There’s a New Boss in Town and Texas Hill Country

There’s a new boss in town down here at the gallery/studio/frame shop. My wife has left her position with her old job that she held for nearly 24 years and come to work to further the effort here at the gallery.

Let me introduce to you, Kathy Simpson, managing co-owner of Simpson Gallery. This is a good thing actually. I’m welcoming her with open arms. I need the help for sure. She’s always been a co-owner but now she’s an active one.

I’ve been pretty comfortable down here, that’s true, but I’ll admit that maybe it’s become too comfortable for me by myself. Time for some improvements. It’ll be a change for me for sure.

I do know that there will be no more lolli-gagging. I’ll have to toe the line now, which is probably a good thing. Of course I can always use the reasoning that “I’m thinking”, when she finds me sitting in the wicker, day dreaming.

I’m an artist after all. I have a need to think about things. Maybe if I keep a yellow pad near-by with a pencil in hand and jot down some random things, it’ll pass as deep musings. Good idea. I’ll try it.

Seriously though, Kathy is going to be a huge asset to me personally in my art career and to the business in general. She’ll bring some new thinking to the whole affair and that’ll be nice. You might even see some plants in the place again. A woman’s touch.

I’ve got a pretty full event and show schedule this year and it’ll be nice to have her in the business full-time to keep the doors open while I’m gone. I’m looking forward to the help and Kathy seems excited to take it all on.

Of course she just started but the fact that she came back from lunch on the first day was a good sign. She’s got a perky attitude, a beautiful smile and it is a real joy to have some else around to talk to. I used to have Vinney, the gallery cat, to chat to about stuff but since he passed on last year it’s been sort of lonely down there.

She’s a quick learner and is very attentive. She follows me around with a note pad taking notes on what I’m showing her. She’s asking questions and offering some ideas as we make the rounds and I’ve told her to go ahead and try it. She is after all a co-owner, not just an employee.

It’s easy for me to stay busy in the business however as it’s like being on a ranch, there’s always something to do and she said she can see that. The other thing about being in business for yourself is that you can’t just walk away form the job at the end of the day and shut it off. We’ve always chatted about how each other’s day has gone but now it’ll have a whole new meaning.

Her third day on the job, I left her in charge so I could go teach a class through the Montrose Center for the Arts.

It was great to be back teaching. It’s been a few years but I always seem to learn so much from interacting with the students. Thanks guys.

Having her come on board when she did was good timing. It was only a one day class, so I put in another day of training with Kathy and left again, this time for 10 days.

I’m down in Marble Falls in the great state of Texas for their “Paint the Town” Plain Air Festival. Texas hill country as it is known. Blue Bonnet country. Also home to the famous Blue Bonnet Cafe, where I am told they make a pretty good pie.

A couple of years ago I came through here on the Harley looking for Blue Bonnets but I missed them apparently as they were few and far between. This year they are all over the place. Although I’ve been here for a full day I have yet to do a painting of them, which seems to be a prerequisite. I am camped right on the shore of Marble Lake which is formed by a dam backing up what they call the Colorado River.

Now, I don’t recall much of my 9th grade geography class but I do know this isn’t the Colorado River we all know. It is really pretty right here though. A bit hot and humid. In fact, it’s real hot and humid. At least compared to where I came from a couple of days ago.

I left Colorado the day after a big spring snow storm. It was 27 degrees when I left. The farther I got the colder it got and the storm aftermath was impressive. Snow piled up on the sides of the road, power poles were snapped off. Ice and snow on the roadways. I get down here and folks are running around in shorts, tank tops and t-shirts and flip flops. Not me though. Noooooo. I’ve got my parka, snow boots and ear flapper cap in the back of the outfit, ready for when I return to Colorado next week.

Folks here about make a big deal out of their Texas Hill Country. After coming through West Texas I can see why. West Texas is so flat that the only natural thing to break the horizon might be a mesquite bush, or tree if that’s what they call them. I don’t know.

The closest I’ve ever been to a Mesquite anything is a bag full of chips I use for smoking jerky. It sure flavors and smell good but I couldn’t tell you what one looks like if it walked right in the front door.

So, sure. Naturally compared to the flats out there in West Texas, anything with a bit of a rise to it, like 10 or 20 feet gain in elevation, is a big deal. Get up to 100 feet and now you’re in nose bleed altitude.

Seriously though, these wildflowers are just as beautiful as they are in those calendar pictures. I’ve passed a number of fields with them covering the ground and will get a painting or two done first chance I get.

Here’s one I’ll do first chance I get but I’ve had other things on my mind since I got here.

 I was having a little transmission trouble coming down here. Sporadic. Off and on. It’d run fine and then the RPM’s would go up. It shifted through the gears OK so I came on.

Got here OK Sunday evening and first thing this morning I went to the Ford dealer and made an appointment in the AM to get it checked out. In the meantime I took off looking for some Blue Bonnets to paint.

Well I found them looking through the windshield of the tow truck that came and rescued me. Transmission dumped on me. It’s going to cost $6571 for a new one. That’s more than the vehicle is worth, but what are you gonna do? The outfit serves my needs quite well and I have to get home. I’m not really interested in getting another vehicle as this one is paid for and who knows what condition something else will be in. I’ll get it replaced.

I got a rental car and proceeded to come back to camp and painted the view of Marble Lake at sunset. I forgot to photograph it but I will and I’ll post it with some of the others. Stay tuned.

Now I have some pretty strong motivation to paint and more importantly SELL. I’ve got a transmission to pay for.

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for stopping by.