Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…You just never know, do you? One minute you think you are living in a little bitty town that no one has ever heard of and the next you find your town a featured piece of art. So, when Beth Power sent me the Wall Street Journal that contained the note that the Webb Gallery (Waxahachie) was displaying artist Esther Pearl Watson’s Comanche, TX 2011 at the Dallas Art Show, I decided to pass the info on to you.
Watson’s story is actually very interesting…very, very interesting because Comanche County came to be featured in her work purely by accident, literally; however, I need to back up and start the tale at the beginning, don’t I?
Esther Pearl Watson had an unusual childhood, to say the least. It seems that her father, Gene Watson, was fascinated with the idea of spaceships and the idea of building spaceships.
“He would quit his jobs and work at Domino’s Pizza so he could have more time during the day to work on his flying saucer,” she laughs. “He didn’t believe in aliens; he just thought saucers were a better mode of transportation, that they were the future. He tried to get Ross Perot interested in it; he sent letters and drawings to Steven Spielberg and whoever happened to be president. No one was really ever interested in funding it, so funding came from us picking up beer cans on Saturdays.” (1)
Apparently, the Watson family felt the need to change neighborhoods often since the neighbors weren’t always good with the “flying saucers” in the Watson yard.
“My subjects are often of outsiders–a fifteen year old girl who doesn’t fit into her high school; my father who built flying saucers; also outsider art not seen as art.” (2)
Well, anyway, you get the picture.
Now, fast forward to the year 2009 when Esther Pearl Watson’s grandmother (who just happens to live in Comanche,Texas) broke a hip and had to move into the nursing home. Granddaughter came to stay with Grandmother; Granddaughter is an artist with time on her hands…so Granddaughter creates. It is as simple as that.
“For fun, the nearby town of Gustine– I think the population is like 400, something really small – they had an art contest,” she explains. “Since I’m sitting in this nursing home, I decide to run a painting over there, enter the contest. The best in show was this rendering of two hands cupping an apple, and it looked like two butts sitting on an apple. I was like, ‘Yes! This is the kind of show I need to be in!'” (3)
Watson took an Honorable Mention from Gustine on a work that was later sold from the Webb Gallery with the ribbon still attached. I don’t know who took first place that year, but someone should pat himself on the back, don’t you think?
Well, as I said…you just never know…
If you follow the links, you will find several depictions of Comanche County, including the old KCOM building, obviously from a 1986 visit to Comanche.