Monday, March 21, 2011

Blankets of Bluebonnets

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! It’s that time of year again, all you lucky Texans! Bluebonnet time is here! Fill up your gas tank, throw the kids in the backseat, grab your camera and head to the Hill Country for blankets of bluebonnets.

On second thought, with gasoline up around $3.40 per gallon, maybe it would be better to drive the family down to Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in South Austin. That’s what Gene and I did this past Saturday as we attended the Artists and Artisans Festival at the Wildflower Center. The featured artist, Ken Moore, was on site to answer questions about his beautiful bluebonnet paintings. Although Mr. Moore never formally studied painting, his artwork is wonderful, and it captures those feelings of spectacular awe many of us have felt while admiring the fields full of blue Texas blooms. Ken Moore’s bluebonnet paintings will be on display at the Wildflower Center through May 30th. (Top: Ken Moore’s Edge of the Hill Country #662 oil painting. Below: Ken Moore’s “Spring At Last” #694 oil painting.)

Also exhibiting at Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center is Shou Ping, paper sculpture artist. Ms. Ping takes paper that has been painted with watercolors and cuts them into pieces, creating amazingly beautiful 3-D sculptures, set behind glass, much like a painting.

The day was perfect to walk through the grounds at the Wildflower Center, where we took time for pictures by the bluebonnet field, an annual ritual in Texas. I mean, you just can’t have Spring without a bluebonnet picture!

Walking down the various paths, my nose picked up on a pungently sweet scent that I had to hunt down. It turned out to be a Texas mountain laurel bush, which I now have on my list of landscaping plants for our yard. The plaque stated the blue blooms of the Texas mountain laurel attract long-tongued butterflies. Well, that sold me! Let those short-tongued butterflies find some other place to go!

The open-air square at the Center had a number of tents set up with artisans’ wares. My favorite was the iron art, specifically the shaman yard art, based on ancient petroglyphs.

I think the shaman figure below may have been based on one of the Teletubbies. See what you think.

Anybody else doin' a double-take?!

The crowning moment during our outing was a visit to the indoor artisan gallery. Since 1987, Gene has been trying to find a men’s turquoise and gold ring. While on our various trips, we usually check whether local jewelers carry any turquoise and gold ring combinations. It’s quite rare. Even those we have found haven’t been exactly what Gene was searching for. That is until now. We happened upon Fred and Barbara Stockbauer, Goldsmiths (, who had a beautiful selection of men’s turquoise and gold rings, along with all their other exquisite jewelry.

When Gene tried this one on, we knew it was the ring he’d been looking for. The stone came from the Morenci Mine, located in Southeastern Arizona, and is a collectable turquoise since the mine is now depleted.

In every way, it was a wonderfully blue day – blue skies, blue laurel, bluebonnets and turquoise!

“If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom.” –Audra Foveo

"Where flowers bloom so does hope." --Ladybird Johnson

“None can have a healthy love for flowers unless he loves the wild ones."--Forbes Watson

Everything’s Better with Bluebonnets On It, Y’all!

1 comment:

  1. SO jealous! We moved to California a couple of months ago and I am slowly getting extremely depressed that I am missing the blue bonnets! ENJOY them. Oh and enjoy the gas prices. There has been several days it almost reached 4 dollars here! YIKES!!!