Monday, January 7, 2013

Peaceful Creek by P. Salinas circa: 1924

Peaceful Creek
Porfirio Salinas (November 6, 1910 – April 18, 1973)
9” x 12 “
Oil on board
Circa: 1924-1926

--Every once in a blue moon a fine art gallery will acquire an unusual and unanticipated artistic gem. Peaceful Creek by Porfirio Salinas is the title holder for such an occasion…

Salinas, an Early Texas landscape painter gained recognition for his stylistic depictions of the Texas Hill Country.  President Lyndon Johnson’s collection and appreciation of Salinas’s artwork helped solidify his reputation and legacy as a “godfather” of Bluebonnet paintings – a status shared with the likes of another Texas famed painter, Julian Onderdonk.

Peaceful Creek is a raw landscape depiction of a rugged river varied with minimal vegetation and jaunt tree-lines. Circa 1924 to 1926- Peaceful Creek was ostensibly executed between the ages of 14-16 years old; Salinas’s teenage years reflective of his meeting and mentoring with painter, Robert William Wood. 

An overwhelmingly awkward and domineering tree with its unnatural bend stands as a homage to an untrained artistic eye- a virgin of artistic mentor-ship  A drab color palette lingers on overly mixed, with no one color popping, pulling, or anchoring the nondescript setting. Working through a visual depiction of textures, movement, color values and relationships, scale, and composition, we see Salinas investigate, struggle, and problem-solve at such an adolescent age.  Playing configured volley from left to right; the main vertical element is haphazardly haggard, drawing the viewer to the insignificant but centered and visually blurred tree in the hollow background. Bouncing to the left of center, the gaunt model of sickly arboriculture flexes its gangly roots that protrude like ingrown nails; painful to look at but necessary for balance. Directly off this skeletal species of withered shrubbery we are entranced by the bubbling brook and sparse watery rapids.  Bathed with an overabundance of white paint applications, the rocky diagonal of river rapids leads us into the shallow mid-grounds of a generic stream and riverbed addresses.

But crude in all its grandiose attempts- the flair, admiration and celebration of this atypical art piece lies in the artist’s sincere undertaking.  In essence, the unrefined reverence of such an adolescent artistic epiphany rallies in an overtly outsider Art Brut gestalt.

© Gabriel Diego Delgado
*Peaceful Creek available at J.R. Mooney Galleries

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