Pinto Canyon—Rugged and Beautiful Texas—But First, Food!

While visiting the towns of Marathon and Alpine we met several people that recommended we eat at Bordo if we were going to be in the vicinity of Marfa. We were fortunate that the eatery was open on Sunday from 11:00AM to 3:00PM as were going to be passing through Marfa that day on our way to drive the Pinto Canyon.

Bordo opened in March. It is an Italian market and retaurant serving house made pasta and sandwiches. They bake all of their bread in a brick oven which sits outside on the patio. We had a delicious meal which prepared us well for the adventure ahead. If you plan on visiting Marfa we highly recommend Bordo be on your food itinerary!

Pinto Canyon

We drove south from Marfa for about thirty miles on a ranch road where the pavement ended. We found ourselves sitting at the top of the spectacular Pinto Canyon.

Pinto Canyon

We have wanted to drive the Pinto Canyon since we read an article entitled The Road to Nowhere which chronicles the experience of the author tackling the canyon road. Finding this article was quite fortuitous — otherwise we would never known about the canyon.

The canyon has an interesting history. The first people arrived here around 13,000 years ago. These hunter-gathers were eventually displaced by the Apache that were dominant in the Big Bend.

Pinto Canyon Road

Texas authorized settlers to buy as much as 5000 acres of land in the ealy 1900s which brought a number of families into the canyon. The combination of drought, the Spanish Influenza (1918), the Mexican American War, the 1929 market crash and the ensuing depression sealed the fate of the settlers and the canyon. A handful of the settlers persevered but the canyon was all but abandoned.

Impressive Longhorn at Pinto Canyon Ranch

Today the vast majority of the the 15 square mile canyon is owned by one person — a retired CEO — and the canyon is a working cattle ranch (see photo above). We find the fact that one person can own all of this beauty in the middle of the Chinatti Mountains hard to fathom, but we are glad that you can at least traverse the canyon on the road (which is owned by the county).

The Un-cooperative Horse

After making our way down through the canyon we turned west and followed FM 170 to the end of the pavement in Candelaria. The FM winds through the Chihuahuan Desert along the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. The 50 mile road from Presidio to Candelaria was not paved until 1985.

At one point Candelaria was an agricultural town — growing crops in the wet areas along the Rio Grande. However, after the Mexican American War the army abandoned their encampment in Candelaria and the farmers had no buyers for their crops and no way to get their product to Presidio 50 miles east on a rough dirt road that often flooded.

Saint Theresa Church, Candelaria

Subsequently, the population declined from a high of about 300 to the current population estimated at 75 people. The only non-residential structure that we could see in Candelaria is the Catholic church pictured above. This small settlement is literally at the end of the road and looks and feels very much an off the grid enclave.

At Candelaria we had a decision to make — attempt to cross 40 miles of desert to connect with Route 90 or circle back around on the pavement. Based on the time of the day and the amount of rough road we had already covered we opted for the longer mileage but comfort of the pavement.

Border Patrol

As we turned north to head for our hotel we unsurprisingly encountered a Border Patrol checkpoint. We have been through dozens of checkpoints in our travels in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Some of the checkpoints are permanent while others are mobile. The Border Patrol only stops and inspects vehicles heading north as their only purpose is to stop illegal imigrants entering from Mexico.

We think the checkpoints are a bad use of taxpayer money—regardless of your view on immigration—the investment in technology and people to staff these checkpoints is significant. The payback is small as the vast majority of people attempting to enter the country illegally are not hitching rides in the automobiles of U.S. citizens.


Our journey north took us through the town of Valentine. The town’s origins, like may others in this part of Texas, rests with the railroad. Crews from the Southern Pacific Railroad laying track from the West stopped here on 14 Feb 1882 to rest. Subsequently, the town became a layover point for train crews and a cattle shipping point.

With the building of Ranch-to-Market roads livestock began to be shipped by truck and the town’s fortunes along with the population declined. Many abandoned buildings still stand in testament to the past. As you can see the church (below) has been well maintained despite the hard times. The current population is estimated at 134. Why people stay is a mystery but we were not disposed to ask any of the remaining residents.

Valentine Community Church

Valentine does have one big event that draws folks from many points on the compass. Every year on Valentine’s Day there is a festival in town to celebrate the town’s namesake holiday. And, of course, the Post Office does a booming business postmarking Valentine’s Day cards!

Prada “Installation”

By pure chance we happened on the Prada “Installation” which sits on the side of US Route 90 about 1.4 miles north of Valentine. As you may know, Marfa has become an unlikely art hub in the far west reaches of Texas. We have visited Marfa and it is a fun town to visit. There are a number of excellent restaurants and the Paisano is a great hotel. However, the minimalist art of Donald Judd and others does not resonate with us, although it clearly does with others far more knowledgable than us.

The Prada installation pictured above was placed on the side of Route 90 in 2005. On the first night after completion the installation was vandalized. The shoes and purses were stolen and the building was spray painted with the word “Dumb”. Apparently, not everyone agreed with the artists’ description of the work as “pop architectural land art”. While we do not support the vandalism we do not see any meaningful conceptual or artistic value to building a replica of a Prada store on the side of a rural highway.

After our brief contemplation of the merits of the Prada installation, we completed our day’s journey in Van Horn with a stay at the El Capitain. The hotel is a classic Spanish style western hotel. We really enjoy the feel and look of this style hotel (a future post will showcase several of our hotel stays in Texas).

Our next destination is Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Pictured below is El Capitain—the first mountain you see in the range as you drive to the park from the south.

Be seeing you!

Chaco Culture National Historic Park: Stepping Back in Time

Chaco Canyon is a place we have wanted to visit for some time. During our 2020 roadtrip we were unable to get there as a winter storm rendered the roads in impassable. There are two unpaved roads into the park – both are rough, heavily washboarded affairs. From the north, County 7950 is 13 miles from pavement end to CC while Route 57 is 21 miles coming in from the south.

In order to optimize our time at the park we decided to take advantage of the camping opportunity at the Horse Thief Camp. The ranch property is on County 7950 and is the closest option outside the park.


The ranch is owned by Wayne and Yolanda Beyale, and has been owned by Wayne’s family for many generations. The ranch sits amongst a patchwork of properties owned by the Navajo Nation and various federal agencies. The area that Wayne has set aside for camping provides panoramic views and and very dark skies (we also saw several wild horses).

Wayne is Navajo and graciously shared the history of his family and the ranch. He and his seven siblings spent summers living in a single hogan in the spot where we camped. The outdoor oven they used to bake and cook still stands intact. Two of the photos above show the circle corral where Wayne tamed wild horses that they captured (hence Horse Thief Camp).

Chaco Canyon

Chaco Canyon was a major center of Ancestral Puebloan Peoples between 900AD and 1150AD. The scale of the great houses and ceromonial sites here is larger than anything else to be found in the Southwestern United States. Within the canyon there are 15 major complexes. The largest of the structures — Bonito Pueblo — contains over 500 rooms!

Chaco Canyon is located in Northwestern New Mexico near the Four Corners. It is very remote — the first record of European people visiting the canyon is not until 1823 when New Mexican governor José Antonio Vizcarra led an expedition through the canyon. At that time this area was still under Mexican rule.

The Chaco Canyon National Monument was formally established on 11 March 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt. This act preserved the canyon and the structures from any future development or extractive industries. The park was officially designated a national park in 1980 and an additional 12,500 acres was added to bring the park to the current total of 34,000 acres. There are over 4000 archeological sites within the 34,000 acres.

The structures at Chaco provide evidence of a very advanced civilization. The architecture, engineering and construction techniques are quite sophisticated. A number of the Great Houses were five stories tall. The structures were anchored by deep foundations which demonstrate the planning which took place prior to construction. The majority of the Great Houses were built on the north side of the canyon to optimize heat and light from the sun.

There is also evidence that the Chacoans built dams on side canyons to funnel water to the Great Houses and to the fields in order to irrigate crops. Additionally, the remnants of a road system leading away from the canyon in all four directions is still discernable.

Of course, the final question is why this great center was abandoned. And as is usually the case — no one really knows. There are a number of theories ranging from an extended drought, deforestation rendering the canyon unsustainable and political power struggles causing people to flee.

Hiking at chaco

One of the great features at Chaco is the ability to tour the inside of the pueblos and explore the connected rooms, but the canyon rim above also provides a terrific overhead view. So we made the climb up on the Pueblo Alto Trail to see views of the pueblos and the canyon from above.

Pictured are three items we observed along the canyon rim. Starting from the left: a pecked basin — circle carved into the stone by the Chacoans as repositories for offerings; clam shells and shrimp burrows respectively. The clam shells and shrimp burrows testify to the canyon having been an inland sea during the Cretaceous Period (75–80 million years ago).


After a full day of touring the pueblos and hiking along the rim of the canyon we set out for the Bisti/Da Nae Zin Wilderness. In orded to reach the Bisti we needed to travel south out of the park on the notorius Route 57. The 57 is a 21 mile stretch of rutted and washboarded dirt that runs through desolate ranch land.

Route 57 is considered impassable when wet. When we left the park there were storms to our east — unfortunately, as we headed south a storm crossed our path and we found ourselves on the muddy and slippery version of the 57 (see video below).

Route 57

Fortunately, we were able to make it through — only sliding our back end into a ditch once — but we decided not to venture into the Bisti Wliderness as the road conditions there are as treacherous as the 57. In the photos below, we are airing up for our return to paved roads.

We highly recommend a visit to Chaco if you have the appropriate vehicle to handle the conditions and the patience to travel at very slow speeds for an extended period of time. Also, if you are interested in gaining further knowledge about this remarkable civilization we recommend Chaco Culture: A Complete Guide by Gian Mercurio and Maxymilian L. Peschel.

Be seeing you!

Three Nights in the Backcountry: Big Bend National Park(BBNP)

In March of 2020 OTR made our first visit to BBNP. Unfortunately, our timing was bad — the Covid Pandemic had finally made its way to Texas and the park closed the gates. We needed to leave the park after just two days.

BBNP was created in 1944 by Congressional Act and signed by then President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The deed for the park covered 700,000 acres of Chihuahuan Desert along the Rio Grande. Today, the park encompasses a little over 800,000 acres.

The park is one of the least visited National Parks, although it had its highest visitation in 2021. We can only surmise why this would be when this park offers so much stunning beauty – the Chiso Massive, desert, canyons and dark sky. There are probably several reasons – its remote location in Far West Texas abutting the Mexican border, the heat for much of the year and a lot of terrain accessible only by very rough roads.

Dagger Flats, BBNP

Day one

Because we were entering the park from the north we decided to immediately drive the backcountry loop out to see the Dagger Yuca Forest. Fortunately, our timing was perfect— the Yucca were blooming.

From Dagger Flats we needed to secure our permits for camping in the backcountry. Backcountry camping in BBNP requires traversing rough 4WD drive roads and means that you will be on your own and in some cases in a very remote area of the park.

For our first night of camping we selected an area deep in the southeastern area of the park which is the desert floor (1700 feet above sea level). We followed the River Road East to its terminus a few miles north of the Rio Grande; the 25 mile journey took about 2.5 hours (slow going but exciting).

Our journey took us past an abandoned (but still toxic) mercury mine and provided phenomenal views of the Chisos Mouontains. Additionally, we encountered a herd of horses that we thought were feral but later learned are horses from Mexico that wandered across the border.

Day two

Our camping perch was a short distance from the Mariscal Mountains so we were able to get an early start hiking in the Mariscal Canyon and avoid the afternoon heat where the temperatures reach 95F this time of year.

We also learned that in addition to horses plenty of cattle from Mexico have found there way across the Rio Grande. When we later asked a ranger about the cattle he indicated that there are over 1000 head of cattle from Mexico in the park.

After our hike we retraced our route back east on the River Road until were back on asphalt and then motored north to drive up through the Chisos and into the Chisos Basin.

Casa Grande, BBNP

After taking in the views of the Chisos from the basin we headed back south to our camping spot for night two. We had another great camping spot in the shadow of the Chillicotal Mountain. From our camping area we had a 360 degree view – the views to the south were of mountains across the Rio Grande in Mexico.

Chilicotal Mountain, BBNP

Day three

Our campsite at Chilicotal was only about four miles from the Pine Canyon trailhead so we again got an early start to be off the trail before the worst of the heat.

Pine Canyon Road, BBNP

After finishing our hike up into the spectacular Spring Canyon we circled up across the northern section of the park to connect with the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. The scenic drive connected us to southwestern area of the park along the Rio Grande.

The four photos directly above are the of the Rio Grande. The far shore is Mexico. The canyon in the final photo bottom right is Saint Elena. The left canyon wall is Mexico while the right canyon wall is the United States.

After cooling off in the Rio Grande we connected with the Maverick Road to head north for our final night of camping at a site nearTerlingua Abaya. Terlingua Abayo is an abandoned town on the banks of Terlingua Creek. The town was at one time a thriving agricultural community supplying produce for local ranchers and miners employed by the Quicksilver mines in the area. The town existed from 1900 until around 1930 when the mines ceased operations.

Terlingua Abaya Road, BBNP

day four

On day four we traveled north on the Maverick Road to exit the park and make our way north for a two day stay in Alpine. Before heading to Alpine we spent part of the day in Terlingua Ghost Town — home to Espresso Y Poco Mas — our coffee hangout from our previous visit to BBNP.

We hope y’all enjoyed this post. Be seeing you!

BBNP: 26–29 April 2023

@streetartfromtheroad:über den Rhein or Over—the —Rhine

This post is all about the fantastic street art found throughout the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinatti. We have included a brief history of the neighborhood for context. Please find below a sample of some of the great street art on display throughout OTR. We hope you enjoy the art as much as we did.

The Over-the-Rhine (über den Rhein)neighborhood in Cincinatti traces its roots to a large German population that settled in the area. The area was home to mana significant number of breweries (at its peak there were 36) which employed many of the German migrants. The workers had to walk over the Miami and Erie Canal each day on their way to and from work and they began referring to the canal as the Rhine in reference to the Rhine River in their native country.

After World War 2 the neighborhood began a long decline as the original German residents again migrated – to the surrounding suburbs. Many of the industries that once provided jobs in this working class neighborhood also left or closed. Of course, to add insult to injury, the Miami and Erie Canal was capped!

By the late 1900s the area had deteriorated to one of the poorest areas in the city and was rife with crime. Fortunately, around the turn of the century the city and several organizations came together to create a comprehensive plan to revitalize the neighborhood. Based on our visit and the number of people visiting the area there has been much progress, although it is clear that this is still an area in transition.

Public art has also been a significant piece of the revival of OTR. ArtWorks and other community organizations have invested in the area and sponsor aspiring and accomplished artists. We have included the artist and sponsor information wherever available. Our apologies to any uncredited artists.

See our Sights & Sounds reels on Facebook or Instagram to experience a snapshot of our visits to Cincinatti and Arkansas. Be seeing you

P.S. Cincinatti is a first rate specialty coffee town!

Fine Art Tourist.Van Gogh in America.Detroit Institute of Art

In early December, Fine Art Tourist traveled to Detroit for the unique opportunity to see 74 pieces in an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Vincent Van Gogh. This show features Van Gogh works from museums and private collections around the world.

While Detroit in December is not ideal, Van Gogh is our favorite artist (we are not alone there obviously) and this exhibition is at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) for just two months. This exhibition will not appear anywhere else in the United States.

The DIA was the first museum in the United States to purchase a painting by Van Gogh (Self-Portrait (no. 7)) at an auction in New York City in 1922. This exhibition entitled Van Gogh in America, commemorates the hundred-year anniversary of that acquisition. Today, the DIA has six Van Gogh paintings in its permanent collection.

It is difficult to imagine today, but Van Gogh’s work was not popular in the United States until many years after his death in 1890. The first public display of his work in the United States did not take place until 1913 (New York City, Boston and Chicago).

By the late 1920’s Van Gogh’s work had grown popular in the United States. A number of his works were included in an exhibition at the opening of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1929. Subsequently, a number of museums in the United States acquired Van Gogh paintings. Curiously, in addition to the DIA, a number of mid-western museums were early purchasers of his paintings. These included the Art Institute of Chicago, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City).

In this post we are not going to delve into the life of Vincent Van Gogh. There are numerous excellent books available about his tumultuous life and spectacular art. We have included several of our favorites at the end of the post if you are interested in learning more about his personal life and his development as an artist.

We have included below 30 of our photographs taken at the Van Gogh in America exhibit. The paintings included are presented in chronological order. It is fascinating for us to see how dramatically his paintings change in regard to brushwork and color over his short ten year painting career. The majority of the paintings are from late in his career when, despite his illness, he was incredibly productive.

Detroit Institute of Arts:

Sorrow, 1882, Pencil and ink on paper,
The New Art Gallery Walsall, United Kingdom
Bird’s Nest, 1885, Oil on canvas,
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Beer Tankards, 1885, Oil on canvas,
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Vase with Poppies, 1886, Oil on canvas,
Wadsworth Atheneum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut
Terrace in the Luxembourg Gardens, 1886, Oil on canvas,
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts
Pont du Carrousel and the Louvre, 1886, Oil on canvas,
Ny Carlsberg Glyptek, Copenhagen
Le Moulin de la Galette, 1886, Oil on canvas,
Staatliche zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Berlin
A Pair of Boots, 1887, Oil on canvas,
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Grapes, Lemons, Pears, and Apples, 1887, Oil on canvas,
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Restaurant de la Sirene of Asnieres, 1887, Oil on canvas,
Musee d’Orsay, Paris
The Stevedores in Arles, 1888, Oil on canvas,
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemiszo, Madrid
Entrance to the Public Gardens in Arles, 1888, Oil on canvas,
The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
Van Gogh’s Chair, 1888, Oil on canvas,
The National Gallery, London
The Sower, 1888, Oil on canvas,
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Mountains at Saint-Remy, 1889, Oil on canvas,
Guggenheim Museum, New York City
The Olive Trees, 1889, Oil on canvas,
The Museum of Modern Art, New York City
The Bedroom, 1889, Oil on canvas,
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
View of Auvers-sur-Oise, 1890, Oil on canvas,
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island
Poppy Field, 1890, Oil on canvas,
Kunstmuseum Den Hoog, The Hague
Farms near Auvers, 1890, Oil on canvas,
Tate, London
Wheat Stacks, 1890, Oil on canvas,
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel
Stairway at Auvers, 1890, Oil on canvas,
Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, Missouri
Undergrowth with Two Figures, 1890, Oil on canvas,
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio
Sheaves of Wheat, 1890, Oil on canvas,
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas
Women Crossing the Fields, 1890, Oil on paper,
McCoy Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas

Portrait Gallery

  • Self-Portrait, 1889, Oil on canvas
  • La Berceuse, 1889, Oil on canvas
  • Portrait of Camille Roulin, 1888, Oil on canvas
  • L’Arlesienne, Madame Ginoux, 1890, Oil on canvas
  • Adeline Ravoux, 1890, Oil on fabric

We hope you enjoyed seeing these works by Van Gogh as much as we enjoyed sharing them with you. Be seeing you!

Van Gogh, an Appreciation of his Art – Gerhard Gruitrooy: Vincent Van Gogh, The Letters – Edited by Leo Jansen, Hans, Luijten and Nienke Bakker: Van Gogh, His Life and His Art – David Sweetman

@streetartfromtheroad. Detroit. Motor City. Eastern Market

Stevie Wonder” Richard Wilson @richardwilsonartwork (2019)

@streetartfromtheroad and @finearttourist traveled to Detroit (DTW) in early December to see the Van Gogh in America Exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). This exhibition was originally scheduled for the summer of 2020 but was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the DIA was able to gain access to the majority of paintings scheduled to be part of the original exhibition. An upcoming post by @finearttourist will showcase this spectacular exhibition.

Of course, while in DTW we took full advantage of the good weather to explore the outdoor museum of street murals scattered throughout the Eastern Market District. In this post we will share some of the fantastic street art on display in the Eastern Market. Disclosure: some of the mural photographs have been edited to eliminate peeling paint and graffiti.

Ndubisi Okay @n_du_time
Brandan Mike Odums @bmike2c (2017)
DreamersJeff Soto @maxxer242 (2015)

The Eastern Market has been in existence for over 150 years. After World War 2, the market became a major hub for food processing and wholesale food distribution. The market covers approximately 43 acres just north of downtown DTW. There are still 80 standing structures ranging from fully occupied to abandoned and decaying.

Today, the Eastern Market is the largest open-air flower bed market in the United States. Additionally, there are over 150 firms selling meat, spices, vegetables, jams and poultry. There are also a number of restaurants, bars and non-food retailers located within the market district. Lastly, if you are hankering for a corned beef sandwich, a pastrami sandwich or Detroit’s (in)famous “coney” this is the place to go.

Victor Quinonez @marka_27 (2016)
Tylonn Sawyer @tylonn.j.sawyer (2016)
Ashley McFadden @mcfadden_ashley (2019)
Sydney G. James (A girl raised in Detroit) @sydneygjames (2017)
Enough SAID (Enough Sexual Assault in Detroit)
Tatiana Suarez @tatunga (2017)

The Murals in the Market (MM) organization has been actively supporting the transformation of the Eastern Market from a wasteland to a cultural destination within Detroit. The organization sponsors an annual mural festival in the Market District. To date, the organization has supported the production of 100 murals in the District and 200 murals across the city. Additionally, MM supports a number of other arts events (including live music) throughout the year. We hope that this organization continues to receive support from the DTW community as part of the revitalization of DTW.

Arlin @arlin_graff (2017)
Birdman @ed_Irmen (2019)
Joey Salamon @joeysalamon (2019)
Osunlade (2019)
“Mama Maiz” by Ivan Montoya @imontoya_ (2019)
Sydney James (A girl raised in Detroit) @sydneygjames (2016)
“Respect-Aretha” Kaka’ Chazz @kaka.chazz (2018)
Fiestas de Enero” Freddy Diaz @swfreddy (2018)
Richard Wilson @richardwilsonartwork

Of course, a day of mural hunting requires sustenance. Fortunately, we were able to start and end our pic shooting at Anthology Coffee, which is located conveniently in the market. Anthology roasts their own coffee on the premises. Anthology | Always Tasty

In keeping with the meat packing history of the Market, our mid-day replenishment was taken at Franks’s Deli and Grill. We feasted on a Detroit staple – Wigley’s Famous Corned Beef!

We hope you enjoyed this post. Be seeing you!

Fine Art Tourist: Poetry and Art

Fine Art Tourist:OTR 8.0: Mississippi Museum of Art: New Symphony of Time

Jason Bouldin (1965) Portrait of Medgar Wiley Evers, 2013, Oil on canvas
Hystercine Rankin (1929-2010) Baptism in Crow Creek, 1996, quilted fabric, with appliqué and embroidery

After several days in Vicksburg, immersing ourselves in Civil War and Mississippi River history (see post – ctsprinterlife: OTR 8.0: Mississippi Part Three), we decided to head east to visit Jackson, before continuing our journey south along the Mississippi River.

Our timing turned out to be impeccable as MMOA was just opening a new exhibit entitled New Symphony of Time. The exhibit is ongoing and part of the permanent collection of the MMOA. The exhibit consists of 170 works by noted artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Albert Bierstadt and Benny Andrews. Additionally, the exhibit includes many works by talented Mississippi artists.

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) A Scene in the Rockies, Lake Silva Plans, not dated, Oil on canvas

New Symphony of Time expands and illuminates the boundaries of Mississippi’s narrative. Exploring the themes of ancestry and memory; migration, movement, and home; shared humanity; the natural environment; and liberty for all, the exhibition is inspired by Margaret Walker’s epic poem, “This is My Century: Black Synthesis of Time.” (Above paragraph is taken from the curator notes.) The poem is interspersed in the post below.

Throughout the exhibit certain ideas resonate: personal and collective memory, history and the connection to place, as well as the roles artists play in pursuit of civil rights and racial equality.

Helene Canizaro (1911-1997) Stafford Springs, 1974, Oil on canvas
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) The old Maple Tree, Lake George, 1926, Oil on canvas
Mildred Nungester Wolfe (1912-2009) The Old Studio, 1957, Oil on canvas
         This is My Century: Black Synthesis of Time by  ---  Margaret Walker
O Man, behold your destiny,
Look on this life
and know our future living
our former lives from these our present days
now melded into one.
Hale Woodruff (1900-1980) Mississippi Wilderness, c. 1944, Oil on canvas
Queens of the Nile,
Gods of our Genesis,
Parade of Centuries
behold the rising sun.
The dying Western sky
with yawning gates of death,
from decadence and dissonance
destroying false and fair,
worlds of our galaxies,
our waning moons and suns
look on this living hell
and see the rising sun.
Theora Hamblett (1895-1977) Walking, Meditating in the Woods,1963, Oil on canvas
This my century
I saw it grow
from darkness into dawn.
I watched the molten lava pour
from red volcanic skies;
Islands and Mountains heave
into the sea
Move Man into the spiraled axis turn
and saw six suns and sunsets rise and burn.
Karl Wolfe (1903-1984) Xanadu (View from Studio Window), c. 1960s, Oil on board
Osiris, Isis, black and beautiful gods,
When came your spectacle
of rythmed life and death?
You gods of love
on pyres of sacrifice
our human hearts become
old hearthstones of our tribal birth and flame:
the hammer and the forge,
the anvil and the fire,
the righteous sparks go wild
like rockets in the sky.
The fireworks overhead
flame red and blue and gold
against on darkened sky.
O living man behold
your destined hands control
the flowered earth ablaze,
alive, each golden flower unfold.
John McCrady (1911-1968) Rural Symposium, 1964, Acrylic on board
Now see our marching dead
The tyrants too, have fled.
The broken bones and blood
Have melted in the flood.
Clementine Hunter (1886-1988) Untitled, 1980, oil on canvas board
O man magnificent.
The gods endowed you well.
Prince of our innocence
The stars move round your head.
You stride the earth to tell
your sons and daughters young
from island, sea, and land-
a continental span-
how men are made of gods
and born to rule the world.
In majesty with monumental hands
you bridge the Universe
and centuries of desert sands.
Bequeath to us your handsome dignity
and lordly noble trust.
George Morland (1763-1804) Execrable Human Traffick, 1789, Oil on canvas
Gods of compassion, rise
In mortal human form.
The splendor of your eyes
Streaks lightening through the storm.
Noah Saterstrom (1974) Road to Shubuta, 2016, Oil on canvas
This is my century-
Black synthesis of Time:
The Freudian slip
The Marxian mind
Kierkaardian Leap of Faith
and Du Bois' prophecy: the color line.
These are the comrades of Einstein,
the dawning of another Age,
new symphony of Time.
New liberties arise;
from Freedom's flag unfold;
the right to live and be
both stronger and more wise.
Each child, a prophet's eyes;
each place, a priestess stone.
This Beast no man denies
the godly-human throne.
Each generation cries
to touch divinity
and open up the sunlit splitting skies.
Ruth Miller (1949) The Evocation and Capture of Aphrodite, 2014, hand-embroidered wool
I have had a good time singing
the songs of my fathers
the melodies of my mothers
the plaintive minor notes of my grandmothers.
I heard the drums of Africa
and I made the music of Spain.
I gave rythym to the world
and called it syncopation.
All the Calypso brothers
have dance music in my head
and all my beautiful jazzy greats
like old Satchmo,
the Duke, the Count, the Duchess, the King
the Queen, Prince, and Princesses
they were the sons and daughters of royalty
in my dynasty.
I am a black shoeshine boy
made immortal by Barthe
and I am a black mother
running from slavery.
Ernest Crichlow (1914-2005) Underground III,1990, Oil on canvas
Look on my bronzed and black-red-mahogany face
and know me well.
For I am the seed of the earth,
the broken body of the Son of God,
and the Spirit of the Universe.
Drink wine in my memory
and pour water on stones
singing Libation songs.
I came out of the sun
and I swam rivers of blood
to touch the moon.
I will not flinch before the holocaust
for I am a deathless soul,
immortal, black, and free.

The MMOA started as a state art association in 1911 and has grown in size and stature. Today the museum collection includes 5800 works and contains works by notable artists including Andy Warhol, Robert Henri, Georgia O’Keeffe and George Bellows.

The museum and the community are clearly demonstrating a commitment to confronting the legacy of racism in Mississippi and to moving forward to help foster a better present and future. Our hats off to the organization and community.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of OTR with Maria and Stephen.

Be seeing you!


Our first stop in Tennessee on the outbound leg of OTR 8.0 was Knoxville. We have chronicled portions our visit to Knoxville in two previous posts (Street Art Tourist OTR 8.0 and Fika with Fiona:OTR 8.0). This post is focused on our visit to the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMOA). (Photos of the museum below courtesy of the museum)

The KMOA is a regional art museum with a focus on the art, artists and culture of the Southern Appalachians, particularly Eastern Tennessee. The museum opened to the public in its current modern 53,000 square foot facility in 1990. Today the collection includes 1500 pieces of art in a variety of media. While the museum collection extends beyond works from Eastern Tennessee, we were most interested in seeing the paintings of several of the most noted Tennesseans, on display in the Higher Ground exhibition.

Higher Ground : A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee

Marion Greenwood (1909-1970) History of Tennessee, 1954-55, Oil on Linen

Higher Ground is the first permanent exhibition devoted to East Tennessee’s artistic achievements. It includes objects from the KMA collection supplemented by important works borrowed from public and private collections. Many of the featured artists spent their entire lives and careers in the area, while some moved away to follow their creative ambitions. Others were drawn to the region by its natural beauty, as the wealth of landscape imagery in this exhibition attests. Together, these artists’ works form the basis of a visual arts legacy in East Tennessee that is both compelling and largely unheralded. Higher Ground allows viewers to follow the history of artistic activity in the region over roughly a century of development and learn about the many exceptionally gifted individuals who have helped shape the area’s visual arts tradition.

Catherine Wiley

Anna Catherine Wiley was one of the most active, accomplished, and influential artists in Knoxville during the early twentieth century. She taught art at the University of Tennessee, helped organize area art exhibitions, and was a driving force in the Nicholson Art League, a prominent local art association. Wiley studied with Frank DuMond at the Art Students League in New York and spent summers in New England working with Impressionist Robert Reid. She returned to Knoxville following her studies and brought with her a mastery of Impressionism. Wiley specialized in scenes of women amid their daily lives rendered in thick, brightly colored pigment. Morning features a more expressive variety of brushwork often seen in her late paintings.

Wiley’s work is represented in museum collections around the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her promising career ended in 1926 when she was confined to a psychiatric hospital where she was without access to her studio supplies. The exact nature of the artist’s illness remains unconfirmed.

Catherine Wiley (Coal Creek [now Rocky Top],
Tennessee 1879-1958 Norristown, Pennsylvania) Young Woman Reading with Parasol, circa 1918, Oil on canvas
Catherine Wiley (1879-1958) Untitled (Woman and Child in a Meadow)1913, Oil on canvas

Untitled (Woman and Child in Meadow) represents Knoxville Impressionist Catherine Wiley at the height of her career. She won the top award for regional painting at the 1910 Appalachian Exposition in Knoxville, and evidence suggests the artist selected this canvas for inclusion in Knoxville’s 1913 National Conservation Exposition. In a review of the 1913 exposition, one Knoxville Journal & Tribune critic wrote that “Miss Catherine Wiley’s work has attracted general comment and praise. She has three pictures on exhibition, two of which are new examples of her art. The most pleasing of the three is a study of a woman and child out-of- doors. The figures are sitting in strong sunlight, while a dark wooded hillside forms the background. The piece is strongly handled, and shows originality and force.”

Catherine Wiley (1879-1958) Boats and Water, circa 1915, Oil on canvas
Catherine Wiley (1879-1958) Morning Milking Time,circa 1915, Oil on canvas

Beauford Delaney

Beauford Delaney (Knoxville 1901-1979 Paris) Blue-Light Abstraction, circa 1962, Oil on canvas

Born in Knoxville in 1901 to a Methodist Episcopalian minister, Beauford Delaney and his younger brother Joseph demonstrated early artistic talent. Their parents supported the brothers’ creative aspirations, and Beauford’s talents came to the attention of painter Lloyd Branson, who served as an early mentor. Facing the additional hurdle of racism, the brothers left Knoxville in the mid-1920s to pursue their art careers in larger arenas, but followed very different artistic paths. After studying in Boston, Beauford chose New York and later Paris as the ideal settings for his experiments with expressive abstraction. He attracted a host of distinguished friends including Georgia O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, Willem de Kooning, James Baldwin, Henry Miller, and Louis Armstrong. He became known for his radiant portraits and landscapes in which he explored color—luminous color—applied with explosive brushwork. Visible references to the outside world began to fade as the artist sought what he believed were the healing powers of light as embodied in the brilliant hues of his palette.

Beauford Delaney (Knoxville 1901-1979 Paris) Self-Portrait in a Paris Bath House, 1971, Oil on canvas

Joseph Delaney

Joseph Delaney (Knoxville 1904-1991 Knoxville) Vine and Central, Knoxville, Tennessee,1940, Oil, pastel and charcoal on canvas

Joseph Delaney, like his brother Beauford, was born in Knoxville, but left for Chicago before settling in New York, where he established himself as a tireless and prolific painter of Manhattan’s urban scene. Over the span of his 60-year career, Joseph displayed a remarkable ability to convey a vibrant modern world in transition while representing an unvarnished record of his energetic painterly process. He returned to Knoxville to visit his family over the years and eventually moved back to his hometown in 1986. The Knoxville Museum of Art has worked diligently to call attention to the artistic accomplishments of both brothers by hosting or organizing such exhibitions as Beauford Delaney: From New York to Paris (2005), Beauford Delaney: Gathering Light (2017), Joseph Delaney: On the Move (2018), and Beauford Delaney & James Baldwin: Through the Unusual Door (2020). The KMA owns the world’s largest and most comprehensive institutional collection of Beauford Delaney’s work, and an extensive selection of paintings and drawings by Joseph Delaney.

Joseph Delaney(1904-1991) Marble Collegiate Church,1974-75, Oil on canvas
Joseph Delaney (1904-1991) Untitled (Saguenay, Quebec),circa 1945, Oil on canvas board

Lloyd Branson

Lloyd Branson (Union County, Tennessee 1853-
1925 Knoxville)Going Home at Dusk,1920, Oil on board

Enoch Lloyd Branson was one of the most talented and versatile East Tennessee artists of his era. Under his lasting influence, the local art scene reached a new level
of activity and quality. Branson received artistic training at East Tennessee University (later renamed the University of Tennessee) and the National Academy of Design in New York. Upon the artist’s return in 1878, he established a successful portrait painting business with photographer Frank McCrary at 130 Gay Street in downtown Knoxville. Branson devised a method of producing vivid portraits based on photographs, which provided his primary income as an artist. However, he earned greatest recognition for heroic genre scenes such as Hauling Marble, which portrayed East Tennessee’s thriving marble industry. The painting won the gold medal at the Appalachian Exposition of 1910. In addition to his studio work, Branson was active as an art teacher, training and inspiring a new generation of talent including Catherine Wiley, Adelia Lutz, and Beauford Delaney, whose works are included in this exhibition.

Lloyd Branson (1853-1925) Hauling Marble,1910, Oil on canvas

The Tennessee marble industry began during the late 1830’s with the discovery of major veins in Hawkins County. Around 1850, Tennessee marble was discovered in Knox and Blount Counties where, with greater access to rail, the stone industry took off. By the 1880s, Knoxville became known as “The Marble City,” and its extensive quarries supplied stone used throughout the region and in the construction of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., New York’s state capitol, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, New York’s Grand Central Station, and the New York Public Library’s famous stone lions. The Knoxville Museum of Art is also clad in pink Tennessee marble.

Despite its name, Tennessee marble is not a true marble due to its sedimentary structure and lesser hardness that are more akin to limestone. However, its high density, low porosity, water resistance, and range of color contribute to its distinguished history as a highly attractive building material.

We enjoyed the KMOA and recommend spending a morning or afternoon at the museum on your next visit to Knoxville. The KMOA is conveniently located at the site of the World’s Fair Park (1982) on the edge of downtown. Lastly, we would like to acknowledge that we drew heavily from the excellent Higher Ground Exhibition notes in preparing this post.

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