On Tuesdays

Palo Duro Canyon

No prettier place have I seen than that of Palo Duro Canyon near Canyon, Texas. My few days here this week have been marvelous!
When I was twelve years old, I set eyes on the canyon for the first time. I went with my family to the melodrama TEXAS. Oh, how I have always loved seeing this melodrama over and over again throughout the years.
My trip to Palo Duro Canyon this time was to paint and just enjoy the solitude of the canyon. To be able to start my day in the canyon and end my day in the canyon was an exciting adventure! On my  first evening, I arrived after dark so I missed the sunset. Dang it! I was so looking forward to my first morning, as I jumped out of bed at 7:30 A.M., had a quick cup of coffee and grabbed my protein drink. Quickly, I pulled on my long-johns, jeans, boots and a sweat shirt, threw on my jacket, hat and gloves and went out to greet the six degree morning. The sun was right on schedule at 7:55 A.M. causing a beautiful red-orange glow to peek over the horizon as it said, “Good Morning”, to me. I felt I was greeted by the sunrise as a special guest of the canyon. The air was crisp, and my breath visible; as I stood in awe and looked across Timbercreek Canyon to the Spanish Skirts that I planned to paint later that day. Many times, as I fly in and out of The Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, I have viewed the canyon. It is most impressive from the air when looking down on the gashes that branch off the main canyon. The view from above is so awesomely different from the ground level view. The aerial view is almost ugly, but the view from the rim is breathtaking and so beautiful. This particular morning, the sunlight played off  the rim throwing a warm glow on the sandstone cliffs. As I stood there shivering and taking in the view, I began to notice the Robins flying en masse out of the canyon. I believe they were headed to gather their food for the day from the nearby grain fields I had noticed on my drive out to the canyon. Being there and experiencing this beauty was exhilarating as well as humbling. It is my belief that God reshaped the land during the time of Noah after having laid the foundations of the earth in place. Inspired by God, the Creator of our Universe,  I was there- in this spectacular canyon- painting plein air while sharing my artistic view on canvas. This has been one of my most treasured trips. Palo Duro Canyon is calling me back…to paint.

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My Lot In Life

Painting to me equals genuine enjoyment! Although there are times when painting can be toilsome. Other times my work is like a jigsaw puzzle, snapping perfectly into place with ease as it comes together. As my painting takes shape, it reflects my mood becoming a part of me. As for me, I become a part of my painting, feeling the emotion of the moment.
Outdoor painting, also known as plein air, is a wonderful experience for me. The beauty of my surroundings, God’s Creations, are so stimulating to my brain, filling my mind with colors, shapes, and textures that I must touch them with my hands. The landscape moves and changes with the movement of the clouds, leaving one part of the land saturated in light and the other in deep shadow.
The freshness of the outdoor air is so exhilarating allowing  me to enjoy my surroundings. The birds along with the dancing wind in the cottonwoods is a symphony of nature’s music that delights my soul!
The warmth of the sun feels good upon my face all the while adding drama to my subject. The early morning and late evening sun casts a golden glow that only God could think of, highlighting the tops of the hills with His perfect light. I am part of my landscape; I have found fulfillment here. I am native, feeling I am simply one of God’s illustrators depicting my narrow viewpoint of His vast Creation. The NIV Bible, from the book of Ecclesiastes 9:10, imparts this wisdom: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”
I believe that my “lot in life” is to be a good wife, to toil and labor, and to enjoy life’s journey with joy in my heart. My prayer today is for The Lord to help me paint with greatness not just for my own glory, but for His Glory.

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Who Am I

Hi there, my name is Dallas Mayer. You may wonder how my name came about. Well contrary to popular belief, I was not named after the city! My parents knew a family in Idaho with two beautiful children long before I was born. The children’s names were Zane and Dallas. Dallas was a pretty little girl that was a delight, and her brother Zane was a husky little guy. When my only brother was born before me they named him, Zane. As the fifth of their seven children, my parents blessed me with the name of Dallas. My name is unique, and I always tell people that I am the Mayer of Dallas so they will remember my name. That works most of the time.
Living on a ranch has always been my life. I grew up 14 miles from where I live now. I have a deep seated passion and love of ranch life. I work hard here on the ranch and enjoy working.
Timing with art have come together for me in the last five years. I have enjoyed spending more time on my art. I have fun painting with a full color palette of the things I love. I mostly use soft, sometimes deep, saturated hues to paint my story on canvas. The everyday life and the unending vista’s where space goes on and on forever offer me inspiration not boredom. I am trying hard to develop my own unique style as I paint my own original ideas. That is hard to do!
Having family support is key to my art. I have to be happy to paint. My husband is my biggest support closely followed by my son and his family. All of my family and friends have my art hanging in their homes. My mother-in-law, Anna is my mentor in art. I call myself a perpetual student and have been for 34 years. In the last 3 years I have put my art ‘out there’ to sell. I have had great success and interest in my subject matters and more recently my style. It takes a lot to call yourself a professional artist. I can say with meaning that I will never know all I want to know about art. I love growing as a artist and seeing my progress as I go forward. I feel I am learning, growing, and constantly challenging myself. I love telling a story in my paintings. I enjoy applying what I have learned through the years from different master  instructors.
Visitors are welcome anytime at my art gallery. Dallas Mayer Gallery of Fine Art in Amarillo, Texas at the Sunset Center is located at 3701 Plains Boulevard, Suite 115. After much prayer and thought, I was given an open door to opening my gallery, so I forged ahead with my families blessing. It is an ongoing learning experience and a lot of work! Come and visit me at  the Dallas Mayer Gallery of Fine Art in Amarillo, Texas! You will find the First Friday Art Walk at Sunset is a wonderful time to browse all of the galleries in the mall. The First Friday of every month the galleries in the mall are open 5-9pm.

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Springs Promise

It has been many years since we enjoyed a spring with an abundance of wildflowers. Our moisture has been sadly lacking here on Mayer Ranch. Wildflowers express beauty in the simple landscapes that become grand when appreciated.
Oklahoma panhandle is host to many such rare beauties. My joy as a ranch lady is our pastures are my flower gardens. The delightful profusion of colors entertain my vision as I ride through the wild beauties. To be a firsthand witness when the dainty daisy’s make their debut, puts joy in my heart. The sandhill plum blossoms appear in early spring. The fragrance is so sweet and the blossoms so fragile. Around the middle of May through the first week of June, my husband, Jim charms me with the earliest yellow cactus rose. We have a variety of cactus roses with a hint of pink and orange in the color of the petals. Jim picks the rose with his pliers to avoid the hair like stickers that are of the finest size. The sensitive rose briar is the most interesting little flowers. The roses are little pink balls covered in yellow pollen. This flower grows on a wooded spindly briar bush. The smell is so strong, this was my grandmothers favorite wildflower. My favorite is the cowboy poppy. The beautiful cranberry red flowers pop when the sun says hello at mid morning. The morning glories is a sight to behold as they climb the woven wire fences around the corrals. My sweet little Jax reminds me of his daddy when he delights me with a fist full of beauties.
Last Fall, the tarantulas were thick around the ranch. The old wise tale says that tarantulas bring deep snow with long lasting cold spells. This winter we seem to have a nice bit of moisture working its way into the dry landscape. We have yet to have deep snow, but the cold weather has set in. Spring promises us with a abundance of wildflowers that will arrive in their full colorful glory!

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The Day Dallas Outran The Pickup

Mean and ornery cows are a challenge any day of the week, this day was no different than any other.
My brother, and sisters and myself would load up in the back of the pickup, that was driven by my dad, Howard, anytime there were cattle to be gathered. We would head to the pasture to gather the renegades. They were always at the backside of the pasture in the roughest draw. When the pickup would get close, our systematic procedure was to jump off the tailgate and hit the ground running. Dad would barely slow down for us.
This particular day, it was dusk and getting darker by the minute. The cows that we were after, I knew well, we had history together. I had a feeling that we would be darn lucky if we were successful. Being quick and brave was part of my challenge for the task at hand. I was determined these cows would not get away. Loving to run fast, I knew I was up to the challenge.
As the pickup approached the cows, Dad hollered, “Jump Off!”. We did – hitting the ground running. My game plan was to stay as close to the pickup as I could.
These cows had a history of trying to outrun the pickup, stopping abruptly, and cutting behind the pickup to double back, therefore getting away time and time again. This scenario always put the pickup at a disadvantage of trying to turn around and get behind the ornery cows. I was going to do everything that was humanly possible to keep those cows on track.
I was not proven wrong on my theory this day, I was ready for their shenanigans! True to form, they did their dirty trick, but I was there to cut them off at the pass.
When the cows realized that I was not going to back down, they did an about face and resumed running toward the corrals, where I had wanted them to go in the first place. My feet were flying when Dad passed me in the pickup where he took up his position as header. The cows took on a new burst of speed. We were fast approaching a draw and a berm of dirt just ahead. I knew the pickup would not be able to keep up with the cows. To save the day, my feet sprouted wings, I outran the pickup, which was clipping right along.
The cows were beat. They fell in line and headed to the corral. When we gathered up at the end of the day around the dinner table, Mom and Dad declared me the hero of the cow gathering! To their surprise, I had outran the pickup, keeping the cows from getting away! I was always proud of the day I had outran the pickup.

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Message Delivered

Merry Christmas everyone!
Christmas is a special time for most of us. Christ was born, creating quite a stir in His day. Can you imagine without the use of cell phones or social media, that God sent his angels to deliver a timely message to the shepherds, “The Savior had been born in Bethlehem.” Why was that? Why did God think it important that the shepherds be part of the good news of the Christmas story? I think it was because they were the most far flung people out there. They should have been the last people on earth to know, but they were among the first. The shepherds were receptive to the message, whereas if the people at the Inn would have received the message, the scoffers in the crowd would have downplayed the message, diluting it with rumor and speculation.
However the shepherds, were in a secluded quiet setting, insulated from the crowds with their idle talk and gossip. God was able to deliver his message to the shepherds that were receptive to hearing it. My prayer for me, is that I take the time,in quiet reflection, to enjoy the magnitude of God’s glorious gift.

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Visual Analysis

I was riding my horse, Dolly, while bringing a few stray pairs out of a deep draw and onto the flat.  This was the spot we had predetermined the herd would be gathered. I instantly saw the other riders; some were still a quarter of a mile away or more. I recognize the visual shape of each man, how he sets his horse, his posture, and the horse’s gait, each with their individual defining silhouettes. Through all of the dust and atmosphere my mind takes in this visual image in a split second, and I realize my husband is missing. This is my sub-conscience taking in and transferring visual imaging of fine detail of what I am seeing; the shapes and tone being more important than the image.
The laws of visual analysis and thinking, in terms of composing a drawing of a visual image, is what I ponder as I begin a new painting. My resource is usually a photograph that I have taken. I know that a camera cannot reproduce as well as my eyes. Every image can be distorted and in the end leaving me with a bad composition that leads to a bad painting. It is important to me to actively go feed the cattle. Being a part and out among the subject matter I paint helps my mind’s eye absorb tiny details. My eyes take in so many of these details around me, and my mind becomes full of great ideas, colors and shapes. Picture with me as I notice the shapes and the colors of shadows and how the sun glints off the black hides of the cattle casting a red color down their back.
I am working hard to master learning visual analysis of an object or objects to the degree of which my sub-conscience becomes familiar with very fine details without even realizing it. Having an ideal image in a ideal position in ideal light is a great way to learn. Still life studies can be manipulated to help artists learn to see shadows, light, shape and form. This leads me to contemplate on Impressionism. Impressionism leaves that degree of detail open to interpretation to the viewer. The viewer must have a degree of familiarity with the subject to appreciate the art of Impressionism. I also paint with a degree of realism, trying to convey my subject in simple brushstrokes and harmonious color. I use my sense of Impressionism to create space and depth. Painting to me is a balancing act of so many things I have learned and still trying to learn. Today, I’m reviewing visual analysis which is helping me with my gesture drawing.

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A Colorful Journey

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day to day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we forgive everyone that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen Luke11:2-4 KJV
Thus started the lunch time hour at my little grade school. Lifting my bowed head, I waited my turn to line up in single file following our 3rd grade teacher to the lunchroom. We would march by the other classrooms who were also waiting to go to lunch. On this particular day the 6th graders were standing against the wall waiting for the little kids to go first. As I walked down the hall that day, I remember a certain cowboy that caught my eye. He was tall for his age compared to his age group. He had dark hair and was dressed in cowboy attire. His houndstooth Levi’s belied the one piece of attire that was not strictly forbidden in our school. He had outgrown the length causing his well worn cowboy boots to be partly visible. Lanky in stature he had one boot tucked up behind him on the wall. He struck quite a striking pose that I still recall to this day. Now at my school most of the boys wore blue jeans and those ugly black tennis shoes with the white rubber toes that curled up. My brother, Zane was the only cowboy I knew. Later that day I went home and announced that I saw a cowboy in the hallway on the way to lunch. After my brief description, my sister, Lea, said,”Oh, I know him, that is Jim Mayer, he is a real cowboy!”
That is my first memory of my husband, Jim. Later, I enrolled in 4-H where Jim’s mom, Anna was my Leader. Who knew that someday I would be called, Mrs. Mayer also. Anna is a very special mother in law to me, she is my art mentor and the reason I paint. What a blessing to grow up knowing my husband and his family at such a early time in my young life. Life is a colorful journey, God has shined his light upon our lives allowing us to enjoy one another, and for that, I am thankful.

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Gentle Cattle

Today I was left in charge of checking the water for the twenty month old heifers. They were lounging about in the sun soaking up the last nice warm day that we will have for a while. When I was opening the gate to walk down into their pen, they all looked my way wondering what I wanted. When I approach cattle I do not make any eye contact, because direct eye contact only seems to threaten them. So I walked through the gate with my head down being very careful to take very slow steps. The little heifers just laid there not bothering to get up. It is powerful walking through lounging cattle to where they feel at ease, it is an amazing feeling.
Gentle cattle are worth every bit of time and effort that we put into them. My son, Tyler Mayer is working to gentle down his herd of bought cattle by walking through them in the cake line, feeding them cake out of his hand. Our cattle here on the Mayer Ranch are gentle and we take pride in that. My husband, Jim Mayer is what we call the Pied Piper in the way he can calm cattle down, by being in their presence. Keeping a calm disposition around the herd pays big dividends when it is time to calve out heifers. Heifers sometimes require close proximity during the birthing process.
Disposition is important for the handlers as well as the herd.

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Her Price Is Far Above Rubies

My Grandma’s house always welcomed us with the smell of good food, love and open arms. Her name was, Alta May. She was the eldest child of her family of five. Grandma taught us many things, she was a blessing to her family. Titus 2:4-5; to be sober, to love our husbands and to love our children. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good obedient to our own husbands, and that the word of God be not blasphemed. For all of these I am thankful. I believe that Grandma modeled her life after Proverbs 31:10-31, Who can find a virtuous woman?…for her price is far above rubies…She riseth also while it is still night, and giveth meat to her household…Her children rise up, and call her blessed, her husband also…I love the fact that my Grandma gave our family a Christian heritage! What a blessing.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of my family and friends. May The Lord give all of you traveling mercies to reach your destinations safely.

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