Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fiesta San Antonio

Jo was in San Antonio
I suppose I should insert some mariachi music here to set the tone for this post... we've just spent a joyful week in San Antonio visiting old friends and going to some Fiesta events. Let me tell you that traveling from Oregon to South Texas is a shock to the system. The day before we left the temperature at home was 37 and it snowed briefly in my back yard; when we arrived in SA the temperature was a sunny 94 degrees. Believe me, I said a prayer of thanks for air conditioning in the car and in the house. 

What's with the shadow photo, you ask? Sometimes we get home without a single picture of me in our stack of vacation pictures so I've started taking in-situ shadow photos to prove that I really was along for the ride.

Tree moss, similar to Spanish Moss

San Antonio Library

Making Photographs
I've loved taking photographs since school days and though I don't call myself a photographer I own a huge box of old cameras and use two, a pocket-sized Canon PowerShot SD700IS for note-taking and a Canon Rebel XTI. I carefully take photographs as a means of remembering and as a form of sketching when I don't have time to stop and draw. Through years behind the viewfinder I've developed an eye for composition that's translating in a strong way to my collages and paintings. I've learned to frame images... to avoid placing the focus smack dab in the middle of the frame, to let the images touch the edges of the frame and feather off, to balance objects even if it means that I lose some of the actual elements of the scene, and I've learned to shoot photos that will transpose into paintings or at least inform future paintings as far as color, composition, pose, and so on.

at the Alamo

We visited two of the five missions, Mission San Jose and the Alamo.  San Jose was unusual to me because the only others I've seen were in California and this was quite different with its walls enclosing several acres of open courtyard. Rooms were built into the walls making them tall and difficult to penetrate.  On the other hand the Alamo had low walls and wasn't so easy to defend.  No one forgets the Alamo and the great loss of life there and in 1891 a group of women organized the parade called Battle of Flowers to honor the heros of the Alamo, now called Fiesta.

Mr. Bull
We attended a Lutheran church service where Fiesta Princesses in colorful gowns with long trains made a processional down the aisle to a mariachi band, with a silent auction and raffle and picnic in the parking lot. I won a Kindle in the raffle and a metal sculpture of a Texas longhorn bull in the silent auction. Anyone want to buy a bargain Kindle? You can't have Mr. Bull.

Riverwalk is a central SA destination... it's a place where the San Antonio river makes a big loop in the downtown, its route directed by manmade concrete walls and locks to control the waterflow. Riverwalk is where you eat in center city... lined with dozens of restaurants on 3 levels, all with open air dining. We enjoyed lunch there one day and dinner the next at the famed Fiesta River Parade of lighted boats filled with local dignitaries. We were guests of people who had reserved riverside seating.

My husband and I both have a thing for trees... he grows them in our tree nursery and I draw and photograph them.. and we love to visit botanical gardens wherever we travel. The one in San Antonio is quite wonderful, almost too much to see in one visit. One section of the garden replicates a bit of the Hill Country with its rolling terrain and plants.

Farmhouse at San Antonio Botanical Gardens

Texas Bluebonnets
Apparantly one doesn't go to south Texas without visiting the Hill Country and we went, too, hoping to see fields of Texas Bluebonnets, a member of the lupine family of flowers. We saw a few, mostly in patches beside the road, but no fields of blue because of the severe drought.
Live oak trees at Lukenbach, Texas post office

But I was taken aback by the beauty of the live oak trees that cover the hillsides and grow in most yards. The trees are quite contorted and the older ones are majestic.

LaFonda hostess

And on our last day we had lunch on the patio at La Fonda, an excellent Mexican restaurant where the surroundings were gorgeous and the hostess was lovely.

Yes, I was there, too.


  1. Love the fluidity to these water colors.
    But what an awful climate. Rain and cool anytime, thank you.

  2. Jo, you are so good at taking us on a journey with you through your photographs and paintings. Thank you!

  3. That was a wonderful post, I so enjoyed seeing through your eyes. Love the paintings you've done as well as all your great photos. Thanks so much for taking us on this little journey with you.

  4. Jo, what a delightful blog! I too am a photographic enthusiast! I have several cameras & just got the Canon T2i....have always been the photographer in any group!
    We're currently in Hawaii so that's your visitor recorded from there. It's been muggy & too warm but i a way better than the snow that's still falling at home! Lots of spring snow!
    I so enjoyed your WC and your thoughts on behind the camera. I paint quite a lot from photos, I had much trouble trying to paint plain aire, it's not for sissies!
    xoxo, Cath~

  5. Thanks for your comments, my friends.
    It's great to hear from you, Cath. It's been a long time since we last talked. I'm so glad you're getting some time in's sure different than Bozeman, or Portland. I'd love to be there with you taking pictures of flowers and water and drinking up the atmosphere and scents.


I appreciate comments and questions.

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