fikawithfiona: onyx coffee lab

After departing Tulsa we traveled across eastern Oklahoma to spend several days in the BentonvilleRogers (B-R) area of northwestern Arkansas. The B-R area is, of course, home to the world’s largest retailer – Walmart. As exciting as that is, our desire to visit the area emanated from the opportunity to bike the Razorback Greenway and, most importantly, visit the Onyx Coffee Lab. Having said that, there is plenty to do in the area in addition to biking and drinking coffee and tea. More on that at the end of the post.

Onyx Coffee Lab was founded in 2012 by husband and wife team Andrea and Jon Allen. In the relatively short period of time since founding Onyx they have achieved a world class reputation in the specialty coffee business (with good reason).

The cafe

As we entered the building for our first visit we were stunned – the space is gorgeous. The size and scale is beyond anything we had ever experienced in regard to specialty coffee.

In this soaring space, Onyx has captured the ultimate coffee experience including the important transition from caffeine to alcohol. Under this one roof there is the cafe, the roastery, a pastry shop, a cocktail bar and a restaurant as well as meeting and event facilities.

Perhaps it goes without saying,but we will say it -everything we ordered was impeccably presented and delicious.

rogers hq (photo courtesy sprudge)

The roastery

Onyx boasts six roasters at the Rogers HQ location. Many cafe/roasters of necessity have their roastery located in warehouse type facilities away from the cafe. Onyx (with its 30,000 sq ft of space) has placed the roastery out in the open for all to see and enjoy. As you can see in the photograph directly below they have created a bar directly in front of the roastery to allow for viewing the process and interacting with the roasting staff. So cool!

Bentonville Cafe

The Bentonville Cafe is close by the town square and is an aesthetically pleasing cafe in its own right. Despite the large amount of seating it can be difficult to find a seat if you arrive during the morning rush – an amalgamation of locals heading to work and tourists in need of that first hit of magic elixir. Regardless, make it a priority to spend time here if you find yourself in Bentonville for any reason. The local folks are friendly and will chat you up gladly.

Bentonville

In addition to Onyx and the Razorback Greenway (https://www.traillink.com/trail/razorback-regional-greenway/) there are a number of excellent restaurants ( we had an excellent Italian meal at Tavola Trattoria; http://tavolatrattoria.com/) and plenty of shopping (if that is your thing). Below is a gallery of photos from Bentonville.

There are also a number of museums in Bentonville including the spectacular Crystal Bridges Museum of Modern Art (founded and funded by Alice Walton).

crystal bridges museum, bentonville, arkansas

Be seeing you!

Fine art tourist: Emil bisttram at panhandle-plains museum (PPHM)

h. d. bugbee, mountain men, (old bill williams and jim bridger), oil on canvasboard

A brief history of the PPHM

PPHM is located in Canyon, Texas, approximately 20 miles south of Amarillo. The museum opened to the public in 1933. It was the brainchild of Hattie Anderson, an educator who had moved to Canyon to teach history at the West Texas Normal School (now West Texas A&M University).

Hattie was fascinated by the history of the area and began to enlist the aid of individuals in the area to form a historical society to preserve the history and culture of the Panhandle-Plains. The historical society flourished for thirteen years; the growing collection of artifacts created the need for more space. The historical society then funded the creation and operation of the museum.

Today the museum continues to prosper and is home to over three million artifacts within the 285,000 square foot complex. The museum provides insight into the past and the present of many facets of the people,culture, history and industry of the Panhandle-Plains. The collection includes galleries devoted to paleontology, archeology, geology, Native American culture, textiles, petroleum extraction and western art.

We enjoyed the PPHM immensely and strongly recommend devoting at least a half day visit when you visit the Amarillo – Lubbock area of the Panhandle. In addition to the museum this area offers ample outdoor recreational opportunities (Palo Duro Canyon and Caprock Canyon – see post: CTSPRINTERLIFE: TOURING THE PANHANDLE). https://wordpress.com/post/ontheroadwithmariastephen.net/6946

EmIL Bisttram

OTR had the great fortune to meet Deanna Lowe Craighead, Curator of Art at the PPHM, while visiting another museum in the panhandle. In addition to dialing us in about the Bisttram exhibition, Deanna also provided us with the recommendation to visit the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa ( see post FINE ART TOURIST PHILBROOK MUSEUM OF ART). https://wordpress.com/post/ontheroadwithmariastephen.net/7362 The balance of this post is dedicated to the Bisttram exhibit and a bit of his biography.

Emil Bisttram was born in Nagylak, Hungary (now Nadlac, Romania) in 1895. His family emigrated to New York City in 1906. Bisttram studied art at National Academy of Design, Cooper Union, the Art Students League, and the New York School of Fine and Applied Art. He also taught art while studying and was known through out his career as an excellent and sought after teacher.

emil bisttram, storm over taos, c. 1931, oil on canvas

Bisttram visited Taos, New Mexico in 1930. Initially he was overwhelmed by the size and scale of the New Mexico landscape and he struggled to capture the majesty of the environment. Despite that he returned to Taos in 1932 and it remained his home until his death in 1976.

Bisttram evolved from painting New Mexico landscapes and native culture to a decidely abstractionist style. The painting above (Storm Over Taos, 1931) is representative of his early work in New Mexico. The photographs of his paintings below are from the PPHM exhibit (private collection on loan – Ladd Family) and show his progression into abstraction.

emil bisttram, waterfall, 1959, acrylic on canvas
emil bisttram, winter, 1959, enamel on masonite
emil bisttram, celestial structures, 1959, enamel on masonite
emil bisttram, ascension no. 2, 1959, enamel on masonite
emil bisttram, midsummer night’s dream, 1960, enamel on masonite
festivity, 1960, enamel on masonite

Transcendental painting group (TPG)

Bisttram, along with Raymond Jonson, formed the TPG. The TPG was part of the Non-Objective Abstractionist wave of Modernism – which in part emanated from the influx of artists fleeing the increased political disruption ocurring during the 1930s in Europe.

emil bisttram, symphony in blue, 1963, oil on masonite

“The Transcendental Painting Group is composed of artists who are concerned with the development and presentation of various types of non-representational painting; painting that finds its source in the creative imagination and does not depend upon the objective approach.” —- TPG Manifesto

emil bisttram, windsong, 1964, oil on masonite

While we do not enjoy the work of some popular avant garde abstract artists, in our very humble opinion we think the paintings of the TPG artists and in particular Bisttram are in a different category. The work is clearly non-objective in may regards but relatable and created with a clear design in mind. We would love to know what you think.

Be seeing you!

P.S. Added bonus of visiting the PPHM – the excellent Palace Coffee is a five minute walk from the museum.

FINE ART TOURIST PHILBROOK MUSEUM OF ART (PMOA)

Philbrook museum and gardens- museum photograph

A brief history of the pmoa

From 1927 to 1938 the Villa Philbrook, as it was known, was the family residence of Waite and Genevieve Phillips. The Italian Renaissance style villa as originally built consisted of 72 rooms set on 23 acres of gardens. Phillips donated the mansion to the city of Tulsa for use as an art museum in 1938.

The PMOA opened to the public in 1939. A 70,000 square foot wing was added in 1990 along with a redesign of the garden space ( the new wing also houses a very fine cafe). The museum houses 16,000 works in its permanent collection with a focus on Native American, American and European art.

Historical footnote: Phillips was a member of the Phillips family which founded Phillips Petroleum in 1917. Today the company trades as Phillips 66 and is one of the largest petroleum refiners in the world with revenues of approximately $107b.

Childe hassam, american, bridge over the stour, 1897, oil on canvas

Native american and american artists

Harry fonseca, maidu, Coyote chiefs, from coyotes wild and wooly west show, 1987, acrylic and glitter on canvas
Joan hill, muscogee (creek)/cheroke, war and rumors of war, c.1971, acrylic on canvas
Brenda kennedy grummer, citizen band potawatomi, one sunday at shawnee, 1979, oil on panel
helen hardin, kha’p’oo owinge (santa clara pueblo), vision of a ghost dance, c.1975-1977, oil on board
Tony abeyta, dine’ (navajo), firestorm, 2021, oil on canvas
Joseph henry sharp, american, chief weasel bear, 1906, oil on canvas
WALTER RICHARD (DICK) WEST, SR., SOUTHERN CHEYENNE, THE WEDDING OF ART AND SCIENCE, 1949, OIL ON CANVAS

European art

Pablo picasso, spanish, les pommes, 1947, oil on canvas
Wassily kandinsky,russian, kallmunz, the town hall square, 1903, Oil on board

We enjoyed our visit to the PMOA, and especially appreciated the focus the museum brings to Native American artists. The museum showcases the evolving manner and styles in which Native Americans have been portrayed over the last 150 years – both fascinating and enlightening.

In addition to the finely curated collection, the museum itself is a wonderful piece of architecture. The extravagance and oppulence of a 72 room villa for a family of four is hard to fathom (at least for OTR), but makes for an inspired setting for the art work and artifacts. And of course, the gardens extending down the slope behind the villa are spectacular.

We absolutely recommend an afternoon at the PMOA when you visit Tulsa!

Be seeing you.

P.S. We also recommend having lunch when visiting the PMOA – KITCHEN 27 is excellent.

STREET ART TOURIST OTR 7.0

Regular followers of OTR know that, in addition to fine art and excellent coffee and tea, we are avid fans of street art (@streetartfromtheroad). This edition of OTR 7.0 presents a sampling of our favorite street murals from this trip. Some of the murals below we found purely by chance while others we sought out based on our research of public art in a particular area, town or neighborhood.

We should qualify that our focus is on street murals as opposed to graffiti or tagging. Marking public or private property is really a subversive activity and while we have our subversive moments, we do not support the defacing of public or private property. Okay, enough on that topic.

Street art is often very political and cultural in nature and at it’s best is powerful and moving. We also find that it is often highly creative, humorous and very often beautiful.

Please find below our favorites from OTR 7.0, we hope you enjoy the photographs. P.S. We have provided attribution wherever possible.

Utah: Moab

Muralist: @skyewalker_art

New Mexico: Taos

“El santero” muralist: george chacon

New Mexico: Plaza de Chimayo

New Mexico: Espanola

“El sembrador
Muralist: Rubel rael

New Mexico: Santa Fe

Texas: Quitaque (kitty-k)

Texas: Amarillo

blue sky texas burgers

Texas: Amarillo: Hoodo Mural Festival

Muralist: @daas
Muralist: @weshouldbestrangers
“Xochi” muralist: msyellowart
Muralist: @malcolm_byers
Muralist: @dtoxart

OK: OKC

Muralist: Eric tippeconnic (commanche nation of oklahoma)
Muralist @juuriart83

OK: Tulsa

Muralist: Aaron Whisner
In Memory of Madison Mcmanus” Muralist: @jeks_nc

Historical footnote: the Greenwood District of Tulsa was the site of the Tulsa race massacre also known as the Tulsa race riot. In the early 1900’s this area of Tulsa was known as Black Wall Street due to the concentration of wealth in this largely black community.

On May 31, 1921 multiple mobs of armed white residents of Tulsa (deputized by city officials) attacked the residents of the area killing and injuring scores of people and destroying a 40 block area of the district. Thirty-six blacks were killed and over 800 were hospitalized.

Some accounts indicate that the massacre was triggered by the arrest of a black man for assaulting a white woman. Most historians agree that this event was more the result of a growing resentment in the white community of the financial success of ”Black Wall Street”.

Muralist: @skiphillart

AR: Bentonville

Muralist: @steve.adair
muralist: @leftyeyeball
“When spirits dance free” muralist: karrie evenson

KY: Louisville

Be seeing you.

Fine art tourist: Anderson MUSEUM of CONTEMPORARY art (AMoCA)

After completing our overland segment through the Carson National Forest ( https://ontheroadwithmariastephen.net/2021/11/05/overland-adventure/ ) and a brief stop in Santa Fe ( https://www.instagram.com/p/CVNrZnrF7xK/?utm_medium=copy_link ) we set a course for the Texas Panhandle. Based on the travel time to our first destination in Texas, Roswell, New Mexico appeared to be a good place for an overnight stop (predicated, of course, on the availability of acceptable espresso and tea beverages.)

Roswell Mural Depicting the “Roswell Incident”

Roswell is known primarily as the location of an alleged UFO crash that took place in 1947. Strangely, the purported crash site is 75 miles from Roswell – oh well, close enough for tourism purposes. I do not want to put a damper on the UFO tourist trade (and a our little blog won’t) but the UFO was, in fact, a weather balloon!

Donald B. Anderson, Irish Castle, 2000, acrylic on canvas

From our perspective (with all due respect to UFO fans) there is a much better reason to visit Roswell. As we did a quick bit of research on the town we found a website for the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, and decided to visit the museum the morning following our arrrival.

The next morning (after coffee and tea) we set out to walk to the museum just a short distance away. We feared we had made a wrong turn along the way as the only building we could see ahead looked much more like a warehouse than the exterior of a museum. However, upon getting loser to the building there was signage indicating that the building was in fact the home of the AMoCA.

Donald B. Anderson

Donald B. Anderson, Achil Island, 1987, acrylic on canvas

We were delighted to find ourselves in a bright and colorful space with paintings covering the walls from floor to ceiling. The museum covers 22,000 square feet and is divided into twelve galleries with more than 500 artworks on display.

The photographs of the large scale landscape paintings directly above and below are by Donald B. Anderson, who was a highly successful businessman and artist. He founded the museum in order to bring more art and culture to Roswell and southeastern New Mexico. While a number of his delighful landscapes occupy one of the galleries, the museum is about much more than Mr Anderson.

Donald B. Anderson, Dark Valley, 2001, acrylic on canvas

roswell artists-in-residence (rair)

Jessica Kirkpatrick, Chora 1, 2013, oil on canvas

In addition to the museum itself, Mr Anderson created and funded the Roswell Artists-in-Residency program to bring artists from around the world to work in Roswell. The photograph above and all those below are of artworks by artists that participated in the program since its inception in the late 1960s.

Linda Long, View From My Window, 1991, oil on canvas

In 2002 the RAIR Foundation assumed full reponsibilty for the management of both the museum and the residency program. RAIR provides a full year residency and includes lodging, studio space and a stipend; over 250 artists have participated in the program since its inception.

Jerry R. West, Roswell Cotton Warehouse with Black Dog and Broken Moon, 2012, oil on linen

AMoCA is a first rate museum with a wide range of work by the artists that have benefited from RAIR. If your travels will be taking you in the vicinity of Roswell or even if you are just passing through we recommend that you visit this gem in the desert.

Brian Myers, On Borrowed Time, 1994, oil on canvas

Be seeing you.

fika with fiona: otr 7.0: the very best!

If you follow OTR, you know that one of the great pleasures of our travels is the discovery (on our part) of great specialty coffee and tea cafes as well as the opportunity to return to previously visited favorites. Fortunately, there are many excellent specialty coffee cafes and roasters across the country.

We have included just seven of the cafes we visited during OTR 7.0 in this post. We visited another half dozen that are quite good but we wanted to showcase just those cafes that we think are exemplary in every regard.

We are confident that you will enjoy these cafes just as much as we did if you are fortunate enough to visit them during your travels. All of the cafes that are also roasters sell their coffee on-line, so if you won’t be visiting any of these cities in the near future you have the option to enjoy their coffee at home.

We would love to know your thoughts if you have the opportunity to visit any of these cafes.

Colorado: Durango: Taste Coffee

https://www.tastecoffeedurango.com/

New Mexico: Santa Fe: Sky Coffee

https://www.skysantafe.com/

Texas: Amarillo: Palace Coffee

https://palacecoffee.co/

Oklahoma: OKC: Coffee Slingers Roasters

https://www.coffeeslingers.com/

Arkansas: Rogers: Onyx Coffee Lab

https://onyxcoffeelab.com/

Ohio: Cincinnati: Deeper Roots Coffee

https://www.deeperrootscoffee.com/

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh: Klvn Coffee Lab

https://klvncoffee.com/pages/about

Be seeing you.

Ctsprinterlife: Mammoth cave national park

The cave

Mammoth Cave, located in southwestern Kentucky, was officially designated as a national park in 1941. The park is approximately 53,000 acres (small by national park standards); its main focus is the cave system which lies under the surface.

Mam Cave, as it is called locally, is the longest cave known to exist in the world at just under 400 miles. The 400 miles of cavern are not linear, but exist on six levels which crisscross and extend out in multiple directions, fitting inside a seven square mile area under the park.

We took a ranger led tour during our visit, venturing down 250 feet below the surface and then through a series of rooms as we gradually climbed back towards the surface to exit the mine.

The park offers a wide range of tours differing in time and the level of physical activity required to complete the tour. We took the Domes and Drips Tour where you are brought through some of the largest domes in the cave system and also to a wetter area where stalactites and stalagmites are still forming.

The lower two levels of the cave are underground rivers – with water draining down from the Green River and the numerous sinkholes in and around the park. In the past visitors could tour the lower cavern by boat but the practice was stopped to protect the environment.

Auto tour

Green River Ferry

A brief History of mam cave

As we mentioned above, Mam Cave became a national park in 1941. What we did not realize until we visited the park and spent time touring the scenic backways of the park was how the park came into being.

Road to Good Spring

The caves were originally mined for saltpeter which was used in the making of ammunition.The caves in the area were privately held and operated by the owners as tourist attractions from the early 1800s until the park became a national park.

Good Spring Baptist Church

There were many people in government, science and business who, for various reasons, wanted to see Mam Cave designated as a national park and thus be protected. The federal government would not buy land for the creation of a national park but would accept donated land for that purpose. As a result, a private organization was formed for the purpose of buying the privately owned land and donating the land to the federal government.

Over a period of several years the required amount of land was purchased (in some cases through eminent domain). There was also a land donation of 8,000 acres made by a single family.

The photographs above and below show the only remaining structures from three of the communities (Good Springs, Flint Ridge, Joppa Ridge) that ceased to exist as the residents moved to other towns outside of the park boundary. Some of the families and their descendants lived in theses communities for 200 years before they were displaced.

The park service has preserved these churches and the adjacent graveyards, providing a peak into life in early rural America. All other structures from these communities were razed when the National Park was established.

The families of the descendants are still able to use the churches for weddings, funerals and other special occasions. The cemetaries bear witness to this use as we observed newer monuments in each of the graveyards.

Conclusion

We enjoyed our two days at Mam Cave. The cave tour was well organized and interesting. We would have to say that from a persective of the cave only that Carlsbad (New Mexico) and Wind Cave (South Dakota) are more dramatic from a visual perspective.

Having said that, Mam Cave offers a number of hiking and mountain biking trails as well as a paved bike path. Additionally, the Green River which flows through the park provides the opportunity for kayaking and canoeing.

If you are a national park fan and have not yet visited, we recommend that you include Mam Cave in an upcoming park itinerary.

Be seeing you.

Fine art tourist: Oklahoma city museum of art (okcmoa)

Pierre-August Renoir, Portrait of a Girl, ca. 1895, Oil on canvas

The OKCMOA is the product of two Oklahoma City art museums that merged in 1989. The current modern and architecturally impressive downtown location was newly constructed and opened in 2002. OKCMOMA is a fully privately funded organization that has significant local individual and corporate support.

The museum has a diverse collection which we found to be well curated. As an example, the portrait gallery includes portraits that were painted in a period spanning 1820 through 2018 and brings a focus less to the style of painting and more to the culture and norms of the period. We have included photographs of several of our favorite paintings from the portrait gallery below.

Kehinde Wiley, Jacob de Graeff, 2018, Oil on linen

Dale chihuly

Many are familiar with the beautiful glass work of Dale Chihuly and his studio. The OKCMOA has one of the largest collections of his work anywhere. The pieces included in the OKCMOA collection span over 30 years of Chihuly’s work.

The collection is exquisite. What really adds to the collection is the staging of the various pieces – the lighting is set perfectly and most of the installations can be viewed from multiple perspectives adding greatly to the experience (and allowing for the possibility of reasonably good photographs!).

Southwestern art

Followers of OTR know that we admire many styles and schools of art while having a special affinity for art from the southwest. We have included photographs of several of our favorites from the collection on display at OKCMOA.

Doel Reed, The Canyon, 1958, Oil on board
EL Blumenschein, New Mexico, 1921, Oil on canvas
John Sloan, Two Black Crows, 1924, Oil on canvas
Oscar Brousse Jacobseon, from the Trail Ridge, 1936, Oil on canvas board
Alexandre Hogue, Soil and Subsoil, 1946, Oil on canvas

Realism

Our two favorites from the genre of Realist paintings.

Janet Fish, The Ox Bow, 1977, Oil on canvas
Dhimitri Zonia, Saturday Morning, 1969, Oil on canvas

OKCMOA is a very fine mid-sized museum which can be viewed in two to three hours, and should be included in your Oklahoma City itinerary. We will be writing about another OKC museum, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in an upcoming post.

Be seeing you.

Ctsprinterlife: Touring the panhandle

Tex Randall, Canyon, Texas

PALO DURO CANYON

Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in North America at approximately 120 miles in length and a depth of between 600 and 800 feet. While not as dramatic as the Grand Canyon or Hells Canyon in our opinion (primarily due to the fairly shallow depth) it is nonetheless a spectacular sight. We were fortunate to be able to camp on the canyon floor and complete several hikes while enjoying fantastic weather.

The canyon is noted in Texas history as the place where the decisive battle of The Red River War occured in the fall of 1874. Commanche, Kiowa and Cheyenne Indians were living on the floor of the canyon in five settlements. They had amassed a herd of 1400 horses and provisions for the upcoming winter.

These tribes were the last of the Southern Plains Indians not imprisoned on Indian reservations. The U.S. cavalry rode down into the canyon and attacked each of the settlements. The people of the tribes fled down the canyon with the cavalry pursuing.

After pursuing tribes far enough to ensure that they could not return, the cavalry destroyed all of the teepees and food in the settlements. And, of course, they killed all of the tribe’s horses-except the 200 that they kept for their own use.

The surviving tribal members, faced with starvation, accepted the same fate as their brethen before them, and relocated to the Indian reservation at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Bison at Caprock Canyon State Park

The land was cleared of the tribes, although large herds of bison were still living in the canyon. The land was opened for settlement; in 1876 the JA Ranch was established in the canyon for the purpose of raising cattle.

The cattlemen had no use for the bison. They needed the land and water for their cattle; so they allowed the bison to be hunted. Fortunately, the wife of one of the ranch owners, Mary Ann Goodnight, was able to convince her husband to stop the hunting as she was rightly concerned about the extinction of the species. The herd was eventually relocated to Caprock Canyon where it now resides and is protected as the official Texas State Bison Herd.

Quitaque (Kitty-Quay), Texas

TURKEY, TEXAS

Phillips 66 Station, 1929

Turkey is a short drive east of Quitaque and Palo Duro Canyon. If you prefer hotel accommodations while visiting Palo Duro and this area of the Panhandle, Turkey is the place to stay.

The town’s origins are agricultural – cotton, watermelon, sweet potatoes and peanuts. The town was platted in 1907. The current population is 396.

Despite the small size of Turkey and its rural location it is well known among afficiandos of Western Swing music as the home of Bob Wills. Wills was the town barber and a fiddler and songwriter and is widely acknowledged as the co-creator of Western Swing.

Bob Wills

As his music became more popular he formed a band – Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. The band toured around Texas and Oklahoma and regularly played on radio shows in Oklahoma City.

Hotel turkey

The Hotel Turkey (HT) is hands down the place to stay in the area. The hotel has been in continuous operation since 1927. Hopefully, the photos below convey the western charm of this unique hotel.

HT has a full restaurant (Friday is the fried catfish special and Saturday is the steak special), outdoor bar and live musical entertainment several nights a week. Make reservations in advance – the hotel often sells out on weekends.

CAPROCK CANYON

Caprock Canyon Sate Park is a series of canyons covering about 13,000 acres. It is part of the Caprock Escarpment which runs north to south and seperates the great flat plains of the Texas Panhandle from the rolling plains to the east.

We traveled to Caprock after our stay at Palo Duro Canyon. We camped on the flats above the canyon within walking distance of the rim (photo below). Caprock, like Palo Duro, has many miles of hiking, horseback and mountain biking trails.

We initially had beautiful weather as you can see from the photographs. Unfortunately, a windstorm came roaring up from the south with 30 to 40 mile per hour winds and we spent most of our second day inside the van waiting out the storm.

Bison at CVaprock Canyon

We recommend both of these state parks if you enjoy hiking, mountain biking or camping. The are dozens of hikes of varying difficulty and length with one common feature – spectacular scenery.

Palo Duro is within 30 minutes of Amarillo if you are not interested in staying in the park. Similarly, Caprock Canyon is a reasonable drive from Lubbock.

Be seeing you.

Fine art tourist: BISTTRAM AT THE Panhandle plains historical museum (pphm)

The PPHM is located on the campus of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. The museum is dedicated to preserving all facets of the history of the Texas Panhandle Plains region of Texas. The museum houses exhibits on the petroleum industry, paleontology, archeology, geography, art and history. This museum literally has something for everyone.

We toured the museum but must admit to a keen interest in seeing the exhibit of modernist paintings by Emil Bisttram. We had seen his works previously at other museums featuring the works of Taos, New Mexico artists – most recently at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana.

Symphony in Blue, 1963 Oil on Masonite

This exhibit of Bisttram’s work features paintings from the latter part of his career. The paintings are dramatically different from his earlier work in Taos. Below is a photograph of one his landscapes completed in 1931.

Storm Over Taos, 1931
Celestial Structures, 1959 Enamel on Masonite

“I am always experimenting. As I paint today may not be the way I’ll paint next month. I’m always studying and I hope always growing.” — Emil Bisttram

Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1960 Enamel on Masonite

While we are not usually fans of abstract work, we enjoyed this exhibit. Perhaps because we are familiar with Bisttram’s earlier work, or perhaps because these later paintings, while abstract, contain more recognizable forms. Regardless, we admire his precision and use of color.

Waterfall, 1959 Acrylic on Canvas
Winter, 1959

We think the PPHM is absolutely worth a visit if you are planning to be in the Amarillo/Canyon area. And, as frosting on the cake, Palace Coffee’s original cafe is less than a ten minute walk from the museum.

Palace Coffee, Canyon

Lastly, it is a short drive from Canyon to the spectacular Palo Duro Canyon which you can enjoy by hiking or touring by automobile.

Palo Duro Canyon

Be seeing you.