Saturday, January 19, 2013

Family Totems III

A couple of weeks ago, I finally had a chance to show my first set of Family Totems and some other postings on my blog to my Dad and Mom and they were quite pleased. So here are some more:

"On the Road to Gettysburg" 1987. © Larry K. Vaughn
My dad had just started with watercolors in those days (after many years of acrylics and oils). He always was good with detail and powers of suggestion. You may have to zoom in to see but there are little blotches of orange in the green trees as this was a cicada-cycle summer in Maryland. The orange ties up with the roof and the farm implement in the barn. The yellow in the grass was emphasized as was the purple-blue of the barn for a good contrast.

This is a real place and is on the road to Gettysburg that our family (and Union Troops) took north many times. It's Highway 97, the Baltimore Pike. It hangs in our front room as a constant reminder of many good family adventures - and the preservation of our Constitutional Union through bloodshed and Lincoln's famous speech there.

This Totem is also full of history, both family and broader:

"Rayado" 2010. © Larry K. Vaughn
This is in his more recent style of watercolor after his "Taos School" experiences. Notice that the details fade into a more impressionistic portrayal of the adobe walls and trees.

This is Kit Carson's home at Rayado, New Mexico maintained by the Boy Scouts of America as part of Philmont Scout Ranch. It is one of the best living history museums I have visited. And it is still used for Scout purposes. I once spent a very unpleasant night in the Great Salon with a couple of dozen Webelos Scouts and their dad's who had to accompany their sons (including mine) on an over-nighter. I had a new sleeping bag but no pad on the wood floor. And I have never heard so much snoring in my life! (from the dad's, not the Webelos.)

Yet there are many more pleasant memories of Rayado from my first visit there in 1966 and several since. It is on the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail and the Sick Detachment of the Mormon Battalion passed by here, probably stopping at the Rayado River, because Lucien Maxwell didn't build the hacienda until 1848 and Kit didn't move in until 1849.

And this one is directly from Taos:

"Taos with Woman Walking" 2011,  © Larry K. Vaughn
My photo does not do justice to this one. It is a study in light and the original blends and moves so much better. My dad no longer paints much on site as he always did in the early years. This is from a photo and a collage of trees, colors, and impressions. The odd part is that my Dad felt compelled to give this one to my wife because she mysteriously appears in it. There is no doubt in anyone's mind who knows her that it is her walking that road.

On a similar level, my dad put me in an acrylic done after I had left for my mission to Brazil. Can you see the real me? Can you? Can you? (apologies to Pete Townshend):

"New Fork Lake Narrows & Scouts" 1976, © Larry K. Vaughn
This is a very large painting, nearly four feet wide. It is a beautiful scenic panorama of the Wind River Mountains behind a group of Scouts at the Narrows of New Fork Lake, Wyoming one of the sources for the Green River that flows south to Utah then into the Colorado. He may have been on location to paint this, But I don't know about the other Scouts being there. He may have added them in for interest. And as further interest, note the storm clouds building in the distance. And that's all I'll say about that.

Those who know me well, even faithful readers of this blog should have no trouble identifying me as the lone Scout to the right sitting on the log. That's my hair, my red wool jacket with the 1973 Jamboree patch, and my personality on display. Here's a close-up view.

1976, © Larry K. Vaughn

For the previous entries in this series see Family Totems I and II

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