.......Then and Now of Arthur McCall......
Gabriel Diego Delgado
Arthur McCall, native Texan painter of country time “nostalgia” is known for his standard easel size painting; depicting the serene Texas hill country of yonder years. However, recently an older painting of McCall’s has resurfaced on the art market that is unique in its physicality measuring 66” x 32”.
This tall and slender vertical ranch scene with an enormous skyline titled “South Texas” has a certain “walk-in” quality. Centered perfectly in the middle of the picture sits a ragged and dilapidated barn, complete with broken and missing board and batten siding. Nestled on the right side of the structure, snug like a sleeping baby sits an antique automobile underneath a carport-- lost in time with tires growing roots into the parched Texas ranchland. Rusted tin roofs are proof of a once sustainable agriculture and accommodating climate. No longer worked from sun up to sun down, this estate has been left to be reclaimed by the unforgiving arid surroundings.
Crisscrossed paths add visual routes for our eyes to follow from the foreground to the back of the barn, through the shanty fence line. A hollow and darkened door-less entry awaits any curious weekend explorer looking for unclaimed keepsakes of Texas legacies. Patches of dried out, once luscious, greenery has been met with encroaching deserts from South Texas, forming triangular patterns of Mother Nature zeroscaping. Skeletal remains of a covered wagon are preserved like some archeological specimen of some western antiquity. This naked wooden utilitarian cart maintains its own special rigor –mortis fragility in rusted and rustic landscape permanence.
Various shades of yellow, pink, mauve, blue, violet, orange, cream, green, and white swoop and swoon you into the painting with McCall’s elegant setting summertime sun. The “V” shaped billows converge on the windmill, an anchoring point to ground you back to the horizon line. Owning half of the overall viewing experience, the atmospheric qualities add a meditative essence piggybacking on heartfelt tugs of nostalgic past memories.
On the other hand, McCall’s newest painting “Mason County”, 2013 is a moderate 18” x 24”. A small masterpiece depicting its own systematic scale comparison between massive boulders and the undersized flock of foraging fowls. Scattered cactus speckle the brush, while a male “gobbler” turkey displays his ornamental array of feathered beauty; calling on his hens to pay notice. Dwarfed by the looming boulders and uncompromising Texas terrain, this temperamental “Tom” stands back to adore his flock. Granite rocks dominate the composition like nature’s pillars, solid and immoveable--a defensive barrier to the ever expanding and encroaching urban sprawl. Mesquite trees peek from behind, lined up at attention like soldiers protecting McCall’s nostalgic country time innocence.
©Gabriel Diego Delgado 2013