and I secretly critic his self portraits each time i hit this room as only two or three really represent the David I know, but today all I wanted to see in that room was what the table full of folks drew and knowing David.....I know he would feel the same.
p.s.  I know this photo has nothing to do with David Bates, but my sweet amazing jewelry making friend Margaret Sullivan was visiting this week and took this portrait of me and Dexter with Daisy in the background asleep in her chair.  If i painted a self portrait this week, I would start here.
 

 

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does fort worth ever cross your mind?

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We were in Fort Worth this Friday and Saturday set up at the Fort Worth Antique and Art Show.  By God it was fun to see old friends, meet new ones, and do some Fort Worth time!  We love Fort Worth!  That city and it's folks have always supported us here in Waxahachie.
Our dear friend let us stay at his place and we spent some time out of the market to try a new restaurant that our friends did the interior....Clay Pigeon.  It's in the old Lambert's space and we loved us some Lamberts, but the new interior is very comfortable..in fact i down right loved the lighting.  The food was lovely.  Our server was slightly slow minded, but we were in no hurry and his dally did not surpass our dilly of good vibes just relaxing in cowtown.
Saturday night brought the good fortune of seeing Mike Stinson, from Houston who i always enjoy.  I was thrilled to share his good music with Bruce and a couple other friends.
That evening a spotted a smiling lady who had the look of half lost and half over-joyed.  I later heard the story of her having been diagnosed with Alzheimers.  She and her husband of obvious many years loved dancing together.  They looked up the evenings music offerings and listened to the bands all day, chosing which one they went out to seek for dancing.  I watched them dance and had never seen two people so happy to hold each other and sway to the beat.  Once out of just sheer love of music and dancing and the other out of love for his lady.  
 

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Ding Ding Night

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Killer Tim Brooks from the old Dallas Sportatorium days of wrestling, lives just outside of Waxahachie and runs a wrestling school, which has showcase wrestling every first Saturday of the month.  My friends the Murphree Brothers love to attend.  I have taken them a few times and it is some local color fun for sure!
During the halftime, they let you get your photo made with the wrestlers, which they print out and you can purchase for your $5 souvenir.  Only problem was that they shoot those photos up in the ring, and my friends would have problems getting up in the ring.  I spoke to the management (Tim Brooks' wife) and they started shooting the boys' photo next door on their back porch.
Terry Murphy calls me every Saturday to check in, make sure all is fine here a the gallery, and if it's the day of the match he reminds me of the "DING DING", as he calls the wrestling evening. Terry comes by the day after the match each month and shows me their photo. I bet they have quite a collection now.  This one is Brother David with a selection of the wrestlers that evening.

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Rainy days bring mind ramblings

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I love old photos.  The funnier and more mysterious the better.  I can't help but look at them and make up the life stories, circumstances, and thoughts of the folks in the photo.  Rainy days always bring me to lose myself and time in our various boxes of collected photos.
I have a number of photos of this young man and they all bring a smile to my face with his self-secure and slight smirk. I tend to write a tiny short story for each image.  I wrote this one for valentines this year.
I wish I the girl of my dreams.  How hard can it be?  Put on a suit, give a wink like Uncle Saul taught me, a nod of the head and a quick glance back as you turn to run out of pure envy of the good life.

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Art, Woody Guthrie, and the Bellfuries

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We took a little trip through Arkansas and Oklahoma this past week.  
We live in a great world now, where it is easy to find good restaurants with fresh local fare.  Lord, we have had many a disappointing meal in the past just trying a place based on the review of local folks, a great building, or a good neon sign.
We ate at a nice place called The Greenhouse Grill in Fayetteville, loved their barley risotto so much, we struck out the next day to visit the local War Eagle Mill where we could purchase some and take it home.  Then we headed to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.  This museum was started and funded by Alice Walton, Walmart heiress.  The building alone is worth the visit.  The collection is nice and there are surely pieces worth traveling to see, but for us the scope was limited in American Art.  But it is really nice gift for the area as it's free to visit and the guards are all enjoying their jobs and very mid-western pleasant.
We then headed to Tulsa to see one of my world favorite museums - The Phillbrook.  I can't even begin to tell of all of the great food we enjoyed in Tulsa.  You wouldn't have to leave downtown....nice hotels, great food, THE WOODY GURTHRIE CENTER, Contemporary 108, and my favorite of bars - the Cellar Dweller. 
We lucked out on getting to see our friends, The Bellfuries at the Mercury Lounge on Valentines Day.  The full moon brought the best show we had ever seen by these guys.  They are from Austin and have the early rock and roll sound down.  Such talented guys!!!!
On the way home, we went through several old downtown districts and in a sadly empty district, we saw one thriving business...The House of Overalls.  One super smart business mind in a country town brings me happiness every time.

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Showtime!

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Today's the day that BIG HAIR & SPARKLY PANTS is up for public consumption. Folks always ask us to explain what kind of place we have here in Waxahachie and honestly it is beyond any words other than to just say it's our brain's turned inside out.
We show what we like and work with folks we want to work with.  
Of course pieces are for sale and can go out into the world beyond Webb Gallery, but we are the ones who truly benefit from each exhibit, as all these pieces here in our building are enjoyed every day by us and enrich our lives for the next few months.
That is something to celebrate with some libations, food, great music and  a super fun gathering of all kinds of people.   

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Got 'em!

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Well i had to show the end result after i posted the inspiration!  My goodness, I love them!!!
I have been working on Rex to make me some all white boots for years.  He had repeatedly shot down my idea, having never worked with the white kangaroo i was wanting for the shoe tops.  
Rex learned boot making from his Grandfather and has his own way and style.  He is a dry character and I love nothing more than a visit to a dry Texas character who possesses a ton of talent.
He has made some wonderful crazy ideas of boots for Bruce and I for years now.  In fact, he let me know upon my visit this week, that he had been making boots for us for 10 years.  He treasures that we have introduced him to some interesting artistic types who challenge his learned ideas of boot making.  We treasure him, his wit, his talent, and his old school timeless way of doing things....He is definately an example of the quote "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

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a great day for some handmade boots

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Over the last decade we have fallen in love with the tradition of handmade cowboy boots!
Once you have someone put down an old ledger, trace, and measure all parts of your feet you know the specialness.  We have been collecting the boots of Rex Klingelhoefer for a number of years now.  He makes boots for ranchers, so they are made for wearing and comfort.  He, himself is a piece of artwork, which makes his boots so sincere, not to mention the care in his creations.  I'm heading to pick up a pair of new boots I ordered for our upcoming opening of our Texas exhibit.  He and his boots are as Texas as it gets.  
For me ordering boots brings on a slight sense of panic in just what I want, knowing that I am only giving Rex an idea to run with and he is the true creator from my suggestions.
Rex takes about 3-6 months to complete a pair of boots.  When i visited him to talk about the new pair i wanted, I had all kinds of ideas in my mind; but on the way I ran across this book cover and knew that was the thing for me.....Webb - Web - Spider - it's all such an obvious choice.  
I can't wait to see and slip into my new boots, but even more the step back in time with the visit to Rex is opening a door into old-school Texas culture and history, which is magical.

 

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Joe Ely, Drug Deal & Fort Worth Stock Show

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We traveled to Fort Worth last night to see the Fort Worth Stock Show and meet up with Joe Ely.  We are friends and admirers of Joe, his music, his words, and his artwork. So, we are super excited that he is part of our next exhibit opening here at the gallery.  It's an exhibit about what we think about Texas and Texas isn't Texas without Joe Ely.
Picking up Joe's work was like a drug deal in the Garden Hilton Inn parking lot.  He passed us a suitcase and a bundle of wrapped pieces which are framed with prison glass. 
"Rambler Gambler" is the suitcase piece.  It's based upon a story from Joe's plumber friend Ducky.  Ducky once grabbed the opportunity to look into Hank Williams suitcase.  Let's just say that Hank had the essentials.......

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Lubbock

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Dexter loves to travel and we do a plenty of it.  
We enjoy going around looking at interesting stuff in wonderous places.
West Texas is one of these wonderlands and Lubbock is surely the pinnacle of wonderment. Flat, flat and flat....but the nicest and real folks there!  
We have long been fans of that era of musical talent from Lubbock like Terry Allen, Jo Harvey, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.  Not to mention Buddy Holly was from there and others we are not mentioning.
We recently went to visit Dirk Fowler & Jeff Wheeler about their artwork for our next show here at the gallery.  Both so nice and real folks in such a surreal setting.The neighboring town of Slaton has a sweet museum in an antique mall run by some super sweet German ladies who told us about the German idea of eating 7 sours and 7 sweets at each meal.  I have never heard of such and imagine it to make for a big meal, but she seemed to say it with conviction. And the sausage house combined with yet another antique mall.  I love a good combo business. 
What is it about Lubbock?  I love every time we visit.

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