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A Starkville Mississippi Waterscape

September 21, 2012

I saw a landscape of a waterscape tower, and was inspired to sketch and paint a landscape of a scene of water. What is a water tower? It almost looked like a tall insect with an elevated tank to give pressure for distributing water to citizens of Starkville, which has been known as having the most refreshing and tasteful water in all of Mississippi.

On a very pleasant day in October 1976, I left our kitchen after having breakfast of fried eggs, bacon, toast and coffee with my daddy and headed from home northward toward Greensboro Street turning in the front of the First United Methodist Church. I began spotting a perfect side parking place of this beautiful church. I parked my car fully loaded and filled to the brim with all of my art supplies at the old electric department Building. When I looked and found this finished painting in my upstairs art studio, I noticed at the bottom left hand side of my stretched canvas my signed name, date and location simply saying, “Near the T.V. Cable Company.” I think I identified my exact location as being near the old electric department building which must have later become a cable company.

I had parked and got out all of my necessary art supplies for the day. I popped up my red portable easel and looked off in the distance at this seven legged water tower as it seemed to tower above our whole little town which was becoming a small city. The tower looked like a queen as she stood elegantly with great pride, and towering high like a bird or a huge insect that had suddenly risen vertically and almost flying into the blue sky above me.

Most of the time in our every day life we are walking along the sidewalk and we seem to have a habit of just looking downward at a possible crack in the sidewalk making sure we don't fall or catch our foot in that crack, or a pothole in the street that our car will not bump and thump along into. We forget to look up.

Every day my routine route up town would take me from busy Louisville, Greensboro and Lampkin Streets to Main Street of my native hometown. I would pass this water tower and glance upwards to see her. I would think to myself, “We as human beings and all other animals cannot live without water.”

What is water anyway? Water is the liquid in its pure form which is transparent, colorless and suppose to be tasteless and odorless. It is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen. Water to drink is without a doubt basic to all animal and plant life. Early in the morning on July 31, 2012, I woke up to realize that all of our water was completely off. Later we discovered that only a few feet away from us down at Walgreen's on the corner of Louisville Street and Miss. Highway 12 someone had hit the fire plug and had broken the water line. For several hours we were without all water at all. I suddenly knew how important and essential water that we daily drink and use is most basic to our lives every second of every day. I was delighted when the problem was fixed and we had water once again. I even had to go up to The Holiday Inn Express restroom to brush my teeth and have bathroom facilities. I asked the manager if I might come and go until our water down the street was turned on again. He graciously agreed. He was a helpful and gracious neighbor on nearby Wood Street. I appreciated his hospitality.

I remember with great fondness the beautiful, pleasant autumn early morning when I began my sketching and great anticipation in my heart and soul of painting this particular painting. I popped up my red aluminum easel, tied a large colorful umbrella to the side of the easel to keep the bright sunshine and sun rays from beaming down on my white canvas and my body too. I was going to be looking off in the far distance at my main subject for the next few hours.

I had been wanting to paint our water tower for a long time, and today would be that day I had the opportunity and was so inspired to captured forever on my canvas a scene that had been calling out and tugging at my heart strings for me to take time to stop and create what I had been merely passing by for such a long time. I bowed my head and whispered a little prayer,"Dearest God, allow me to be your instrument with my instruments as an artist today to show others what I am seeing in your beautiful world.” Suddenly I entered my own “bubble world” blocking out all of the intense traffic going and coming from Main Street making the curve close by me. I thought, “Hope I don't get hit by a car, truck, bus, biker or runner today!” I was only concentrating on what I was seeing in the far distance, I was beginning my sketch of the landscape for that early morning remaining in this one spot for the next few hours. I could only hear the hustle and bustle of our little town waking up and beginning its day. My thoughts drifted as I was thinking of what a fun creative and wonderful day I was going to experience capturing a tiny bit of the small world of my own native tiny town town which was growing to become a tiny city that I love so very much.

Let's look and share together this painting. The stretched canvas is 15 inches by 24 inches. It is a tall painting. See the blue sky on the left hand side and look toward the right hand side at the lighter blue colored sky. You see and can almost feel the pretty autumn morning in 1976. Feel the autumn breeze gently kissing your cheeks! Spot the three tall brown electric poles. One pole is painted in detail. Do they not all look like tree trunks? They used to be real tree trucks until they were cut down to become poles for electric wires and telephone poles. I am standing by the old Starkville Electric Department building.

Let your eyes travel to the rounded, almost oblong looking white metal water tank which has touches of purple, blue, gray and yellow. Look at the strong rounded ring around it holding up the six tall legs, and the one larger leg in the middle to give it all strong support. This main pole has colors of lime green and gray shadows underneath the bottom part of the rounded tank above. The darkest purples seem to give the water tank solid stability. Think of all of the gallons and gallons of water that she is holding. Yes, she is the “Water Queen” of her home town and maybe her whole rounded white head has become her and the shining white pearl of our town! Again, see the main brown sketched and painted electric wooden pole and let your eyes connect the street wire crossing over to the other two poles. I am using the odd number, “3” as the three poles and the odd number “7” as the odd number of tall white poles holding up our “Pearl Queen.” She really does almost look like a white praying mantis, too! She is so elegantly beautiful ... regal looking!

Look how the sky almost turned light violet underneath the water tower that day. What a contrast of light purple violet blending and complimenting each other into the shades of dark and light blues in the far distance. The variety of these blues make you look with me upward off into the far, distant background, yet your eyes seem to be always drawn back into the foreground. See the greens and touches of rust colors in the trees. Find the one hint of a yellow autumn colored tiny tree near the left leg of the water tower. This one yellow tree is almost covering up this one leg. Look at the concrete street just before you get to the little concrete ledge that I am standing near. This ledge gave me a feeling of stability, protection and a feeling that I would be safe and not fall into the very scene I was painting. See the rust colored wire between each of the tiny poles. I was standing up tall, looking both downward and into the far distance at my main subject. Look at the very bottom left hand side of this painting of the light blue reflection of the concrete ledge and you might agree with me that it might just look almost like a puddle of water.

A simple water tower that we all pass off in the far distance by each day going and coming simply doing our errands, shopping, waving, chatting, talking, giggling and mingling with our friends, neighbors and fellow Starkvillians. I hope that as you make the curve around the First United Methodist Church heading to and from Main Street that you will take a few seconds to look, discover and enjoy way off in the distance this very lovely old water tank. She is one of our very own, a white shinning pearl of our town.

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